Tag Archives: vegan food

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 27 – Eat Less, Move More

Understanding Weight Loss: Calorie Reduction and Calorie Expenditure 

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2feI don’t see veganism as a diet.

If we don’t have time to be sick, we have to make time to be healthy.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Day 27 is about weight loss and its relationship to veganism. While it is not a topic I am particularly interested in, I get that it is important. Personally, I am overweight and should pay my weight more attention. Yet, I have lost on a mostly wholefood plant-based diet without even really trying; no idea how much, but I did have to buy new pants for work that were a couple of sizes smaller, because the trousers I had were starting to look clownish – not the professional look I am going for!

Colleen emphasises on Day 27 that going vegan does not in and of itself mean anything in relation to weight loss. As she points out, there are “a million ways to be vegan”. It still matters what you eat and how much you exercise.

Choose to get your fat and calories from wholefood nutrient rich sources rather than high calorie nutrient 'empty' ones.
Choose to get your fat and calories from wholefood nutrient rich sources rather than high calorie nutrient ’empty’ ones.

The reason people like myself lose weight on a (mostly) wholefood, plant-based diet is because we are now eating less fat or fewer calories, For the most part we eat a lot more vegetables and whole grains which just happen to have fewer calories than things like cheese, eggs, meat etc. However, if a plant-based diet is high in fat from nuts, avocados, oil, deep-fried or calorie dense processed food don’t expect to be lean. While it is infinity better to get your calories from nuts rather than deep-fried chips from a nutrient point-of-view, if you are playing the numbers game, calories are still calories.

Colleen’s advice, which I agree with, is to get your calories from the best nutrition rich roods you can. Plants have more nutrients and fibre than commercial potato chips, plus they also come with additives and the types of fats that cause damage.  As well, you usually have to eat a lot more of some foods to get the same number of calories. For example, 100 grams of avocado has 160 calories, 10 grams of fat and 6 grams of fibre. Meanwhile, 100 grams of salted potato chips has 542 calories, 36 grams of fat and 4.4 grams of fibre. Your average avocado weights about 170 grams, and your average bags of chips is around 150 grams.

Day 27 also reminds me that I really do need to get more physical activity into my day. I am very sedentary, so in my off hours I should be out there getting some exercise. A sedentary lifestyle like mine is not a good long-term health plan, no matter how great my diet is.

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 17 – Love Tofu!

Demystifying Tofu: It’s Just a Bean!

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2fe“An ancient food, tofu originated in China about 2,000 years ago. While the details of its discovery are uncertain, legend has it that it was discovered by accident when when a Chinese cook added nigari seaweed to a pot of soy milk, causing it to curdle, and the result was tofu. Tofu was introduced into Japan in the 8th century where it was known as “okabe” until the 15th century, though it didn’t gain widespread popularity in Japan until the 17th century.

Tofu’s rise in the West mirrored the increasing interest in healthier foods. First gaining attention during the 1960s, tofu has been skyrocketing in popularity ever since research began to reveal the many significant benefits of this delicious legume-based food.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudrea, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

I really fell in love with tofu when I was living in Japan. The Japanese do to tofu what the French do to wine. Handmade tofu is an art form passed down through generations. People will travel just to eat a particular region’s speciality tofu. It’s not just the base ingredient, but what is done with it.

A page from the 1782 Edo cookbook Tofu Hyakuchin (One Hundred Unique Types of Tofu)
A page from the 1782 Edo cookbook Tofu Hyakuchin (One Hundred Unique Types of Tofu)
Studio hand coloured 19th century photograph of a tofu seller.
Studio hand coloured 19th century photograph of a tofu seller.
(c) Japan Centre
(c) Japan Centre

A sign of how incredible good tofu can be is Hiyayakko – fresh, soft tofu chilled and served with grated ginger, katsuobushi, shallots and soy sauce.  The tofu is so delicate and distinctive you can eat it as a centrepiece dish. Although, now I’m vegan I would do without the katsuobushi.

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 17 – Love Tofu!

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 12 – Satisfy Your Cravings with Plants

The Power of Cravings: Fat and Salt Taste Good

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2feCraving: a very strong desire for something

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Day 12, Colleen makes the case that what we really mean when we say we crave animals as food is that we crave “fat, salt, flavour, texture and familiarity”. This seems like an odd claim at first, and I am still not sure it is 100% right. Eggs taste like eggs. Meat tastes like meat. You know this when you first go vegan, and then you forget. But there is definitely something to Colleen’s argument. A craving is not a taste.

What do you want more than the taste of butter? Why did you originally go vegan?
What do you want more than the taste of butter? Why did you originally go vegan?

If you find yourself craving animal products, what are you going to do?  This is where the question becomes – What do I really want?

Obviously, everyone goes vegan for a reason. I think the key is to tap back into that reason, to remind yourself of the motivation.  I expected cravings to be a problem when I first went vegan. Ironically, the opposite was true. I was revolted by foods only a few weeks ago I had loved.

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 12 – Satisfy Your Cravings with Plants

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 8 – Eat Breakfast

Starting the Day Right: A Bevy of Breakfast Ideas

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2fe“The best thing we can do is choose the most nutrient dense foods that are high in fibre and low in calories. … By eating nutrient dense food you create a solid foundation on which the rest of your day can be built.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Eat breakfast.

Physiologically  it’s important. You haven’t eaten for hours. Your blood sugar is low; your metabolism has slowed down; you need food to get going.

In my early adult years I was terrible about regular eating. I skipped breakfast most of the time.  I wouldn’t feel like eating in the morning, probably because I was eating most of my food late at night. During the day I had no regular eating schedule.

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 8 – Eat Breakfast

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 7 – Get in the Kitchen

Making the Time to Cook

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2fe“The bottom line is if we don’t have time to be sick, then we have to make time to be healthy. …

If we have the time to pack the family into the car, drive to a restaurant, find a parking spot, stand in line to wait for a table, decide what to order, wait for the food, eat the food, wait for the bill, pay the bill, then drive back home, we have time to chop some vegetables.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Chop vegetables in advance. If you chop them, you will use them - true story.
Chop vegetables in advance. If you chop them, you will use them – true story.

Day 7 is about cooking. People lead busy lives and it often feels easier to just order a pizza. When you are tired and stressed, cooking feels like just one more chore you have to do. I imagine that if you have kids they get fussy and dinner becomes more irritation than pleasure. I remember as a child watching the battle of wills between my parents and my brother over vegetable eating. My sister talks about counting the peas as she forced herself to finish eating them. It’s no wonder vegetables become the enemy, and we find ways to avoid them in adult life.

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 7 – Get in the Kitchen

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 4 – Count the Costs of NOT Being Vegan

Eating Healthfully Affordably

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2fe“When people make the transition to a whole foods plant-based diet, one of the things they notice is how much less money they spend on food.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

One common excuse people can use to not go vegan is to talk about how expensive it would be. They have never looked into it, but they just somehow ‘know’ that it is.

On Day 4, Colleen breaks down nicely what it really costs to not eat a plant-based diet – wholefood, of course. A junk food diet is still a nutrient poor, unhealthy diet regardless of its animal content.

Day 4 comments not only on the immediate monetary costs for the individual, but also on the hidden, long-term costs of healthcare (and time lost if you do get sick from a lifestyle related illness or disability); the social and economic costs of a sick, under performing population who need expensive medical care, heart surgery and pharmaceuticals to make it into old age. There are also the huge environmental costs of animal agriculture – direct monetary costs like the amount ratepayers hand over to clean up water damaged by the dairy industry, and the more indirect lifestyle costs, such as no longer being able to swim in our waterways. Underlying all of this are the true victims, the farm animals, who pay with their abused bodies and lives, and the wild native species who lose their habitats and food supplies.

A plant-based diet, wholefood diet can not only save you money directly, it also lowers health and environmental risks, and causes the least harm to our fellow earthlings - all of them both human and other species.
A plant-based, wholefood diet can not only save you money directly, it also lowers health and environmental risks, and causes the least harm to our fellow earthlings – all of them, human and other species.

The chapter also includes a few useful tips on how to shop (and not to shop) to help your dollar stretch that little bit further.

Cost Comparison

Out of interest, I decided to do a simple cost comparison to see how a wholefood vegan diet looked next to a typical, everyday Kiwi one. My conclusion is that plant-based will not cost you more, and overall is likely to end up being less expensive.

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 4 – Count the Costs of NOT Being Vegan

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 3 – Tiki Tour the Vegan Pantry

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Stocking a Healthful Kitchen

“Having a variety of nutritious ingredients on hand – particularly fresh fruits and vegetables –  is key to ensuring that you can whip up delicious, healthful, compassionate meals any time. Though a lot of junk food is technically vegan (Cocco Puffs, Oreo Cookies and Skittles), my intention is to guide you toward healthful plant-based foods, and I’m always walking the line of making suggestions that allow for fast, easy cooking, while recommending foods that are as whole as possible.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

When you look in your cupboards, fridge and freeze:

1. Identify all the foods that are already vegan – keep those.

2. Identify all the foods that are not vegan – get rid of those – give them away, feed them to the dog, chuck them – whatever.

3. Replace what you have gotten rid of with new foods or the ingredients to make new foods.

Day 3 is a tiki tour of the vegan pantry, fridge and freezer. It’s a tour with a lot of detail, and for me personally, not as useful as if I lived in the United States. Colleen lists brands and quite a few products not available here, though I have found some NZ and Australian brand alternatives.

Most 'vegan' food is just food familiar to everyone.
Most ‘vegan’ food is the same food familiar to everyone.

Fortunately, the majority of ‘vegan’ food, for me, is just more of the same food everybody else eats, but without the animal abuse. These days the regular supermarket isn’t as important as it used to be. More and more of my grocery shopping happens at the fruit and vegetables shops or Bin Inn (bulk grains, nuts, spices etc.), and some of the smaller Asian or speciality grocery stores. I still go to Vetro – of course, and the different local fruit farms, depending on what is in season; and I have added Village Organics to the list of semi-regular shops.  The Farmers’ Market moved out to Te Rapa, and we haven’t  got out there again, maybe next weekend?

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 3 – Tiki Tour the Vegan Pantry

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 1

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2feVegan is Not a Separate Food Group

“Recognise that “vegan food” is “normal food” you’re already familiar with: fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, lentils, mushrooms, grains, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Finally! I am now starting into the challenge proper. I didn’t expect it to take me a month to get through the set up. Anyway, now I get to stop reflecting on my ‘journey’ so far, and to start learning the practical basics of how to stay vegan.

The lesson for day one is that even before you start, you are already part, or for some, most of the way there.  When I first started going vegan, over seven months ago now, removing animal products left holes in my habitual food repertoire, but it still left lots of things in place.

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 1