Thursday, November 12, 2015

How to Survive the Holidays (Vegan Edition)

           So you want to learn how to survive during the holidays as a vegan? Well, you may have come to the right place.
            It’s difficult enough being vegan in a world where factory farming and slit animal throats have become so normalized, but it’s even more difficult when you have to be surrounded by a bunch of people who are oblivious to the realities of factory farming. I don’t think that you can get a bigger group of nonvegans together, other than when a vegan posts something vegan on social media, and you see all of the carnivores come and throw in their two cents, than during the holidays.
           So shouldn’t we have books and video tutorials on this subject by now? How do we vegans survive Thanksgiving, family get-togethers, and Christmas parties surrounded by people with different views? (p.s. We do have books and tutorials on this, they’re called vegan cookbooks and YouTube!) There are so many great videos and recipes out there already, but I want to share a few of my own tips. Hopefully you can find some kind of vegan value in them. (And if you do, then yes, you have come to the right place!)

Tip #1: Teach People
           Though sometimes it may not seem like it, people are more willing to learn than you might think. If someone asks about your veganism, share what you know! That brings us to the next tip.

Tip #2: Share your Knowledge & Feelings
           We’re bound to get the oh so famous questions, “Why are you vegan?” and “What do you eat?” Probably with the latter question being asked more so than the other. So with that, share your knowledge! Tell them why, and if they’re mature enough about it, they’ll respect you for your choice in it. If not, you’re more than likely going to get a sarcastic comment or joke, and if you do, share your feelings about being vegan. People can be more receptive to how you feel, than to the facts and reasons behind veganism and why it’s better for one’s health and the world. So don’t debate, and offer up your feelings instead!

Tip #3: Offer to Help or Host
           Thanksgiving dinner almost always surrounds a turkey carcass and nonvegan dishes, so why not offer to bring a vegan dish or two! That way you have something to eat, and it’s also less for the host to cook. Or take it a step further, and host at your house for the holidays. That way you know what you can eat, and you’re sure to get some happy faces for doing all of the work!

Tip #4: Be Prepared
           If you host for the holidays, be prepared! Do what you can, and if you have to, plan ahead of time if you need to so that you have everything you need and you’re not running around day of. On the other hand, if you’re going to someone else’s house these holidays, be prepared for the questions, and know that everyone is usually curious about the vegan lifestyle and diet. Lastly, a good tip is to bring over dishes you know that you can eat. If you know there might not be vegan options, ask the host, or prepare meals in advance and you can warm them up when you get there.

Tip #5: Be Positive, Stay Positive
           Not every vegan has a bad experience during the holidays, but if you happen to run into a situation, just stay positive! Know that not everyone is open to veganism yet, so keep a good attitude because everyone has different beliefs and morals, and that’s okay! Agree to disagree if you have to, and eventually with time, hopefully sooner rather than later, the world will be more knowledgeable about how damaging a nonvegan lifestyle can be. 

Tip #6: Last Resort
           And if all else fails, put on some Christmas music, grab some vegan pumpkin pie, and turn on abc family’s 25 days of Christmas!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Potatoes & Spices

            Did you know that there is a city in India, the city of Palitana, that is an all vegetarian city? In 2014, it legally became the first city in the world to be an all vegetarian city!

Even though this city exists, people still don’t understand this lifestyle. Many think that it’s a new concept, though it has been around a long time in other parts of the world; it’s just fairly new to most people in the U.S. because of our age long pattern and habits of meat consumption.

            So with that, vegans just eat salads right? I think salad is my number one response to what I eat when talking to a meat eater. Though I do enjoy a good salad, I think vegans kind of get the reputation of eating plain and boring, or weird food. Though that is far from the truth, I want to talk about my all time five favorite spices that make an appearance in almost all of my meals.

            They are chili, cumin, garlic, red pepper, and turmeric. Minus all of the health benefits people find in all of these ingredients, they make for the perfect combo in any cashew sauce, stir fry, or potato wedges recipe; of which I’ll be sharing down below.

            My favorite fry has lots of seasoning, and tons of flavor. So for this recipe, you will need:

            7 potatoes (I prefer red or golden baby potatoes, but I’m using what I have atm)

            1 Tbspn chili powder

            ½ Tbspn cumin powder

            ½ Tbspn garlic powder

            1 tspn crushed red pepper

            ½ Tbspn turmeric powder

            3 Tbspns grapeseed oil (or whatever you prefer)

            ½ cup nutritional yeast (optional)

            First, peel, rinse, and cut your potatoes and put in a tupperware with a lid. Add your grapeseed oil, or whatever you prefer here, put the lid on, and shake until the potatoes are fully covered in the oil.
            Next, add in your spices, chili, cumin, garlic, red pepper, and turmeric. If I have nutritional yeast, I add it in at this point as well.  Put the lid back on and shake until all the potatoes are evenly covered in the spices. 
Put in an oven safe dish and pop it in the oven at 450°F for 30 minutes. (A little more if you like them crispier)
Lastly, take them out, let cool, and munch on!
 If you try this recipe out, let me know below what you think!