Frequently Asked Questions about Being Vegan

Avo toast
Social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest are making veganism more popular. And as it becomes more mainstream, “vegan friendly” options are increasingly available.  Countries and restaurants that were traditionally “meat based” are trending towards plant based selections free of meat and dairy. This makes me happy! I’ve recently had several friends proudly prepare vegan dishes or want to come over for an “all vegan” meal. I am grateful for their enthusiasm.

But veganism is still new, and I’ve met curious people who want to learn more about it. In this post, I respond to the top 10 frequently asked questions I get about being vegan. I hope my answers help anyone who is thinking about becoming vegan or knows someone who already is.

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What I’ve Learned as a Vegan Over 10+Years

raspberries

I never planned on being vegan. But as a young girl, I loved animals and ate like a rabbit so I naturally gravitated towards a vegetarian diet. By the end of college, I completely stopped eating meat, chicken and fish. That was 26 + years ago when my journey with a plant based diet began.

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How to Eat Raw Cauliflower – Try this Superfood Detox Salad

cauliflower detox salad

As it turns out, cauliflower isn’t always the vegetable on people’s minds. In fact, this humble superfood often goes completely unnoticed. When was the last time you ate cauliflower? If you can’t recall, you are not alone. It’s easy to overlook this white Brassica but it ranks among the top 20 foods according to the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index score (source).

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Vegan “Cheez” and Healthy (GF) Crackers

crazy seed crackers

Before going vegan, I was vegetarian for many years and LIVED on cheese and crackers. It’s one of my favorite snacks in the world, but I found myself addicted to cheese. At parties I would hover over the cheese plate instead of socializing. I was hooked! Unfortunately, crackers are highly processed and cheese is dairy so, rather than deny myself something I love, I set out to make a healthier version.

I found a tempting recipe for grain-free, low sugar, gluten-free healthy crackers that would pair well with a zippy vegan cashew “cheez” spread.

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Tulips, Yoga and The Best Hummus in Amsterdam!

Amsterdam Tulips
I spent 5 glorious days in Amsterdam this April exploring what this vibrant city has to offer. The Dutch have a “live and let live attitude” which makes Amsterdam a friendly and welcoming place with something for everyone. Beyond the happening restaurants and hip cafes, Holland has: extraordinary tulip fields, deeply moving museums, the BEST hummus bistro, quirky buildings, a mouth watering farmers market, and unique canals. All this plus a beautiful yoga school with drop-in classes. I walked everywhere stopping in cute cafes or browsing interesting boutiques when my feet cried out. Here are some highlights from our recent trip.

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Lentil Quinoa Protein Salad With (My Favorite) Lemon Tahini Dressing

Lentil Protein Salad with Tahini Dressing

Lentil Protein Salad with Tahini Dressing

This healthy lentil quinoa protein salad was one of the first recipes I made from Oh She Glows, Angela Liddon’s amazing vegan cooking blog (and still my favorite). It’s got all the things I love mixed together in a mouth watering bowl of plant based protein. Lentils, grains, leafy greens, cherry tomatoes, and a tangy Tahini dressing that would make anything taste divine.

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Shy or Insecure? Try Steamed Asparagus

“Asparagus is a very helpful food if you struggle with shyness, self-consciousness, concern over what others think of you, fear of breaking out of your shell and exposing yourself, or dread of venturing out in public. If you truly need help in these areas (as opposed to if you’re just a natural introvert who’s comfortable with who are are despite other’s misguided opinions that you should act more like an extrovert), asparagus will come to your aid and give you the confidence to rise up and claim your place in the world.” — Anthony William 

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Hygge and Happiness in Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

Hygge and Happiness

Copenhagen consistently ranks as one of the happiest cities in the world and after a quick 3 day visit, I can understand why. I believe their happiness lies in the culture of Hygge! Hygge (I’m convinced the correct pronunciation requires Danish linguistics) loosely translates to “cozy” or “hug” but its really about savoring life’s simple pleasures and finding delight in our ordinary habits. For example, sharing a special bottle of wine with friends, freshly baked bread, flickering candles, decorating with cozy fabrics, or lingering over coffee in a sun-filled cafe. According to The Year of Living Danishy, by Helen Russell, “Hygge is about being kind to yourself, having a nice time and not punishing or denying yourself anything”. (I think my cat is onto it)!

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One Man Burnt Broccoli with Lemon and Tahini

Do you ever eat a dish that stays with you long after the meal is over? Even years later? For me, this is case with burnt broccoli! Many years ago, I was developing a friendship with a woman who happened to be a great cook and as (my) luck would have it, she invited me over for lunch at her house. I knew she enjoyed cooking, but I didn’t know I was in for such a memorable treat. She explained that her boyfriend wouldn’t eat this dish because he was more of a meat eater type, but she knew I loved veggies and figured (accurately) that I would. Moreover, she was pleased to share this healthy meal with someone else. It was her favorite!

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Vegan Black Bean Brownies and my Approach to Sweets

Black Bean Brownies

I was trying to decide what to do with the extra black beans I had on hand when I remembered a mouthwatering recipe for vegan black bean brownies by Chocolatecoveredkatie. I’d been wanting to make these treats for awhile and this felt like the perfect opportunity. I love baking with healthier ingredients and you’d never suspect there were black beans in these brownies. Getting a protein boost from the black beans removes the guilt but not the pleasure.

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