On Being Vegan | Finding Health Through Plant Based Nutrition

On Going Vegan

.On Being Vegan

How I’m finding health through plant based nutrition

On Being Vegan

I am setting goals and experiencing empowerment these days! 

It feels good taking control over food and my health. It feels good working on something positive. It feels good expanding, learning new skills and learning new foods, new ingredients, new recipes, and new ways to cook and eat.

It is exciting discovering more and more all the good foods the Lord has provided over all His creation.

The color in this world seems to be exploding in front of my eyes.  Did you ever think there may have been a reason God made fruits and vegetables so lovely to look at?  I love walking into the grocery store seeing the colors of all the good foods I can eat!!!  

When you see and experience the good that is possible from eating healthy, real food as a proclaimed, dedicated vegan, you realize what you set aside is inconsequential compared to the joy and excitement of doing good things for yourself. I just don’t count the changes as discipline. I count the changes as blessings.

I don’t know about you, but I wanted those blessings.

Going vegan wasn’t actually that hard for me. 

I needed to lose weight.  Boy, did I need to lose weight! 

I’ve been on a low carb diet, thinking I was eating healthy, for close to a decade (or more).  Yet… while I found good weight loss for a while, I found myself having more and more difficulty with my weight.  I FELT like I was eating healthy and in fact, in many ways, I was. If you go back and see what I posted on my social media accounts, could see what I read, heard my conversations with my husband and kids, etc., you would know I ALWAYS have had health on my mind. 

I knew all about (and worked hard on) the ideas of macronutrients, micronutrients, nutritional supplements, natural cures, natural healing, all kinds of natural protocols, superfoods, gut healing, bone broth, green cleaning supplies, homemade olive oil skin sprays and coconut oil products, organic foods, and diets (specifically low carb diets or lower carb diets including the Paleo Diet, Keto or Ketogenic Diet,  Wheat Belly Diet, Low Carb High Fat Diets, cooking based on the Low Glycemic Index, using recipes for Diabetics, (I’m not diabetic but the recipes are lower carb many times), the Atkins Diet, etc, etc, etc.). 

I was also incorporating the Trim Healthy Mama meal plans idea too more recently.  However, I was so mentally disrupted by the idea of carbs that I loved the Trim Healthy S meals (the lower carb recipes) while shunning the Trim Healthy E meals (the ones that were a little higher in their carb count.  Tons of Trim Healthy Mama S meals (with few to no carbs and fat to satisfy) and no energizing E meals (with some healthy carbs and lower fat) is not how Trim Healthy Mama works its magic!  LOL 

Yea, I was a good carb watcher.  I told people we “watch our carb intake”.  In reality, I was obsessed with living the low carb life.

Yet, I started gaining weight throughout the years, and I started experiencing health issues. 

I wrote those two things in that sentence above – gaining weight and health issues – together in that sentence above, and in many ways they are connected.  Yet, in some ways, I’m finding them to also (I say ALSO) be two separate issues.  For the sake of simplicity here, I’m just going to combine the two issues here, and I’m sure that will make sense to many.

I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism 7 or 8 years ago, one of the “faces” of an auto-immune disorder, auto-immune disorders seemingly-exploding health issues for many today.  

Here came the Armour Thyroid prescription.  I felt OK with that at least, thinking my doctor was leaning towards the more-natural prescription treatment for those with hypothyroid disorders. 

Then, during one of those every-six-months blood tests and physicals I was enduring to monitor my under active thyroid, my doctor informed me he was seeing early stages of a fatty liver.  He suggested a liver detox and a period of taking Milk Thistle supplements. 

Oh, I’ve always been a big guru on health supplements, at least still at that time, and another supplement to clean out the junk my body was accumulating seemed good to me. 

Yet with the not-the-best-but-not-the-worst plan of action, I never felt any better, and nothing seemed to get better (or worse)… on paper anyway. 

I pretty much blamed it all then on an aging endocrine system, messed up hormones and, in all actually, that probably was playing a part in my life and health therein.  Unfortunately, I was accepting the concept that I had to grow older and thus had to deal with age-related deterioration.   (I’m learning now life doesn’t have to be the way I thought it would be.)

On Going Vegan

I pigged out on a recent breakfast buffet at a hotel during Christmas… and I did not gain a single pound over the trip thanks to the plant based food I ate!

Back to my thyroid diagnosis and my battle with faulty what-evers…. 

A small light came on and some change of thought came when a new thyroid test revealed my thyroid was actually producing the proper amount of thyroid hormones.  It was just that my body was not properly converting the T4 hormone from my thyroid into a T3 (an energy) hormone to be sent throughout my body, the rest of my body simply rejecting the hormones I actually had to use. (That’s called Reverse T3 or Reverse Triiodothyronine.)  No wonder I was still tired all the time!  

I said to my doctor…  actually I said to myself….  so why am I taking more of a hormone product (even though it was a natural hormone product) when I already have that hormone and just can’t convert it? 

I’ve GOT to get my body in better working order, I was thinking. 

I’ve GOT to start losing weight, and WHEN THE WEIGHT IS OFF, my body will start to heal itself, I was thinking. 

I’ve got a story to tell about how I became a vegan and some insight as to how to start eating vegan, how to become plant based, at least in the way I started.  I believe I have some learned lessons and insight as to how to get healthy eating habits and even now some about how to lose weight as a vegan. (I’m still getting there, but I do have some already to offer others.) I think I may have to save that for another day, or other days, more likely 

However, before I leave here, I would like to share with you all that you don’t need to lose weight and THEN start your journey to get healthy.  You can begin to heal yourself, heal your life and start getting healthier AS you eat more plant based food.  

But is that easy?

Plant based recipes and plant based products abound.  You can easily buy plant based products online or at your local health food stores (many in even regular grocery stores).  There are tons of recipes that are vegan and even recipes that are vegan and gluten free on Pinterest and in vegan cookbooks. 

You may be thinking salad, salad, salad, bananas for breakfast, lunch and dinner and salad for dessert… but really… being vegan encompasses the world of real, whole foods that abound on this planet. 

If you don’t believe me, check out vegan cookbooks.  There are tons of vegan cookbooks for beginners even to help you get started in a strong, plant based way.

Here’s one!  (Click to see more).

 

If you are thinking about starting a vegan diet, a diet that excludes meat, animal by products, dairy products, and eggs… or even if you are just wanting to move to a plant based diet somewhat to reap the health benefits that come with all those healthy foods, you should know veganism is not only healthy, it is actually fun… and exciting. 

Yes, the science for plant based nutrition and health through nutrition IS there.  God’s pharmacy is incredible! 

All science aside though, if you have been functioning on what many now call the “Standard American Diet”, you have perhaps come to overlook the beauty and taste… and joy… of eating of the abundance God placed on this earth for our needs (and enjoyment).  

What’s more, if you’re eating the Standard American Diet, my guess is that making a change to eating plant based foods, or at least eating mostly plant based foods, will open your eyes and expand your skills as well as desires.  Really!  

I am certainly not the only one who has come to discover how wonderful it feels to take a step such as my husband and I have.  Yes, my husband and I are both vegans and yes, we are both losing weight on a vegan diet (although I have a lot more to lose then he does).  I read a great article today that really reflects the great changes I have gone through since changing what I eat and changing how I live life in the kitchen (and elsewhere). 

As I read the article, I kept thinking…  I want to share my own joy with those I know. 

So here we are!  🙂 

It’s actually fun feeling more in charge.  

It is FUN getting healthier.  

And it’s fun to eat great food. 

It’s easier to do than you might think too.  

Don’t worry, I’ll have another post on that idea.

However, before we go….  

Here’s the article I saw today which I still want to share.

You can read it at the link here: 

EAT THE RAINBOW The philosophical case for going vegan is about pleasure—not preachiness

     -by Sandy Grant, Philosopher, University of Cambridge  

Going Vegan

I can not emphasis how great that article above is.  Please read it if you have the time.  (Link above)

As I mentioned above, I better get going, at least for now, but I will be back, and I will share some more about this topic with you (along with other topics, just like we always have). 

Blessings, 

Chris Abercrombie Stevens

Editor and Publisher of The New American Home 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

 

See more vegan cookbooks at Amazon!

Love Grown Cereal Review – I Ate Beans For Breakfast Today!

Love Grown Cereal Review Collage 2

I was at a new Natural Grocers Store in Fort Worth, Texas yesterday, and what did I find but a cereal made with beans. I wondered. I bought. I ate. Now I give a review of Love Grown Cereal.

If you are like me, totally naive about cereal made from beans, you may be a little surprised (as was I) to see such a product.  I had never seen such a thing before which is probably WHY I purchased the box of Love Grown Polar Puffs cereal which I did.  OK… that AND the fact that the store had an overstock and marked some of the boxes down to move them out quickly.  

I’m a sucker for beans, and I’m really a sucker for saving money!  

I really wasn’t sure what to think when I purchased the box, but I was hopeful.  I had great success in the past when I first saw and tried Beanitos Bean Snacks (low glycemic, some vegan, all vegetarian and all non-GMO gluten free snacks made with beans).  I loved the Beanitos Black Bean Chips in particular… (but I also loved them all)… so seeing bean cereal was not SUCH a far stretch that I figured I would at least give them a try.  

Bean tortilla chips seem more natural to me than cereal bean products though, especially kids cereal products.  

I almost put them back on that second thought, but I finally convinced myself. 

Come on, Chris.  This is a healthy kids cereal.

The cereal is made with navy, lentil and garbanzo beans.  

There are no corn or wheat ingredients in it.

It’s a gluten free kids cereal.  It’s a vegan kids cereal.  It’s a healthy, non-GMO cereal.  

And… AND…. it’s supposed to taste like blueberries and vanilla.  (Remember, I hadn’t tried it yet, so I wasn’t completely sure of that!) It was SUPPOSED to…. fill in the blank…..  

OK.  That did it.  It was in my cart.  

Actually, I really didn’t go through all of that thinking.  

I was actually EXCITED to try such a cereal.  

I was also excited to say “I will eat beans for breakfast tomorrow morning!”   

That’s just the way I am.  🙂 

Well, my bean shopping excitement was yesterday.  I did try this cereal this morning.

Love Grown Polar Puffs Cereal

 

I poured some of the Love Made Polar Puffs into a bowl, and I added some milk.  I was out of both almonds and coconut milk, so my regular milk had to do today, (sorry vegan friends), but I added the milk that was available, and I had my first bite.  

You can see a horrible photo of me here below eating my first bite.  I wasn’t prepared for a glamour shot, but I wanted you to see my first bite of cereal made with beans.  Whatever my face was going to be, I wanted you to see it in its true form.

Chris's First Bite of Bean Cereal - Love Grown Cereal

It was wonderful!  

The sweetness was just right.  It was sweet enough to satisfy any child’s hankering for something sweet.  It was not TOO sweet.  

The Love Grown Polar Puffs actually had a great blueberry and vanilla taste too.  I mean that too!  I mean…  I could taste a blueberry flavor.  I could taste a vanilla flavor.  The two flavors were each very flavorful, and each flavor seemed separate, distinct would be a good word, but they were also very complimentary of each other.  

And no… in case you are wondering… There was absolutely NO flavor of beans in this cereal.  

I’m not sure if a bean flavor would be welcomed by children in the morning.  

I’m pretty sure, for all my love of beans, I wouldn’t want too much of a bean experience in the morning hours either.  

But hey, to each his own. 

 

Cereal Made With Beans - Love Grown Polar Puffs Cereal

From the back of my Love Grown bean cereal box. It says it’s cereal made with beans! 🙂

The cereal stayed crunchy for quite some time, most likely longer than what your kids might take eating their bowl of this on any given morning.  

I ended up taking a l-o-n-g time eating my bowl of cereal because I kept trying to take more photos of me hoping to get a better selfie.  I never did.  You got the original one.  

By the way, it’s really HARD to take a selfie while you’re holding a bowl of cereal in one hand and lifting a spoon of cereal up to your mouth to eat in the other!  I’m SURE God must have given me an additional hand to take this photo.  It may not be glamour on display, but it’s me, and what’s more important, it’s me eating beans in the morning!  

The point is, it took me a long time to eat my cereal. 

Fortunately, my cereal stayed fresh and crispy all the way through my “photo shoot”.  

So the taste of the Polar Puffs Cereal by Love Grown was great with no bean flavor and plenty of blueberry and vanilla taste. 

It was as sweet as I would have wanted it to be so I’m guessing as much as it would take to satisfy a picky child in the morning.  (I like some sweetness, just some, and I’m like a picky child in the morning… and sometimes at other times as well.)  🙂 

Add to all that the fact that it stayed crisp and edible for a LONG time for me.  

You’ll never have to deal with soggy cereal if you eat this every day of your life!  

But you won’t do that, will you?  

I asked because Love Grown has numerous other products that could keep every day new and exciting for you and your family members.  

Love Grown Cereal For Kids - Love Grown Polar Puffs

Love Grown Cereal has Love Grown kids cereals as this was.  They also have other cereals that would be appealing to adults as well as kids (Hey give me kids cereal any day).  Plus Love Grown products also include a variety of granola, hot cereals, and even some seasonal cereal products like the chocolate and strawberry heart shaped cereal which, well… you can figure out what day or days that kind of cereal might be really popular.   

The Love Grown company says their cereal (and thus your day) is “inspired by love and powered by nutrition”.  

It seems that is their passion too!

Maddy and Alex, the founders and owners of Love Grown Cereal, write right on their Love Grown website, About / Our Story page, that they wanted to change the world, to make a difference, to make clean, healthy food available to as many people as possible.  

They do what they do out of love for people.  

It looks like they are working to stay true to their clean eating, high-value nutrition pledge too.  

While not all their cereal and/or ingredients in cereal products are organic, they have gone through the process of non-GMO certification for most of their cereal products.  (Check each product individually if you’re concerned with any specific cereal or specific ingredient in a cereal.)   

Why are they not produced as organic cereal?  The FAQs of their website say they chose to make their cereals as cost effective as possible so as many people as possible could benefit.  

Their heart is dedicated to providing wholesome, natural ingredients for all their cereal products.   

They DO use only natural flavors and natural colors.  

All their cereals are either lightly sweetened or completely sugar free. 

All of their cereals are vegan except the Love Grown Power Os.  ALL are vegetarian friendly. 

Furthermore, all of their products, including the granola products are made with gluten free ingredients, specifically certified gluten free oats, and all of their products are inspected and shown gluten free before being shipped.

As always, check each product for ingredients if you have any allergies or medical conditions.  

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Shown Above

Love Grown Polar Puffs, Blueberry Vanilla, 6.5 Ounce by Love Grown (at Amazon)

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What I can tell you though, by no uncertain terms, is that my Love Grown Blueberry Vanilla Polar Puffs cereal this morning was totally worth buying and a totally wonderful breakfast experience. 

They tasted great.  

They filled my desire for a sweet-but-not-too-sweet vanilla and blueberry breakfast cereal.  

They did not get soggy.

I felt as if I was benefiting from a healthy cereal (made with love).  I feel so loved. 

Oh, and a bonus point here:   I felt full all morning long!  I’m loved AND satisfied.  That’s a great combination!  

If you haven’t tried a Love Grown cereal yet or just want to buy gluten free cereal (or buy a vegan cereal)…. (or buy a healthy cereal period)… I urge you to give one of the Love Grown cereals a chance. 

If the rest are anything like my Love Grown Polar Bears, the conclusion of my Love Grown cereal review  here says I think you’ll be very happy with your purchase. 

 

Love Grown Cereal Review Collage 2

Should I review other Love Grown products?

The question might better be, what are YOUR reviews of Love Grown cereal going to say? 

Give Love Grown a try if you haven’t yet, and let us know what you think! 

Here’s to all you great readers here… having 3 hands to take photos… good tasting cereal made with beans… and great companies like Love Grown.  

Have a healthy day! 

 


Vegan Twinkies Recipe – Vegan Treats for Hostess Enthusiasts

Vegan Twinkies Recipe
Vegan Twinkies Recipe

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For those vegans who enjoy the memories of the Hostess Twinkie years and who want to have that creamy, sweet moistness again, this vegan Twinkies recipe may perk your spirits a little.  In fact, since Twinkies weren’t really pure vegan treats to begin with, you might just be jumping for joy to have a vegan cake recipe that will be more suited to your family’s daily menu plan.

Whether you are a vegan, a vegetarian, or just like to change up recipes once in a while so you can serve healthy desserts to your kids and spouse, this homemade Twinkies recipe is a good one to keep on file.

Originally from the vegan recipe blog “Big City Vegan” and written for health conscious cooks, this is a fantastic option for those seeking healthy Twinkie recipes for their family.

A word of note before you begin:  You will need a food processor for the vegan cream filling in this Twinkie cream filling recipe.  If you don’t have a food processor, a blender with a similar function may work.

The point is to process the tofu in these vegan treats well enough that the cream filling is very smooth and mixed well enough that it is void of any tofu flavor.

Vegan Twinkies Recipe

The following recipe is adapted from http://www.bigcityvegan.com/blog/food-and-drink/vegan-twinkie-recipe and was brought to my attention by an old friend, Tammy Fleming, who is one of the best cooks and moms I have ever known.

Makes 24 small Twinkie cakes.

 

For the cakes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 6 Tbsp. organic light cane sugar
  • 1 tsp. aluminium free baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 cup expeller pressed canola oil
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. dark amber maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup vanilla rice milk 
  • 2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray Twinkie pans, cream canoe pans, or lady finger pans with canola nonstick spray, and set aside.
  3. Place a whire mesh strainer over a medium bolw.  Add the pastry flour, white flour, light cane sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the strainer.
  4. Tap the strainer against the palm of your hand to sift the ingredients into the bowl, and stir with a whisk to distribute the ingredients and add air.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, maple syrup, soymilk or rice milk, vanilla extract, and vinegar until well blended.
  6. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture, and stir with a whisk until the batter is smooth.
  7. Fill each cake cup until about 1/3 full, and bake for 16 to 17 minues or until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cakes in the pan for 5 minutes; then run a knife between the cakes and the inside of the cake cups to loosen.
  9. Lift the cakes from the pan and then cool completely.  Chill before filling.

 

For the cream filling:

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces firm tofu, drained (after simmering in water for 5 minutes)
  • 4 tsp. expeller pressed canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp. dark amber maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. raw light agave syrup
  • 6 Tbsp. organic light cane sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. very finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 4 tsp. pur vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. pure coconut extract
  • 1/4 tsp. pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 ounces vegan white chocolate, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. arrowroot dissolved in 6 Tbsp. soy creamer

Directions:

  1. Crumble the drained tofu into a food processor and process for 1 minute.
  2. Add the oil and process another minute.
  3. Then add the rest of the ingredients except the arrowroot, and process 3 to 4 minutes or until the mixture is very smooth and creamy.
  4. Wipe the sides of the processor with a rubber spatula, and add any more optional sugar to desired sweetness and process to mix.  Set aside.
  5. In its separate bowl, stir the dissolved arrowroot (which has been dissolving in water) to release the starch that has settled to the bottom.
  6. Pour arrowroot with water into a small saucepan and cook, whisking frequently over medium heat until the mixture reaches a full boil.  It will be thick and gummy.
  7. Remove the saucepan from the stove; then add to the processed cream and pulse to incorporate.
  8. When mixed, process a little more until the cream is once again very smooth.
  9. Spoon the cream into a container.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  This allows the flavors to blend well and thicken a little.

 To assemble the cakes:

With a pastry bag or cake decorating bag, poke 3 holes into the bottom flat part of the homemade Twinkies.

Fill the pastry or cake decorating bag with cooled filling, moving the tip around sideways a little to distribute cream filling throughout the cake.

Refrigerate the filled cakes in a covered container.

Serve at room temperature.

HINT:  For something a little special or to satisfy a chocolate craving, you can place your Twinkie on a plate and drizzle a tiny bit of dairy free vegan chocolate syrup on top before serving.

 

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NOTE:  

Get the healthiest canola oil for your vegan recipes!  

When purchasing canola oil, look for the words “unrefined” or expelled”.  Those won’t have the chemicals that come from refined canola oil which is processed with tons of yucky chemicals.  

Also make sure you purchase canola oil that is labeled as non-GMO.  Many canola oil products are made with genetically modified organisms, reported by many to have many health risks.

Be safe, and stay healthy!  

Here’s a good canola oil for your vegan baking needs!

 

Solio Family Canola Oil Non Gmo Expelled

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Cake recipes like this may take a little more effort, but when you see the kids smiling as they eat their homemade Hostess Twinkies, and you know you’ve just made a healthy dessert recipe or healthy snack for them, the effort you put into these little homemade snack cakes will be worth it all.

If you are interested in checking our traditional homemade Twinkie recipe or a sugar free, gluten free, or low carb Twinkie recipe, go here:  “Twinkie Recipes You Can Make at Home”, or check our other posts here at padoozles.com for a variety of foods, information, and insight for your family.