After watching the food documentary, What the Health on Netflix, I felt compelled to look into a vegan lifestyle. I knew that I would have to try to separate fact from dramatic effect because documentaries are often skewed in the direction of the filmmaker’s opinion. My friend Karen introduced me to Sandy Spallino, a breast cancer survivor who considers herself a chegan, a cheating vegan. She eats vegan 95% of the time and allows herself treats like a steak or ice cream every once in awhile. Sandy is very passionate about eating in a health promoting way and shares her knowledge with others through cooking classes. We thought this was a perfect opportunity to invite our Evolistas over for a little foray into a plant-based world with a Vegan Holiday Menu Cooking Class.
Vegan Holiday Menu
- Russian Beet Caviar Appetizer
- Kale Caesar Salad
- Butternut Squash & Mushroom Soup
- Almond Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells
- Chocolate Mousse with Coconut Whipped Cream
The Vegan Holiday Menu was delicious with the most incredible flavors, which left us absolutely stuffed and amazed that we didn’t miss animal protein in the meal at all. This menu will definitely impress your friends. A plant-based diet can be rich and wonderful. Sandy brought along a Miyoko’s Cheese that you can buy in the market that was fantastic served with crackers. With some retraining, we can all incorporate some vegan meals into our lives.
Vegan Holiday Menu class tips to get started on your plant-based journey:
- Learn the science. Once you know the truth it is much easier to make the right decisions. Signing up for nutritionfacts.org is a must! It is free, and you can research any topic you want.
- Start with food you love and find ways to prepare it vegan. Swap the chicken in your fajitas with Portobello mushrooms. Make scrambled tofu instead of scrambled eggs. Use the almond ricotta cheese we made in class in a variety of Italian dishes like pasta bake, lasagna or on bruschetta for an appetizer? Prepare ice cream with frozen bananas in a food processor or blender.
- Concentrate on getting 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. For the first few weeks you do this, you should count your servings as the day progresses. If you are having trouble doing this, simply chop up a carrot and a bell pepper or some other vegetables or fruits, stick it in a baggie and take it with you as you run your errands. A great way to sneak in two extra servings without even thinking about it.
- Don’t forget your supplements. Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and an Algae based Omega 3 supplement.
- Start a vegan potluck dinner group with friends and have each person bring a copy of the recipe they make to share with others so you can build up your repertoire.
Always have good staples on hand to make a quick meal
Having the basics on hand above allows you to make a quick meal anytime. You can throw together a salad with a handful of rice tossed in and some good dressing, or put black beans over a baked potato with salsa, or hummus on a sandwich. For breakfast make cooked rolled oats with nuts and fruit. Use this list to get started:
- Some form of starch already cooked and in your refrigerator like brown rice, baked sweet potatoes or pasta.
- Bagged, ready to eat dark leafy greens such as spinach or arugula.
- Frozen fruit in the freezer such as berries, mango and bananas.
- Canned beans
- Sauces like salsa, hummus and at least two good salad dressings such as the one you learned in the class.
- Rolled oats, dried fruit and nuts
- Some good store-bought dairy alternatives like Miyoko’s Cheese or Forager Yogurt
If you want the Vegan Holiday Menu recipes, please subscribe to the blog and we will email them to you. Post your questions or feedback in the comments below. Sandy suggested a documentary that might be great to watch called Forks Over Knives. If you live in Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica or Pacific Palisades, email firstname.lastname@example.org for a menu. Karen has a terrific plant-based food delivery service. If you are interested in overall healthy eating, read Are You a Sugar Addict or Five Main Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight.