“Ethical veganism” has been ruled to be a philosophical belief in the UK in an employment tribunal. During a case brought by vegan Jordi Casamitjana, who claims he was sacked by the League Against Cruel Sports because of his ethical veganism, presiding judge Robin Postle ruled he was “satisfied overwhelmingly that ethical veganism does constitute a philosophical belief”.
Postle’s ruling doesn’t affect the outcome of the case itself, which continues, but it means that ethical veganism is recognised as a protected characteristic in accordance with the Equality Act 2010, which means it is unlawful to discriminate against an individual who is an ethical vegan. But how does this differ from being simply a vegan?
The word “vegan” was invented in 1944 in Leicester, England by Donald Watson and his future wife Dorothy Morgan. That year, Watson and others founded The Vegan Society. Research into the society’s early publications shows that their key focus was arguing for an end to animal exploitation.
Pioneer: Donald Watson, the founder of the Vegan Society in 1944. The Vegan Society
Veganism was ethical from its birth. In 1946, Watson wrote: “Human existence does not depend upon the inconceivable tyranny now existing against animals.” In 1950, the Vegan Society adopted its first official definition of veganism, agreed at their annual general meeting and published in their Rules of The Vegan Society, as: “the doctrine that man [sic] should live without exploiting animals”. In 1954 Leslie Cross, another key figure in the society’s early years, reflected that “rarely have nine short words enshrined a reform so massive, the achievement of which would bring a new world and new men to inhabit it.”
When veganism is understood in this light, Postle’s ruling clearly makes sense. The Equality Act 2010 states that to be a protected belief it must be genuinely held, more than an opinion, and apply to an important aspect of a person’s life or behaviour. But the ruling uses the term “ethical veganism” rather than just “veganism” to establish this condition. The early vegans felt no need to add an ethical prefix to their definition of veganism – so why add it?
One reason is that veganism has largely gained public prominence in recent years in relation to diet alone. Scant media attention is given to its ethical roots, or the transformative potential for individuals and society that Cross celebrated. Certainly, veganism has experienced a sharp rise in profile and popularity in recent years – the number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019.
This is nowhere more evident than in the current “green rush” of fast food corporations for the vegan pound. KFC’s new vegan burger is being promoted with an adaptation of its famous slogan: “finger lickin’ vegan”. To promote the product, a KFC UK spokesperson declared that:
The Colonel was all about welcoming everyone to his table – now vegans, flexitarians and our fried chicken fans can all enjoy the taste of our Original Recipe together.
On the face of it, the “green rush” is all about equality. Fast food giants are throwing open their doors to vegans and tackling vegan exclusion from mainstream food habits. But, through this kind of commodification, veganism is being placed alongside the kinds of products that the movement founders were fighting against. Veganism becomes co-opted as just a menu option.
In these terms, people who follow a vegan or plant-based diet are able to spend their money at fast food outlets. This has the ironic effect of making the exploitation of other animals invisible, at the very moment that a commodified, ethics-free version of veganism becomes more visible.
Ethical vegans may see fast food giants as the contemporary perpetrators of “the inconceivable tyranny” over animals that Watson wrote about in 1946. Their recent commodification of veganism seems to make Cross’s vision of “a new world” seem a more distant prospect – a consequence that makes good business sense for corporations that depend on animal exploitation for the bulk of their profits.
Focus on ethics
Postle’s ruling is all the more significant in this context. It sheds light on how veganism has been separated from ethics in common usage and “green rush” marketing. As such, it’s another wake-up call about how capitalism is remarkably adept at co-opting social movements that challenge any of its practices.
But the ruling also equips the vegan movement with a mainstream legitimacy for its ethical foundations that it has never previously enjoyed in the UK. Most importantly, this means that the ethical objection to the exploitation of other animals is firmly re-centred in our conversations about veganism.
Cooking has strong cultural and traditional ties. Recipes are passed down from generation to generation. Secret oral instructions privately circle a home kitchen. Some home cooks inherit boxes of hand-written recipes on index cards. Others employ arguments and cook-offs between sisters, brothers, mothers and cousins at family gatherings. And yet others never set foot inside a kitchen until they live on their own as an adult.
Whatever experience you may bring to the table, as it were, start from what you know. Here on AVF, we used to detail recipes with exact measurements. But the more we cook, the more fun we have using the eye method, as well as the dash method. I explain these two methods on cooking without a recipe below.
The eye method
About 10 years ago when I was still eating fish, my brother would ask me for a Hawaiian poke recipe. Nowadays I prefer vegan plant-based poke, and you will see a series starting here on that soon. At any rate, I drove my brother crazy because I never gave him the exact measurements, nor a proper recipe with ingredients, let alone measurements (I've always been that kind of, throw whatever you've got into the bowl kind of cook).
Every time he asked me exactly how much of an ingredient to add, my response was always, “Just eye it; you'll get the hang of it.”
Well sure, there's a little more to it than that. For those who have been using the eye method for many years, they don't give it a second thought. Cooking and baking are like muscle memory, to the trained eye.
The metric and imperial systems are always a consideration (and a royal pain in the butt) when making recipes. Using both systems often makes recipes look overwhelming – and, of course, the risk of making a mistake doubles.
When you ‘eye it’ you use the volume system.”Pour a good amount could be anywhere from a quarter of a cup to a few cups, depending on how large your recipe is and what the ingredient is specifically. Don’t worry too much, though. This is how you learn to adjust your recipes through tasting rather than measuring – how you learn to have a good eye.
Our friends over at Taste of Home have some good tips on how to wing it when you don’t have your measuring cups:
The dash method
Another way to share a recipe is just to list the ingredients of a dish. That’s how chefs exchange secrets. They are not bothered to give measurements, as they know the foundations of how to cook – well, okay, not a surprise, it is their job after all.
When you ask one of these pros to give measurements, they may simply say, use a dash of this and a dash of that. Bartenders can be notorious for using the dash method, as you can see here:
The birds living at the New England Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary in Rhode Island are the inspiration for naming of this salad. The cockatoos love healthy snacks, and when I shared this one with Kongo Bird, he dove into it. So, I thought it would be a cute play on words, for the two beans of cubed baked tofu and chickpeas, or garbanzos. You can find the recipe for the baked tofu at the end of this post under “sources”.
Eat chickpeas not chicks
When I was a carnivore, I used to eat a lot of chicken salad. I made it different ways – curried with raisins, or with walnuts and cranberries – it always had a creamy base to it. Now that I am vegan I started to explore different kinds of creamy salads. Salads I can spoon into a pocket, definitely a comfort food for me.
The two beans in the salad are baked cubed tofu and chickpeas. Try smashing a few of them so it holds together better. A handful of grape tomatoes and a stalk of celery provide a nice contrast in color and texture. Some leftover parsley needed to be used, so I chopped that up and threw it in, too.
I remember visiting a friend down in South Carolina awhile ago and going to the neighbors for dinner. The neighbor had a big bowl of potato salad with some interesting ingredients in it, like peas. Sue said, “Yeah, I put about anything I have in it.”
Then I added a spoonful of the vegan pesto from Trader Joe's and a spoonful of Vegenaise. If I ever have more time I may try making a homemade mayonnaise recipe I found on YouTube. The base is navy beans and vegetable oil. The only thing I don't like about Vegenaise is the canola oil. It doesn't stop me from buying it though, because it tastes so good. Besides, I'm getting less and less comfortable using cashews, so any other alternative ingredients work for me. See why in “sources” at the end of this post.
Here below is VeganLovlie's video how to bake vegan mayonnaise. It looks delicious with the white beans.
Make your own mayo that rocks the house!
I found that chopped up celery gives a nice crunch. It replaces onion, without the aftertaste of onions. As I write this, it is late spring with chives and scallions, green onions, in season. These have a lighter taste than regular onions, so you may enjoy mixing them in as well.
A few raisins add sweetness. Yum!
My blogging partner reminded me that celery is not welcome in her home. She said “I would replace your celery with radishes.”
Okay, radishes, celery, I don't judge. What would your optional crunchy veg be?
I also decided to splurge and add two twists of the black pepper mill and a sprinkle of pink salt.
As you can see from the image, I chose to use a pita pocket. Lately I've been on a flat bread, or unleavened bread Kik because I know they do not have eggs or dairy added to them. Perhaps even subconsciously I am thinking about the yeast, I don't know.
Whatever your choice of bread or grain, let us know! I didn't have any greens, but I may have added some arugula or spring salad leaves. Come to think of it, this salad has chopped up kale in it, too.
As my friend Sue from South Carolina says, “Throw whatever you've got into it.”
Chickpeas – either from a tin or soaked and cooked. Not raw or soaked only.
Italian herb-baked tofu, cubed
Celery and/or radish
Kale, chopped or your choice of leafy greens
Parsley or your choice of herbs like chives, basil.
Anything else you want to throw in, like chopped up walnuts, raisins or cranberries
What does a healthy vegan diet look like? Many people don't know what a healthy diet is, let alone a vegan one. I got talking with a neighbor at the grocery store recently. He invited me to join his tai chi classes, and talked about general health benefits. I took a chance and asked him if he knew of any local vegan communities. His response was dismissive. “When I was training at the gym, all the vegans fizzled out quick. A vegan diet doesn't work.”
He went on to admit that the small group (one person, actually) of vegans he had met was back in the 1970s, over 40 years previous. I ventured to mention all the top vegan body builders with videos on YouTube. “With the lack of educational resources on diet before the Internet, the vegan you met probably lived on pasta,” I commented. The neighbor was not impressed enough to inquire more, and proudly announced that he “eats everything.” Needless to say, the man soon excused himself and went on his way.
So, do we really want to know about healthy eating, or are we slowly poisoning ourselves?
According to the National Cancer Institute, Americans do not meet federal dietary recommendations. Sure, opinions vary when it comes to what healthy eating means. But little debate emerges about what is not healthy, and the American population does not seem to care. The following is an excerpt from an NCI study:
The majority of the population did not meet recommendations for all of the nutrient-rich food groups, except total grains and meat and beans. Concomitantly, overconsumption of energy from solid fats, added sugars, and alcoholic beverages (“empty calories”) was ubiquitous. Over 80% of persons age ≥ 71 y and over 90% of all other sex-age groups had intakes of empty calories that exceeded the discretionary calorie allowances. In conclusion, nearly the entire U.S. population consumes a diet that is not on par with recommendations. These findings add another piece to the rather disturbing picture that is emerging of a nation's diet in crisis.
In the hype of vegan diets, do you know what a healthy vegan diet is? You may have the suspicion that vodka and potato chips are vegan but not exactly healthy. But what about the vegan burgers you can buy in the supermarket or the lentil soup?
Once upon a time I happily ate any kind of processed foods. When I chose to become vegan, I continued to look for quick, processed vegan options for meals. A healthy vegan diet does not rely on processed foods and alcohol. This means you buy fresh produce with few exceptions. Let's take a look at fresh produce:
Fresh vegetables and fruit
Whole grains and spices
Legumes and beans (dried, not canned)
Nuts and seeds
The above items are all fresh produce. Of course, we are subject to seasonal and regional harvests, so including frozen produce as part of a healthy vegan diet is fine. Note that we are not talking about heavily salted, seasoned or sweetened fruits and nuts, like pre-made energy bars. Some basics for your food pantry, ingredients that have a minimal amount of processing, are healthy choices to include, nevertheless. Here are a few good items to keep on hand:
Brown rice vinegar
Apple cider vinegar
Canned vegetables and legumes are quite commonly found just about anywhere. It's a good idea to get into a regular habit of cooking with dried legumes rather than canned, mostly because the salt content and other additives found in canned food. However, canned legumes are still nutrient-rich and worth having in your cabinet.
The bad news is that the burgers and pre-made bean soups are all processed. So are all other kind of vegan/vegetarian meals and fake meat. The good news is that you can easily prepare meals yourself and freeze. How does a lentil-walnut burger with a paprika sauce sound or a meatloaf with glaze?
Not everything we prepare has to look like meals with meat and fish. Usually in the transition period it's nice to have something familiar to eat. Keep in mind that just because something says vegan on the package does not make it necessarily healthful for you. As you become more committed to a vegan lifestyle, you may not want so much meat alike food, which is only trying to trick your brain instead of transforming your thinking. We can cook delicious vegan meals, and it can be just as easy as opening a package of processed fake meat.
If you know nothing about cooking, let alone vegan cuisine, don't fret. It's a lot easier to do than many people think, and infinitely more healthful, no question. We all know that dark, leafy greens are rich in cancer-fighting goodness, for example. But due to the heavy lobbying and marketing of the meat and dairy industries, few Americans are aware that healthier alternatives, such as pulses – seeds of legumes that pull nitrogen from the air to create protein – are an important protein source globally. The American Institute for Cancer Research reports that dry beans and peas are rich in fiber (20% of Daily Value) and a good source of protein (10% of Daily Value). They are also an excellent source of folate, a B vitamin.
In Dr. Michael Gregor's, book, How Not To Die, the author goes into detail about the best foods to include in a healthy vegan diet. Check out Gregor's Daily Dozen in this video below:
At any rate, we all inherently know when we are eating badly. It goes without saying that processed foods are addicting because of added sugars, salt, and saturated fats. If you want to live a long healthy life on a healthy vegan diet, make a concerted effort to cut the processed crap out of your daily food consumption.
When you want to eat a healthy vegan diet, it's important always to have that kind of food in your fridge. Vegan menu planning is necessary and a bit different than making an omnivore menu plan. In three easy steps, I show you how to do exactly that. Of course, there are also kind people out there, that will do it for you. Some are even free and some are paid. At the end of this post, I have included those websites I know of that offer a vegan menu plan made easy.
Let's start a vegan menu plan
The First Step is to decide which starch and protein you want to build your meals around. Starches are important because they make you feel full and gives you the most needed plant fibers. You want your meals to be both hearty and satisfying.
Good sources of plant-based proteins are legumes and beans, quinoa, tofu, tempeh, nuts, and of course foods made from these ingredients. Good forms of starches are brown rice, beans, whole grain wheat or whole grain pasta, winter squash and potatoes, especially sweet potatoes.
The Second Step is the texture. Often meals with only one texture have a tendency to get bored fast. Not only boring meals but you will also not feel satisfied. When I talk texture I am talking about creamy, crunchy, smooth and firm. Whatever you decide to cook be sure to include at least two different textures per meal. An example: A regular green salad could transform into a hearty meal by adding firm baked tempeh, crunchy sesame seeds, creamy avocado, and smooth cashew dressing on top.
The Third Step is to upgrade the nutrient density. Which foods are nutrient dense? Leafy greens and cruciferous veggies are some of the most nutrient-dense foods you can add to your meals. Leafy greens are chard, collard greens, and kale. Cruciferous veggies are cabbage, broccoli, and radishes.
I chose Garbanzo beans / chickpeas as the starch / protein, then I thought about what to make of the beans. I love casseroles, so a garbanzo casserole it will be.
Next to think of is the texture, a casserole will be smooth if I put coconut milk in, I will need something crisp, so I will top with a few raw slices of onion. Serve with bread with avocado spread for the crunchiness.
To amplify the nutrient density I will serve, as a side boiled cauliflower.
So, I will serve a Garbanzo Bean Casserole, with vegetables, topped with slices of red onion & a slice of bread with avocado spread with nutritional yeast on the side.
Below an Italian Garbanzo Bean Casserole Recipe
Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 large spaghetti squash, shredded
2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (500 grams)
1 medium zucchini, sliced (approx.16 slices)
1/2 cup sliced Kalamata black olives (100 grams)
3 large white mushrooms, sliced
Homemade Tomato Basil Sauce:
1 can No-Salt tomato sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (a handful)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 to 2 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
1 Tablespoon dried basil (for sprinkling on top)
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C.
Microwave the spaghetti squash for 5 minutes or until you can easily cut it and fork out the strands. Prepare the remaining of the vegetables and set everything aside.
In a bowl mix all the sauce ingredients and give everything a good stir until smooth.
In an 8×8″ / 20×20 cm casserole dish, assemble the casserole: Layer the bottom with the squash, next layer chickpeas, then zucchini, olives, mushrooms, and finally the sauce. Top the casserole with nutritional yeast and an extra sprinkle of basil.
Put the casserole in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
If you want others to make the meals plans for you, here's some good news – there are plenty ‘out there'. Here are those I have tested myself, they are all vegan, clean eating, whole grain and plant based. In other words Healthy Vegan Menus.
#2 is Fork Over Knives price is $9.90 per month, you tailor your meal plans, it's the most comprehensive meal planner I have yet to see. Forks Meal Planner this works great on a mobile too.
#3 PCRM 21 day Vegan Kick-starter Kit – is free. You get an email from them every day with help, tips, and tricks at PCRM
#4 Eat This Much is your personal meal planner and you will need to sign up for an account, which is free. When you set up your profile page you choose if you want to gain weight, maintain or lose weight, your gender, personal measure etc. you can even choose which price level your food budget is. Very cool – you also choose if you want metric or imperial measures! get it at EatThisMuch
Indeed, that’s the question. What to eat to be healthy. We are getting bombarded daily with what we should not eat or what we should eat in order not to get this or that disease. It makes deciding what to eat way too complicated. Not knowing exactly what is good for you, counting calories, fat-protein-carb ratio etc. Eating should be a simple task because it's the most important and daily task you have. As a result, you must know the food groups that are good for you, and find great recipes and cook.
The problem of What to Eat
that arises is, of course, which food groups and how much to eat of which. If you are anything like me you want evidence-based research for your foods. Has this been done at all? I mean we are re not exactly being exposed to those research results. I was about to give up but then I found Dr Greger. He is a godsend to vegans, on his website he and his team have published all the research results that have been done about foods related to various diseases.
Prostate cancer and the vegan diet? yes, indeed a research has been done. They took a bunch of old men and put them on a vegan diet. How did they do it? they delivered the vegan meals to the home for 3 months! They all got a lower PSA level. (see video below in the sources)
Broccoli studies? yes absolutely, and more than one. Broccoli is Our First Line of Defence (see video below in the sources). It protects against breast cancer, great for your liver, it protects our DNA and even more.
based on the studies is to eat healthily, whole grains and plant-based. To optimize your diet you will eat from every food group every day not at every meal. To learn how much of each group to eat in a day you can download the app “Daily Dozen” at iTunes Apple or Microsoft or Google Play. You can also track your food, the app even sends you a daily reminder. This app was developed thanks to the volunteer efforts of Allan Portera of DigitalBoro.com.
Food Groups – eat from these food groups every single day. It's that simple 🙂
Cooking vegan has been a fun exploration for me since starting this blog a couple of years ago. I started it as a kitchen experiment, wanting to give myself encouragement to stay on a vegan diet, and share my research with others. What I uncovered was that, unless you are cooking vegan with a focus on right nutrients and health, you can easily make yourself sick. This is true, whether you commit to cooking vegan or not.
Recently one of my excellent Twitter followers sent me a message that said,
“@AllVeganFoods you should publish a cookery page as you are queen of all things delicious. quit the #nhs love and focus on #vegan.”
First off, thank you so much, @MartinStill1, for naming me “Queen of All Things Delicious.” I'm thrilled that others enjoy the recipes I publish as much as I enjoy researching and testing them. And yes, I promise to keep giving more!
Yet, I want to express to the world why I also focus on health. Too many ex-vegans out there blame the vegan diet for their health woes. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie who speak out about how a vegan diet “almost killed her” beg to have the question asked, well, exactly what were you stuffing yourself with in the first place? While I do not believe that Dr. Mercola tells the whole story.
Cooking vegan or not, pay attention to essential nutrients
Meat and vegetarian diets can still be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals for the body. Here below is an excerpt from a post on The Full Helping that makes this point well:
The vast majority of women I’ve worked with who had a bad experience with veganism in the past simply were not eating enough variety and caloric density to supply their bodies’ needs; they also frequently paired veganism with other drastic and overnight dietary changes (giving up certain food allergens, or going 100% raw). The overall effect was a devastatingly restrictive pattern of eating. I have absolute respect for anyone who has followed a well balanced vegan diet and found it wanting, but I know from experience that many people who try veganism and fail to thrive simply haven’t bothered to modify the lifestyle to suit their own needs. Any new way of eating involves guesswork, patience, and trial and error: you figure out what’s working and what isn’t, and you modify it until you feel great.
This is actually why I so admire my buddy Brendan: many of you may be surprised to hear that Brendan’s first run with veganism was a big flop! He was tired, sluggish, and hungry all the time. Rather than decide right away that veganism itself was to blame, Brendan studied nutrition carefully and identified precisely what was lacking in his diet. In his case the culprits were, among a few other things, iron and Omega-3 fatty acids. As soon as he took care to find vegan sources of these nutrients, he found his own best health, and the rest is history. [Read the whole post here]
The bottom line is, whether you are cooking vegan, vegetarian or otherwise, know the essential ingredients that keep you in optimum health, so you can continue to support the whys of cooking vegan, in optimal health. And yes, Martin, I promise to live up to the compliment, “Queen of All Things Delicious,” with many more recipes to come!
A vegan supermarket is a dream come true for many of us. Europe is ahead of the trend, with vegan supermarkets popping up since 2011. Well, I have some good news for my American friends, at least those on the West Coast. The German vegan supermarket chain Veganz is scheduled to open a store in Portland, Oregon later this year ,in 2016. Veganz also plans to open a shoe and clothing store, as well as a restaurant, in the same city.
Here is a snippet from the company's press release:
The chain was founded in February 2011 in Berlin, Germany by former Mercedes-Benz manager Jan Bredack after he found bountiful vegan options during his travels around the U.S. and Russia, German news site The Local reported.
Bredack, who became a vegan in 2009, said he found it hard to “shop normally” at home. Germany, after all, is the meat-loving home to 1,500 different types of sausages and cold cuts.
Bredack said he wants to make vegan shopping easier for everyone and noted that his stores appeal to omnivores as well, estimating that 80 percent of his customers are neither vegan nor vegetarian.
I admit, it's not easy to be vegan in our modern society. Just last week I went to the health store and bought some new supplements to try. And even though I told the shop owner that I am striving to buy only vegan products, she still recommended a chewable D vitamin, and I bought a bottle to try. I got mad at myself for not reading the label until I had reached home and already opened it One of the ingredients was palm oil. Now, palm oil is technically a plant. But because the harvest and production of palm oil leads to the destruction of rain forest habitats, I was not happy about supporting a product so destructive to the environment. I chalked it up to a learning experience, and promised myself to practice mindfulness by reading all labels in the future.
Shopping at a vegan supermarket is an exciting prospect for me, because I know I will not have to read labels in caution for animal welfare when I shop there!
If you want to get updated you can do so by signing up for their newsletter in English or on social platforms.
Chocolate a superfood? Yes, it is true! Dark chocolate which is high in cocoa solid, minimum 70%, is now recognized as having many qualities that are beneficial to our health. For many years, chocolate has been viewed as the ultimate comfort food and it has become one of the most popular foods in the world.
The question is, are there any health benefits to consuming dark chocolate? Yes, over-consumption of any food can have a bad effect on general health. Recent studies have shown that eating, in moderation, of dark chocolate has many health benefits. So eating about an ounce of dark chocolate every day is actually a good thing for your health!
The first question that you may ask is why dark chocolate, not milk chocolate? Because dark chocolate comes out in favor when it comes to nutritional benefit. Dark chocolate has more fiber and nutrients and fewer sugars and cholesterol.
• Lowers cholesterol. In studies, dark chocolate has proven to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol). As we know, too much bad cholesterol is not good for us. These studies showed that dark chocolate provided health benefits when it comes to cholesterol.
• It’s good for the heart. Perhaps this is the most well-known reason. Dark chocolate contains nutrients that are known to help lower blood sugar and increase blood flow. Besides, anything that lowers cholesterol is good for the heart. Some factual studies have showed that dark chocolate can reduce cardiovascular death in men by up to 50%. These aren’t scientific studies, but as dark chocolate lowers cholesterol as well as lower blood pressure, these findings are significant.
• It boosts your skin. Dark chocolate contains lots of flavanols, which protect the skin against sun damage. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can do without sun cream! But, it does mean that the flavanols will reduce the damage on the skin due to the sun. So, if you are planning a summer vacation, then you could start increasing your intake of dark chocolate a few weeks before your holiday. In general, dark chocolate has a positive effect on the skin.
• Can prevent diabetes. Insulin is a word associated with diabetes. Many studies have shown that dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity. This means that dark chocolate can improve blood sugar levels. Because of its properties, it can be a part of a diabetic diet.
• It’s nutritious. There are many good reasons to chocolate. Of course, chocolate contains calories – up to 242 per 100 grams. This means that we should eat it in moderation. Yet, dark chocolate contains minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and manganese, zinc, potassium, and selenium. It is also a good source of fiber, containing about 11 grams.
• Good source of antioxidants. Dark chocolate also contains a good amount of antioxidants, which are great for promoting heart health. As well as decreasing the risk of infection, and fighting free radicals in the body. The cocoa tree is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet. This means that its fruits – the cocoa pods also have antioxidant properties. Many studies have shown dark chocolate to have a higher amount of antioxidants than blueberries or Acai berries.
Although dark chocolate has a higher calorie, fat and saturated fat content than milk chocolate, its health benefits are much higher than milk chocolate. If you consider that dark chocolate has 22% more iron, four times more fiber, and 242 grams more theobromine (the alkaloid which reduces blood pressure) per half bar than milk chocolate, then the picture becomes clearer that dark chocolate has many health benefits.
It is also worth considering that dark chocolate has fewer carbs and half the sugar of milk chocolate. It’s easy to see why dark chocolate has many health benefits.
Dark chocolate is definitely the preferred flavor of chocolate when it comes to those midnight snacks or holiday treats. Just make sure you don’t overindulge!
You asked, here are our best vegan chocolate recipes in one place. You will find recipes for chocolate mousse, chocolate hummus, almond bites, fudges, chocolate with marzipan, cakes and other yummy recipes.
Laughter yoga may be a good thing to start practicing this holiday season if you don't already laugh often. Year end brings festivities, family obligations and stress for many. As a vegan, do you choose to get argumentative with “close-minded” meat eaters, or do you focus on your own growing mindfulness? If holiday frustrations are making you stressed, laughter yoga may help.
In my own experience, I know I cannot simply change the mind of relatives who delight in meat eating. These relatives scoff at the notion that meat may cause cancer. I had no idea how deeply set their convictions were until what I thought was a casual conversation about healthy eating turned ugly. “How ridiculous to think that meat causes cancer!” was a shared sentiment at a recent family reunion dinner. I had a decision to make: should I insist on my perspective, or relax and enjoy the party? I chose laughter yoga.
Laughing exercises help melt self-induced stress
Laughter yoga, an exercise that combines laughter exercises with yoga breathing, was born in a public park in 1995 with Dr. Madan Kataris. Here is how he began:
While researching the benefits of laughter, he was amazed by the number of studies showing profound physiological and psychological benefits of laughter. He [Dr. Kataris] decided to find a way to deliver these benefits to his patients and other people. The result is Laughter Yoga, a unique exercise routine that combines group laughter exercises with yoga breathing which allows anyone to laugh without using jokes, humor or comedies. Started with just with just five people in a public park in Mumbai in 1995, it has grown into a worldwide movement of more than 6000 Laughter Yoga clubs in over 60 countries. Read more at Laughter Yoga.
Laughter Yoga can have unexpected benefits
As I grow stronger in my commitment to a vegan path, it's more important to me to explore healthy non-animal food choices than to fall into arguments with non-vegans. After all, I used to be a serious meat eater just like them. Lately, I've been focusing on laughing instead of getting upset because of another's point of view. This has not only melted much of my stress, but also empowered me in ways I did not expect. I find it easier to make vegan choices daily, and the arguments of non-vegans don't cause anger or doubts in my own head.
Decades ago, Napoleon Hill said that laughter helps change the chemistry of the brain. He was doing laughter yoga long before it was ever coined as a concept. He suggested starting the day with a good laugh:
Adopt the habit of having a good hearted laugh every time you become irritated or angry. Begin each day with one minute of hearty laughing; this will change the chemistry of your brain and start you off with a positive mental attitude. Read more at Daring to Live Fully.
On the next page is a sampling of laughter videos to help get you started. Click on the round 3 below to watch them:
Before you decide to use less salt, know that humans need salt. We need 1500 mg of sodium, or 3.8 grams of salt, to replace the amount lost daily on average through sweat and urination. Besides helping to maintain fluid balance and cardiovascular function, sodium and chloride ions also play an important role in the nervous system. So keep your salt intake at a healthy level.
Salt is also the most common ingredient used in cooking. It acts as a preservative, a way to counteract the sweetness of a dish. And it satisfies our taste buds because it enhances the flavor of food.
Almost everybody loves that extra pinch or tablespoon of salt, but, too much salt can lead to several diseases. High blood pressure being the most common.
Less salt, more herbs
If you need to or are choosing to decrease the amount of salt that goes into your food, consider using herbs as a taste replacement. You may already have these as a staple in your kitchen or in your herb garden.
Most of the food that we consume contains a fair amount of salt in them in their natural state. There isn’t a need to throw in some more.
One of the things people fail to realize is that eating healthy does not have to be misery. In fact, we all want flavor from our food. So, if that extra pinch of salt is important to you then take a look at the seven herbs below that can be used to replace salt.
Dill is a slightly sour herb that can be paired with other herbs/spices to create a one of a kind flavor for your meals.
Consider pairing dill with a sweeter herb such as thyme to achieve a nice balance of sweet and sour. Dill can be used in the form of a leaf or in a crushed/dried form, it all depends on what you prefer.
Chives are an age-old source of added flavor and it is used and grow worldwide. Chives add a hint of onion to your dish and they already have natural salt content within them.
Chives are perfect for potato soup, chili, or a vegetable stew. They are also great in small amounts, such as sprinkled on your potatoes.
Thyme is a great alternative to salt because it comes in several flavor varieties including lemon and orange. There is a slightly salty undertone to thyme, but you also get the bonus of added flavor.
Thyme has a slightly sweet flavor as well and is best used in combination with parsley, oregano, and rosemary.
Thyme blends nicely with roasted vegetables.
Mint is a common herb used that comes in a variety of strengths. You can choose a mint leaf that will give a slight kick or a mint leaf that will change up the entire flavor of your meal.
Mint also comes in several different flavor combinations. You can buy flavors like chocolate mint and orange mint in your local grocery store. These flavors work great in pasta, in baking, and in salads. Yet, Swiss mint is for desserts only as the taste is sweeter.
Oregano is an Italian spice that works best with pasta dishes or added onto the pizza! Due to the spice’s potency and spicy undertones, the herb is an excellent substitute for salt. For an added kick, combine oregano with basil and parsley.
Allspice is a common herb blend amongst several cultures. There is no real “flavor” of allspice; the herb tastes like a blend of juniper, nutmeg, peppercorn, and cinnamon. Yet, it actually comes from a dried berry four in Jamaica.
The variety of flavors that we taste with allspice makes it a great substitute for salt. Because it can add a unique flavor to your dishes and draw out the flavors of the dish itself.
Basil leaves are the most common herbs that are used for cooking in India. These leaves are pungent in taste and slightly sweet in nature. It is not just known for its medicinal benefits but also known as a salt alternatives.
Basil is a well-known ingredient in pestos, but it's also great in soups, stews, vegetable bakes and even desserts.
Less salt does not mean less flavor
There is no need to add loads of salt to your meals in to enhance the flavor or just get that salty kick you crave.
Also, fresh herbs tend to be more flavorful and luscious than dried varieties. Make sure and get fresh whenever you can or grown your own.
There are many herbs that can help you add unique flavors to your dishes and still keep the salty undertones you desire. Take some time to experiment with the herbs mentioned above and decide which flavor combination you like the most!
Should you wish to buy a combination of salt and herbs, then take a look at Herb Salts