This Is How I Vegan

My Vegan Food Go-to’s

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I’m Vegan. I love it and it works for me.

I’m fortunate to live in San Diego which is a very vegan friendly city and I have an extensive community of friends who are also vegan. This makes for glorious vegan potlucks and vegan dining with friends. I couldn’t be more grateful!

However, I wasn’t always vegan, it was a lifestyle I transitioned into. A lot of hard-wiring needed to be reversed and I couldn’t have done it alone. I had to reach out to many people for healthy tips and suggestions and to slowly discover my own body’s unique needs.

A co-worker recently reached out to me saying she and her partner were wanting to add more vegan dishes into their diet and she asked what were some of my vegan favorites. “Also, what is that delicious cheesy yeasty sprinkle you let me try one day?” she asked. Well, my response was probably a lot more long-winded than anticipated. I realized how much I love talking about food!

So, in case you were wondering what a vegan, yogi, fire performer, flow artist eats to stay nourished, here it is! *Disclaimer: I am not a registered nutritionist, doctor or anything of the sort, this is simply what works for my body. ❤

Here Are My Go-to Foods:

 

Quinoa

Quinoa with everything. It’s a gluten-free, high protein grain that makes a meal more hearty and gives me the energy to be active. I add it on my salads, into stir frys, curries and soup or just eat it solo. It can be used for breakfast, lunch and dinner in my opinion. One of my favorite breakfast dishes is quinoa and sweet potato hash with cinnamon and coconut oil. Yum!

 

Veggies

I eat A LOT of veggies! There are so many incredible vegetables out there but below are a few of my favorites. The veggies I prefer cooked: brussel sprouts (hands-down fav), broccoli, kale, mushrooms, zucchinis and squashes, beats, sweet potatoes and yams. The veggies I prefer raw: spinach, chard, arugula, dandelion greens, sprouts and cucumbers.

 

Rice & Beans

This combo is also a complete protein when paired together. I enjoy brown rice or wild rice and lentils or chickpeas. Other types of beans don’t sit well with my stomach so I stick to these. It’s about learning to listen to your body and what feels right.

 

Avocados!

Another item I add to EVERYTHING. I don’t remember life in the Midwest before avocados were an everyday thing here on the West Coast! It has the healthy fats I need and adds a creamy texture when mixed into a dish. I use avocado and apple cider vinegar instead of a dressing for my salads. I also add it to soups, desserts, smoothies and so much more.

 

Nutritional Yeast

That “delicious cheesy yeasty sprinkle” my coworker mentioned. I add it on salads, in veggie “pastas” or just on top of my broccoli. It’s a great substitute for a cheese taste and has many health benefits! Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast is a great brand.

 

Nuts

Also a good source of protein and absolutely delicious! I use in moderation as it’s SO easy to go nuts! But they are one of my favorite treats.

 

Hummus and Cucumbers

Anyone who knows me will tell you I eat a lot of hummus and cucumber. I like to dip zucchini, broccoli and mushrooms as well. That’s my lazy snack. It’s also perfect for road trips, hiking and camping. My hands-down favorite hummus is Majestic Garlic Hummus. I also love their garlic spreads!

 

Crunchy

I love crunchy things. To avoid eating salsa chips (my weakness) I do plain rice crackers and popcorn. Not microwavable popcorn, but rather popping seeds on the stove.  I add coconut oil and nutritional yeast for cheesy, buttery taste! My favorite rice crackers are the brown rice, salt-free Lundberg Rice Crackers. They have many other flavors too!

 

Gluten-free Oats

Another hearty grain I have often. I try to stay mainly gluten free in my diet. I love oatmeal, cookies and energy bars made with oats rather than other flours.

 

Deserts

The most important category, duh! I put it last because I always end with something sweet. I have a wicked sweet tooth. To be honest, I just love raw cacao! It’s a bitter taste to some at first, but I love the bite. If not raw cacao i’ll go with dark chocolate containing 70% cacao or more and as low in sugar and additives as possible. My other easy go-to desert is sliced dates with peanut butter and cinnamon. They’re delicious and always a party hit! Also, frozen banana and cacao ice cream is another favorite. If I want to get fancy, it’s all about the avocado cacao mousse! Made with dates and maple B syrup as the sweeteners. It’s absolutely divine!

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Vegan Versions of My Favorite Dishes

Don’t worry, you don’t have to eat only quinoa, veggies and hummus to go vegan! There are many traditional dishes that can be made vegan by subbing the meat for a vegetable. For me, food is mostly about the texture and the sauce (aside from the nutrition, of course). So the “trick” is to use a vegetable instead of meat but mimic the same texture. It’s the texture and the bomb sauce that tricks your mind into thinking you’re eating a traditional dish.

Veggie Substitutions I’ve Used:

  • Cauliflower in place of chicken. Breaded and baked then doused in vegan hot sauce. It’s just like chicken wings!
  • Jack fruit. You can buy it in a can and it has the texture of pulled pork. I use it with vegan BBQ sauce, add some vegan coleslaw and make “pulled pork” sliders or tacos.
  • Mushrooms, lentils or quinoa can all be flavored with Mexican spices and used as a delicious taco or burrito filling.
  • Cashew and nutritional yeast as a cheese dip or sauce. You can also flavor with basil and garlic to make a pesto or alfredo sauce.
  • Beats and chickpeas to create a veggie burger. It even gives a reddish color to the burger. There are so many awesome veggie burger recipes online.
  • Spaghetti squash. I use this instead of pasta noodles for a gluten-free option. When you bake the squash the insides peel off like thin “noodles.” I either add marinara or the vegan pesto or alfredo sauce mentioned above.
  • Eggplant in sushi rolls. It has a chewy texture that can resemble fish. With the wasabi, rice and seaweed, it satisfies my sushi cravings!

Eating Clean

Typically I avoid soy and processed soy products as they may cause hormone imbalances and are often genetically modified. I also avoid processed and packaged food in general. I prefer to make my own food so I know i’m eating clean. When i’m feeling lazy, I keep it simple with a curry or stir fry. When I’m looking for convenience I go to my local vegan cafe. When I want gourmet I go to one of my favorite vegan restaurants. There are so many options! I often get new recipe ideas from the local cafes and restaurants to try at home later.

Try a Few Restaurants in the San Diego Area:

  • Trilogy Sanctuary, La Jolla. My favorite place in the world. I seriously would eat there every day if I could. All organic, no gluten or soy and the most amazing food! I took my non-vegan family here and they were all so impressed with the hearty meals and vegan takes on classic dishes. My favorite is the “Perfect Tacos.” They’re literally perfect in my opinion.
  • People’s Organic Food Market, Ocean Beach. The upstairs deli is all vegan & serves by food weight so you can choose your portion and keep it lower cost! (I eat there almost every day, no joke)
  • OB Garden Cafe, Ocean Beach. Right next door to People’s Co-op but with a refreshing sit-down menu of delicious items.
  • Hugo’s Cocina, Ocean Beach. Not completely vegan, but has quite a few vegan options. And I love my Mexican food! My favorite is the sweet potato burrito.
  • Soul Much. Vegan Cookies. Enough said. Actually, there is so much more to be said! They use upcycled grains and juice pulp from local restaurants to cut food waste and create the most absolutely delicious vegan cookies I’ve ever had! Right now you can catch them at the rotating local farmers markets. Be prepared to get hooked!
  • A few other local favorites: Peace Pies, Kindred, Café Gratitude

Eat What Feels Good in Your Body

You many also notice along your journey that some foods, even though they are considered healthy and/or taste good, may not sit well in your body. Your body is simply asking you to listen. For me, red peppers and black beans really hurt my stomach. I love them, but choose to leave them out of my diet. Also, I’m sensitive to almonds and peanuts and my skin flares up when I have too much, so I try not to have them too often. I’m not going to lie, I would probably eat buckets of peanut butter daily if I could. It’s a lot of trial an error and noticing how you feel after each meal! So as you try new vegan options, also bring mindfulness to what you eat, how you feel after and how you feel over the week. Eventually you will find what foods work best for you and keep you running at optimal health!

I could talk about food ALL DAY! But i’ll leave it here for now. I’d love to hear some of your favorite vegan meals or places to dine! I’m always up to try something new and delicious!

Love & [Fire] Light! 🔥

Brittany

Feel free to email me at Yogafireflow@gmail.com or contact me via Facebook at YogaFireFlowSD

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