Smoothie Criminal

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People seem to think it’s a crime to make a good green smoothie without added sugar or dairy. Today, I shall dispel those rumors.

First of all, fruit is sweet (especially if you buy it in season) and it don’t need no sherbets, ice creams or artificial ingredients to be fabulous. Just make sure you have a good ratio of fruit to other ingredients, or choose an all natural sweetener like stevia.

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Second of all, just because you don’t eat dairy doesn’t mean that you need to replace it with soy, almond, flax, coconut or whatever milk or yogurt alternative you happen to have in your fridge. Fresh green smoothies don’t need it! Just add water to loosen things up and get the ingredients to blend better.

Can I get an Amen from all the raw-foodies out there?

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Your smoothie won’t taste watery, I promise. Plus, you’ll get extra hydration, save calories, and find another use for your $10 a gallon animal substitute. It’s a win, win, win.

The real trick is finding the right combination of fruit to really get you going in the morning (or afternoon, or midnight snack, or fourthmeal). This is mine, and it’s so simple it should be illegal (am I even allowed to use the term fourthmeal?).

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Three basic components are all you need for a totally raw, fresh, green smoothie: some kind of leaf, a fresh fruit and a frozen fruit. Above I have baby spinach (the easiest flavor to mask), some fresh mango and a frozen banana.

(Pro tip: never use ice cubes to make your smoothie cold, they’re impossible to blend in most moderately priced blenders. Use small frozen fruit like raspberries or blueberries instead!)

You may choose to add a green powder, but why use additives when you’ve got a rich, sweet blend of whole foods (again, illegal?).

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This is just one of the many kinds of delicious smoothies and shakes that are out there for vegans to enjoy. It’s so easy being green.

Bon appetit.

Protein from Plants

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I’ve never had as many people worry about my protein as I have once they find out that I’m vegan. Of course no one wonders where gorillas get their protein, or elephants, or any other large mammal on earth that doesn’t consume other animals to survive.

In fact, too much protein is a bad thing as it causes your body to leach alkaline minerals such as calcium and phosphorus from your bones to compensate for the acidic environment it creates. Your body actually makes it’s own protein by recycling the cells that are shed from the intestinal wall and from used up digestive enzymes.

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What we need to do this are amino acids which are what we get from food, not protein itself. Therefore, protein is not necessairly equatable to flesh. Eating a variety of plants ensures that we get the right combination of amino acids.

There isn’t even a medical term for protein deficiency, because it would only result from calorie deficiency. Besides, no one would advocate eating a smaller range of veggies just because you’re eating chicken. Make sense?

Maybe it’s just easier to tell people that I get my protein from plants. Like the ones I ate for lunch. Brown rice & black beans (perfect amino acid combo…I mean protein source) with tomatoes, cucumbers and avocados.

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Plus a side of cabbage cooked in sesame oil, topped with some sesame seeds (a great source of calcium, by the way) and dried cranberries.

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All packed ready to go in my delightfully recycled tupperware.

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Bon appetit.

Photos: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5488/7-Health-Benefits-of-Lentils.html, http://www.strongprotein.com/questions/can-a-vegetarian-use-whey-protein-powder/

Brown Sugar Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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I know, I know. You have deep and complicated issues with brussels sprouts. You get flashbacks of being forced to stay at the dinner table as a child until you had eaten them all, holding your nose at the repugnant cruciferous beasts. Believe me, your not alone. Nobody can blame you, brussels sprouts are often the main obstacle between a child and his dessert, or are used by parents as a threat.

“Timmy, no chocolate cake tonight if I don’t see you eat every vegetable on that plate, young man!”

But this is no way for brussels sprouts to be treated, all they’ve ever done for a body is good. Loaded with fiber, vitamin c, and cancer fighting properties, brussels sprouts deserve a second look.

And with caramelization like that, I’d say they look rather ravishing.

Bon appetit.

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Ingredients

2 lbs of brussels sprouts, cut in half

2 Tbsp. vegan butter, melted

1/3 C. brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

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Method

Toss brussels sprouts in the vegan butter and brown sugar to coat evenly.

Spread the sprouts out on a baking sheet, and sprinkle on however much salt and pepper you prefer. I like this recipe to have a little bite of salt, so I add less pepper.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 40-50 minutes, tossing the brussels once halfway through for even browning.

Serving suggestion: with fall pesto bean stew, or a whole grain.

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Tofu Scramble

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Tofu is like the misunderstood hipster kid of the mainstream food world. It’s odd, difficult to figure out how to work with, and most people don’t like it the first time they try it. After two or three meetings however, tofu grows on you, and slowly your world is widened to include all of the magical things this mushy white blob can morph into. And that is why to the vegan world, tofu is the most popular kid in school.

Example a) Tofu Scramble. Seasoned with a variety of spices, sauces, vegetables and condiments, there are as many possibilities here as there are with eggs. This is not to say that they taste exactly the same, actually far from it, but the technique and concepts are so familiar that it’s easy to whip up a delicious meal with minimal effort or thought.

Perfect for beginners, or lazy bums like me. Bon appetit!

Ingredients

2 servings of firm tofu

.5 tsp. cumin

.5 tsp. sage

1.5 tsp. nutritional yeast (I like mine very nutty!)

Dash of red pepper flakes

1 tsp. steak sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Tofu Breakfast Scramble

Method

Cube tofu and mash in a bowl

Add spices, nutritional yeast, steak sauce and salt and pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients together

Fry in a hot oiled skillet for about 3 minutes (this recipe will turn golden brown!)

Voila! Consume with whatever you like for breakfast. Serving suggestion: In a warmed whole wheat tortilla with 1/4 of an avocado, vegan mozzarella, hot sauce, fruit on the side, and chopped chives for fun.