I was contacted recently and asked to share a lovely post called ‘Living the Veg Life’, from Health Perch, with Q&A’s from several veggie bloggers (with recipes too). I’ve edited it slightly, to make it more vegan based for my page (and for some of the recipes I’ve made suggestions to turn them vegan if they’re not already). I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did! And perhaps it will be a source of inspiration that there are many delicious vegan recipes out there!
The most recent research on eating habits in America, has shown that nearly half the U.S. population eats at least one vegetarian meal per week, but only four percent maintains a vegetarian or vegan diet all the time. Countless studies point to the many health benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets, and research suggests those who avoid meat have a lower risk of obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, heart disease and multiple cancers. But let’s be honest: Salad for every meal doesn’t sound so appetizing. We reached out to our favorite vegetarian bloggers to see how they cook up new and innovative dishes and what inspired them to choose a mostly plant-based lifestyle. There are also some lovely vegan recipes included from some bloggers.
Stacey Roberts eats, reads, travels, picks up endless LEGO, and blogs about all of it. Check out more from Stacey here.
You’ve said on your blog that you’re not a big fan of tofu. Would you eat it if it was slathered with BBQ sauce, or is it a no-go?
Oh I’ll eat just about anything slathered in BBQ sauce! In fact, one of my earliest recipes I posted was tofu in a glorious smoky BBQ sauce. DELICIOUS. I’ve evolved to love tofu a little bit, but it’s got to be done right.
Have you ever had to deal with backlash for your choice to live a vegetarian lifestyle?
Not necessarily backlash, but I’ve had (more than) my fair share of meat jokes and silly comments. It’s half a part of Australian culture, where we gently make fun of people and don’t take ourselves too seriously, and half people feeling a bit threatened and defensive about their own choices.
Any tips for those looking to transition into a vegetarian lifestyle?
My only tip is to do it the way you know you’ll be comfortable with and will be able to sustain. If that’s going cold turkey, excellent. If it’s doing it gradually, excellent. Find lots of great recipes online or in books, find a buddy to do it with, and if you slip up, then just try again.
Favorite Fall Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin and Fennel Salad with Haloumi (in this recipe, I suggest replacing the haloumi with tofu).
My New Roots
A holistic nutritionist and chef, Sarah Britton (BFA, CNP) is the creative force behind MY NEW ROOTS, the award-winning food blog which features original recipes that taste great, look beautiful, and boast incredible health benefits. A Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Sarah is the founder of New Roots Holistic Nutrition. The goal of New Roots is to educate others to be an active participant in their own health and healing.
Why are you so passionate about plant-based food?
Eating a plant-based diet has so dramatically changed the way I feel, for the better—I have more energy, clarity of mind, and most importantly, connection to the earth. There is also a noticeable peace and calm that comes with eating this way. The body is strong and the mind is at ease.
You describe yourself as a “whole food lover.” What does this mean to you?
I try to avoid any foods that have been radically transformed from their original state. Short of that, if I know that I can’t make it at home in my kitchen (yogurt, pickles, nut milk, granola, etc.), then I probably wouldn’t eat it. Whole foods are perfect little packages of nutrition, so much more than the sum of their vitamins and minerals. When we begin taking apart foods to prolong shelf life, increase or decrease macronutrients, and alter the taste, we really do dismantle the delicate life force and balance of elements that are synergistically linked for our own benefit.
What would be your top tips to someone who wants to eat healthier but has no idea where to start?
Starting small is very important. Many people feel the need to overhaul their diet in a day, and this is simply unrealistic. Swapping processed foods for whole foods (quinoa for white rice for example) is a great way to start because you will notice a difference in how you feel right away. But I always say the three things you can do to change your health dramatically without visiting the health food store are chew your food, drink more water, and think happy thoughts.
Favourite fall recipe: Beet and Black Lentil Borscht (in this recipe, I suggest replacing the ghee with some vegan butter).
Veggie Num Num
Trudy Slabosz is the creator of the vegetarian blog Veggie Num Num. A vegetarian for more than 15 years, she has a passion for healthy vegetarian food and creating veggie meals everyone can enjoy. Vegetarianism has had a profoundly positive effect on her life and her aim is to share just how easy, healthy, and delicious being a vegetarian can be. She lives and cooks in South-east Queensland, Australia, with her husband, their daughter, and the fat tabby cat Ludo.
You’ve been a vegetarian for more than a decade. What encouraged you to ditch the meat?
For me, the choice to be vegetarian was quite a sudden decision. As a kid I was fortunate to have a mum who frequently cooked amazing veggie meals, but even so, I never really contemplated becoming vegetarian until my early adult years. Quite simply, I had an abrupt realization that I no longer wanted to eat meat because I no longer wanted eat animals. It’s a decision I’ve never regretted and one that’s filled my life with many positives!
How does vegetarianism positively influence your life as a whole?
Being vegetarian makes me happy in so many ways. It’s encouraged me to be a conscious eater—not only conscious of where the food on my plate comes from but how nutritious and wholesome it is. I’ve learned so much over the years about choosing natural whole foods full of all the good stuff our bodies need to be healthy and strong. It’s changed the way I look at food, eating, and living a healthy and conscious life. It has taught me the positive repercussions of staying true to your beliefs and how making your own choices and sticking to them can be incredibly empowering.
What happens if you do slip up and eat a not-so-healthy treat? Do you choose to share it on your blog?
There can’t be anything wrong with the occasional indulgence. Life is to be enjoyed and food is so incredibly enjoyable. I love to eat cakes and biscuits and I’ve been known to share the odd cake or cookie recipe on Veggie Num Num too.
Favorite fall recipe: Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins
The Messy Vegetarian Cook
Kip Dorrell is a self-confessed messy cook with a penchant for vegan food and travel. When she’s not making a mess in her home kitchen, you can find her in a far-flung corner of the globe seeking local recipes to veganize.
You moved from Maryland to London. How has the location change affected the way you cook?
Before I moved to the UK I had no knowledge of cooking beyond opening a packet and putting it in the microwave, a habit that carried me through my first couple of years abroad. The way I interacted with food changed not as a result of my move, but in a single moment upon eating tofu at a vegan restaurant in Beijing.
Prior to then I hated bean curd, but that meal changed my entire outlook on food. I vowed to learn to make my own tofu (and I did), and in that pivotal moment my relationship with food changed to the extent that I wanted to be more than a consumer of my meals. Instead I began to crave both participation in the preparation and an understanding of the process.
Your goal is to make food delicious despite the lack of meat or a major focus on weight loss. What are the main factors you look for when creating a meal?
I’m neither a health expert nor a nutritionist, and I also dislike the body-shaming tactics that often go along with focusing on weight loss in any lifestyle. I seek balance when I’m preparing my meals. I don’t restrict myself from eating any particular food and I eat a wide enough variety that I can easily go a month without repeating a meal. I also don’t mind if I gain a few pounds here and there.
Balance to me also extends beyond a meal tasting good. I am heavily influenced by Thai cooking, a style in which flavor, texture, and contrast are appreciated equally. If I’ve prepared a crunchy deep fried dish, for instance, I’ll eat it alongside a light and refreshing soup and rice. An extremely salty dish will be accompanied by a bland dish. Condiments like fried garlic and peanuts are always present to add texture.
What helped you choose to live a vegetarian lifestyle?
When I was 12 I met a friend who didn’t eat red meat, and that was my introduction to the idea of eschewing a given food. Soon thereafter, my parents took me to an open day at the Maryland Department of Agriculture, where I was given a sample of fish to eat. As I chewed, I turned to look at the aquarium behind me, put two and two together, spit the fish out, and that was the end of all meat for me. Eighteen years later, I became vegan.
Favorite fall recipe: Smoky Paprika Sauerkraut Fried Potatoes
Cindy Gordon is a foodie who loves to blog about gluten-free vegetarian/vegan recipes. Her family also focuses on foods that are peanut, tree nut, dairy, and gluten- free. Cindy’s family is dedicated to finding and creating recipes and products that fit the family’s allergy needs. Cindy resides in Ohio with her husband and two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, the outdoors, gardening, wine, and cooking.
Your family is not only vegetarian, but also follows other strict dietary guidelines due to allergies. What are some of your kitchen staples that work for everyone in your family?
We do not have any peanut or tree nut products in the house. Part of the family also avoids gluten and dairy. Staples for us are foods that are naturally healthy and naturally allergen free. We are always stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables. We love apples, blueberries, bananas, carrots, broccoli, and avocados (just to name a few). We are always well stocked with fresh food.
Other blogs are a big inspiration for you when it comes to mealtime. What nutritional guidelines do you look for or adapt your recipes to fit?
I love finding recipes on other blogs that are healthy but also simple to make. When looking at recipes to adapt, I try to make sure they use common ingredients that I or one of my readers is able to find at a local store. We are all busy. Time in the kitchen should be fun and inspiring. Using simple recipes with healthy simple ingredients makes cooking a breeze! I try to focus our recipes on whole foods and unprocessed foods when I can. While we do enjoy our sweets, I try to limit the intake of sugar and anything artificial in our house.
Do you have any suggestions for others who would like to cut out GMOs and artificial flavors and colors when food shopping?
We are a family of label readers due to all the allergens we need to look out for with our food restrictions. Being a label-reading detective is key! Learn the names of things are you trying to avoid or need to avoid. For example, there are many ways gluten can hide in certain products. We shop at a grocery store that does not allow any products with artificial flavors or colors, so that makes shopping a bit easier.
Favorite Fall Recipe: Broccoli Bean Casserole
I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely up for trying out some of these delicious sounding recipes! I especially love the sound of the smoky paprika sauerkraut fried potatoes – nom nom!
I hope you’ve enjoyed a slightly different post from me today! Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!
The main content of this post was not written by me. I was asked to share it and have done so, with edits. Credit to Health Perch.