Vegans Indulge Too!

Vegan Cupcake

Hi Everyone!

I, like everyone else, over-indulged! Shocker I know 😉 but believe it or not, I’m human too! Today I want to share with you a few of the foods & drinks I splurge on. They are all 100% vegan of course, but they are not whole foods in that they are all processed to some degree. Some of you may think, “Those are not so bad!” and yes, in comparison to some of the junk food out there with highly refined sugars, corn syrups, GMO soy and other additives, these “aren’t so bad.” I’m here to tell you though, once you have some time under your belt eating a diet that is mostly comprised of whole plant foods, the foods I’m listing truly do feel like indulgences! So here are my confessions…

1. Vegan Snacks: Vegan “”Cheese” Popcorn, Lentil Chips

earth-balance-popcornlentil-chips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. “Comfort Foods”: Organic Yellow Corn Grits (with Daiya Cheese), Gluten-Free Pizza (with Daiya Cheese), Sweet Potato Fries (I bake them!)

yellow-gritsdaiya-mozzarella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amys gluten free pizza

sweet-potato-fries-baked

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Alcohol: Tequila drinks (mainly tequila with soda and fresh lemon and lime), Golden Monkey beer.

don-juliogolden-monkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned… I find new vegan “semi-junk” foods to splurge on all the time! Just remember, if you cut out all the really horrible processed foods (I’m talking Fritos, Pop Tarts, Snickers, you get the idea) ALL TOGETHER, you will lose the cravings for these types of terrible-for-you-foods, and Lentil Chips will become your new standard for an indulgence, at which point you can count on seeing major positive changes to your body, your energy level, your happiness, and your whole life in general! Stick with the program and you will see!

For more detailed information on nutrition, including meal plans, recipes, and workout routines check out the SFV Club!

 

Memorial Day BBQ… Sexy Fit Vegan Style!

Vegan BBQ-Stars_and_Stripes_by_DivineDesign-660x240

Memorial Day marks the pre-summer BBQ season… 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 or Grapeseed (Texture and taste are both fantastic.)
– Daiya Cheese Slices (cheddar, provolone, and swiss options.)

Believe it or not both the vegan burgers 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!

*Header art by MitchellLazear

Store Bought Veggie Burgers

Vegan Burgers

Here’s my Sexy Fit Vegan™ take on store bought veggie burgers…

I split them into two main categories, so here they are along with my top recommended products for each:

1. Veggie burgers for special occasions.

These are ones that look, taste, and feel most like beef burgers, and may be something you want to use for barbeques or when trying to appease a meat-eater or your own craving for meat if you are at a point where you still have those cravings! The down side is that they tend to be more processed and contain more ingredients that are not healthy. So while you are doing right by the animals by not supporting their horrific life and death, you are not doing your body a favor by eating them!That being said, we are all entitled to treat ourselves to some vegan foods that are not the best for us every now and then. I know I do! As long as you are keeping your regular diet clean and exercising there’s no reason for guilt 😉 Here are two of the best tasting and healthiest burgers in this category. The Amy’s Bistro Burger is definitely the healthier option of the two. Many people love the taste of the Morningstar Grillers Vegan though so I wanted to include it for the special occasions category!

AmysBistroBurger

morning star burgers

2. Burgers I  recommend suitable for regular consumption.

These patties are much less processed. They are absolutely delicious, but must be looked at as their own unique food items, not to be compared to the taste and texture of a beef patty! Here are my top two picks. The Sunshine Burgers should be thought of as a hearty meal, as it is higher in calories and fat than the others I’ve mentioned. I also like the Southwest style burger from Sunshine Burgers. Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burger is great because it has whole food ingredients, is low in calories, low in fat, high in fiber, and high in protein! I also enjoy Dr. Praeger’s Bombay Veggie Burgers.

sunshine-garden-herb-box

 

Dr.P Cali Veggie Burger

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

Make sure to sign up for the FREE Sexy Fit Vegan newsletter to receive more of my helpful tips, product reviews, & much more!

 

Sexy Fit Vegan-Approved Pasta!

Are you ready for this?

MungBeanFettuchini

A low-carb, high-protein, high-fiber, organic, grain-free, gluten-free, preservative-free, vegan pasta that actually tastes great!!!

Organic Mung Bean Fettuccine

Brand: Explore Asian

It can be tricky to find locally so you may need to order it and stock up. You can find it on Amazon
among many other online health food stores.

Make sure to sign up for the FREE Sexy Fit Vegan Newsletter for a super easy to make healthy Mac’n Cheese recipe I created… YUMMY!!!

Top Cream Cheese Swap

Vegan Cream Cheese

Brand: Galaxy Nutritional Foods

Product: Vegan Cream Cheese Substitute, Chive & Garlic (my favorite), & Plain

I only get this every once in a while because it is still a processed food, but of the cream cheese substitutes, this is definitely one of the healthier (if not healthiest), has the best consistency, and tastes fantastic! The chive & garlic is my favorite, but the classic plain flavor is good as well. When I need a savory treat, I spread it on rice crackers… yum!! And when I have guests I serve it with whole grain or gluten-free bagels and get nothing but compliments.

Vegan Cream Cheese

Top Cheese Swaps

Brand: Daiya Foods

I highly recommend this brand for all your cheese needs. Not only are the products 100% vegan, they are also free of soy, gluten, peanuts, and tree nuts (except coconut), but they have their own factory to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination. And as for the taste…. wow!!!

Products: Mozzarella Style Shreds and Pepperjack Style Shreds daiya-mozzarella

These are absolutely amazing tasting and they melt just like the real thing!

The mozzarella is perfect for making a delicious vegan pizza, and the pepperjack couldn’t be better for topping burritos and making quesadillas.

Havarti Style Wedge and Jack Style Wedge

I used these at a house party recently, on a platter with olives and crackers. The non-vegans had NO IDEA that the cheese was non-dairy. In fact I received compliments on the havarti wedge and it was gone in no time. They couldn’t believe it when I told them later that it was vegan. Go Daiya!!DF-Wedge-Havarti