So… You Are Invited To A BBQ. Now What?!

Independence Day is just the kick-off to a BBQ-filled summer for many of us… which to me, means a super fun times with my friends and loved ones!

Have you ever experienced something like this? As you are being invited to a BBQ, the invitation ends with an uncomfortable, “Oh yeah, but you don’t eat meat!” Sometimes it even seems like the person feels badly about having even asked! But here’s the deal… A BBQ does not have to be synonymous with a meat-eating extravaganza! I look at BBQs as an opportunity to spend time with friends, meet new people, play volleyball (there is often a beach v-ball court around here in South Beach), have a few drinks, a lot of laughs, and share my vegan lifestyle simply by being present and being me!

So when I am invited to a BBQ, I get the details first because for me, a pig skewered over a fire pit is simply beyond the boundaries of what I am able to handle! (But for some of you who are vegan strictly for the health benefits, this might not be a problem!) Then, if I accept the invitation, I of course offer to bring some food, which is never turned down. And the friend usually realizes at that point that they are also planning on cooking up some veggies anyway!

black-bean-burgers-grillIf you enjoy preparing food, then please, have fun making your home-made vegan patties, potato salad, coleslaw, and whatever else you are craving! There are tons of awesome recipes out there to try!

Since I am not much of a cook however, I usually grab veggie burgers and vegan hot dogs to bring, as well as baby carrots, celery (I chop ahead of time) and hummus. My top vegan picks to bring  are:

– Amy’s California & Bistro Burgers (Great tasting, satisfying to meat-eaters and vegans alike, plus the California one is gluten free!
– Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle (love adding avocado to this one)
– Lightlife Jumbo Smart Dogs (Perfect hot dog sub and Gluten Free as well!)
– Vegenaise, Low Fat  (Texture and taste are both fantastic.)
– Daiya Cheese Slices (cheddar, provolone, and swiss options.)

Believe it or not both the faux meats and the veggies and hummus are almost always a hit at the party!

Now relax & have a blast!!!

And if anyone has links to recipes you have tried and love, feel free to post a comment to share!

“How do you get protein if you are vegan???”

protein-cartoonIf you haven’t gotten it already, be prepared to hear the phrase, “How do you get your protein?” a million and one times when you inform someone that you are vegan or mostly vegan. It’s a very reasonable question, and its helpful to have an “elevator pitch” of sorts prepared in response.

So check this out… I’m in the line at Whole Foods, and the lady behind me asks, “Wow, I want to know what you do to have legs like that!” (yes, this type of scenario happens quite frequently!) I reply, “Well thank you! Besides kickboxing & the variety of workouts I do, I am vegan and eat a plant-based diet which keeps me in the best possible shape!”

The lady immediately asks, “But you have great muscle definition… how do you get your protein?” To which I answer, “Its simple! I get plenty of the top quality protein found in vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, peas, beans, quinoa, and other whole grains. By cutting out animal products that are so harmful to our health (not to mention animals, and environment), I am full of energy and look and feel better than ever!”

Nuts-MuscleThe lady looks intrigued and a bit confused so I say, “Have you ever seen Forks Over Knives?”

“No, what’s that?”

“A must-see documentary with all the health facts on the subject from a scientific standpoint. Its fascinating! ForksOverKnives.com, definitely check it out!” And then I hand her my card so she can  find the information on my website, but unless you are coaching people on nutrition, you probably will skip that part 😉

Anyway, its really important to help spread the word about the benefits of a plant-based diet. Its a good deed to say the least, and necessary to spread awareness and actually ultimately saving people’s lives! Depending on where you live, you may find that using the term, “plant-based diet,” engages people more than “vegan.” In many areas of the country, many people don’t even know what vegan means, and if they do, they may attribute it to weirdo, hippie, liberal, granola-head-type people whom turn them off.

If you don’t feel like you are eating a wide enough variety of plant foods to meet your needs, you can always supplement with a vegan protein powder. I recommend pea & rice protein as opposed to soy. The research is somewhat mixed, but I think its best to keep your soy intake moderate, especially for men, I like to save it for dishes with tofu, meat substitutes, and edamame (I go to sushi restaurants often and always get the edamame appetizer.)

SunWarriorProtein

I discovered Sun Warrior brand protein many years ago and have always found it to be one of my top picks. I think it has the best texture (not gritty at all) and taste of any proteins I’ve tried. They have their Classic Protein, which is made from brown rice, and a Blended Protein. I much prefer the regular over the blended, but everyone has different options about these things.

Sun Warrior brand products

Sun Warrior Classic Protein, Vanilla/Chocolate

Vega, is another company that makes a great vegan protein. Vegan Sport Performance Blend has a mix of plant protein (soy free), and also tastes good. This protein powder also contains a branched chain amino acid complex, L-Glutamine, and a digestive enzyme blend which are great additions to a shake! This probably accounts for the higher price. Vega, like Sun Warrior, is also a trusted, quality company.

VegaProtein

Vega Sport Performance Protein

Both of these powders can be blended or shaken with water or a milk substitute (almond, coconut, rice, hemp, etc.) and can be used alone as a quick protein blast, or added to a shake or smoothie.

Here are two more “Sexy Fit Vegan™ Approved” proteins to give you more options!

Raw Protein Garden of lifePlant Fusion Protein

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