Vegan With a Vengeance: Why I Eat (and Don’t Eat) What I Eat

This is a catchall research post. That’s right, hardcore research, with links to actual sites and everything. Because I am so tired of arguing with people about my choices. You want the short answer, the one I give to little kids? I’m vegan because thinking about cows makes me cry. That’s really what it boils down to. But big picture, the real thinking behind it, gets kind of disgusting. Not appropriate dinner conversation. But here we go.

Ethics

This one is kind of obvious. In 2015, 9.2 billion farm animals were slaughtered for food, according to the USDA. Of these animals, almost 29 million were cattle, 115 million were hogs, and a staggering 8.8 BILLION were chickens. These figures don’t even include rabbits, fish, or crustaceans (source).

This one seems kind of obvious, but apparently “bacon is sooooo good” is an equivalent argument, according to many people. Anyway…

Dairy can be just as deadly. Cows are naturally social creatures, much like humans. But when a cow gives birth (after being forcibly artificially inseminated), the calf is taken away within hours. The mother is then milked and eventually inseminated again for the process to begin again. Female calves are raised to be the next generation to undergo a life of pain, while male calves are sold for beef or, more often, killed for veal (source). So much for the “it hurts the cow if she isn’t milked” thing, right?

Finally, we come to chickens. Eggs are okay, right? Sorry. Even the happiest, free range-est chickens have still been bred to lay over three times the amount of eggs their ancestors did a century ago. Beaks are often culled (cut or trimmed) on baby chicks; the unlucky males are gassed or ground up (source, source).

 

Environment

This is one that I started learning about AFTER I had already stopped eating animal products, but it’s incredibly simple if you think about it. Crops are sown, grown, and harvested only to be fed to animals, which are then fed to people. The process is inefficient. 80% of the deforestation in the Amazon is due to cattle raising. Sure, you’re recycled paper and reusable cups are helping, but you know what isn’t? Your Big Mac. (source).

Health

To be honest, this isn’t as much of a factor for me. I mean, does the thought of putting pus-filled cheese and heavily antibiotic-treated chicken into my body disgust me now? Yes. Was it a factor when I first stopped eating animal products? Nah. But this may help convince some people. Vegans tend to be thinner (which, obviously, does not mean healthier, but is still appealing to the general population), have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and a lower risk of high blood pressure, as well as the higher availability of important nutrients such as folic acid and fiber (source).

Disclaimer

I’m not a professional. Obviously. I’m just showing my reasoning. And I know that not everyone has the resources and the drive to plan food and be so careful, and that’s okay. But attacking people for a choice that they are making, whether it is for their health or the environment or because of personal convictions. is not okay. If you want to ask questions because you are curious, then ask! If you want to ask questions to ridicule… what are you even doing? Seriously, dude.

A final anecdote, to finish off a kind of heavy little post:

My brother in law was talking to me, and pointing out that I had all these enzymes in my body that I wasn’t using because I don’t eat meat; why would I have them if I wasn’t supposed to use them, that kind of thing.  I became frustrated and finally yelled “YOU HAVE NIPPLES!” which ended the conversation abruptly.

I hope this has been helpful, if anyone has any questions or helpful links, please comment. Thanks!

 

 

 

Almond Butter Chia Bars

Vacation time! The slower (yet still very busy) part of my summer is over, and from now on is pretty go go go, and the go go go-ing. I’m typing this on a boat on my way to Canada from Seattle.

Yay, airports. Traveling. New places. Always tons of vegan options, right? And all fairly priced? Yeah. No. So you kind of have to plan a little bit. On Monday I threw together these super easy bars, just four ingredients, vegan, paleo, and no added sugars. This was my breakfast this morning 🙂

You only need four ingredients:

  • Dates
  • Almonds
  • Almond butter
  • Chia seeds

For this recipe, I used one package of dates (around 12 oz), 1/2 cup of almonds, 4 tbs almond butter, and 1/4 cup of chia seeds to make 8 bars.

To make:

  1. Put all ingredients in your food processor.
  2. Process until you have a soft, crumbly dough.
  3. Press into an 8 by 8 pan- you may want to line with parchment paper. Use the bottom of a cup to compact the bars as much as possible.
  4. Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.
  5. Cut bars, store in beeswax wraps. Keeps best in the fridge- otherwise, they’re still fine but a bit crumbly.

Happy baking!!!

Paleo Vegan Almond Butter Cups

What’s better than a Reese’s peanut butter cup? Probably a lot of things. A million dollars. The ability to shapeshift. A sense of purpose in life. So, probably a lot of things. But this recipe is also one of those things. So let’s try again.

What’s better than a Reese’s peanut butter cup? How about a treat that’s paleo, vegan lower in sugar and calories, free from refined sugars, and made with completely homemade ingredients and fair trade chocolate? Now, many people would say that DOESN’T sound better, but you don’t really need those people in your life.

I made these for my dad a few weeks ago and he was really pleased. Now any time I make treats that aren’t paleo, he’s a little disappointed. But sometimes there is an emotional emergency that requires slutty brownies (those delicious layers of chocolate chip cookie dough, Oreo cookies, and brownies. Totally drool worthy. )

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Good for vegans. Good for… err… cavemen? Paleos? Definitely not good for dogs. I think he forgives me though. DSC09021.JPG

Ingredients: 

  1. Spread melted chocolate on the bottom and sides of reusable silicone baking cups (or paper ones). DSC09010DSC09012.JPG
  2. Let set in fridge or freezer until solid.
  3. Melt almond butter until pourable. Pour into chocolate cups- the amount is up to you. Don’t let the power go to your head. DSC09014.JPG
  4. Let set until tops are solid- this will prevent the next chocolate layer from sinking in.
  5. Pour on remaining chocolate, spread to cover all of the almond butter.
  6. Let set in fridge or freezer until solid.

Make sure to keep these cold, especially in the summer. The coconut oil chocolate melts at really low temperatures. If you prefer a sweeter dessert, feel free to add stevia or maple syrup to the almond butter, or add a little extra maple syrup while making the chocolate. Happy baking!

Homemade Almond Butter

You already know how much I loooooooooooove peanut butter. There are very few things I love more than peanut butter: dogs, coffee, my family, my boyfriend, chocolate… okay, maybe there are quite a few things. But you get the point. And most of those things can be improved with peanut butter. If you put a teaspoon of it on the tip of a dog’s nose, you both have nearly endless entertainment!

Since my dad is currently following the Paleo diet, I have had to tweak some recipes or find new ones (gotta love Pinterest!). A lot of these take almond butter which is…. expensive. At school, a 16 oz jar of almond butter is around $15. Only $9.99 on sale, though! What a bargain!

The other problem is that it is completely delicious, and doesn’t last long when I’m in the house. On a recent trip, I actually ate two of those squeeze packets of almond butter… one right after the other. Nothing to put it on. Just almond butter. And it was delicious.

But it’s not hard to make by yourself at all! The trick is to toast the nuts beforehand and to be patient. You absolutely need a decent food processor for this.

Ingredients: 

  • 10 oz raw almonds
  • 1-2 tbs coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2 tbs maple syrup
  1. Toast the almonds at 250F for about ten minutes.
  2. Transfer toasted almonds to food processor. Blend for about ten minutes, checking and scraping the bowl every few minutes. It will quickly look like thisDSC09048.JPG
  3. Once it starts to turn from a flour texture to something slightly, but still dry, you have two options: to continue mixing until the texture you want is achieved (which may take a while…) or add in the melted oil and maple syrup to speed up the process and create a smoother, creamier, sweeter almond butter.
  4. Continue blending until smooth and transfer to a jar. Keep in the fridge for best results. DSC09060.JPG

Comment your favorite paleo recipes, and if you try this recipe, tell me how it turns out. Happy baking!

Protein Cookies: Snickerdoodle

I am back with another classic cookie variation on my protein cookies! Snickerdoodles have always been a favorite of mine, and they’re so simple to make, and yummy to eat. These are also super simple to make:

Ingredients: 

  1. Mix in about half a teaspoon of cinnamon to the cookie, dough, until evenly distributed.
  2.  Mix together remaining cinnamon and coconut sugar in a small bowl.
  3. Roll cookie dough into four small balls.
  4. Roll each ball in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  5. Place them on a baking sheet and flatten slightly.
  6. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Nutrition:

Comment if you tried this and what your thoughts are. Happy baking!

Nutrition (for one cookie): 81 calories; 11.8 grams carbs, 5.3 grams fiber, 4.4 grams sugar; 1.7 grams fat, 4.7 grams protein. DSC09037.JPG

Protein Cookies: Double Peanut Butter Cookies

As promised, I am back with another variation of my homemade protein cookies. And these are my favorite! I looooooove peanut butter cookies so much, and while I can usually justify eating an entire batch of my favorite recipe by telling myself that it has protein… I really shouldn’t.

This recipe, however, has 6 grams of protein per 100 calorie cookie, and taste wonderfully peanut buttery. I suspect it may become a staple pretty quickly.

Ingredients:

  1. Mix peanut butter into cookie dough until it’s even throughout.
  2. Roll into four small balls and place on a cookie sheet.
  3. Press down on each with a fork, to get the classic peanut butter cookie criss-cross.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes.

Nutrition (per cookie): 8.9 grams of carbs, 4.4 grams of fiber, 2.7 grams of sugar; 4.3 grams of fat, 5.7 grams of protein

You could even add some chocolate chips or cacao nibs to give these some extra umph. Comment if you tried this and what you thought. Happy baking!DSC09047

Protein Cookies

Sugar is my weakness. I have always had such a sweet tooth- more like a sweet set of dentures. I can eat an entire row of Oreos without even thinking. But apparently, that’s “not healthy”…

I also need to eat more protein. Up until recently, I tried to eat around 50 grams of protein- essentially enough to survive. But I should be doubling that, which is hard to do without eating pounds of tofu or lentils, or drinking three protein shakes a day. So I had to get a little clever with my protein. So. Protein cookies.

These were originally based off of Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookies. But I wanted something cheaper, healthier, lower in calories, and without refined sugar or white flour. So a true, complete cookie. And I think I succeeded. In this post, I have the base for the cookie, and I will be posting variations over the next week. The first: the classic chocolate chip cookie.

Ingredients: Cookie Base

  • 3 tbs coconut flour
  • 2 tbs PB2 or other peanut powder
  • 2 tbs unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 tbs unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbs stevia in the raw
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • .5 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Mix together dry ingredients.DSC09032.JPG2. Add wet ingredients. DSC09034.JPG3. Mix well. DSC09035.JPG4.  Add add-ins. This week: cacao nibs. Add about 1 TBS of raw cacao nibs to the mix, and mix well.

5. Roll into balls, and flatten slightly. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, until tops are slightly dry. Let cool before eating.

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Here’s a sneak peek at the cookies coming later: DSC09047.JPG

Cacao nib, sugar cookie, double peanut butter, and snickerdoodle.

Nutrition (this is for one cookie, a batch makes four): 8 grams carbs, 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar; 4.6 grams of protein, 2.2 grams of fat.

Comment what other kinds of cookies, or other recipes you would like to see. Happy baking!