Vegan Food, vegan lifestyle

5 Tips on How to Become a Vegetarian or Vegan in 2018

There are two theories on setting resolutions for the New Year: 1. Yaaass honey fresh start clean slate I’m gonna slay this year, or 2. Ahem, you shouldn’t have to wait 365 days to start a new resolution. I hear you both. But there is something especially special (redundant?) about January 1st this year…it lands on a Monday. What’s more resolutiony than that? Whether you decided to stop eating meat (yay you!) On November 25th or want to start fresh at the beginning of a new year, more power to you! It never matters when you start, it just matters that you start a change and most importantly, that you stick to it. Here are 5 steps to help you become a vegetarian or vegan so that you can make 2018 better not only for you, but for the plant and all the animals on it.

Step 1: Tell Everyone

There is absolutely zero shame in you wanting to a) better your health and b) better the planet. The latter is pretty much the foundation of every religion, right? And no one will bash you for what you believe in (go away trolls!). And if you do happen to deal with those negative naysayers who make fun of “vegan food” or act negative around you, just shroud it out with your good vibes cause that’s all you’re putting out and lettin’ in sistah. Some show on Blue’s Clue’s (hi, 80s baby here) told me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. If you’ve tried to nicely explain your way of life or amazing decision to stop eating meat to someone and they just don’t get it…move on. You do you.

Step 2: Expect Bumps In the Road

Giving something up is never easy. If you’ve eaten meat your whole life, it’s hard to go cold turkey. Know that you may have a setback here or there but one setback isn’t the catalyst to failure. Just get back on the buggy.

Step 3: Educate Yourself

Piggybacking on step 2, the main reason most people fail at resolutions, regardless of what it is, is because they’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Someone may want to lose weight because they just want to be skinny and may get there the unhealthy way. Setting up a resolution should come from a desire for change. If you want to become vegetarian or vegan, but aren’t sure why or what to say when people ask you why, then it’s time to educate yourself! Once you feel compassionate about your cause, your resolution becomes less of a goal and more of an intrinsic belief. Check out numerous documentaries on Netflix and YouTube, get a vegan starter kit from PETA, and follow inspirational social media influencers to surround yourself with likeminded individuals.

Step 4: Plan for Success

You may be stuck on your daily ham and cheese sandwich for lunch or chicken and broccoli for dinner. As with every resolution, becoming vegetarian does need some work, but minimal at best. Googling vegetarian versions of your favorite recipes, new recipes all together, finding inspirational meal planners on social media or YouTube, these are all things that can help you plan for success.

The easiest way to start is to take a weekend and meal prep 2-3 vegetarian meals or vegan meals you can use for lunch and or dinner. It’s as easy as even preparing the ingredients you need to pull the meal together in minutes once you get home from work or after picking the kids up from school.

I have some What I Ate Wednesday videos on my YouTube channel with ideas to get you going!

Step 5: Enjoy the Journey

This resolution you set to not eat meat shouldn’t be a stressful one. Your body takes about a month to detox all the blood, spirit and chemicals from the meat products you’ve eaten over the years. Expect withdrawals, bad skin (a part of detox) which turns into amazing skin, stress and pressure. But all this in such a small period of time will lead to your best self.

Please always consult your physician before making any drastic physical or dietary changes.

Question of the Day

What is your resolution for the New Year?

I’m giving up processed sugar of any kind for the month of January. If all goes well, then another month after that and so forth.

Vegan Food

The Easiest Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Before you read on, you’re welcome. This is by far the easiest vegan chocolate chip cookies you’ll ever find, and best of all, they came out tasting amazing all thanks to serendipity and some experimentation (and a whole lotta taste-testing). I started with this recipe from Daily Rebecca, but ended up making it my own. They take less than 20 minutes to make so if you need a last-minute (omg I need to bring something to Thanksgiving dinner), then these cookies got you covered. Plus, you probably have all the ingredients on hand.

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup almond milk + 2-3 tbsp. reserve on the side
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used the ones from Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 cup (or as many as you want, really) vegan chocolate chips

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Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a big bowl, mix the coconut oil with the brown sugar.
  3. Add ¼ cup of almond milk and the vanilla extract.
  4. Into the same bowl, add in the flour and baking powder (salt is optional).
  5. Mix it all together. If it looks crumbly, add in 1 tbsp. of almond milk at a time. If it feels wet, it’s probably not wet enough, so it’s okay to add some more until it feels wet and soft.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Roll into small sized balls and flatten with your hand before placing on a pan with a silpat sheet on it or an un-greased cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes and check. These cookies should be a bit hard coming out of the oven, so you may need to add 2 minutes at the end.
  9. Let cool and serve!

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You can throw some of these into a clear plastic bag, tie them with a little string and give them away as affordable presents to your co-workers, the mailman, or just about anyone! (but not your dog, cause hello, chocolate).

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You can make these cookies just about however you want. Feel free to nix the chocolate chips and throw in cranberries, or nuts, toffee, or any other vegan mix-ins. Enjoy!

Question of the Day

What are your favorite vegan cookies? We’d love to know!

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Vegan Food

Vegan & Cruelty-Free Halloween Candy

Figuring out how to enjoy a vegan Halloween can be tricky, especially since so many good-looking treats are filled with way too much tricks–no kid needs to eat chocolate filled with high fructose corn syrup or candies dyed with red 40 and other unnaturally-occuring substances…um, like why? So I did some digging and found some pretty easily accessible vegan and cruelty-free Halloween chocolate and candies to make every ghoul, witch and pokemon-dressed kid enjoy the treats you give out. The trick? They won’t be able to tell the difference.

  1. Unreal Brand Chocolates

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For healthy, well really I should say, “better for you” chocolate, Unreal will appeal to vegans and non-vegans alike. They have milk chocolate and dark chocolate options, and according to their website, ALL of their dark chocolate options are indeed, vegan. #raisetheroof. So instead of handing out Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, consider Unreal dark chocolate PB cups, dark chocolate gems and more! The one downfall? They’re pretty expensive–I bought mine at Fresh Thyme for $11.99 (a box of 20 treat packs). So this may be a good option if you only get a handful of trick or treaters to your doorstep. You can use their Store Locator to find a store near you–I called my Fresh Thyme before I went and he said they didn’t carry them–lies. Because they had them on display right as I walked in! So the Store Locator knows more.

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2. Little Secrets Chocolate

Little Secrets chocolate is a hit or miss. While they say you can’t really call their chocolates vegan (because they don’t own the factory where the sugar comes from), their ingredients say otherwise. According to their FAQs page, however, “[Their] Classic Dark, Raspberry, Sea Salted Peanut, and Seasonal Peppermint candies do NOT contain any dairy in the ingredients, while [their] Peanut Butter, Toasted Coconut, and Seasonal Spiced Pumpkin Pie do contain dairy.”

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These little packets seem to be a little hard to get your hands on. They may be worth it if you stumble across them at your local Whole Foods or other health food store.

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3. Surf Sweets

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It seems like all of Surf Sweets treats are either vegetarian or vegan. Unlike with the Little Secrets chocolates, you don’t even have to go through the trouble of reading the ingredients to see if they are, because it says right on the package: Vegetarian or Vegan. #lazyvegan

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These packets are maybe too big to hand out one-by-one to each ghoulish child that comes your way, but you may also get the reputation of being that house that hands out King Size candies! Either way, they make a great treat for your kids (or even you because come on face it we all want sugar) to have with lunch as Halloween nears. Get in that spirit, child!

What are your favorite Halloween treats? Share with us!

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