As a disclaimer, I admire any individual who is able to commit to a sustainable and mindful way of eating. I became interested in veganism because I wanted to explore the effects it would have on my digestive system. My curiosity naturally led me my favorite health websites such as Well + Good and Mind Body Green, where I browsed articles for further research. I began to ask those around me about their experiences, to which someone thoughtfully gifted me the Thrive Energy Cookbook for inspiration. In all honesty, the initial thought of not eating meat felt outlandish. I grew up in a Filipino-Italian household, where meat was a staple in every dish! Then, I realized eating meat was simply a habit. The more I paid attention to veganism, I noticed that this way of eating was more popular and accessible than I thought. Vegan fast food? Check out Chloe’s in the city. Their creations are out of this world! Need to pick up a few staple items? Head to Whole Foods. They have a whole section dedicated to vegans. I like to frequent that aisle on my lunch breaks. Even marketers in the food industry have caught on, often labeling food as “vegan” or “gluten-free”, in hopes that these popular buzzwords will get you to purchase. We are surrounded!
To jumpstart my veganism journey, I began to meal prep from the Thrive Energy Cookbook. I wanted to commit to one vegan meal per day. Given that it’s winter, I decided to experiment with soups and stews. My personal favorites from the cookbook include the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (see recipe below) and Roasted Sweet Potato, Carrot and Ginger Soup. Aside from it’s warming affect, soups are soothing to the digestive system and nutrient dense. Let’s just say my skin was glowing after eating a soup with carrots in it for 5 days straight! I even noticed that my energy levels were more consistent throughout the day - no signs of the itis. Even better, I didn’t feel bloated after my meal. During casual conversation, people would always ask me, “well what about protein, don’t you need that?”. There is actually protein present in foods other than animal sources, including peas, tempeh, chickpeas, tofu, quinoa and hemp seeds. You can absolutely build a satisfying meal that doesn’t require a pack of chicken thighs or a slab of steak.
Currently, I have a few go-to staples that help me achieve my goals as a part-time vegan. Have you ever heard of hemp hearts? They are the shells of hemp seeds, which are subtly nutty in flavor, pack a whopping 10 grams of protein per serving and are rich in nutrients such as omega 3 & 6. They are the perfect addition to any quinoa bowl, yogurt or smoothie. I’ve been sprinkling them into my quinoa bowl for protein purposes. Speaking of quinoa, that’s also a great item to have on hand because it’s packed with protein and filling. If you’re feeling daring, jackfruit a fruit and considered all star ingredient in the vegan world that is often used to mimic foods with particular textures and flavors. I recently had jackfruit that was prepared to be like pulled pork. Not quite the same, but still delicious and added flavor dimension with a nice kick to my quinoa bowls. Lastly, I have an unexplainable obsession with vegan cheese. As much as I LOVE real cheese, the dairy upsets my stomach. Damn you, lactose intolerance! I’ve had “provolone” and “cheddar” vegan cheeses that are actually really delicious. I’ll even make myself a faux cheese and cracker platter, with a glass of wine for a tummy-ache free after work wine down meal.
While I have no plans to go full vegan, I enjoy the creativity that comes along with exploring new recipes. Be sure to follow my Instagram @badnbeauj_ for all of my meal prep experiments on my stories!
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Modified recipes to
sip + savor without