Vegan Bytes #36: The Hottest Vegetable This Season
And Other Curiosities
Welcome to the Vegan-Nutritionista.com subscriber group! 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: Have You Lost Hope? Get It Back!
*Nutritional Spotlight: The Hottest Vegetable This Season... Kale!
*Question: "Does the vegan diet lead to baldness?"
*Question: "Is medication vegan?"
*Vegan Ebooks: Complete Collection of Our Ebooks
*Recipe of the Month: Raw Garlicky Kale Salad
*What's New?: What's New With Vegan Nutritionista?
Remember, I write this newsletter and maintain Vegan-Nutritionista to help you, so if you ever have a suggestion for a topic you want covered in the newsletter, please let me know.
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Have You Lost Hope? Take It Back!
When I first went vegan, I went on a blitz of reading everything I could find and internalizing the importance of a plant-based diet; for our health, for our planet, and for the morality of not causing suffering. Every so often I like to go back to the oldies-but-goodies and remind myself of the exact details, so my brain can return from the general mentality of "eating animals is bad for all involved" to the more precise version that includes examples and details.
I have to say that it's often not the most fun process because I absolutely cry my eyes out when I reread about how creatures on this planet are treated by us humans. But, I think that process is important and I recommend it to everyone, whether you eat meat or haven't touched an animal product in years.
I recently picked up a copy of the old classic MAD COWBOY: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat. I tend to be the most impressed with people who not only have direct experience, but who also used to play for the other team, and as an ex-cattle rancher, Howard Lyman's story is amazing. He grew up on an old-school cattle farm before the days of organic vs. conventional, and was handed down the family business.
It took only a degree in agriculture to entice Lyman away from the sustainable, organic farm his grandfather started to the current agribusiness world of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, huge increases in the quantity of his cattle (and subsequent decreases in the quality of their care), and eventually, the loss of his family business because of the impossibility of turning a profit as a small farmer competing with the corporations. His story is touching and full of the inside details of what the agribusiness world does to the humans involved in the whole process.
My husband just started reading Diet for a New America. We were flying and I looked over his shoulder for parts of the first chapter and was reminded of the stories of the flat-out intelligence of animals. John Robbins' book is truly a classic read and is stocked with details about what our current system is doing to America and how different it could be if we were to eat differently.
I have to tell you… I try to maintain a sense of hopefulness about the future, but sometimes when I start reading the gory details and start really thinking about the global implications for what we're doing to the planet in pursuit of a tasty meal, it can be downright depressing. Maybe you've felt this way before; this sense of "how can it possibly make a difference if one more person decides to change his/her ways?" Or a helplessness about how much work it would take to reverse some of the damage that has already been done to our waterways, soils, and ecosystem in general.
But as I remind myself, it truly does make a difference. Your actions and decisions are important. And it's not better just to remain in the dark about the truth. Even though it can make you temporarily sad, you can take amazing solace in knowing that you are making a difference, not just in yourself and in the health of your body, but for all the men, women, animals, and plants on the planet.
Nutritional Spotlight: The Hottest Vegetable of the Season is.... Kale!
Right now, my favorite dark leafy greens is kale. I could seriously eat it three times a day, every day, and still be happy. And, this just happens to be one of the best times of year to enjoy your local greens, whether you're in the northern or southern hemisphere. It's super sweet right after the chill of the winter and before the chill of the fall, so enjoy it while you can.
Kale is from the Brassica family and is related to cabbage, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts. There are several different varieties of it, but what I see most often are regular green and red curly kale, and dinosaur or lacinato kale, which has long dark blue-green leaves and a slightly sweeter flavor.
Not only can you eat kale in numerous ways, it's insanely good for you. It's loaded with vitamins K, A, an C, and is very high in manganese, fiber, calcium, vitamin B6, and potassium, and good levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients help to reduce inflammation, work as antioxidants, and produce glucosinates that work to prevent cancers.
Eating dark leafy greens like kale will lower your risk for developing cancers such as bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Some studies even seem to suggest that kale can help treat cancer.
Because of its high levels of dietary fiber, kale helps clean out your digestive tract, lower your cholesterol levels, and detoxify your body. Think of cholesterol and cardiovascular health as the x and y axis on a chart. The more you reduce your cholesterol intake, the better your cardiovascular health.
When you're picking kale at the market, make sure there are no yellow or brown leaves and nothing is wilting. You can store kale in a plastic bag in your fridge for up to a week, but remember that after the green is picked, it starts to lose flavor and nutrients.
There are so many ways to enjoy kale…
- As a raw salad with lemon juice and salt/pepper
- Massaging the leaves with a bit of olive oil makes them softer and easier to chew because you break up the tough fibers in the leaves. Try dressing it with your favorite dressing
- In a morning juice or smoothie with your Vitamix
- Baked or roasted with a bit of tamari and sesame seeds at a low temperature for kale chips
- Dehydrated with different spices
- Steamed and added to other vegetables as a salad
- Added into a hearty vegetable soup
- Sauteed with garlic and onions in olive oil
Eat up and enjoy!
Question: "Does the vegan diet lead to baldness?"
I want to become a vegan but the only thing stopping me is my male pattern hair loss. I still have a full head of hair and to battle my hair loss I take Propecia medication, have a high protein diet, and use a special shampoo. I have read on many websites that eating foods rich in protein like eggs, yogurt, and meat are needed to maintain my hair. Will becoming vegan and giving up those foods make my hair loss worse?
Follow this link to Vegan Nutritionista to see if vegan diets prevent male pattern hair loss.
Question: "Are medicines vegan?"
I'm vegan and have been since last December. Thankfully, touch wood, I haven't been ill within this time but what happens when I do fall ill, visit the doctor and he says I need a prescription? I'll obviously tell him that I'm vegan but is he really going to be able to prescribe me with an animal friendly prescription for my illness? Are there vegan tablets and vegan medicines out there for us?
In light of the recent news about a French family who neglected the needs of their sick infant in 2008 and was recently sentenced to jail time, I thought this question was worthy of being discussed in our monthly newsletter. I could go on and on about how sad it is that any parent treated their infant so poorly and how frustrating it is that it had to be a vegan who did that, but I want to stick to the main question at hand… how can you find vegan medication and at what point should you personally draw the line and accept non-vegan items like medication.
Click here to read about vegan medications and when it's the right time to take any medicine you can find.
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!
Vegan Nutritionista Downloadable EBooks
The Vegan Bread Box: 30 Simple and Delicious Vegan Bread Recipes
This is our most recently created ebook, and it's been overwhelmingly successful. I've found it really difficult to find a vegan bread cookbook on the internet; there are tons of recipes out there, but they're scattered all over different sites and you never know which ones are good. This book has everything from an eggless brioche to a classic whole wheat boule recipe, so you'll never have to go scrounging the internet again. I'm so happy people have gotten so much out of this ebook.
This time I asked for the help of several bread testers, so the recipes are flavor/texture/instruction-tested and approved! Learn more about the bread baking tip that's almost too easy here or download your copy for only $7.95 now.
Vegan Meal Plans for Spring/Summer
The spring meal plan book is available and is getting great reviews! It focuses on seasonal spring vegetables like kale, lettuce, carrots, peas, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, and more! Just like in the original Vegan Nutritionista meal plans, the menus include 66 recipes for full dinners for 4 work weeks complete with nutritional information, tips, and many pictures. No repeats! Get your Vegan Meal Plan for Spring/Summer, now for just $9.75.
Vegan Meal Plans for Fall/Winter
Vegan Meal Plans is a complete meal plan for one month vegan weekday dinners. It includes 64 recipes, pictures, nutritional information, grocery lists, and tips and techniques. Everyone from those beginning a vegan diet to those veterans who want fresh menu ideas love this ebook. It focuses on fresh, local, and seasonal vegetables and uses all normal ingredients-- no fussy or gourmet skills needed. Download a copy for only $9.75 here.
Soak, Rinse, Boil! Your Complete Guide to Cooking Beans and Grains
Soak, Rinse, Boil! is a complete guide to cooking beans and grains. Don't worry about picking up endless cans of beans that need to be rinsed to reduce the sodium. Control all your own additives with fresh, homemade beans and grains. This guide teaches how to soak, how to boil, what spices to add and when, and how to store your finished product. Download a copy for only $4.75 here.
*Note* If you are an owner of A Fresh New Vegan You, you have a very similar guide in your ebook already. This is a printable handbook to store in the kitchen near your dried beans and grains.
Just the Menus Ebook Package Deal
Just the Menus Ebook Package allows you to have both Vegan Nutritionista meal plans, one for the fall/winter and one for the spring/summer at a discounted rate. Download your copy for only $16.99 here.
Vegan Grocery List
This massive, complete vegan grocery list is the only one you'll ever need. Print out copies of it to hang on your fridge, and then mark what you need as you go throughout the week. Download a copy for only $0.99.
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.
Entire Collection of Ebooks Deal:
Get The Vegan Bread Box, A Fresh New Vegan You, Vegan Meal Plans and Vegan Meal Plans for Spring with a free copy of the massive Vegan Grocery List for only $49.95. Save 15%! Download this package here.*Note: this does not include Soak, Rinse, Boil! because you get it within A Fresh New Vegan You.
Recipe of the Month: Garlicky Kale Salad
Whole Foods has a kale on their salad bar line that I love and that I've worked to find an exact replica of at home. The star ingredient is garlic, but if you aren't a lover of the spicy and smelly, you can tone it down with less, just start with less and taste it before adding more. This dish tastes amazing when it's had time to soak up all the flavors, so it's perfect for making earlier in the day and serving later, but it's not required... it will still taste delicious right off the presses!
- 1-2 bunches kale (whatever type you like and whatever is fresh), rinsed and dried
- 2-3 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp. raw organic apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 Tbsp. agave nectar or maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
Cut the kale into edible bites and leave it all on your cutting board. Pour a small amount of olive oil all over the kale and then begin massaging the leaves with your hands. You will start to hear the fibers cracking, and as they break down, you'll feel the kale getting softer. It will also start to get darker and will take up less space on your cutting board. Once all the pieces are sufficiently massaged, set the kale aside.
Combine the rest of the ingredients except the olive oil in a large serving bowl. Whisk it all together and while still whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. This allows the oil to emulsify with the rest of the ingredients and prevents it from separating.
Taste the dressing and adjust to your likes… if it's too spicy for you, add a bit more agave nectar or maple syrup. If it's too sweet, add more apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Add more garlic if you can handle the flavor. If the whole thing is too thin, add some more nutritional yeast. And lastly, if you love the flavors but they're a bit too intense, whisk in another tablespoon of olive oil and see if it suits you better.
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That's all for this month!! I hope you enjoyed reading it. Have a great month!
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