Everybody rope and come in, follow me. Please just rope and come in subscribe. Welcome back to my blog; I want you to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to share in this experience. Today, you are all in for a treat because I am about to talk about plant-based food, and we love food, right? One of the things that I find most fascinating is the fact that whenever someone learns that I lead a plant-based vegan lifestyle, their first question is always, “what do you eat?” To be honest, I am starting to think that it’s just an involuntary reaction. Just one of those things we say without giving much thought to it. Many of us tend to overthink plant-based diets, but I am here to tell you that it is really simple and practical. Sure it requires a little more planning to ensure that we are getting all the needed nutrients, but besides that, it is relatively easy to do.
What if I tell you that most if not all of us have eaten plant-based or vegan meals before? Yep, you probably did not even realize it. Eating plant-based or vegan means having foods that are free from meat and its by-products. So if you have ever eaten a meal that does not contain meat, fish, milk, eggs, or cheese, you have eaten plant-based or vegan food before; Woot! And if you are considering switching to a 100% plant-based diet, now is the right time to do it. Yassss, because it is so much easier than when I transitioned. You got this!!
So much has changed since I started my journey nearly eight years ago. I can remember how much of a task it was to find something other than fruits and vegetables to eat when I was away from home. There are times that I had to go for hours without food because I just could not find a restaurant that offers vegan meals. I remember attending functions and could only watch as others wine and dine. Those days the most common places to get our food was Trader Joe’s or whole foods. And if I found something vegan, for example, vegan cheese or substitute ‘meat,’ some of them tasted horrendous.
Today, Veganism and plant-based living have taken the world by storm. People are becoming more health-conscious and are taking steps to ensure that they are in the best health. A plant-based whole foods diet can do just that. The rapid increase among the vegan/plant-based population opened many doors, especially in products and services. Information is more readily available to curious minds, and people are more knowledgeable about this lifestyle. Companies have begun to produce various foods specific to our needs. Hence, major supermarkets and stores are now stocked with various products bearing the label plant-based and or vegan. Can I tell you how scrumptious most of these foods are? Yummy, yummy in my tummy! Many fast-food restaurants have incorporated plant-based or vegan options in their menus. I have also seen a tremendous increase in the number of vegan restaurants and health food stores. You can even find some of what you need in the corner stores, and I must add that quite a few of these stores sell only vegan food. Eating out has never been easier for my plant, animal and environment loving vegans. But let me tell you that while these vegan process foods are delicious and serve as a helpful means for transitioning, we must exercise temperance in how much you consume because it is still processed. The aim must be to live a whole food plant-based lifestyle.
Now let us turn our attention towards home. This is where I get excited because I am a homebody. I love to be in my kitchen because this is the place where I can positively or negatively influence my family’s overall health. I choose positively healthy, how about you? There is so much you can do in your kitchen. Whether you want to be creative and try new things or you want to just keep things simple; this is the place for you. The interesting thing about eating plant-based is that you can use your natural foods to make various tasty, colorful, and healthy dishes, and it does not have to cost you too much. Do not be afraid to experiment with what you have because from personal experience, the result may blow your mind and leave your family licking their ten fingers. Also, there are so many recipes available on the internet that you can try, so be bold, be intentional and be creative. I was raised in the Caribbean, Jamaica to be exact. Eating good and tasty food was the thing but they were not all plant-based—no need to worry because you do not have to ditch your traditional meals totally. What I do is make my favorite meals vegan by substituting a few things. For example, I love ackee which is generally cooked with saltfish(codfish). Since I no longer eat fish, I used vegan Italian sausage, minced trunks, or lots of fresh seasoning to make it plant-based and enjoyable; and oh boy, it became a hit in my household. Hear what? Keep your tradition alive by just making it vegan, Zeen!
To give you a start, below is a must-try recipe. How much of each ingredient you chose to use is dependent upon your family size.
Curried Chickpeas with minced soy chunks
White potatoes diced
Soy chunks ( I used the minced ones for this dish)
Sea salt (Himalayan /Celtic preferred)
Fresh garlic (Optional, the powder can be used)
Fresh onions(Optional, the powder can be used)
Pepper (optional I like it with a mild spicy taste)
Small piece of ginger
- If you do not have pre-cooked chickpeas or Garbanzo peas then go ahead and wash and boil. Soaking your chickpeas in water overnight makes cooking time shorter as these may take a while to cook. Canned chickpeas may be used as well. Once boiled drain and set aside.
- Also, soak soy chunks in hot water for about ten minutes, then drain and set aside.
- Wash and chopped onions, garlic, thyme, and scallion; set aside.
- Wash, peel and cut potatoes and carrots in small pieces; set aside.
- Place skillet on the stove with about 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil. Once heated, add curry powder, a piece of ginger, and allow to burn slightly. (I was taught to do this in order to prevent stomach ache).
- Add garlic and onion to skillet and allow to cook for about 1-2 minutes—low heat.
- Add chunks, chickpeas, carrots, potatoes, salt, and powdered seasoning to the skillet stir, and cover for about 5 minutes to allow it to marinate. Remove lid and add water to the skillet (maybe a cup or two). This is dependent on how much sauce you want. I love it saucy!!!
- Allow simmering for 15-20 minutes then add coconut milk (about 1/2 cup), scallion, thyme, and hot pepper. Stir gently and allow to simmer until potatoes and carrots is soft and also until you reach your desired amount of sauce. I also recommend that you taste as you go and if a little more seasoning/salt is needed, add to suit your taste. The finished product must be a bit thick, so if watery, allow simmering a bit longer.
- Serve with your favorite side. I prefer rice, yams, roti, potatoes or fresh salads.
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