Vegan Bytes #29: Are You Afraid to Put Yourself Out There?
Welcome to the Vegan-Nutritionista.com insider group of subscribers! Our newsletter focuses on helping you learn more about veganism and how to apply it to your daily life. Vegan Bytes is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date with the world of food, answering your vegan nutrition questions, and providing you with ideas on ways to spread your lifestyle beliefs.
In this issue...
*Vegan Thoughts: Vegan Wedding Receptions Are All the Rage
*Question: "I lost 210 pounds on a vegan diet!"
*Vegan Ebooks: Get Your Vegan Meal Plan Now for the Fall
*Question: "How can men gain weight on a vegan diet?"
*Recipe of the Month: Raw Vegan Apple Pie
*Hidden Pages: Pages Created Just For You
*What's New?: What's new on Vegan Nutritionista?
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Vegan Wedding Receptions Are All the Rage
Put Yourself (and your beliefs) Out There
If you’re remotely connected to the vegan (or political) world, you probably heard that Chelsea Clinton just had a -mostly- vegan wedding. It spawned countless articles and blogs, all speculating on who catered it, what the guests ate, what the cake tasted like, and more. And, for me, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
See, a month after Chelsea got married, I got married, and… you guessed it, we had a vegan reception. I loved seeing all the stories arguing both sides of the argument; should you stick to your ideals and serve what you believe in, or should you bend and add grass-fed beef or something else to your menu “for your guests”? I could only hope that my family members and friends would read about her wedding and stop worrying that ours was going to be a tofu fest.
Well, for me and my fiancé/husband, “for our guests” we wanted to serve vegan food. To us, it would have been hypocritical to add anything else to the menu for countless reasons.
1. We are ethical vegans and don’t believe animals should be used for human food.
2. We believe that vegan food (especially the kind we served) is far healthier than non-vegan food, so we think we are doing our guests a service by serving it.
3. Though we try hard not to be self-righteous about our beliefs, we believe very strongly in how we eat, probably as strongly as some feel about religion. Guests wouldn’t expect Muslims to serve pork at their wedding reception, so should they really expect vegans to serve it either?
Now, this doesn’t mean that we judge vegans who choose not to serve exclusively vegan food, because we understand that everyone is different. We know that sometimes family situations or catering availability or religious or political affiliation can get in the way.
Granted, we realized that we were really putting ourselves (and vegan food) out there for criticism, but we couldn't resist. We loved having the chance to show our closest friends and family members that vegans don’t just eat salads and that vegan food can not only be totally filling, but totally delicious.
After all, how many weddings have you gone to where you left thinking, “That food was outstanding!" Most of the time the food is forgettable, at best. So why should people make such a big deal of it? And, at the end of the day, we figured that if they hated going for one meal without meat so much, they could stop and get wings on the way home. Or they could fill up before they came.
The great thing is that, nowadays, it’s become extremely easy to find an outstanding vegetarian/vegan caterer who can prepare food that will knock the socks off your guests. With celebrities like Chelsea Clinton and Alicia Silverstone opening the world’s eyes to the possibilities of vegan food, more and more people will see it as an accepted food, even for fancy occasions. And, the more of us who request it, the more the supply of vegetarian caterers will increase.
We found the best vegan caterer in the area and lined up a delicious, vegetable-centric dinner for people to try at our wedding.
In the months before the wedding, we got our fair share of cautiously concerned probing from our guests. “What will the children eat?” God forbid we serve their children fresh vegetables! “Will the cake be vegan too?” Yes, and it will be delicious! “What is the main course going to be?” i.e. What in the world will you serve instead of beef? And the ever-popular “How much tofu are you going to serve?”
Though we did try to quell their fears, we were also secretly excited for the reception food and the reaction we expected from our guests. It’s always better to under promise and over deliver, right? So, we didn’t want to build it up too much. We anticipated them expecting raw tofu patties and being presented with beautiful vegetable dishes and then telling us, “Wow, this food is actually really good.”
And, we did our best to ignore the negative comments that went beyond the normal concerns such as, “We’ll get a pig spit roast in the parking lot,” and “If you were coming to my wedding, I would make sure you had vegan food to eat.” Those are direct quotes. However, I choose not to dwell on them. In both cases, the person admitted they were joking.
Well, guess what... we did get the reaction we hoped for, and more. We had lots and lots of people tell us how good everything was, and we even heard through the grapevine about several skeptical people who gave the standard quote, "Oh wow, this is actually really good." Evidently, a week after the reception, some of our guests were still talking about how delicious the food was. Score!
Kit Wood from Gail's Vegetarian Catering in Maryland provided our local, organic, vegan meal for the evening. We did have a little tofu on the menu, but it was hidden in "no meatball" as an appetizer. We also had spiked gazpacho shooters and decadent zucchini cakes for passed appetizers. Then, we had an heirloom tomato salad with a balsamic drizzle for our salad. The blueberry butter on whole-grain baguettes was a huge hit.
For the main course, we had "no-crab" corn cakes, black bean salad, lemon-artichoke pasta, grilled bourbon peaches, steamed green beans and roasted beets. Oh, yum! The crab cakes and peaches were crowd favorites.
And, let's not forget the cake. We got ours from Kamber Sherrod at Sticky Fingers bakery in D.C., and it was amazing. Not only was it incredibly beautiful, with light green "buttercream" frosting and gorgeous purple sugar flowers all over it, but it was delicious. We had vanilla layers and a chocolate layer, each with different types of fresh fruit filling.
In conclusion, I encourage you to hold strong to your beliefs and help others to experience something different, even if for one meal of their lives. And, you never know, you might get one or two people for whom one meal changes their lives.
If you had a vegan/vegetarian wedding, we'd love to hear your story too. Shares yours here. You can also find tips on vegan wedding menu ideas.
To learn more about Kit Wood and her catering service, check it out here: http://www.gailsvegetarian.com/
And, if you're interested in a cake from Sticky Fingers, check it out here: http://www.stickyfingersbakery.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=30
We get so many questions about vegan weight loss on Vegan Nutritionista, and many times my answer is the same; "eat plenty of vegetables, whole grains, beans, and fruits, and add in some sea vegetables and nuts/seeds. Drink lots of water and exercise moderately." That can get old to hear, but at least I'm consistent, right?
I couldn't pass up sharing this incredible story with you. Read it from her:
La Dawn's Story:
I've lost 210 pounds on a vegan diet!
In 2005, I was a 40-year old 380 pound woman dealing with a terminal illness, however, through change and prayer, I have beaten the odds and lived longer than the doctors ever thought I would. In the process, I've lost more than 200 pounds.
I’m in the best shape of my life and smaller than I was in high school. This strict regime that I’ve created has dramatically improved my quality of life, re-energized the immune system and has given me a renewed spirit with the ability to get on with living.
I've done the research and man in the year 1812 came along and messed up with manufacturing of canned food and chemicals inside everything these days... I have MORE energy than all my friends combined and seeing me drop from 380 to 170 still hasn't made them see the light, no matter how much I teach them...
I'd say 99% of my eating regime comes from "strictly vegan" once or twice a year I may have a piece of salmon, but that's it for me. I'm down to 170 pounds with only 20 - 25 left to lose so I feel comfortable and the fat is gone...:)
See La Dawn's amazing before and after picture here.
Vegan Nutritionista Downloadable EBooks
Vegan Meal Plans
Perfect for Fall Cooking
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A Fresh New Vegan You
A Fresh New Vegan You is a complete look at why people go vegan, including information about factory farms, the environment, and the health benefits. It provides details on how to go vegan, and offers basic vegan nutritional advice, as well as information on vegan pregnancy and raising vegan children. This ebook combines all my vegan research into one easy, convenient location. Download a copy for only $27 here.
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First of all, I want to say how much I enjoy your website and all the information you provide. You've been a real inspiration and have helped me lead a more healthy and kind lifestyle.
My husband and I have been vegan for the past two years. We feel great and have no interest in eating meat or dairy but my husband, who is 6'3", is getting a little too thin. Lately he's been eating double portions of food and exercising 3-4 times a week to try to build more muscle mass. What other tips can you provide for ways he can gain 5-10 pounds?
First of all, thanks for the compliments! I'm glad you like the site. Congratulations to you on changing your lifestyle.
Second of all, this is a great question. Many people struggle with losing weight and find the vegan lifestyle as a great answer to their problems. However, sometimes a thin person might struggle with the opposite problem and might need to gain weight. I know this is a sensitive topic for men too, who often want to maintain a strong physique and not be too thin.
You are on the right track. He probably needs to eat larger portions. The weight loss/gain challenge is not all about calories (of course), but generally speaking, the more calories you consume, the more likely you are to gain weight. However, as evidenced by The China Study, many cultures have a history of consuming more calories than other cultures but still are much thinner.
Instead of simply eating more calories, he also needs to consume more dense calories filled with healthy fats. Great sources of healthy fats are nuts, avocados, coconuts, seeds and olives. These foods are rich in monounsaturated fats and protein and will give your husband tons of energy. He should pack a bag of nuts and seeds and keep them at his desk to snack on throughout the day.
Also, for years nutritionists have recommended that we stay away from saturated fats. However, recent research shows that coconut oil is a rare exception. Though it is high in saturated fats, it is one of the healthiest oils on Earth. It is composed of medium-chain triglycerides rather than the long-chain triglycerides in things like milk, eggs, and vegetable oils. That’s all fancy nutritional jargon for the fact that coconut oil doesn’t harm your cholesterol levels and protects against heart disease. Consider it an entirely different type of oil, and add it into your diet. You can use it for cooking as well as baking, and you can use coconut milks to substitute for other types of non-dairy milks.
If your husband has a high metabolism, he will burn all those calories off much quicker, so he will simply need to eat more often. Every couple hours, when he gets hungry, he should have a snack. This is also where his weight lifting will come in handy. As a male, he needs good portions of whole grains and beans, as well as leafy greens, to ensure he has plenty of energy for building muscle.
Using these tips it should be no problem for him to gain 5-10 pounds. I would definitely recommend checking out some of the amazing vegan male athletes as examples. Brandon Brazier’s Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness and Rip Esselystyn’s The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds are both great examples for your husband.
Have unresolved questions about veganism? Join in the discussion on our site by asking and answering questions, as well as commenting on other answers. It's fun and helpful!
Recipe of the Month:
Raw Apple Pie
It's the season for fresh apples, and I can think of nothing better than a healthful but delicious raw vegan apple pie for this month's recipe. This recipe is adapted from several great pie recipes I found on the internet, and it turns out perfectly. You can take it to a pot luck and charm everyone with it, or just keep it for your household.
You don't need to turn on your oven to make this pie, so it's great when apples come in season but the heat hasn't left the kitchen yet. Also, don't be scared of the extra steps; they are exceedingly easy and quick.
- 2 cups raw pecans
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup raisins
- 4 pitted medjool dates
- 4 cups apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 3/4 cup raisins, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes
- 3 pitted medjool dates, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Maple Glaze (optional):
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, warmed until it's liquid
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Read how to put your pie together here.
Secret Vegan Nutritionista Pages
Vegan Bytes Insider Password
The following pages are created just for Vegan Bytes Insiders... they are special hidden pages that only you can see, and it's my way of thanking you for reading each month.
The following pages are password-protected and will require a password from you. This password will change occasionally and you will always find the most current password in the most current Vegan Bytes Newsletter.
CURRENT PASSWORD = pineapple
p.s. case sensitive
Vegan Chemical-Free Gas Remedies
The one negative drawback to eating a vegan diet is that you often eat more fiber than the typical person. Doesn't sound negative, right? Well, it can be for your digestive system. Never fear though... I have researched and found several amazing, natural, chemical-free gas remedies.
Take A Fruit Bouquet Workshop
Fruit Bouquets are a creative way to show someone you care, without having to cut flowers or buy chocolates. Take this workshop to learn how to make your own fruit baskets, including pineapple daisies, chocolate-covered strawberries, and grape tulips.
Learn All About Nut Cheeses
Vegan cheeses are abundant in grocery stores across the world, but most of them are still lacking something. Tree nut cheeses
are the fabulous and new (somewhat) addition to the vegan world, and their flavor is unparalleled.
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