Sure, you can eat potato chips and Oreos and call yourself “vegan.” The question is, will junk foods lead to long-term overall health? Being a junk-food vegan might satisfy your desire to reduce environmental pollution and help you feel accomplished for now, but may eventually lead to poor health down the line. A person who gives up meat and dairy saves an average of 100 animals per year and that’s amazing! However, if your health starts to decline and your friends, family, and health practitioners suggest you trade your junk-food vegan ways for animal flesh and secretions, you can only blame yourself for your poor dietary choices. (Encouraging Note: Research studies show that even junk-food vegans may reduce their risk of developing cancer by 40%. Hopefully, you are choosing whole foods, too.)
2.The Gourmet Vegan
The culinary repertoire of a gourmet vegan is extensive. You can whip up a cashew cream, throw down some puff pastries and make a béchamel sauce to live for. You can throw a dinner party, impress your friends and have everyone raving, “I can’t believe this is vegan!” Or you don’t have to tell them. Either way, you’ll be a hit. The down side is that these rich gourmet foods are often high in fat, containing a lot of added oil and nuts. Brimming with numerous ingredients and culinary techniques, you may also be washing a lot of dishes. If you want to lose weight and keep your cholesterol under control, this may not be the best option for daily cuisine unless you focus on minimizing added oils.
3.The Low-Fat, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Vegan
Your grocery cart rolls through the aisles proudly overflowing with kale, broccoli, cabbage and collards. This is a delicious way to eat and simplifies your life by focusing on fresh vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruits in their whole and pure state, significantly reducing prep time. (See our time-saving tip below!) Incorporating nutritious fresh and dried herbs and spices, you’ll be cooking up a storm, but you won’t end up with multiple loads of dirty dishes. You’ll still sauté, steam, boil, bake, and braise. You’ll just be doing it the low fat way with veggie stock, wine, and other whole food ingredients instead of with oil. Low-fat, whole, plant-based foods pack the most nutrients per calorie. Eliminate all added oils and this style of eating can also lead to a “heart-attack-proof” you. Enjoy as you marinate in a myriad of health benefits. You’ll be wondering why you didn’t make this savory shift sooner!
At Now Decide to Thrive, we primarily focus on techniques that build flavor using whole plant ingredients, with no added oils. However, every once in a while, we might take a walk on the gourmet-vegan wild side. After all, we have had a lot of training to learn the secrets of making the perfect vegan chocolate ganache and want you to become a vegan pro too!
Try this flavor-boosting tip for easy, FAST (prep time under 5 minutes), moist baked potatoes with no oil needed. The aromas wafting from your home will have the neighbors curious about what you are cooking.
Step 1: Tear off aluminum foil* sheets and stack for number of potatoes.
Step 2: Rinse and cut each baking potato in half.
Step 3: Place a sprig of fresh rosemary (or other favorite herb) across one half.
Step 4: Sprinkle potato with your favorite dried herb blend. Lately we are enjoying Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute with a hint of garlic.
Step 5: Close each potato and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees until tender.
*If you want to avoid aluminum foil, a baking dish with a lid will keep the moisture inside for moist potatoes. Place the fresh rosemary sprigs on the bottom of the dish and place halved potatoes on top. Sprinkle with your favorite dried herbs.