Different Types Of Non-dairy Milk

Three of My Favourite Dairy Alternatives

Three of My Favourite Dairy Alternatives

Leading up to cutting out dairy in May 2016 I started to prepare my taste buds months in advance. I slowly rotated through trying all sorts of almond, cashew, soy, and rice milk products and many oil alternatives until I found my favourites to start out with. And on the plus side, my boyfriend definitely loved the sudden influx of nut milks around so if I didn’t like some there was no worry of it going to waste!

I’m here to share my top three favourite products so far, hopefully at least one of them is new to you. Have something to suggest? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

So Nice for Coffee

SONice Coffee CreamerPro: The So Nice brand is not my top choice for milk alternatives, but their coffee creamer product is to die for. It tastes fantastic, has a nice consistency, and even adds to the smell of your coffee (in a good way). Look for it in the cooler, not on the regular shelf with the other So Nice products.

Con: Although it says no artificial flavours or colors, I highly doubt this So Nice product is made without preservatives. The expiry date is often up to a year out, and it lasts opened for quite some time – it has never gone bad on me. So if that doesn’t bother you (or you prefer it) this product is awesome!

Vegan Becel Margarine

Okay, I’ll be honest. I have actually been using this for years.

becel_veganPro: It tastes just like butter but is mostly just a combination of oils. I use the Vegan Becel for everything I would regular butter. I use it to non-stick my pans, melt it for popcorn, put it on toast, use it in baking… It’s all around a very useful and tasty product.

Con: The downside is that it has quite a lot of palm oil which is especially controversial right now. Hopefully it’s ethically source but I doubt it.

Anyone use something very similar but is perhaps a bit more earth-friendly?

Earth’s Own Almond Fresh

Earths Own AlmondPro: I’ve tried all of the almond milk brands in my neighborhood grocery store’s cooler and Earth’s Own Almond Fresh is by far my favourite. I find that all nut milks have some pulp and this brand has the least. Earth’s Own also has many different nut milks and flavours to choose from if you are feeling more adventurous. I personally like the almond option with vanilla flavouring. It’s perfect for drinking straight or for adding to smoothies.

What do you use almond milk for? I have not been too adventurous with it yet, so any ideas are totally appreciated!

Con: If you are like me and hate pulp, any almond milk really is not very good for adding to coffee and tea. The texture just does not mix well in my opinion.

And Many More…

There are so many more products that I love and will cover off in a second edition very soon.

What are your favourites? Anything that rivals the above? I’d love to hear it!

Chinese cuisine. Wok cooking vegetables. Vegetarian wok

Go Ahead, Order the Steak

Go Ahead, Order the Steak

Since beginning my transition to a plant-based diet I’ve noticed some common themes in the interactions I’ve had with the many meat eaters in my life. So I think it’s time to clear up one of these items.

And for my fellow vegetarians and vegans, I’m sure at least some of you can relate to this as well.

Don’t Let Me Stop You From Ordering the Food You Want

When having lunch or dinner with someone I can always expect that they will one way or another comment on the fact that they are ordering a meat dish.

You know what I’m talking about. The comments go something like:

“I hope you don’t mind if I order the ribs…”

“I’ll have the bacon double cheeseburger… sorry!”

“Shoot, I just realized I am eating a pound of wings in front of you…”

And my response visibly shocks people at least half of the time. And that is:

It’s okay. I really don’t mind.

And it’s true, I seriously don’t! Here’s why.

It’s each individual’s own decision what their diet consists of, and it’s not my business if you want to eat a meaty meal. I used to love meaty meals too before I made the decision to transition to a plant-based diet. I get it.

If you don’t lecture me on my choice, I definitely won’t lecture you. Nor would I ever want to anyways.

And if I can speak to my fellow plant-eaters out there, I think that this type of response sparks a heck of a lot more curiosity in your meat-eating company than having a negative attitude does.

For example, if I were to reply “actually I do mind and would prefer if you didn’t eat that in front of me” (which I’m sure someone has expected me to say at one point in time) then I think that just adds to the vegan stereotype – Which is that all vegans want to do is push their diet on others. So let’s work together to help fade that perception away, because it sucks.

The Only Time it Becomes a Problem

Okay, here’s the “but” you were probably waiting for. However, I think it’s pretty fair.

The only time it bothers me is when someone doesn’t finish their meat so it therefore goes in the trash. And if I were to explain further, means that some of the resources that went into producing that steak (the water, the land, and especially the animal’s life) have gone to waste.

And to be honest, should someone really have to be a vegan or vegetarian to think that wasting perfectly good meat is a bad thing?

The Best Vegan Cinnamon Buns Recipe

The BEST Cinnamon Bun Recipe – And It’s Vegan!

Cinnamon rolls have a bad rep. No one ever makes them because it’s common knowledge they take way too long to make.

Well not anymore.

Here is a simple cinnamon bun recipe that is deliciously ooey gooey like a fresh Cinnabon but has no milk, butter, or eggs at all. Not only is it vegan but it only takes a bit under 2 hours to make from start to finish. What is this madness?!

Give it a try and I promise you will not be disappointed. And because it makes up to 12 rolls you will have lots to go around. After all of your friends demolish the rolls you can blow their minds when telling them that they are completely vegan. The secret ingredient? Coconut oil.

So without further ado here is how to make these scrumptious buns every weekend for the rest of your life.

The Best Vegan Cinnamon Buns 10

Vegan Cinnamon Bun Recipe

Please note that I did not create this recipe however, I did alter it slightly. All credit goes to Sprinkled With Jules. Check out her website for more amazing recipes!

Pictures of each step at the end.

Dough
4 1/2 tea. (2 packets) rapid rise yeast
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup + 1 tea. sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups additional all-purpose flour (may not be needed)

Filling
2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. melted coconut oil

Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp. water

Tools
Measuring cups
Various bowls
Utensils for mixing
Rolling pin (or in my case – a wine bottle)
Sharp knife
Pan

Step 1 – Activate the Yeast

Take the 1 cup warm water (on the hotter side!) and sprinkle only 1 tsp. sugar and all of the yeast. Mix until there are no more chunks. Let stand for 5-10 mins to activate. After the 10 mins the mixture should have risen slightly and is bubbly.

Step 2 – Create the Dough

Add the 1/3 cup melted coconut oil, 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. salt, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar and mix until the very sticky mixture all comes together. Add the additional flour in increments until the mixture does not stick to the bowl anymore and stays together. Flour your counter and knead the dough a few times to make it a nice and smooth ball. If it still needs more flour you will know because it will be coming apart on your counter. If so then just go back to the bowl and add more flour.

Once you get a good smooth consistency then flour your bowl and set the dough aside in it.

Step 3 – Prepare the Filling

Combine the 2 tsp. cinnamon and 3/4 cup brown sugar and mix. Do not add the coconut oil yet.

Step 4 – Roll the Dough

Dust the counter with flour and roll the dough out to a rectangle approximately 12×16 in. Spread the 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil on the dough leaving a small border around the edges so that the filling does not seep out later. Sprinkle the surface with the brown sugar mixture and spread it out evenly with your hands, gently pressing it in to the dough at the same time. Add crushed pecans if you are feeling fancy.

Using the long edge, begin to roll the dough into a log. Ensure that you are keeping it tight but not so much so that you tear the dough. Then with the the end sitting under the log on the counter cut off the uneven edges and then slice the log into 9 or 12 even pieces.

Step 5 – Rise and Bake

Place the pieces into a non-stick pan and allow them to rise in a warm area for around 30 mins. If you are like me and love the filling then drizzle some additional brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted coconut oil mixture on top of the buns.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. By the end they should have doubled in size.

For doughy rolls cook for 13-15 mins. If you like them less doughy then cook for 15-17. Please keep in mind that every oven is different.

Step 6 – Glaze

Mix the 2 tbsp. water and just 1 cup of the icing sugar to start. Then slowly add the rest of the icing sugar until you get a gooey consistency. Add vanilla to taste.

After the pan has somewhat cooled drizzle the icing over the buns.

Step 7 – Challenge Accepted

Finally, grab a fork and try not to eat the whole pan in one sitting.

Enjoy!

The Best Vegan Cinnamon Buns 1

The Best Vegan Cinnamon Buns 2

The Best Vegan Cinnamon Buns 3

The Best Vegan Cinnamon Buns 4

The Best Vegan Cinnamon Buns 5

The Best Vegan Cinnamon Buns 6

The Best Vegan Cinnamon Buns 7

The Best Vegan Cinnamon Buns 8

The Best Vegan Cinnamon Buns 9

The Best Vegan Cinnamon Buns 10

Blog-(60)

What to Cut Out Next?

What Should I Cut Out Next?

So I have a dilemma – and a somewhat controversial one at that.

Some background info to start for those just chiming in – the purpose of my blog The Veggie Method (TVM) is to spread the word on the “slow and steady” process I am taking to eventually becoming a vegan and with the hope of inspiring others to try the same.

You can read more on the process and it’s benefits here but basically TVM is about cutting out only one meat at a time, when you are ready, and over however long of a period of time you need. For me, it was beef first, then pork, then chicken, and so on. I’ve been doing this every year on May 1st and this May will be 4 years since I started.

Cutting out one item at a time is not only less intimidating, but it’s also easier on your body and lifestyle. It makes life easier in the short term and therefore is actually a long-term play considering you are more likely to succeed than if you were to cut everything out cold turkey (heh).

So What Should I Take out of My Diet Next?

At this point the only animal products I have in my diet include seafood, milk, and eggs.
Naturally, one would expect that seafood goes out next as it’s technically the last “meat” to go. But here’s the controversial part – I’m heavily considering cutting out milk products next instead.

Here’s why.

I Can Tell My Body Does Not Like Dairy

I’m pretty convinced that milk really isn’t good for anyone to begin with but that’s a topic for another day – what I can speak to now is my body and its reactions.

Going through this transition and listening to my body now more than ever I’ve noticed that if I don’t have any milk products for a few days my skin will clear up a bit. Then once I have a bunch again I will break out – which is no fun! I have also noticed that if I have milk products before cardio I’ll get all phlegmy and will have a hard time breathing.

Like, HELLO!

Why am I putting this stuff into my body if it is trying to tell me it doesn’t want it?

Cheese Will Be the Hardest to Give up of All Mentally

And I’m concerned that by the time I’ve cut out everything else I will have a super hard time giving up cheese. At least if I give up cheese before seafood and eggs I will still have those items to lean on opposed to absolutely nothing. At least, that’s what I’m thinking…

I Cut out Beef First for a Reason

Okay well, in part it was because I felt beef would be the easiest to go without based on my taste buds, but the other part was because I am especially heartbroken for factory farmed land animals and I find that between dairy, eggs, and fish it’s hardest for me to trace exactly where my milk is coming from. Especially with what horrifying news came out recently about one of the largest dairy farms in the country. I’ve lost a lot of confidence in “sustainably” sourced milk regardless of whether brands claim to be traceable or not. Traceable doesn’t really mean anything anyways…

I find I can be quite choosey where I get my fish from (although it’s also borderline), and I only eat the best eggs you can possibly find – Country Golden Yolks for about $6 a dozen but they seriously are the freaking tastiest eggs you will ever find. But with dairy there’s something about it I just can’t be sure of.

What Do You Think?

As I’ve become a part of the social media plant-based community I’ve already discovered a wide range of vegans and vegetarians from hard-core opinionated posters to hippy-like, do-what`s-best-for-you posters (that one`s me!) and it seems like the more intense influencers have very strict rules on what vegan is and should be. For example, if you slip up but carry on that you are “not a true vegan/vegetarian” Which is why I think this post could be controversial.

What do you think?

Does my reasoning have merit?

Do you think I’m crazy?

Do you think I’m breaking the rules?

Either way – I’m going to do what’s best for me and my body. But I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts!

Apples

More on the Slow and Steady Method

More on the Slow and Steady Method

In a previous post called The Turning Point I talked a bit about something I call the slow and steady vegetarian method.

First thing’s first – Shout out to my mom as I learned this concept from her.

So the name is pretty self-explanatory, but basically this path involves cutting out one kind of meat at a time until you are ready to move on to removing the next. You pick a date, an animal, and commit to cutting it out of your diet from that day forward. When you take this approach it can be a lot less intimidating than removing everything all at once, cold turkey. Heh.

I’ve already covered off the basics on how to prepare in The Turning Point but here’s a quick recap:

  1. Define your reason.
  2. Choose a date.
  3. Choose an animal.
  4. Have a last hurrah.
  5. Say ‘sayonara!’ and commit.

Not so bad right? Anyone could do it.

The Long Term Gain

There are many benefits of taking a slow approach to becoming a vegetarian or vegan, such as:

  1. It’s easier on your mind and body.
  2. You can still always find something great at restaurants.
  3. It gives you lots of time to try new meatless foods and meals.
  4. You are less likely to cave in (not that it would be the end of the world).
  5. It’s a bit easier for your friends and family to adjust or cook around your diet.
  6. You can choose to cut out the next animal when you feel ready.
  7. And because of all this, you are less likely to quit entirely!

If you are the type that starts a big diet or workout regimen and falls off a few days later (like most people, don’t worry) then this is a great option for you. And the gratification doesn’t have to wait until you’re full-vegan. Your hard works starts at the time you cut out the first meat and you can absolutely use this for motivation.

How I Felt a Week after Cutting out the First Meat, Beef

Honestly? I don’t remember.

Which is a good thing, I think. Only three and a bit years later and I’ve basically forgotten. Which shows to me that it must not have been that bad, right?

There were probably lots of cravings. A bit of disappointment when someone around me ate something of that meat. Food brings us a lot of satisfaction when eating it, so that’s one of the hardest things to overcome. Luckily after a few months that should mostly go away.

If you are worried about the cravings, I suggest you start with a meat you eat the least of all. That way it will be an easier adjustment and you will be most likely to stick with it. Then afterwards when you are ready for the next you can use the last year (or however long it takes) as motivation.

So How Do I Know When to Move On?

There are a few ways to tell. I’ll get into it in more detail at a later date, but basically it’s when you are completely over the last meat, with little to no more cravings. You want to make sure that the next meat won’t be too much for you to handle, so getting as much over the first one as you can is one of the best was to make sure of it.

Always be reminding yourself that this long process is the best way for you to ensure the change lasts a lifetime.

Breakfast

Finding Your Body’s Secret Energy Store

Finding Your Body’s Secret Energy Store

I used to hate running – I think it was all because of the mandatory school P.E. classes in elementary and high school to be quite honest.

It wasn’t until after exercising wasn’t mandatory anymore did I start enjoying it. I became a bit more proactive and would go to the public gym, run around the block, use my elliptical… But I never really got into a routine (mind you, I was pretty young).

In this last year or so I’ve really gotten into the swing of things and now run regularly and weight train a lot. And it’s all thanks to a few key factors I finally discovered and focused in on.

1. Discover What Fuels the Engine Best

Pay attention to your energy levels when you are working out and compare that to a few things – what you ate, when you ate it, whether you stretched first, what your environment is like… and then switch things up to see how it affects your performance.

Personally I’ve found that I need to eat at least an hour before running or else I don’t perform very well. I also need to avoid milk products beforehand or I get phlegmy mid-run and have a hard time breathing. These are just a few of the things I discovered once I tuned in.

Listen to your body!

2. Re-evaluate Your Diet and Nutrition

Ever since cutting out most meats a bit over a year ago I have gained so much energy – it’s like the switch to a plant-based diet revealed this secret energy store in my body that was just hiding out waiting to be released.

There are so many myths and false information around “going vegan” or vegetarian, as an example I’ll speak to what is said about protein or calcium and not getting enough of it.

All plants have protein – some more than others – and plants should have calcium as well considering calcium is in the soil plants are grown in. Then cows eat a ridiculous amount of plants to live and create milk and everyone thinks cows magically produce it. Not to mention plant-based calcium and protein absorb into the human body much better than animal-based. Imagine that.

So as long as you are a healthy vegan (you actually live off of primarily vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, etc. and not just junk food) you consume more than sufficient amounts of essential nutrients and minerals and will even make better use of them.

Discovering this has made all the difference for me!

3. Know Who Your Support Group Is

It’s important to have at least one person who will keep you accountable and who has similar values when it comes to health and exercise. It’s nice to know someone is rooting you on! Especially when many will bring you down.

Luckily a lot of my co-workers are really into exercising as well – my company even pays for us to attend races a few times a year. I am very grateful for a work environment that supports my health choices.

4. Educate Yourself About Proper Footwear

I used to just run in the most random shoes and no wonder I would roll my ankle or get a cramp or hurt my back. Footwear is soo important.

Go to a footwear specialty store like The Running Room or New Balance and get a free evaluation. You’ll be surprised what you learn and the benefits you will reap if you adjust your footwear or habits.

Overall, Listen to Your Body

Take care of yourself and listen to your body all day every day. If you are feeling groggy ask yourself why and take into account your diet, stress, sleep, and everything in-between.

You’ll be amazed by what you can learn and change for the better.

Set for sports on gray background

Working out as a Vegetarian or Vegan

Working out as a Vegetarian or Vegan

Last fall I wanted to start weight training but admitted to myself that I had absolutely no idea what I’m doing in that section of the gym.

“Do I pull this to my chest or waist?”

“Am I supposed to feel pain there?”

“Why are my legs sore when I was working my core?”

“What are traps though…”

My basic knowledge was from mandatory high school P.E. class, which considering the instructor confidently taught the basic salsa footwork in reverse during the dance segment, it probably isn’t all that accurate to begin with.

I had to face the truth – I need to get some professional training or else I would likely be wasting my time and would be at serious risk of injuring myself.

I did my research, found a personal trainer, and made the investment.

Diet Fundamentals That Everyone Should Know

Even though I found likely one of the more affordable trainers in the area (Coach Jesse he’s amazing check him out!) it was still a big investment for me. But let me tell you this – It was worth. every. cent.

There are many reasons why, but today’s post is focused on what to do differently when working out as a vegetarian or vegan, and there’s one very important thing.

The Importance of Recovery

I didn’t realize that what you eat and do post-workout is as detrimental to your progress as it really is.

Right away my trainer explained to me as simply as he could how we build muscle, and recovery plays a very big role in the process. It’s kind of complicated and I may butcher it if I try to explain, but what I do remember quite well is what to do about it.

Do your best to eat something with a 4:1 carb to protein ratio 20-60 mins post-workout. After that 20-60 min window your body won’t be on the mend again until you’re asleep, so make it count. I prefer something rather liquid so that it absorbs sooner. Such as a smoothie or the Vega Recovery Accelerator drink my trainer highly recommends.

In the afternoon, make sure to eat something high in protein. Vegetarians and vegans, listen up.

As non-meat eaters many of us don’t get that automatic overdose of protein on the daily, so sometimes we need to make a conscious decision to get a high-protein meal in.

My trainer explained that on days you are not trying to recover, a diet reaching just the minimum protein requirement is totally ok. However, on days you workout you need to get an extra dose of protein in.

If you find that your body is sore for one, two, or even three (yikes!) days after a workout, you’re not recovering fast enough and need to get consume more protein in order to repair those muscles.

My go-to is having a meal that is largely made of Yves Veggie Ground Round, downing a protein shake, having a bit of fish as I’m still technically a pescetarian, or having a supplementary smoothie with a big scoop of vegan protein as an after-dinner snack.

Why Is Taking a Long Time to Recover Bad?

As long as your muscles are sore, you can’t work them. I mean physically yes, you can use them, but if you try to workout the muscle while it is still repairing itself you are just ruining any progress you would have had from the previous workout and the current one. And then what’s the point of working out if you’re not getting anywhere?

So to get the most out of your workouts and progress as quickly as possible, remember these steps:

  • Have a snack with a 4:1 carb to protein ratio directly after a workout
  • Have at least one high-protein meal that day to help your muscles repair overnight
  • If you’re sore, leave that area alone until it’s totally healed in order to see results.

Above everything, the first step for ANYONE to know is to exercise in good form.

Food Table Healthy Delicious Organic Meal Concept

A Vegetarian New Year Resolution

A Vegetarian New Year Resolution

Why should someone make reducing their animal product intake their New Year resolution?

It seems to be a trending topic this year round. Or maybe it’s just my sudden interest in blogging about the subject that brings me to notice what is actually the norm.

Either way, it’s worth the consideration. Here’s why.

Below are three different benefits that I think are great reasons to become a vegetarian. Personally I’m in it for a bit of all three but even if you check off for only one you’ve got a solid reason to try.

1. How to know if a vegetarian New Year resolution is for you: Health

Do you have a condition that seems to have come out of nowhere? Maybe it’s headaches, acne breakouts, sudden weight gain, or irregular blood issues?

Your body is trying to tell you something.

Humans don’t need to eat as much meat as we do. Heck, in just the last few decades the average meat consumption per person has increased drastically and unnecessarily thanks to a wealthy industry and a tasty product.

So why don’t you find out what’s right for yourself? Try out a proper whole foods vegan or vegetarian diet and see if over time it fixes some of your current problems, issues you didn’t even notice, or in general just makes you feel better than ever.

I’m not promising you it will, but what’s there to lose? From the amount of forest land, water, and lives saved in just a few months of cutting out meat alone, there’s really only something to gain.

2. How to know if a vegetarian New Year resolution is for you: Environment

Do you know what some of the leading causes of water and rain forest depletion are? And not to mention one of the leading creators of CO2 emissions as well? Think animal agriculture. Here are some pretty serious numbers on the topic.

If you instantly thought household water use or maybe fracking for water and perhaps materials for rain forests it’s ok, that’s what you are supposed to think.

If you want to make a difference to the environment of course current efforts like recycling and taking public transit help a lot, but if you were to cut out animal products entirely the impact on the environment would be tenfold.

My favourite line from the previous link is this:

“Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq. ft. of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life.”

Every. Damn. Day.

If you want some motivation for your new change, I’d say put that line everywhere you look to give you a kick in the butt any time you feel like quitting.

3. How to know if a vegetarian New Year resolution is for you: Animals

There’s an image floating around that basically asks the question:

‘Can you look a factory farm animal in the eyes and tell them that your taste is worth their suffering?’

If yes, then you’re right that vegetarianism probably isn’t for you. At least not right this minute.

If no, then great. You have compassion for animals. Now it’s time to do something about it.

Sometimes when articles make their way around on social media about the latest racism news or recent uproar about LGBT rights or any controversial item for that matter, I often consider whether they can also be applied to today’s disappointing meat industry.

For example, a line I see rather frequently is ‘imagine how silly those people will all feel 50 years from now.’ Do you think this could one day be said about those that knew better but didn’t take the stand against animal cruelty in the meat industry?

I’m pretty confident the answer is yes.

Ok, you may have convinced me. What now?

First of all, good on you. You’ve chosen to make a big impact on your life, other furrier lives, and the future of this planet. That’s a pretty big deal!

As you will learn reading further into my blog, I recommend something I call the slow and steady method. It involves picking one animal at a time and focusing on cutting just that one out. For me, it was a new meat every year as by 12 months later the cravings would be fully gone from the previous meat I cut out and I would be ready to tackle the next. You can learn more about this vegetarian method in The Turning Point.

If you are coming across this beyond new years day then make it a beginning-of-the-next-month type resolution. I recommend starting on the first day of the following month anyway as it’s easier to keep track and gives you a date to look forward to. who says resolutions absolutely need to start on January 1st?

It may seem a little backwards to wait longer to get started but that’s all part of the slow and steady method. Think of it as a long term gain opposed to short term. If taking the time to prepare is the difference between you sticking with it and not, then it’s so worth it.

Thank you for reading and have a very happy and healthy new year :)