Vegan grilling makes my heart sing. Grilling vegetables on the barbecue is all part of the delicious fun of summertime. As a kid, our family enjoyed cookouts at least once or twice a week. But in those days, meat was about the only thing that went on the fire. As I grew older, we learned more about the art of grilling and best preps for veggies on the grill. Vegan grilling to perfection over a fire is part of a rite of passage for any cook in my book. In this post I am going to show you the a few of my favorite vegan grilling tips and how to prepare them.
Vegan Menu Plan Made Easy
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.
OK, here is how I did my last meal:
- 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.
#1 is Dr. Gregers – you may want to visit his website at Nutritionfacts Org his website is all about evidence-based nutrition. His meal plans, which are both free and paid versions can be found at Dr. Michael Greger's Meal Plans
#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.
Check out the NutritionalFacts.org for more evidence-based research related to food and health.
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 🙂
- Other fruits
- Cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower
- Other vegetables
- Spices, turmeric and other herbs and spices you enjoy.
- Whole grains
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.
Veganz on Twitter
Veganz on Facebook
In case you want to know why we are vegans here are a three videos below, each with a different perspective that explain why:
To watch why we don´t eat eggs click on Next
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.
The Main Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate
• 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!
Visit our Vegan Chocolate Recipe page http://allveganfoods.com/best-vegan-chocolate-recipes/