My Vegetarian Super Foods

Like any individual, I have my favourite foods.  Unfortunately, mine happen to be items I cannot eat every day – raspberries, watermelon and nachos. After I came to that realization (and yes, I did try to only eat these items when I first became vegetarian), I decided it was time to experiment and try new foods. Like I mentioned in my first blog post, part of becoming a vegetarian means you need to figure out how to not become a carbaterian.  So after many years of experimenting I have found my four staples that help me make any meals into healthier vegetarian options: cauliflower, spaghetti squash, and chickpeas. Below, I will go into further detail of why these items are my favourite and provide you with links and pictures to my personal favourite recipes.

Cauliflower
In my opinion, cauliflower is the best vegetable out there. Not only can it be eaten as a healthy vegetable, it can be turned into the perfect carb substitute. My fiancée and I use cauliflower in stir frys, as a raw veggie, as a pizza crust, or when we are craving a potato-like dish. By using cauliflower as a carb substitute, you are saving 30 g of carbohydrates per cup. It was in 2011 that I first found this out thanks to Lauren Conrad’s Cauliflower Crust Pizza recipe and I have been hooked on cauliflower ever since. To see images of the Cauliflower Pizza and the recipe please check out the gallery below.

Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash is another carb replacement that my fiancée and I have fallen in love with. It can be baked, boiled, steamed or even microwaved and is a great pasta substitute. It is low in calories with an average of only 42 calories per cup. Whenever the urge for pasta strikes me, I use spaghetti squash. It is easy to prepare and always makes for a great dinner. Although there are endless recipes to be found on the internet, there are two that have become my personal favourites. The first is the basic how-to recipe on Martha Stewart’s website and the second one is a Southwest Spaghetti Squash Recipe found on Christina Salus’ website. To see images Spaghetti squash and the recipes please  check out the gallery below.

Chickpeas
Cheakpeas are, or should be, a staple in every vegetarian’s diet. They are a good source of fibre, protein and folate and can be used as a substitute for meat. Chickpeas can be used to make hummus, soups, stews, salads, and roasted as a snack or many other options. Chickpeas are great as a substitute or as the main item in a dish. I use them to make fresh hummus at the start of every week and also add them in a lot of weeknight dinners.  Chickpeas can make for great plan ahead dinners and can be stored in the fridge for up to two days. Vegangela has lots of great recipes that include chickpeas with their Vegan Mexican Chickpea Salad being my favourite. To see images of Chickpeas and the recipe please check out the gallery below.

So those are my personal favourite super foods. Quinoa is another one that is extremely versatile as well that many vegetarians enjoy. What are your personal favourites?

So you want to start a blog? Be sure to read these great tips before!

Although I feel confident in my vegetarian knowledge, I can confidently say blogging is not my area of expertise. In fact, it is completely is new to me. With that being said, I think it is important to do research and discovery what truly makes a great blog before you get started writing and that is exactly what I have done.  I stumbled across Kissmetrics blog post “The Nine Ingredients That Make Great Content” and was able to find some extremely helpful tips that helped guide me in deciding on content for this blog.

Below, you will find the nine tips that I found the most helpful and assisted me in starting my very own vegetarian blog.

1. Create Original Content
Make sure you are posting original content and not something that has been done thousands of times before. By ensuring your content is original, you will get readers coming back to your blog site.

2. Always Focus on Creating Strong Headlines
Headlines are the first thing people read and will be how your readers decide if they want to read the content or not. Make sure you put as much thought into the headline as you do into the post.

3. Make Your Content Actionable
Your content should give readers advice and a sense of how to apply the information. Give the readers tips on applying what you are offering them.

4. Be Able to Provide Answers
Most people are reading blogs to get clarification or are looking for answer to questions. Your blog should be able to do that. Use supporting content and ensure your post is short and easy to scan.

5. Be Accurate in Your Reporting and Sourcing of Information
Accuracy builds trust with your readers. When possible, include statistics and link your content to trusted sources.

6. Create Engaging ad Thought Provoking Content
By creating engaging content you will ensure your audience hangs on to every work and takes in everything you are saying. A great way to do this is to start with an important and promising introduction. Also, make sure your content leaves readers asking a question.

7. Communicate Better by Adding Images and Video
Videos and pictures will help to illustrate what you are trying to say in the blog post. However, ensure the pictures or videos you choose to include are actually helping or adding value to you blog post.

8. Write Short and Pointed Content
Make sure you blog posts are brief and to the point. Include all important information and eliminate any fluff.

9. Make Continual Updates to Your Website or Blog
If you plan on starting a blog, make sure you are committed to it. It is a lot of work, but the more frequently you post, the more readers you will gain.

There you have it, nine tips to ensure you are writing great content for your blog. I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me!

MRM Veggie Protein

As stated in previous posts, protein is something that many vegetarians lack. As someone with an extremely busy schedule, I know there are days that I am not getting all the necessary nutrients my body needs to keep me feeling healthy. Luckily, there are many great supplements available.  My personal favorite is MRM Veggie Protein. This product allows me to make very yummy smoothies that ensure I am constantly getting the required daily protein intake.

Just to list a few, here are the benefits to this specific product:

  • Rich in omega 3-6-9 essential fatty acids, essential amino acids, digestive enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
  • Each serving provides the antioxidant protection from over seven servings of fruits and vegetables.
  • A low glycemic load food, safe for those looking to support healthy blood glucose levels.
  • Does not contain yeast, corn, soy, gluten, wheat, milk, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, egg or whey.
  • Easy-to-digest, energy-boosting protein source for vegetarians, athletes, healthy weight management or anyone seeking a high-quality protein source they can use every day.
  • 100 percent natural, with NO artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives or flavors.

If you are in the market for a healthy vegetarian protein I highly suggest you try this one. Here is a video that summarizes everything I have said. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Myths

After 15 years of being a vegetarian, I find myself trying to convince people every day that following a vegetarian lifestyle is a healthy, if not healthier, way of life.

Although I am not an expert in nutrition, I have been forced to educate myself on this issue as most of my learning has been through trial and error. It is also worth noting that I am not a vegetarian who cannot be around people who are eating or cooking meat. In fact, my fiancé eats meat. However, I do feel that there is a meat eater stigma around vegetarians that suggests it is not healthy way of life.

As a result, I have outlined below what I find to be the biggest “myths” about being a vegetarian. Please keep in mind while reading this list that either diet can be unhealthy and you must ensure that you are getting the appropriate nutrients and vitamins.  

Without further ado, here are my favorite things people say that may or may not make me think a little less of them:  

It’s difficult to eat as a vegetarian. You will probably end up eating meat again.”
Let me start by saying, go read my last blog post. There are so many amazing vegetarian recipes that are easy and leave you feeling just as satisfied as a meat recipe. Eating vegetarian is NOT difficult. It is just not something you have to get used to. What I suggest people do, is trying eating vegetarian once a week. Once you start looking at recipes you will find that there are endless, delicious meals waiting for you.

Vegetarians do not get enough protein.”
This is in fact, wrong.  As stated by The Harvard School of Public Health, vegetarians can get complete proteins with all of the amino acids one needs from any animal-based protein, including dairy products and eggs. Aside from dairy products, there is also an extensive list of high protein foods for vegetarian such as lentils, chickpeas, tempeh, black beans, nuts, tofu, quinoa and various protein supplements. What most meat eaters do not understand is that they are actually eating too much protein. That’s a whole different blog post though…

You won’t have any energy
If you feel like you have low energy it is probably because you are eating to many processed foods. This can be true for meat eaters as well. For a vegetarian, this could mean that you are not getting enough B12 or iron. These nutrients can both be found in dairy, eggs, and plenty of other meatless products. There are also B12 and iron supplements available at most supermarkets.

 

 

My Favourite Meatless Substitutes

I became a vegetarian at 11 years old. However, none of my other family members were vegetarian or knew how to respond to me becoming a vegetarian so I like to say I started as a “carbetarian.” My mom never knew what to make for me and always thought it was a phase I was going through, so for our meals she would just give me larger portions of everything but the meat. Most of the time this meant more carbs.

This is how the first five years of being a vegetarian went for me and needless to say, my health took a toll. I became severely anemic and lacked many vitamins. After this realization, my Mom and I decided it was time to become a healthy vegetarian. Now that I am older I try to avoid many of the “meatless” options as I do not think that they are my healthiest option, but there are some really good brands that I would like to mention that are great substitutes for families with young adults who have also decided to go vegetarian.

In no specific order, here are my top recommendations for meatless substitutes:

  1.  Yves Meatless Ground Round Original – This item is easily substitutable for any recipes asking for ground beef. With this item I was able to enjoy easy dinners such as vegetarian chilli, tacos or lasagna.
  2. Gardein chick’n scallopini – With options such as the Gardein chick’n scallapini I was able to enjoy dinners when my family had meat portions such as chicken, steak, or pork chop. These products come already seasoned, so all my mom had to do was cook mine in a separate dish at the same time.
  3. Tofurkey Deli Slices – These sandwich slices allowed me to take sandwiches to school again. These are easily substituted for regular meat deli sandwiches and come in a variety of flavours.
  4. Tofurkey – One of the hardest parts about becoming vegetarian was holiday dinners. When everyone looked forward to turkey or ham I had to look forward to mashed potatoes and veggies. With this product I was able to enjoy dinner again. This product is known for its turkey like texture and flavour and is a product even my meat eater family members enjoy.

These are my personal four favorite meat substitutes for convenience.  All of the websites showcase all of their products as well as great recipes that can be made using their products. For an individual who is just becoming a vegetarian, I would highly recommend trying these products and checking out the website.