Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Vegan Cruelty Free, vegan lifestyle, weight loss

One Small (and easy) Step for Quick (and healthy) Weight Losses

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or health professional. Please seek advise from your general practitioner before starting a new routine or healthy lifestyle. 

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! You may be one of the 45% of Americans going into 2019 who resolve to lose weight, and I don’t blame you. While it’s not at the top of my list every year, I can certainly say that it’s been kind of a priority since I was in middle school, and more so when I wanted to join the Varsity Tennis Team in High School. However, I lost weight in both healthy and unhealthy ways. But unlike the majority of New Year’s resolvers who start every year with gumption that fizzles into Netflix and Chillin’ come February 1, I’ve cracked the code to healthy weight loss.  

With that said, look out for a weekly Weight Loss Wednesday series where you can follow along my weight loss journey as a vegan, where I also give you some tips on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle that believe it or not, is not completely about omitting the things you love.

This week, I’m going to share one tip that may help loads of you. 

HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS TIP: Eat Fat, Get Fat 

This is by far the simplest thing you can do. Intaking pure fat is the quickest way to gain actual fat (or add to your adipose tissue). I say pure fat because there’s a difference between pure fat and healthy fats as you probably already know:

Pure Fats – Oil, in any form:

  • Olive oil – reducing the intake of oil is the easiest thing you can do for your weight loss journey 
  • Coconut oil
  • Butter (dairy or vegan)
  • Cheese – reducing the intake of cheese and dairy is probably one of the healthiest things you can do for your body 

Healthy Fats 

  • Avocados
  • Nuts (be aware of serving sizes. A handful can easily be between 300-800 calories). 
  • Chia seeds
  • Cacao nibs
  • Soy beans (keep daily intake low)

If I can’t have oil, what do I cook with? 
When you sauté, cook with water or vegetable stock. Another alternative is cooking spray. 

The rule of thumb is to intake up to 8-10 grams of fat per day at most…

…but more than anything and as with any healthy lifestyle–moderation is key. AND don’t let the scale dictate your day! 

Your changes should not be a diet. They should be a part of a healthy routine that fit your lifestyle. Not the lives of someone you see on Instagram or even your co-worker or friend who’s schedule and day-to-day is completely different from yours. 

I was going back and forth about starting this kind of series. Is this something y’all are interested in?

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Vegan Cruelty Free, Vegan Food

Easy Instant Pot Vegan Chana Masala (Vegan Chickpea Curry-oil-free)

I am a 1.5 generation child. A what? I was born in India and moved to California with my family when I was 6 years old, old enough to know how to use the toilet (but still run into walls) and young enough to be extremely impressionable. Growing up as a 1.5 generation child meant finding the right balance between being American without losing my culture. God bless my parents they wanted me to learn English quick [all I knew was yes, no, hi, and thank you–man was I polite ;)] so they forbade me from speaking Telugu at home. Before they knew it, Valley Girl Samantha was born, with am “um, like” this and a “no. way.” that.

As I grew up, I fought hard to retain my culture, but with little success, EXCEPT, and it’s a big EXCEPT (all caps worthy), when it came to the food. I lived Indian food. We ate it day in a day out with lots, and LOTS of rice. After I moved to college and then to Southern California for grad school, then all over the nation after that (long story), I ate less and less Indian food with every move and every passing year. I did however try every Indian restaurant which compelled me more to try cooking Indian food at home, minus the ghee, dairy and all other non-vegan stuff. Welcome to my journey I hope you enjoy these vegan chana masala–instant pot version.

INGREDIENTS for Oil-Free Vegan Chana Masala

Chickpea Curry-2

2 tbsp. vegetable broth

1 white or yellow onion (diced)

1-2 tbsp. garlic ginger paste (to your taste preference)

2 tbsp. curry powder

a handful of spinach

1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 can of lite coconut milk

1 can of garbanzo beans

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DIRECTIONS to make Delicious Vegan Chickpea Curry

  1. Set your instant pot to saute mode, and add the vegetable broth.
  2. Once the broth starts to sizzle a little, add your diced onions and sautee until they turn semi-clear.
  3. Add the garlic ginger paste and let it cook for up to 2 minutes, or until aromatic.
  4. Add the curry powder and toast it for about a minute.
  5. Add your can of drained garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes, and cocnut milk.
  6. If you prefer it spicy (add in a bit of red chilli pepper flakes–you can just as well add it directly to your dish at the end).
  7. Close the instant pot lid and cook it on high pressure for 6 minutes.
  8. Once time is up, release the pressure, open the lid and stir in the spinach.

If it’s more watery, you can easily enjoy it as a soup, but I personally think it’s best served with some rice or cauliflower rice.

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Question of the Day

What’s your favorite Indian dish?

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Vegan Food

Vegan Tom Ka Kai Recipe (Thai Coconut Milk Soup)

TKKFinalNoBread.jpgMy husband and I are adventurous eaters, well as adventurous as a vegan and a carnivore can be. Either way, one of our favorite cuisines is Thai and like every diner who feels like a food critic, we order Tom Ka Kai or Tom Ka Gai at every thai restaurant we try, and continue to compare, judge and rate. I know you do it too. Anyways, I decided it was time to walk the walk so wanted to try making a batch of thai coconut milk soup with tofu myself! It’s actually way easier than I thought and took very little effort. Most of the elbow grease goes into sourcing the ingredients. So, tie on your apron and get ready for the ultimate soup test.

Vegan Tom Ka Kai (aka Tom Ka Gai or Tom Kha Gai) Recipe

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Ingredients

1 cup shitake mushrooms (or mushrooms of your choosing)
1 cup diced onions or shallots (about a quarter-inch in size)
1/2 cup lime or lemon juice (use as much or as little of this as you like–the soup authentically has a very acidic taste so I err on the side of more)
2 lemongrass stalks
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. crushed red chili pepper (or to taste)
2 small green or red chilies
2 tomatoes
1 package of firm tofu
1 can coconut milk
4 tbsp. liquid aminos

Directions

  1. Prep your ingredients: Cut the lemongrass stalks into about 1-inch long pieces. Slice the mushrooms into edible sizes, dice your onion, dice your chili peppers, slice your tomatoes into edible sizes, cube tofu into size of your choice.
  2. Heat a large pot until it sizzles when you sprinkle in some water. Now add the 1/2 cup of water, lemongrass, mushrooms, onions and lime juice and bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, add the diced chilis, red pepper flakes, tomato, coconut milk and tofu.
  4. Add the liquid aminos and stir for about 5-10 minutes or until it reaches your desired level of thickness.
  5. Remove your pot from the heat and stir in lime or lemon juice to taste.
  6. ENJOY!

Once you’ve made it, you’ll hands-down think your soup is the best you’ve ever had. I mean, that’s how it always works, right? 😉

Let us know what you think if you’ve made it and if you have any variations. I’d love to try how you change it up!

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Question of the Day

What’s one food you always compare whenever you eat out?

 

 

 

Califia Farms Almond Milk Cold Brew Latte Review
Vegan Food

Vegan Almond Milk Latte: Califia Farms Review

If you’re anything like I am, you’re skeptical of store-bought vegan anything. I much prefer to make things on my own, but sometimes, ya girl’s in a pinch…like when you wake up with 10 minutes to spare to shower, brush, walk the dog, take out the trash, watch a couple Netflix series etc. etc. SO, I went on the hunt for a morning caffeine push that didn’t require much thought…enter Califia Farms.

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Vegan Cafe Latte Cold Brew Coffee with Almond Milk Review

Nutrition:

At 90 calories per serving, I think the Califia Farms Cafe Latte with Almond Milk makes the perfect treat. A serving is 8 ounces or 240 ml for those who are counting. While a glass of it may seem small, it actually tastes quite creamy and rich, so you can actually savor it while binge-watching something or talking to your dog (me 100%).

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Consistency:

That brings us to consistency. It’s rather creamy! It’s almost the exact consistency of almond milk, but a little thicker.

Taste:

Be forewarned, it tastes really sweet…well compared to a glass of coffee. I should note that I abhor the taste of coffee. In fact, I can only drink it with vegan creamer in it, but this is actually the best middle ground between a frappuccino and black coffee. Honestly, you won’t understand until you try it.

Vegan?

Yes! According to their FAQs: While our full line is not organic, all Califia Farms products are 100% plant-based, non-GMO, carrageenan-free, gluten-free, vegan and made with no artificial ingredients. It sounds like all Califia Farms products are made with sustainability and vegans in mind, so go buy yourself a bottle and enjoy! [#notsponsored, but happy to be if you’re reading this CF ;)]

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Question of the Day

How do you take your coffee or tea? Black or as beige in color with creamer as you can get it?

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Friday Face Off, Vegan Food

Friday Face-Off: Vegan Cream Cheese

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Want some carbs with that schmear? I’ve been obsessed with Everything Bagels and cream cheese for breakfast lately. Something about half of a Whole Foods Everything Bagel covered with some cream cheese makes my mornings so right—wait, what?! Cream cheese?! You heard that right! Vegan cream cheese is almost indistinguishable from it’s dairy-filled counterpart, but probably tastes way better—if you get the right one that is. To help make your decision-making much easier, we’re going to compare two of the most popular cream cheeses on the market, at least where I live.

Tofutti Cream Cheese

TofuttiConsistency

At first glance, this cream cheese has the color of tofu (that almost off-white egg shell color) and the consistency of cream cheese mixed with a touch of gelatin. The tofu color probably comes from that fact that the second, third, and fourth ingredients are: expeller processed natural oil blend (soybean, palm fruit and oil), maltodextrin, soy protein, tofu.

While this cream cheese is marketed as “Better Than Cream Cheese,” I would have to staunchly disagree. However, if you’re in a pinch and jonesing for vegan cream cheese, it’s not…bad. The only reason I don’t like it is because of the consistency and some what due to it’s taste.

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If you’re interested in buying this, I bought it at the “alternatives” section of my Jewel-Osco. I think it’s fairly accessible at regular grocery stores.

Vegan? Yes!

Taste: 5/10

Price: ~ $3.99 (depends on where you live)

Kite Hill Cream Cheese

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Where do I start about Kite Hill cream cheese? When I opened it, it looked like real cream cheese. Note that the first time I tried it, I bought the chive flavor which was the only flavor that was available.

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The consistency is super creamy (the Jalapeno flavor is a tad bit gelatinous, but truly only 2% more). The taste is even more amazing. I had meat-eaters try it and they love it. My husband tends to favor it as well!

KiteHillConsistency

The only place I can find Kite Hill cream cheese in my neighborhood is at Whole Foods. They have plain, chive and jalapeno. According to Kite Hill, you can find them at Sprouts, Publix, Target and other retailers across the U.S. in addition to Whole Foods. You can use their Store Finder to locate it near you.

Vegan? Yes!

Taste: 9/10 (only because I wish the flavor was a little stronger)

Price: ~ $5.99 (the packaging recently features a 50 cent coupon, which I always use at checkout…the site also features a $1.00 off coupon here)

The Verdict? Kite Hill winds by a landslide.

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Question of the Day

What’s your favorite dairy-free product? And what do you usually eat for breakfast?

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