I participated in the inaugural Cherry City Vegfest in Salem, Oregon, this past weekend! And wow, what an incredible turnout by the community! This being the first (of hopefully many!) Vegfest in Salem, no one knew what to expect. The event started at 10:00 AM, and there was a busy and steady flow of folks all day! I also had the opportunity to help Deb Kay with her cooking demo!
The American Heritage dictionary defines a vegan as a vegetarian who only eats plant-based foods, and avoids using products deriving from animals. In other words, a “vegan lifestyle” is the avoidance of any animal-derived products for food, clothing, entertainment, commodities, transportation, beauty, fashion, or experimentation, whereas a “vegan diet” describes what vegans eat. Some people go vegan for ethical reasons (human and non-human animal protection and environmental ethics) and others subscribe to a plant-based diet as a means to improve their health. No matter the reasoning for going vegan or plant-based, there is a positive impact on the world.
There is a crossroad of running and veganism. More and more runners are going vegan at the same time more vegans are becoming runners. From Fiona Oakes to Carl Lewis to Catra Corbett to Scott Jurek to Madi Serpico to Rich Roll, it’s becoming more common to see vegan runners, among other types of athletes.
It is time to “Take Me Out To The Ball Game!” I can’t tell you how excited I am that the baseball season has started again! I've been attending major league and minor league baseball games since I was a kid, and still, become giddy when the season begins each year.
There are many different reasons why people go vegan - for the sake of the animals, to help stop and reverse the damage done to our planet by animal agriculture and factory farming, to prevent or cure a disease, to improve their athletic performance, or just because people are following a trend. I’ve always believed that any path that led to veganism was an excellent path to embrace and support. But, now I am starting to feel that all of the different reasons are starting to muddy the waters about the real reason behind being vegan.
There are many promises, especially about the health benefits, that people make to encourage others to go vegan. Some people experience positive benefits after going vegan. I felt better physically and mentally, I didn’t have the stomach issues as I did while I was eating animals and animal products, and I did have a little more energy. But, my health was not a deciding factor in my transition to becoming a vegan. Those positive effects I experience were just side effects. And everyone experiences different effects or none at all. Veganism isn’t about restoring your blood pressure to normal levels or shredding weight. It isn’t about having a holistic health plan in which to turn to, or the cure for all ailments. It isn’t a diet. It is a way of life.
Often, when people cite their reasons for making the switch to a vegan lifestyle they cite one of three reasons: their health, the environment, or animal rights. When people cite reasons for not making the switch, they suggest that they can’t give up their favorite food (usually cheese or bacon), they don’t have the time or energy to focus on such a drastic lifestyle shift, and that they don’t have the budget for a vegan diet.
But this is a huge misconception. Budgeting for a vegan lifestyle should be one of the main reasons people choose the go vegan - not the other way around. Believe it or not, there are many economic benefits to going vegan, both for the individual and the country.
I have mentioned batch cooking and meal prep many times, but it is something I forget to do in my kitchen. So I decided to give it a go again last week! I made large batches of brown rice, tri-colored quinoa, cheesy tempeh, and un-refried beans. I also prepared kale, shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, chopped Brussels sprouts, chopped broccoli, and cut delicata squash. I made a lemon tahini dressing that I used on salads and bowls. Mid-week I made a large batch of cheesy tofu, and marinara sauce for spaghetti squash. I also used items in the pantry to save me money at the grocery store!
Rainbow week is continuing and today’s theme is all about making your food look black & white. Hot chocolate seemed like an easy thing to make today! But it also carries an important message. Chocolate is big business for many companies and several countries. The majority of cacao beans are grown in Western Africa, Asia, and Latin America, with more than 70% being grown in the Western African countries of Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
Today's theme is supposed to be about a rare color. Meaning, what color do you rarely eat?
I really couldn't think of a color, other than black, that I don't eat very often. I try to make sure I cook with a variety of colors or snack on fruits and veggies of all colors. So I am being a rebel and going off theme today!
I made lemon pepper tofu with roasted vegetables. Air-fried lemon pepper tofu has quickly become one of my favorite meals. I love the way the lemon shines through in this recipe. It is tangy, fresh, and full of flavor.
Today's theme is multicolor! How many colors can you fit into one dish?
A salad is an easy way to fill a bowl with multiple colors. For my salad today, I used a mixture of romaine lettuce, mixed spring greens, carrot ribbons, diced cucumbers, sunflower seeds, and nutritional yeast. I topped the salad with a homemade tofu ranch dressing.
What is your dream destination? Italy is on the top of my list of dream destinations.
With Italy in mind, I made a slow cooked minestrone. It is a hearty soup packed with green beans, kidney beans, navy beans, zucchini, carrots, celery, and tomatoes.
I also sprinkled a little bit of vegan parm cheese shreds on top upon serving.
I love this soup for a blustery fall evening or a family potluck. Everyone will enjoy this soup.