2 months later…I am BACK and as Vegan as ever!
A day in the life of a Vegan...ME
Hi friends!!! I wanted to start todays post with a quick note on this whole blogging thing. The computer “technical” side of starting a blog is NOT as easy as I thought it would be when I first started. For all of my blogger friends out there, I already love & support you all…but my goodness-I now give you even more extra love and respect knowing how time consuming this can be to actually start up if you are not the most technically inclined (MEEEEE :)). My first two posts were relatively easy, but then my original site ended up needing to be housed at another website, and all kinds of computer issues came up that were quite honestly beyond my scope of abilities…so it was my buddy, Jason Garvey at Bay Area Web Solutions to the rescue. I highly recommend him to anyone needing any help with a website, either personal or for your business. He was extremely helpful, knowledgeable and FAST when I had issues with my first site. Long story short, the problems with my first site are finally FIXED (thanks to Jason) and I am now back to being able to blog as of today—HORRAY. Hoping I won’t have as long of a dry spell now that this site is up and running.
Enough about my blogging technical difficulties. Since I am celebrating 2 & 1/2 months of being completely meat and dairy free, I thought I would do a blog post on a day in the life of my new “normal” eating. I have had so many DM’s, texts and comments on some of my Vegan Instagram posts, so I thought it would be the perfect blog to do-since I have been finding SO many amazing and yummy ways to eat Vegan. For those of you who are new to this site, read through my first two blog posts if you have a moment. You will see that I went Vegan in January 2018.
When I decided to stop eating meat, I had to create new eating habits, but it has NOT been hard and it truly has been SO much fun. I have been eating SO many more “real” and whole foods and I feel great!!! My most favorite part of this journey has been sharing it, wether it is through my posts on Instagram, sharing it with people I am eating with a restaurants or sharing it with friends and family, I absolutely love talking about/sharing this amazing lifestyle with anyone who is interested. No, they have not all gone Vegan with me (YET ;)) but, they have been trying SO many new Vegan foods and have actually started liking so many of them. One of the biggest complete changes in our whole house is the removal of almost all dairy. When I first started this journey, the kids said “NO WAY” to Almond milk. Fast forward to this morning, they each had it in their gluten free oats with ZERO complaints! That is a small win for this Mama and I am so excited about watching them include some of my new Vegan lifestyle choices into their lives. As I always say, it is about balance.
Over the course of the last 2.5 months my daily habits have continued to change and evolve. Every meal has been vegan (EVEN in Vegas and Mexico when I traveled-more on how to travel Vegan later). I do go through phases where there’s more salads, more soups, heartier meals, more indulgent meals…etc. it is all really depending on the day and how busy I am or am not. The biggest thing I keep hearing from non-vegans is they don’t have “time” to go vegan and it is WAY to much cooking involved in this lifestyle. They seem to imagine that every meal I am making takes a significant amount of work and planning. The truth is, most days I look in the refrigerator & pantry see what’s there, and pull something together on the fly!
For people who are curious about what vegans eat or think that a vegan meal requires extensive time in the kitchen, here is a day in my normal life. Obviously, I don’t eat these exact things everyday. My meals change from day to day. However, these have become my “staples” for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack are pretty typical:
Gluten Free Oats with a splash of Almond Milk, chopped almonds (or some type of nut/nutbutter), flax seeds, coconut flakes and berries or banana
Vega or Thrive Protein Shake-Both Vegan and Yummy (with PB if I didn’t add it to my oats) and chia seeds mixed in
Tofu Stir Fry with Whatever Veggies I have in my fridge
A bowl of Veganic Sprouted Rice Ceral topped with similar items like my oats
Brown Rice, Black Beans and Veggies (topped with salsa, corn, peppers etc)
Cauliflower Rice Scramble mixed with Veggies and Beyond Meat or any variations of beans (garbanzos, edamame, black, kidney etc.)
Sweet Potato Mac N Cheese (Shown in the photo with recipe below)-SO freaking yummy-you MUST try. It is PURE COMFORT FOOD, which was amazing for this cold rainy day we had today!
Trader Joes Veggie Burgers (posted on my instagram) https://www.instagram.com/p/BfogbneglZV/?taken-by=jenmaravillas
Cauliflower Pizza Crust topped with Trader Joes Pesto, whatever veggies I have already made and a pinch of Almond or Soy Cheese
GIANT salads-full of greens (whatever salad blends I have on hand-I usually mix 2-3 types), topped with roasted beets, quinoa, lentils sunflower seeds, peas, roasted butternut squash, broccoli and whatever other roasted veggies I have on hand. The beans, seeds, nuts, lentils are a perfect protein source to go with all of this amazing goodness. I top them with one of (3) of my favorite Trader Joes Vegan dressings (again….shown on my instagram)-this salad is usually one of my meals EVERY day. I crave it!!!
A baked Sweet potato topped with black beans, one dollop of coconut yogurt, sesame seeds, salsa and 1/2 and Avocado.
Lentil Soup with Vegetable broth and lots of roasted veggies- I tweak this with spices to change it up (lots of garlic is a WIN in this one)
I could continue to go on and on, because I have SO many other meals that I eat often…but I don’t want to bore you all. My point in sharing all of the above is to show you that Vegan food can be yummy AND easy to make. All of the menu items I shared above are a “make in 15 minutes or less” for me as long as I have “prepped” my roasted veggies at the beginning of the week. More on food prep in another post…cause that is an important thing for ANY type of healthy foods lifestyle. Oh, and if you are wondering about snacks…I snack TONS. There are so many amazing and fun Vegan snacks, that I have decided to let them be their own post!
Hope this helps answer some of the “what the heck do you eat” questions and give those of you wanting to give Veganism a try…more reasons to JUST DO IT! I can not tell you how amazing I am feeling following this lifestyle. My sleep has gotten better, I crave these healthy meals, and I have not missed meat ONCE.
Here is my recipe for the AMAZING Sweet Pot mac n Cheese I had for lunch today:
- 10-20 oz cubed Sweet Pots (I buy them pre cut/cubed in a bag in the produce section-huge time saver)
- 2 cups cashews, soaked for 2 hours and drained
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (I got mine on Amazon)
- 1 ¼ cup water, plus more to thin if necessary
- 3/4 -1 teaspoon salt, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric (for color)
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
- Optional add-ins to make it unique:
- -Extra garlic
- -1 jalapeno
- -onion powder
Cook the Sweet potatoes on the Stove over high heat in a large pot (I use our cast iron pot). Heat 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil over hight heat, add (2) bags of cubed sweet potatoes and 3/4 cup of water. Let simmer/roast on high heat for 7 minutes.
To make the cashew cheese sauce:
- Make sure you soak the cashews in 4 cups of water for at least 2 hours, otherwise you can place them large bowl, then add 4 cups boiling water and let the cashews soak in the hot water for approximately 45 minutes-1 hour to speed up the process.
- Once ready to make the sauce add drained cashews, garlic, nutritional yeast, water, turmeric, dry mustard and salt to a high powered blender (I use my Magic Bullet). Blend until a thick sauce comes together, adding a tablespoon or two more of water, if necessary to help blend. Taste and adjust seasonings (add ins) as you see fit- and ENJOY. It is SO SO YUMMY. Top your warmed and already cooked Sweet Pot cubes with about a cup of this cheese sauce. You can mix in a little water if it is too thick, but I personally LOVE it a little thick.
- Top with Green Onions to Garnish (I leave this off when I serve it to the kids)
You have plenty to serve to a group or enough for a few days of left overs if you are making it for yourself. It is high in protein and the most YUMMY tasting “comfort food” with ZERO guilt!
I literally always have this cheesy goodness made at all times in our house. If you are in a pinch, or don’t feel like dealing with making your own cashew cheese, you can also BUY the Cashew Cheese already prepared at Whole Foods or here: http://www.veganvalley.net/stagecoach/. It is made by Vegan Valley and it is a “Nacho Cheese Sauce” that comes in a 15oz container for only $4.99. You simply use 1/2 the container, mixed with about 1/4-1/2 cup water and mix it into your already prepared roasted Sweet Pot cubes. Again, amazing for a healthy dip, topper and so much more!!!!
Ok, that is enough rambling for today. I am so excited to be back to blogging and look forward to sharing SO many more fun, healthy, crazy, exciting life adventures with you all on this blog.
Cheers to great health and trying lots of NEW healthy & YUMMY things!