I’m Vegan & I Like It

What in the world is a vegan? Are they from Los Angeles? Are they tree huggers? Do they all drive smart cars? Where do they get their protein? So many questions, so little time! Let’s start this conversation with a simple definition.

veg.an
A person who does not eat or use animal products

Pretty simple, don’t you think? The majority of my friends are vegan and they’re just like you and me. I myself am vegan. I have been now for many years. I don’t drive a smart car, though I often think about going electric. I don’t go around hugging trees all day, though I’m not opposed to the idea. The point is, we’re just normal people who prefer not to eat animals or promote animal cruelty of any kind. I started off as a vegetarian and have been a majority of my life. A vegetarian is someone who does not consume meat of any kind but may eat cheese or other dairy products. My decision to become vegetarian was 100% based on the fact that I didn’t understand why anyone would eat a living thing. This was not an easy feat growing up in Wisconsin surrounded by carnivores and being part of a family that was ½ Puerto Rican. I struggled a lot but eventually decided to follow my heart and became vegetarian and eventually vegan. Even then though I didn’t truly understand what being a vegan was. It wasn’t until I started college that I finally understood the whole picture. I was going to school to study animals of course and eventually hoped to own an animal sanctuary someday. This is when the world of factory farming, fur, leather and animal cruelty in general were brought to my attention. My eyes were open and I would never turn back. That is when the definition of being vegan changed for me. Now it was something a little more like this:

  • Not consuming animal products of any kind
  • Not purchasing anything containing animal products. This means no fur, no leather, wool, silk, etc. No beauty supplies that contain animal products. So basically I read the labels for everything I put on my body; makeup, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, etc.
  • Not purchasing products that have been tested on animals. No more Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, S.C. Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever and so many more.
  • Not participating in extracurricular activities that affect the lives of animals. You will never see me at SeaWorld or the circus, to name a few.

This list is the just the beginning. YogiNest’s blog will continue to delve into the world of veganism with tips and advice, homemade products and delicious recipes but today I just want to keep it simple. Lots and lots of people, vegan and non-vegan, ask me questions about being vegan. Almost every single day I am faced with questions about my lifestyle choices; how I stay healthy, where I shop, what and where I eat, and more. Little by little I will address these things. Today I would like to share some quick fun facts, based on some of your questions, as we take baby steps into the world of being vegan. Hope you enjoy.

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

Where don’t I get my protein from! There are so many delicious and protein packed vegan foods. I’ve added a few examples below, but this list could literally go on for an entire page, maybe more.

  • Quinoa – Contains 8 grams of protein per cup. It’s considered a complete protein also which means it contains all nine essential amino acids your body needs.
  • Raw or Dry Roasted Nuts – Almonds contain 20 grams per cup, Cashews 40 grams, Walnuts 12 grams. To name a few.
  • Beans – Black beans contain 42 grams per cup, Lentils 18 grams boiled, Kidney beans 43 grams raw. To name a few.
  • Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo Beans – Contain 39 grams per cup
  • Tempeh, Seitan & Tofu – Tempeh has 31 grams per cup, Seitan 75 grams per 100 grams of vital wheat gluten which is what seitan consists of, and Tofu has 20 grams per cup
  • Edamame – Contains 17 grams per cup cooked
  • Leafy Greens – Kale contains 2.9 grams in one cup chopped, Spinach 0.9 grams per cup, and Broccoli 4.2 grams per cup. To name a few.
  • Chia Seeds – Contain 37.6 grams per cup
  • Seeds – Pumpkin Seeds contain 12 grams per cup, Sunflower Seeds 29 grams per cup dried, and Flaxseeds have 31 grams per cup. To name a few.
  • Almond & Soy Milk – Almond milk has about 2 grams per 8 ounces and Soy has about 8 grams per cup.

What Do You Cook At Home?

Here’s the short list. I’ll talk more about this in blogs to come. I can’t wait to share yummy recipes with you.

Breakfast

  • Tofu scramble – I add lots of yummy veggies, nutritional yeast, beans and avocado
  • Oatmeal –  With fruit and a non-dairy milk of your choice. I switch between unsweetened almond or soy milk. I typically add a seed of some sort as well. Usually a hemp seed or chia seed.
  • So Delicious – Dairy Free Almond Yogurt – This product comes in many flavors and is one of my favorite dairy free yogurts. Vanilla and blueberry are my favorite. I typically add fruit, chia seeds and a little granola as well.
  • Protein Shake – I typically use of the following two brands for protein powder; Vega, or True Nutrition, which is cool because you can create your own blend on their website. I also add whatever fruits and vegetables I want based on my mood that day.
  • Probiotic – In addition to the choices above I always have a probiotic in the morning. My favorite is by GoodBelly and it’s the Vanilla Chamomile Super Shot which contains 50 billion probiotic cultures in one shot. They have other flavors and doses as well.
  • Chia Seed Pudding – I add fruit and granola.

Lunch

  • Salads – I almost always use spinach as my base but I also use romaine. I like to add things like tomato, cucumber, avocado, sweet potato, almonds or some kind of nut, sunflower seed or some kind of seed. Sometimes I even add fruit; like apples, oranges or pears. I love adding quinoa and baked tofu as well. The dressing changes all the time, if I don’t make my own dressing I like the following store-bought brands; Annie’s Naturals, Follow Your Heart, and Whole Foods Market, this link is for the Vegan Caesar dressing but they have lots of delicious flavors and I put them on my salads and bowls. The thing I like about salads is I can change it all the time and add whatever I’d like. They never get boring.
  • Protein Shake – I typically use of the following two brands for protein powder; Vega, or True Nutrition, which is cool because you can create your own blend on their website. I also add whatever fruits and vegetables I want based on my mood that day.
  • Veggie Plate – The options for this dish are endless but I typically include; baked tofu, a leafy green, black beans or garbanzo beans, avocado and a vegetable like broccoli, cauliflower, etc.

Dinner

If I’m cooking at home I am almost always making a bowl for dinner and just like the veggie plates I make for lunch the ingredient options are endless. My all time favorite bowl includes the following; quinoa, black beans, spinach, avocado and a homemade garlic tahini dressing.

Snacks

  • Nuts
  • Protein shakes
  • Fruit
  • Hummus and veggies
  • Crispy and spicy baked garbanzo beans
  • Almond butter and fruit

Can You Eat Out?

If you live in Los Angeles and you’re vegan then you’re spoiled. There are vegan restaurants and restaurants that offer vegan options all over the place. These are only SOME of my favorite places to eat in Los Angeles.

What Are Some Products That Are Cruelty Free?

Beauty & Hygiene:

Cleaning Supplies:

Where Do You Shop For Clothes, Shoes & Accessories?

How Can I Help Animals?

The first place to start is with you. Pay attention to what you’re eating, drinking, what ingredients are in the products you use and get educated about the companies that test on animals. Remember that animals have feelings just like you and me and they have just as much right to be here as us. They don’t have a voice, so be the voice for them. Here are some other things you can do, as I mentioned before I will discuss some of these things in more detail in blogs to come.

  • Volunteer
  • Donate
  • Adopt DON’T shop
  • Spay & Neuter
  • Catch & Release
  • Get ID tags and chip your pets
  • Get educated before you buy a pet and remember they’re family not an accessory. They are a big commitment and they need your attention and care.
  • Speak Up – Report animal cruelty when you see it
  • Don’t Litter – This especially drives me crazy at the beach. There is garbage everywhere. The birds eat it and it get’s into the ocean. Please clean up after yourself and help clean up after others who decide it’s not worth their time.
  • Don’t support companies that are involved in animal cruelty.
  • Educate, educate, educate. There is literally so much we can all do to help change the world we live in, for ourselves and the animals and critters that walk, swim or squirm amongst us.

Please comment below with any questions you might have. If you have advice you’d like to share please share it. We’d love to hear from you.

Best,
Jenna

Published by

JennaBird

Yoga teacher in Los Angeles. Trying to change the lives of people around me.

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