We had steamed green beans, baked corn, rum cranberries, mashed sweet potatoes and Celebration Loaf. This is the first time that we had Celebration Loaf, and we thought it was quite yummy. Since we were at my parents house, we just microwaved it very briefly, and this worked fine. Recipes for baked corn and rum cranberries can be found on this blog.
Sorry that I have not posted any yummy recipes lately. With all of this recipe experimenting for my blog and trying other vegan blogger’s recipes, I gained 6 “blog” pounds! So since I am back on a diet, I thought I would share how I lost 45 pounds the healthy vegan way.
I had been an overweight vegetarian for about 10 years; according to the Body Mass Index, I was at the high end of the overweight category. When I started a completely vegan diet, I was sure that I would shed the pounds, but I think I gained weight. I wanted to be healthy, and I wanted to be a good representative of the vegan lifestyle. August 2006, I started counting every calorie that I put into my body via a spreadsheet – I was shocked! I was consuming over 3,000 calories some days! I researched how to construct a healthy vegan diet (Becoming Vegan is a fabulous source), and I very slowly started cutting my calories. First, I cut back to 2,400 calories for week, then to 2,000 calories for a month, then to 1800 calories, and for a few months 1600 calories.
I lost 45 pounds in 11 months, about one pound per week, which is a healthy rate. Now according to the BMI, I am comfortably in the normal weight range, but I will be happier when I lose these 6 “blog” pounds. So once again, I am tracking my calories on a spreadsheet, shooting for 1800 calories.
For a sample of my diet spreadsheet, click here for an Excel document or here for a pdf version. Once I had most foods entered on my computer, it was easy to just cut and paste from day to day. New recipes are a pain (hence no new recipe posts). A good source for calorie info is NutritionData.com.
We had Easter Dinner with my non-vegan family at my parents’ house. My family is always understanding, supportive, and somewhat inquisitive of our vegan diet, but we usually bring a lot of our own food. It is nice just being together. Chet and I had green beans, baked potatoes, baked corn, lentil loaf (with a pineapple slice that I rescued before it touched the ham), and vegan brownies for dessert. Delicious!
As vegans we eat a lot of beans. Dry organic beans are CHEAP! Using dry beans instead of canned beans, not only saves money, but it reduces packaging materials and reduces the amount of fuel used to transport the beans (since dry beans are lighter in weight).
I use my environmentally friendly pressure cooker to make beans and freeze them (you can also boil then in a large soup pot). It takes a while, but it is kinda like doing laundry, you don’t have to stand and watch the magic happen, you can do other things while they cook.
There is plenty of info on the web about the proper way to use a pressure cooker, but here is what works for me.
- Night before: Pour beans 1-2 pounds of black beans on a light colored towel. Pick through and discard rocks, debris, and nasty looking beans. Put in pressure cooker or a large bowl, cover with water, and soak over night. (They will expand to double the volume.)
- When ready to cook, pour soaked beans in a colander, strain, and rinse.
- Pour into pressure cooker, cover with fresh water. I fill the cooker about 2/3 full.
- Put on lid and set to pressurize.
- Turn stove up to high for about 5 minutes, when you start to hear sounds, turn down to medium, and cook on medium until the pressure indicator pops up (about another 5 minutes).
- Once pressurized, turn down the stove to the lowest setting and set the timer for 11 minutes for black beans (15 min for kidney beans).
- After 11 minutes, turn off heat and remove cooker from burner. Allow to sit until it de-pressurizes, about 10-20 minutes.
- Pour into colander and rinse. Allow to drain for a bit.
- Fill glass containers with beans, cover, and freeze. They will remain good for at least 4months (probably longer), but ours never last that long .
We like to incorporate whole foods (food that are completely unprocessed) into every meal, but usually a not-so-whole food sneaks in. This meal is one of my favorites right now, and it is an easy, quick whole food delight!
10 ounces bag of frozen corn
2 cups of black beans
1 medium onion
4 medium tomatoes
10-14 purple potatoes
This meal takes Chet about 30 minutes to prepare, but he is very quick and has cooking down to a science. It probably serves 4 people.
1. Start water boiling in a 3-quart pot.
2. While waiting for water to boil, prepare the veggies.
3. Scrub potatoes and cut into thick 1/2” slices.
4. Chop onion and zucchini.
5. Add potatoes to boiling water. (You will boil them for about 20 minutes, until desired tenderness.) Put onion and zucchini in a 3-quart frying pan with a little water. Sauté over medium heat. Keep covered to retain moisture.
6. Chop tomatoes and set aside.
7. Microwave thaw corn in a large bowl. Add beans and mix.
8. After about 15 minutes of cooking, add tomatoes to frying pan. Cover and heat over medium.
9. When potatoes are ready, strain, put back in pot, and cover to keep hot.
10. Microwave corn and beans until hot.
11. And everything should be just about ready.
I love to mash the potatoes with a fork and pour the juice from the veggies over the potatoes. Once on our plates, we add salt and pepper to everything. I also add a little vegan butter to the corn and beans (the butter is not a whole food).
One of our favorite meals is snow peas, rice, and tofu. This easy meal requires little effort and no recipes. Here is the break down for meal prep:
- 60 minutes before you want to eat – start to boil 1 part rice and 2 parts water, while you wait for it to boil, wash and chop snow peas
- 50 minutes to go – rice boiling, turned down to simmer (2 on our stove), wait a minute, cover and leave alone
- (now you have 40 minutes free to relax)
- 11 minutes to go – slice tofu, set oven to 500º broil, put tofu in oven for 6 1/2 minutes, and start to boil water to steam snow peas
- 4 minutes to go – flip tofu, put back in the oven for 3 1/2 minutes, and put on snow peas (steam for 2-4 minutes)
- dinner’s ready
Sprinkle with cashew cheese and enjoy!
And of course, 0 grams of cholesterol and 0 grams of trans fat.
Vegans are often asked this question.
Protein is an important component of every cell in the body; it is the building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Your body uses protein to maintain and repair tissue and to make enzymes and hormones. Protein is crucial for your immune system, heart, and respiratory functions. (info from WebMD)
I need about 50 grams of protein per day, and I easily meet or exceed this amount.
To calculate your protein (and other nutrient) needs, go to NutritionData’s Daily Needs Calculator.
Some sources of protein for us include:
18 grams = 1 cup of lentils
15 grams = 1 cup black beans
11 grams = ¼ of a package of SoyBoy tofu
8 grams = sprouted grain English muffin
7 grams = ¼ cup almonds
5 grams = 1 cup brown rice
4 grams = 1 cup steamed broccoli
All plants contain protein; plants are so rich in protein that they can supply the protein needs of the earth’s largest animals: elephants, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and cows. So of course, the protein needs of humans can be met by eating only plants. Plants are the original source of protein; they can synthesize all of the amino acids that are used to build proteins, but animals cannot. (info from McDougall Newsletter)
For more information see Protein in a Vegan Diet.
We always have loved pizza, and tonight we enjoyed one of our favorite meals. We make it with Rustic Crust Great Grains Organic Pizza Crust, organic tomato sauce, and homemade cashew cheese (see recipe). A side of the mighty avocado adds a creamy yum factor.