What to eat?
Once you decide to reduce your contribution to farmed animal suffering and slaughter, it can be a bit daunting to figure out what to eat. However, with a bit of practice and some experimentation, you will find:
- Your tastes change (takes 7 – 30 days) and animal dishes no longer seem attractive;
- It will become second nature to avoid animal dishes;
- You will start to feel great! Part of this is because you are living in alignment with your values of not harming animals and part of this is because you feel physically better.
Recommendations here follow the rules of a whole food, plant-based diet (WFPB), which is the healthiest lifestyle on the planet. This has been shown in hundreds of peer-reviewed articles. We KNOW the change to WFPB can reverse heart disease, obesity and diabetes. There is significant evidence WFPB slows the growth of many cancers. WFPB diets have shown to improve patients suffering from autoimmune disease. For the evidence, see our page Compassionate Living>Bookshelf and look under the Health topic.
It is healthier to avoid processed food and stick with whole foods. In other words, minimize/eliminate white flour, sugar, granola bars, processed cereal, chips, oreo cookies. These are vegan junk foods and won’t add to your health.
Remember: anything you made with animal flesh can be veganized! It is the plants in the form of sauces and herbs that make things flavorful. Just Google any food you like with the word “Vegan” in front of it and you will find a plethora of recipes (e.g., Vegan Burritos, Vegan Curry, Vegan Soup).
Quick Food Ideas
Look for unsweetened applesauce in a jar. Add some cinnamon on top if you like. You can even find unsweetened applesauce in individual-sized containers for a snack on the go.
Drain a can of chickpeas and save the liquid (this is the aquafaba). This makes a great egg white substitute, especially if you add a bit of cream of tartar to make it froth faster.
You can whip it up and it will turn into a frothy mix similar to meringue. See how to make it on the Minimalist Baker web site. For more recipes, see the Vegan Society’s list of top 20 aquafaba recipes.
We use aquafaba whenever you want some binding or something to dip into for a crusty outside layer. For example, it is great in bean and grain burgers or when making crispy potatoes coated with corn meal.
Banana Nice Cream
Peel and slice ripe bananas (we use the ones that haven’t been eaten and are getting very ripe). Put the bananas in a plastic bag in the freezer.
When ready to eat, thaw bananas slightly (maybe 10 minutes) and process in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Then, enjoy!
We sometimes add vanilla and/or plant-based milk (soy, almond, rice, etc.). It is good with some cocoa powder for a nice banana/chocolate flavor. This picture shows matcha banana nice cream – we added a teaspoon of matcha powder to give it a tea flavor and a friendly green color.
Black Bean, Banana and Greens Sandwich
Open a can of black beans and smash them up at bit. Put the beans on one slice of Ezekiel bread or even a pita.
Slice a banana and put that on another slice of bread or the other side of the pita. Add some greens in the middle (we like arugula or spinach, but any green works).
Enjoy your quick sandwich.
Black Bean Soup
With thanks to Lindsay Nixon of the Happy Herbivore for the idea.
Put half of a can of beans into a pot with some water and heat it up. Use an immersion blender to smash the beans. Add back the other half of the beans in the can and add some of your favorites, such as salsa, frozen corn, paprika, tomatoes or any other veggies you fancy.
Chickpea Salad Sandwich
This is similar to tuna salad, without the cruelty to our water-living friends.
Take some chickpeas and process until chunky in a food processor. Add whatever you would like: celery, chopped red onions, grated carrots, chopped parsley, dried seaweed (such as chopped nori) for an ocean flavor and smell, vegan mayo (we make ours from silken tofu), chopped walnuts to add some crunch.
Frozen edamame comes either in the pod or already peeled. Avoid the salted one, but this is a nutrient-dense snack.
Engine 2 Products
All the Engine 2 products, available from Whole Foods, follow the rules of WFPB diets: minimally processed with no added oil.
You can find crackers, hummus in a variety of flavors, veggie burgers, and sometimes things like soup and pizza dough.
Freeze some grapes. Eat them when you want a quick snack.
Any fresh fruit tastes great. We are in the habit of taking a raw apple wherever we go for a quick snack in unexpected food deserts. However, any fresh fruit is great: berries, melons, oranges, etc. Just eat the whole fruit as it comes from the plant: do not blend or process into smoothies.
There are multiple ways to make hummus – do a search on “hummus” and you will find tons of variations. We keep our oil-free by using the chickpeas in a can, adding some garlic and maybe some flavoring such as roasted peppers, and whirring in a food processor until the chickpeas are smooth. Sometime, we add a bit of vegetable broth or water to make a creamier concoction and sometimes we like it more chunky.
Spread on a sandwich with some tomatoes, lettuce, and/or other veggies and you are good to go.
Tear some fresh kale into bite-sized pieces and put on parchment paper on a cookie sheet in one layer. Heat up in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. The kale should be browned around the edges and taste crispy, not soggy. If you try it and it seems soggy, just put it back into the oven.
Mason Jar Salad
Put your favorite salad ingredients in a mason jar with the dressing on the bottom. Then, take a jar to lunch, tip it upside down in a bowl, and you are ready-to-eat. It will also make all your co-workers jealous with the beautiful colors in the jar.
This picture shows beet hummus at the bottom (made with chickpeas and a roasted beet, topped with veggies.
Microwave Potato Chips
Slice a potato on a mandolin. We like russet, sweet or purple potatoes.
Put the slices on a piece of parchment paper or even a paper towel and put in your microwave oven. Cook for 4 – 6 minutes on “high” and then keep adding one minute of cooking time until the potatoes start to brown up.
Take out of the microwave and enjoy! These taste like kettle potato chips without the oil and salt. Sometimes, we dip them in ketchup or barbecue sauce.
Oatmeal is a cinch to make and very filling. It helps reduce cholesterol levels and weight. At work, just pour some oatmeal in a bowl and cover it with boiling water. You can sprinkle with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. A few raisins will add some sweetness. Any kind of fruit is great on oatmeal, too.
See this video by one of our volunteers, Kelsey Steele, for quick snacks at work.
Use a hot air popper to make some popcorn.
Spray a bit of coconut aminos (made by Bragg, similar to Braggs Liquid aminos, but sweeter). If you want a cheesey taste, sprinkle some nutritional yeast on the popcorn. The coconut aminos help the “nooch” to stick to the popcorn. If you don’t have nooch, the taste of the coconut aminos adds a bit of sweetness.
Potatoes and Beans
Do some batch cooking on a weekend with some sweet potatoes and russet potatoes. We think oven-roasted potatoes taste better than microwaved potatoes. When you need a quick snack, grab one potato from the ‘frig and heat it up in the microwave. Add some black beans or whatever you have on hand for a quick meal.
Cinnamon on sweet potatoes or salsa on any potato is great. For this picture, we cut baked potatoes into chunks, dipped each in aquafaba and then covered with cornmeal. We topped them with some beans and corn.
Roasted Chickpeas without Oil
Roasting some chickpeas in the oven without oil results in a satisfying, crunchy snack. It also help you get your cup of beans per day! Here is a link to four variations, but you can find many more.
If you take a few minutes to cut up vegetables just after you get home from the grocery store, you will have a good supply for quick snacks. Peppers, snap peas, green beans, celery, and carrots all have a satisfying crunch.