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Chelsea's Random List of Vegan Tips

Hello!
Many of our friends and family have recently asked us, “How hard is it really to be vegan?” Well, it’s really not that hard. We decided to make a list of some of our favorite vegetarian & vegan recipes, products, and websites for you to enjoy!

Dairy Products:
·         Silk Brand Soy Yogurt
·         Earth Balance Organic Spread (butter substitute, this stuff is delicious and we put it on everything—zero cholesterol and you can find it at Walmart)
·         Just Mayo Brand mayonnaise—It tastes just as good as the real thing but less fat and no cholesterol, and you can find it at Walmart too.
·         Favorite non-dairy milk is definitely Cashew Milk. It’s creamy like the real deal but again no cholesterol and just as much Vitamin D.
·         Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Ice cream (the coffee caramel flavor is TO DIE FOR and so is the chocolate fudge)
·         A really healthy alternative to mac n cheese is the Engine 2 Diet’s recipe for mac n cheese

Fake Meats:
·         Gardein products. We have yet to try one that isn’t good, but they have everything from breakfast sausages to Crabless Patties to Turk’y Filets (in the freezer section at most grocery stores)
·         Boca burgers for a good fake burger.  Less fat and cholesterol but still high in protein, and we pile them high with all the stuff you put on burgers—lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, ketchup, etc. We eat this at least once a week! Freezer section.
·         Veggie hotdogs –Target sells a pretty good one
·         Beyond Chicken—Freezer section, this stuff is great if you fry it up and put it in wraps. Seriously we make it for people and they don’t know it’s not real chicken
·         Tofurky brand pepperoni and lunch meats, and Italian sausage links (we made an awesome soup with their vegetarian kielbasa—I’ll make a note of it later)

A note about eggs in baked goods: in most recipes you can substitute ¼ cup mashed fruit (such as banana or applesauce) per egg in the recipe. I do this with cake mixes, cookies, cornbread, etc.

Miscellaneous food products we LOVE:
·         Amy’s Kitchen frozen meals and canned soups (If you look at the ingredients labels, the ones that are vegan are clearly marked “vegan” and they are sold at most grocery stores. They have everything from breakfast sandwiches to vegetarian frozen pot pies to Thai curry)
·         Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah!): this is kind of like barley but smaller kernels? Anyway we make it with veggie broth instead of water for flavor, and we eat it as a side and sometimes stir in cooked veggies and mushrooms too. It’s also awesome on wraps.
·         OREOS ARE VEGAN (and that’s how Chelsea sticks with the program!)
·         Hummus. We eat it on everything: tortilla chips, wraps, celery, carrots, triscuits
·         Chia Seeds. They’re really high in protein and you can put them on your cereal, on top of your salad, in your pasta…just about anywhere. They’re pretty flavorless so the sky is the limit

 Easy Recipes we eat a lot:
·         Veggie or Chick’n Wraps: Sautee fake chicken, add spinach or spring mix, chopped carrots, celery, cucumber, tomato, cooked quinoa, mayo, fresh dill, and Franks Red Hot Sauce on a spinach wrap
·         Kielbasa stew: fake sausage links cut up in a veggie broth, chopped celery and carrots, lentils, leek, onions, green onion, red potatoes
·         Coconut Rice Stir-fry: Tofu fried in soy sauce, rice made in coconut milk, sautéed spinach and mushrooms, chop up some cucumber and put it in vinegar and dill on the side. Best served with hot sauce! J
·         Loaded Nachos: veggie crumbles in taco seasoning, load them up with chopped tomatoes, onion, green onion, black beans, corn, kale or spinach, and lime juice
·         Basil Pesto Pasta: blend basil with lemon juice and pine nuts, stir it in with pasta and sautéed mushrooms, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, garlic, onion
·         Breakfast burritos: fry some tofu with turmeric (the turmeric makes the tofu more like scrambled eggs), onion, spinach, red potatoes, and breakfast sausage. Wrap up in a wrap and serve with salsa or hot sauce
·         Veggie stirfry with tofu: fry red pepper, water chestnuts, broccoli, snap peas, and tofu in soy sauce. MMMM!
·         Stuffed red and green peppers: hollow out peppers, stuff them with quinoa or couscous and sautéed veggies and bake them for 15 or 20 min at around 250-300 degrees
·         Veggie bowls: roast broccoli, squash, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or similar with olive oil, cracked pepper, and sea salt. Serve over spinach and quinoa with your favorite salad dressing (we like Sweet Vidalia Onion dressing or Poppyseed.) Good if you add something sweet too like chopped up strawberries or coconut flakes

Where do you get your protein?
·         Seriously everything. Beans, legumes, spinach, broccoli, quinoa, soy products, peanut butter, cashews and other nuts, whole grain breads, brown rice—most foods have protein. It is a myth that you need animal products to get protein or calcium. There is more than an abundance of protein—think about the animals in the wild that are huge and muscular and don’t eat other animals. Gorillas are vegetarians, for example.

Awesome websites:
www.mercyforanimals.org


Why do we try to eat as vegan as possible?
·         Better for the environment (less water waste and less pollution)
·         Better for animals (even the dairy industry is outrageously cruel to animals)
·         Better for our bodies (there is NO cholesterol found in plant foods and they are higher in vitamins and minerals-veganism is better for cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, and blood sugar. Vegans live on average 7 years longer than omnivores!
·         It’s actually cheaper! Meat and cheese/dairy are some of the most expensive foods at the grocery store

Random Tips:
·         Try more from different ethnic foods—foods that are not American tend to be easier to vegetaraian-ize or veganize. Thai, Indian, and Mexican foods are all super easy to swap out meat for tofu or beans.
We don’t expect our loved ones to completely change their diets just because we did, but we love sharing delicious healthy food ideas and are very excited when people show interest in our food choices!  We love you guys!

Love and health,

Chelsea Justin & Genevieve

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