I’m not sure how interesting this will be to you guys, but personally, this is exactly the type of content I am here for. As a vegetarian, I occasionally get questions about what I eat in a day on a small college campus, so hopefully this article will answer some of those questions for you. Let’s get into it!


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8:30am- Egg sandwich. I’m usually not too hungry in the morning, but because my PMDD is starting to kick in this week, I definitely wanted to eat something filling before my internship. I enjoy eating eggs in the morning because they’re filling, delicious, and a great source of vegetarian protein, so that’s what I did today! Obviously, it’s not the healthiest thing I could eat, but I wouldn’t say it’s the worst, either. 


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10am- Black coffee, 12oz. Every single day, I have a cup of coffee within a couple of hours of waking up. I’ve reached the point in my life where I need to have coffee, or else I experience intense withdrawals, so it’s definitely something I look forward to every morning. I actually really enjoy drinking my coffee black as well, so that’s what I’m doing today. 


12pm- Peanut butter banana Clif bar. I’ve mentioned Clif bars a lot in my articles about snacks-on-the-go, and that’s because I love them and eat them all the time on my busy days. Especially today, with PMDD trying to kick my ass, an extra boost of energy is just what I need right now. I love the combination of chocolate, peanut butter, and banana, but my personal favorite flavor for Clif bars is the cool mint variety.


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1pm- Raw broccoli, carrots, and waffle fries. Because my internship provides lunch for us, I don’t have to pack a bagged lunch when I come to work! This is incredibly convenient for me, because I have zero money, and I also genuinely like the food options. As I’ve said before, I’m crazy for raw broccoli, so I try to eat that every day. Sometimes my work has tofu or rice, but today the only vegetarian entree was waffle fries. Nonetheless, I made sure I got in my veggies.


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6pm- Raw broccoli, corn, and Beyond Sausage. Incredibly, my dining hall has started serving Beyond burgers and sausage, so of course I’m going to opt for that when I need some protein. Per usual, I’m having more raw broccoli, because I’m absolutely obsessed with it and it’s another great source of plant protein. I would say this was a pretty well-rounded dinner for a college student.


8pm- A singular churro. I ended up going out with my friends tonight, so of course I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to spend my money on food I don’t need. Obviously it’s not the healthiest option on the planet, but it was delicious, and churros are currently my favorite dessert. 


Anywho, I hope you guys enjoyed this article! Let me know if you’d like to see more lifestyle content from me, because I love writing these types of articles. Did anything that I eat surprise you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

2020 is a new year and a new decade, so I’ve decided to introduce some new seasonal/monthly features into my blog to kick off the year! One thing I really want to start on my Vegetarian Diary is “Recipe of the Season.” My mom and I both love cooking (and baking), so I have tons of recipes to choose from! Today, however, I’ve narrowed it down to one of my all-time favorite recipes of the season: Sun Dried Tomato Gnocchi. This isn’t specifically a winter dish, but I have been enjoying it a lot this winter. The original recipe calls for chicken, but obviously I didn’t add it during my own preparation. Nonetheless, feel free to enjoy this recipe with or without chicken! You can find the full recipe on eatyourselfskinny.com

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Here are the quick facts about the nutritional value of this recipe:

-Spinach, of course, is a magical superfood loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. I’m picky about spinach. I’m not a huge favor of the flavor, but in this recipe, it’s barely detectable when combined when combined with notes of tomato and cheese. Especially as a vegetarian, spinach is a great way for me to get some iron into my diet and maintain my health.

-Tomatoes make this dish colorful and vibrant, and they’re also a great source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Tomatoes can also lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.

So anyway, what is gnocchi? Essentially, it’s an Italian potato dumpling. It does taste quite a bit like a doughy noodle, and if I’m correct, it is technically considered a type of pasta. Also, it’s believed that gnocchi was the first pasta ever invented by the Italians! It’s a recipe and a historical tidbit  all in one.

Additionally, this recipe can also be substituted with gluten-free gnocchi rather than the traditional style, and of course, vegans can prepare it without the cheese and chicken. Trust me, it’s still just as delicious! 

I love this recipe because it’s warm, comfy, and homestyle- three things I love the most during these cold winter months. Obviously you can prepare this dish year-round, but I’m personally looking forward to making it next Christmas for my friends and family. If you guys also try out this recipe, let me know! I’d love to know your thoughts.

With December marking my two-year anniversary as a vegetarian, I felt it was time for me to summarize some of my all-time favorite planty snacks. Now, does “planty” equal tasteless, bland, and “too healthy?” Absolutely not! I promise all of these snacks are filling, easy, and delicious to snack on. Especially being a college student on the go, it’s important to me that I can whip up healthy snacks when I’m short on time or in a rush. You’ll notice that many of these snacks are high in protein. Trust me, that’s no accident!


Peanut butter banana toast | Protein, Potassium, Fiber

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This is probably the thousandth time I’ve mentioned peanut butter banana toast on my blog, but trust me when I say I cannot get enough of it. It’s so delicious, so filling, and so quick to make. It also uses a lot of staples from my dining hall, so I can conveniently make it at school as well. Peanut butter may not be the healthiest thing out there, but it is a great source of vegan protein. This makes for a great breakfast, midday snack, or even a dessert if you’re feeling fancy. Also, it takes tops ten minutes to prepare and seconds to eat. 


Overnight oats | Energy, Magnesium, Protein

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My mom and I started getting into overnight oats about six months ago, after we stumbled upon the recipe in a Body Boss cookbook. There are countless ways to prepare overnight oats with a variety of different fruits and nuts, but the ones we make have rolled oats, chia seeds, almond milk, and frozen berries. That’s it. It really is that easy. I like to prepare 4-5 mason jars of overnight oats on Sunday evenings (because, you know, they’re overnight oats), and then I have ready-made breakfast for every day of the week! Also, none of those ingredients are even remotely expensive. Quaker rolled oats? Frozen berries? Milk? It’s such a poor man’s feast. Five stars from me.


“Banilla” yogurt with banana granola | Calcium & Antioxidants

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Yogurt isn’t the most healthy option for breakfast or snacking, but hey, it’s a lot better than  ice cream or a plate of nachos. Aaand, when you sprinkle granola onto the bowl and mix it in? Big nut. (No pun intended.) My favorite brand and flavor of yogurt is the Stoneyfield “Banilla,” which, as you may have guessed, is vanilla and banana. I like to make it feel a bit healthier by adding in fresh bananas as well, if I’m really feeling crazy. Nonetheless, it’s a small yet satisfying meal, and takes basically no time to whip up.


Huel shakes | Nutritionally Complete

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I’ve mentioned Huel before on my blog, because I think it’s a genuinely great product that comes from a great company. Huel shakes contain all of the essential nutrients and minerals you need to stay healthy, so it’s essentially equal to a meal (so I guess you could theoretically live off of these, though I don’t recommend trying that). I also love Huel because they’re a relatively low-waste option; rather than drinking your coffee or eating your food from a plastic container, you can whip up a huel shake in your blender and drink it from a to-go cup. I love the variety of flavorings I can add to the shakes, and I always feel full for hours after drinking one. As a woman on the go, this is a win for me!


Avocado egg toast | Protein & Fiber

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Avocado egg toast is like the sassy, savory sister of peanut butter banana toast. They’re both delicious and simple to make, but in different ways. Avocado, as you’ve heard twelve thousand times, is a highly nutritious fruit with a subtle, creamy flavor. I personally don’t really like avocado on its own, but it’s absolutely divine when combined with a yellow, gooey egg. If you’re feeling really fancy, you can even sprinkle some “everything bagel” seasoning on top. Or, if you want to substitute the eggs, try avocado toast with strawberries on top!


Clif protein bars | Quick Energy

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Okay, this one is a little bit lazy because you don’t have to actually make anything, but I still consider Clif bars to be a great snack on the go. Sometimes, I don’t have ten minutes to spare for breakfast, especially on the days when I have three morning classes back-to-back. Clif bars are compact, clean (no annoying crumbs!), and they have a variety of delicious flavors to choose from. My personal favorite flavors are chocolate mint bars and banana chocolate peanut butter, so those are the ones I’ve been packing in my school bag this week.

If I’m recalling correctly, December is the last produce guide I have left to do! It was fun while it lasted, so I’ll have to think of another food-related series I can start on the blog. I love plugging in recipes, so maybe I can find a way to incorporate that into a series.

Anywho, the year is winding down, and that means holiday cooking and baking is in full force. December is the prime month for some of my favorite fruits and veggies, so I hope you find this guide helpful!


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Pomegranates are probably my favorite fruit in season this month, and my mom has already taken to buying several at the grocery store. They may be a bitch to eat, but it’s all worth it when you have a bowl of sweet, gem-like pomegranate seeds. Not only are pomegranates indisputably delicious, they’re also pretty good for you! Pomegranate seeds are a rich source of dietary fiber, and one serving of pomegranate seeds yield 12 percent of your daily vitamin C intake. They’re a perfect sweet snack for those cold winter months, so consider picking one up the next time you go grocery shopping. 


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Celery had to be included on this list because it’s a crucial ingredient of one of my favorite holiday dishes- stuffing. You can say what you want about raw, uncooked celery, but Thanksgiving stuffing slaps and you all know it. There are a ton of health benefits associated with eating celery, including weight loss and healthy blood sugar levels. Celery also has high amounts of vitamins C, K, and A, so you can feel good about incorporating it into your diet this holiday season. I highly recommend the Trader Joe’s stuffing mix if you’re looking for a new Christmas staple- it’s the perfect combination of savory veggies and buttery bliss. 10/10 recommend. 

Trader Joe’s Stuffing: https://www.amazon.com/Trader-Joes-Cornbread-Stuffing-12-4Oz/dp/B00A0X6WRC


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You all know by now that potatoes hold a very special place in my heart. They’re cheap to grow, rich in nutrients, and make delicious treats year-round. Here’s a random fun fact for you: potatoes were first domesticated in South America up to 10,000 years ago. Also, a baked potato on a winter’s day makes an economical, warming, and nutritious snack. In theme with winter holidays, here’s the link to an amazing five-star latke recipe. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also a perfect dish for vegetarians (and can easily be customized for vegans). 

Classic Latke Recipe: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015533-classic-potato-latkes


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Lemons, limes, and basically all citrus fruits are in season for the month of December. Lemons and limes can be grouped together nutrition-wise because they share many of the same properties, including a ton of vitamin C. I personally love to drink water flavored with slices of lemon and lime; not only does it look aesthetically pleasing, it has also been linked to burning fat and increasing energy levels. For my wine drinkers out there, you’ll love a citrus-infused sangria this holiday season! Here’s the link to one of my family’s favorite drinks around the holidays:

Mint Citrus White Wine Sangria: https://minimalistbaker.com/mint-and-citrus-white-wine-sangria/


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Winter squashes encompass a wide variety of foods, including pumpkins, but my personal favorite variety is the classic butternut squash. Butternut squash, as I learned this Thanksgiving, is my all-time favorite holiday side dish. Seriously, I had tons of it. My mom’s squash recipe is my favorite; she simply boils it as you normally would, but then she adds salt, pepper, butter, and a little bit of nutmeg. It’s one of my favorite homestyle dishes to enjoy, especially during the colder months. You can rejoice in the fact that butternut squash is low in calories and high in nutrients, especially vitamin C and potassium. 


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Last but certainly not least, cranberries are in season in the month of December. Did you know that cranberries are considered a superfood? You’ve probably heard that cranberries are linked to reducing urinary tract infections (UTIs), but did you know that cranberries can also improve immune function and decrease blood pressure? I don’t currently have a favorite cranberry dish, but I did come across this Cranberry Christmas Cake on the blog “Barefeet in the Kitchen.” It looks absolutely amazing, so I’m thinking about making it this month with my mom! What is your favorite winter cake flavor? Let me know in the comments!

Cranberry Christmas Cake: https://barefeetinthekitchen.com/cranberry-christmas-cake/

I’ve been in college for three years now, and during that time, I’ve had to learn how to navigate my food spending habits through trial and error. I’m very fortunate to have come from a family of home-cooked meals and groceries bought for me, so I never really had to think about money management until I got to college and started living more independently. If that sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place!

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The first thing I’m going to talk about is saving money on food delivery and social eating; then I’ll give you some of my tips for actual grocery shopping. If you’re a college student in a suburban area, you’re probably familiar with delivery apps such as Grubhub, Postmates, UberEats, and DoorDash. I personally visit these apps often, because I live in a great area where lots of amazing restaurants can deliver right to my door. There’s only so much dining hall food you can have before your tastebuds demand something a little more flavorful. 

I try to keep my delivery habits limited to one order a week, but this month in particular, I’m trying to avoid spending any money on delivery. It does get extremely expensive! One of the best pieces of advice I can offer to you is to do the same and try to limit the amount of food delivery you order in college. It can be tempting to go overboard, but those delivery fees are expensive and you’ll drain your wallet in no time.

However, there are ways to get around the excessive fees and cut your bills, especially if you’re a new member. Most delivery apps will offer a discount code, or some other incentive to first-time users of the service. Additionally, apps like UberEats and DoorDash will actually reward you for referring other people! Every time a friend signs up for DoorDash through me, I get a $10 credit added to my account, which is really helpful. Another helpful tip to build up delivery credit is to scour coupon websites like RetailMeNot and Coupons.com to see if there are any codes you can snatch up, especially  around Black Friday and the holiday season.

Now, moving into groceries. My number one tip for saving money on produce is to shop in season, because it’s generally cheaper and better for the environment. Shopping in season will also allow you to incorporate a variety of fruits and veggies into your diet, because each season brings a variety of delicious produce to try. I’ve published various produce guides before on my blog, along with recipes to try using what’s in season, so make sure you check those out!

Another helpful grocery tip is to buy the “ugly” produce, which is usually cheaper but exactly the same in nutritional values. Think things like ulta-ripe bananas, bruised fruits, and mutated-looking vegetables. Dented cans are also usually cheaper than the untouched variety, even though the contents are exactly the same. It’s little things like this that can make a difference in your spending habits, without having an impact on the quality of the food you eat. Try looking in the sale section or clearance section of your grocery store to see what “ugly” items are currently on sale.

Lastly, buying in bulk is a great way to utilize groceries. Yeah, you can get a twenty-pack of instant ramen for super cheap, but there’s other options, too. I love to buy granola/protein bars in bulk, such as Clif bars, along with things like fruit snacks, crackers, and yes, the occasional cup noodles. You don’t have to buy everything in bulk, but if you’re going to go through a particular snack quickly anyway, why not?

Anyway, those are my tips for saving money on food, especially for those of you who are also in college! I hope you find these ideas helpful, and if you have ideas of your own, drop them down below so I can read them. 

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As I’ve mentioned before so many times, eating vegan (or even just vegetarian) on a college campus can be extremely difficult. Cross contamination tends to be a huge issue, and because it’s usually unavoidable, I tend to be pretty lax and forgiving with myself if I eat something that may have a bit of dairy in it. Last week, I challenged one of my friends to eat completely vegan for as long as she could, and I have to say, she really took this seriously! Thank you, Allison, for helping me put together this social experiment. Allison was pretty open about the fact that this was super hard for her, and there were a couple instances in which she did eat a few dairy items (mostly due to going to The Cheesecake Factory with her friends on the second night). Here’s how Allison’s week as a vegan went down:


October 7

Location: Dining hall

[Dinner] Butternut squash soup, white rice, crackers, fries, and Kix cereal


October 8

Location: Dining hall, The Cheesecake Factory

[Breakfast] Cantaloupe, bagel w/ jelly, potatoes & onions

[Lunch] Potatoes w/ peppers and onions, vegetarian lo mein, green beans, roasted corn, tortilla

[Dinner] (Cheesecake Factory): Caesar salad, bread & butter, peanut butter cheesecake


October 9

Location: Dining hall

[Breakfast] Leftover cheesecake

[Lunch] Sweet potato

[Dinner] Cheez-its and raisins 


October 10

Location: Dining hall

[Lunch] Brown rice and potatoes, Cape Cod chips, one uncrustable sandwich

[Dinner] Egg roll, dinner roll, sweet potato tots, potatoes


October 11

Location: Dining hall

[Lunch] Pizza


Lastly, I asked Allison what the entire experience was like, and if she found trying to eat vegan 100% of the time difficult. “It was very hard,” she said. “It was all potatoes and pasta. It also made me sad to go to the dining hall because there wasn’t a lot of food that was satisfying and vegan.”

I think Allison did a really great job expressing the lack of protein available for vegans and vegetarians. As you can see, potatoes and rice primarily took up a large part of her diet, because they’re high in starches and generally very filling. Unfortunately, slipping into a routine that lacks protein and iron can be seriously damaging to your health, as I have experienced myself at college. This is exactly why I wanted to do this experiment- to show how difficult it can be to eat an adequate, healthy diet, and still feel full.

When I came back home from college in May after eating vegan for a full year, I was exhausted, sick, and dangerously close to being anemic. I napped at every chance I got, because I was so tired all the time, and my immune system was compromised from not getting the nutrients I needed. I’ve now started expanding my diet to include animal-derived products, such as eggs, but I know that I will never stop being a vegetarian. That being said, veganism simply just doesn’t work for me while I live on campus. It’s important to not feel guilty for making these decisions- I myself was struggling with a lot of guilt for eating eggs again. However, at the end of the day, YOUR HEALTH is the most important. Maybe someday in the future I will safely be able to eat vegan again, but for now, I’m not being too hard on myself.

Once again, thank you Allison for helping me with this data and for being a lovely recipient!


Coming up next: How I Save Money in College

Like many other plant-based eaters, I was thrilled when I learned that Burger King would be introducing a plant-based burger into every location across the nation earlier this year. I already have a hard enough time finding options at sit-down restaurants, so having a fast food choice was actually the next step up. I’m happy to have another cheap vegan junk food option I can enjoy while out on the road.

That being said, the launch has not come without a fair share of controversy, including criticism from my own perspective. There are two major problems I have with the Impossible Whopper (despite everything I love about having a plant-based option): animal testing and cross-contamination. 

I’d also like to preface by saying these are my personal opinions about the subject matter, and I understand other people have equally valid points about the same facts. To each their own, that’s all I have to say.

First of all, let’s talk about the animal testing conducted by Impossible Foods for this product. The component of the Impossible Burger that gives it the iconic “meaty” taste is actually a molecule called heme, which is found in iron. Through genetic engineering, Impossible Foods was able to mass-produce heme- enough to make millions of burgers. Despite the fact that heme was approved by the FDA in 2017 (and the company thus was not required to test on animals), they did anyway. More than 180 rats were killed in the process of developing a plant-based burger, projected by a company that’s allegedly all about protecting animals. The soy leghemoglobin was fed to the rats “in massive doses” in three different tests, and subsequently, the rats were killed and cut apart to see how the compound reacted in their system. This is not secretive news- Impossible Foods is pretty open about the fact that they carried out these tests.

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Come on, how could you hurt that face?

188 rats may not seem like much to you, but for someone who is an avid animal lover like myself, it’s absolutely heartbreaking. The first pets I’d like to have my first apartment are domesticated fancy rats. I can’t even write these statistics without feeling sick to my stomach-no matter how small or insignificant an animal may seem, it’s still an animal. It’s still an empathetic creature.

Secondly, the Impossible Whopper is not as safe for vegans and vegetarians as you may think. Unless specifically requested otherwise by the consumer, the Impossible Whopper patty is cooked on the same dirty stove as the beef patties. This is not only frustrating for plant-based eaters trying to avoid cross-contamination, but also for people with beef allergies who are relying on this burger to be a safe option. It would be one thing if the company clearly stated in their advertisements that you MUST ask for your burger to be microwaved in order to avoid contamination, but I cannot find a single statement on any ad. Many people, such as myself, went in eating this product believing it was a “safe” option, when the reality is I could have gotten very sick. 

It’s very similar to the animal testing sentiment. It might not be a big deal to you, but for someone who is strongly affected by this careless action, it hits a lot harder. Maybe you aren’t bothered by the cross-contamination, but what about someone with a legitimate beef allergy who was wrongly led to believe that this burger is “100% plants”? It’s just flat-out wrong. 

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If you’re going to promote a product that is marketed as “100% plant based”, don’t cook it on a dirty stove by default. It completely destroys the point of the product if you’re not going to bother owning up to that statement. It’s probably mostly Burger King’s fault for not considering the complications of cooking everything on the same stove, but I would hold Impossible Foods at fault as well for not better marketing their product. Also, maybe don’t test your products on animals if you’re not required to by law?

“0% beef”? You also might want to think about revamping that slogan, Impossible Foods. Take some advice from me, and choose the plant-based options from Impossible Food’s top competitor,  Beyond Meat, instead.


Source/further reading

https://vegnews.com/2017/8/impossible-foods-reveals-it-tests-on-animals


Coming up next: Why School Starting Ridiculously Early is NOT Good For Your Health

My favorite month is FINALLY here, and I’m ready to go all-out with the fall content. I do have a ton of fun things planned for this month, including a visit to a haunted goat farm. More to come on that.

Anywho, let’s talk produce. Pretty much all of my favorite fruits and veggies are in season this month, so I’d love to schedule some fruit picking to use in baking. I’m not an incredible cook, but it’s a lesser-known fact that I’m pretty good baker. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. 


Pumpkins | Reducing Chronic Diseases

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It shouldn’t be new information that October is PUMPKIN month. Technically, pumpkins are a type of winter squash, but I truly believe the pumpkin deserves its own entry. Not only are they delicious for baking and Starbucks drinks- you can also carve them into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween night. We love a spooky, well-rounded healthy snack. Pumpkins contain antioxidants, which can help protect you from chronic diseases, different cancers, and skin damage. Pumpkins are also filled with nutrients that can improve your immune system- something I especially appreciate during allergy season. Below I’ve included a link to a basic pumpkin pie, which you can make dairy-free by opting for almond milk instead. You can also make it vegan by using applesauce instead of eggs!


Bananas | Heart Health & Weight Loss

Bananas are one of my favorite fruits to eat year-round. They’re extremely delicious and highly convenient to eat, and (of course), they are also perfect for baking. One banana only has around 100 calories, and they consist almost entirely of water and carbs. Because bananas have such a low calorie count and fill you up fast, they are an ideal snack for those seeking to lose weight. My mom makes the most amazing banana bread on the planet, but sadly, I don’t have her recipe on hand. However, I do have this delicious recipe from Allrecipes, which comes up as a close second. Just replace the butter and the sour cream with vegan replacements, and you’re good to go. 


Apples | Dietary Fiber

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Just like pumpkins, apples are a staple of October that deserve love and recognition. I haven’t gone apple picking in forever, so I’d love to make time for that this month! Apples are a fantastic source of dietary fiber, which can help prevent the development of certain diseases. Consuming apples has been linked to the prevention of obesity, diabetes, strokes, dementia, and other neurological disorders. Less healthy than eating an apple (but arguably more delicious) is an apple pie, and my personal favorite version is the one by Marie Callender. It’s 100 percent vegan, completely by accident, and it tastes deliciously homemade. I have an entire article about accidentally vegan snacks, so I’ll link that below, too.


Greens | High in Vitamins, Low in Calories

Leafy greens include kale, herbs, spinach, cabbage, arugula, and romaine lettuce. I am admittedly a little picky about the leafy greens I like to eat, but most of them can snuck into a smoothie undetected. A kale smoothie might not strike you as a typical fall meal, but it’s one of the best ways to get some raw kale in your body (especially if you hate the taste on its own, like me). Also, a fall salad with some grapes and nuts actually sounds delicious to me ATM, and as we all know, those leafy greens are fantastic for your health. Consider combining some of the other produce in this guide to make your perfect fall salad, smoothie, or breakfast meal!


Potatoes | No Fat, Sodium, or Cholesterol

You may not think of a potato as being particularly healthy, but it’s actually not a bad choice. Like the subtitle states, potatoes contain no fat, sodium, or cholesterol, and they’re packed with healthy nutrients. Potatoes are also naturally gluten-free, making them an iconic staple in the vegan + gluten-free community. I found a great recipe for vegan mashed potatoes on Allrecipes, so I’m going to link that down below for you too! Also, real talk, can we make potato picking a thing? I would be 100 percent incented to go to a potato picking farm as a charming fall activity. 


Raspberries, Strawberries, and Cranberries | Healthy Skin

Technically, strawberries aren’t a berry, but their high antioxidant count is very similar to that of a berry. Antioxidants aid in a variety of wonderful things for your body, notably, they can even help prevent wrinkles and skin damage. Berries are also excellent for fighting inflammation, which helps to defend your body against infections from injury. In regards to cooking, there are a multitude of great ways to bake with berries and strawberries. Below I’m going to link a Triple Berry Crisp recipe, which can be easily customizable with different fruits, and easily made vegan as well. 


Winter Squashes | Vitamin C

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Last but certainly not least, winter squash is in season for the month of October. Did you know that squash is actually a fruit? (I did not know until I started writing this article). I love squash for its sweet, nutty taste, and its versatile properties in both summer and winter dishes. Squash is packed with a variety of different vitamins, most notably vitamins C and A. The benefits of eating squash include boosting your immunity, regulating your metabolism, and even preventing infections! The notorious winter cold is just around the corner, so eat up on your veggies and get in as much squash as you can!


Nutrition sources: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pumpkin#section2

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-bananas#section1

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267290.php

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/leafy-green-vegetables

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-reasons-to-eat-berries#section5

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/butternut-squash


Pumpkin Pie: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/23439/perfect-pumpkin-pie/

Banana Bread: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/17066/janets-rich-banana-bread/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=Search

Vegan Mashed Potatoes: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/254779/vegan-mashed-potatoes/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=Search

Triple Berry Crisp: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/52547/triple-berry-crisp/


Accidentally vegan snacks: https://diplomatsdigest.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/my-favorite-accidentally-vegan-snacks/

With so much clashing information about the foods we put in our body, it’s hard to know what to believe. As a vegetarian, I face a lot of questions about plant-based protein, such as soy, and whether or not these processed replacements are adequate for my health. Today I’m compiling a list of the top six foods I hear controversial information about, and how I personally feel about putting these foods in my body. This story is going to be a combination of facts and opinions, so I encourage you to do your own research to form your own thoughts about these foods!


Soy

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The pros: Like I said, eating soy-based products is a huge part of my ovo-vegetarian diet. So many of the food staples in my fridge are soy-based, including vegan burgers, hot dogs, deli meat, cheese, yogurt and of course, tofu. Vegan meat replacements are a great way to get in your daily dose of protein, and because soy has a very mild flavor, it can be easily manipulated to take on the flavor of something new. Soy replacements are also easily accessible at supermarkets, and many restaurants are starting to offer plant-based entrees as well.

The cons: Soy allergies are common, so it sadly isn’t an ideal meal replacement for everybody. Soy also contains isoflavones, which can mimic the effects of estrogen and can thus disrupt your body’s natural hormone balance. For me, the best way to eat soy is to eat it in careful moderation, and ultimately balance the sources from which you receive your complete proteins. 


White Rice

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The pros: There is no conclusive research that shows white rice can cause weight gain, so you can stop worrying about that. White rice is also extremely easy to digest, making it ideal for anyone struggling with nausea, heartburn, or vomiting. If you’re dealing with any of these symptoms, white rice can be an excellent food to alleviate those uncomfortable systems. White rice can also be beneficial for pregnant women, due to the extra folate found in enriched white rice! I personally prefer brown rice over white rice, but I don’t think there’s anything detrimental about eating the latter. Again, it’s all about moderation.

The cons: Unfortunately, white rice is stripped of many nutrients and minerals found in brown rice. White rice is much more processed than brown rice, because it is stripped of its protective coating (called the hull). In a nutshell, white rice is just an empty carb, and doesn’t contain nearly as many nutritional benefits as its brown rice (which is a whole grain). That being said, white rice does have a longer shelf life, so it’s really your call. If you’re not too worried about your carb intake, then bring on the white rice.


Eggs

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The pros: As a vegetarian, eggs are my absolute favorite protein source. They’re cheap, easy to prepare, and are generally really nutritious. Although one large egg only contains six grams of protein, it’s still an excellent source to due the presence of all the essential amino acids (Or should I say, egg-sential). Eggs are easily accessible to me on my campus, and it’s usually a safe breakfast option for me. I’m glad I decided to reintroduce eggs into my diet after not eating them for a year, because my energy levels and overall health has definitely improved. 

The cons: While eggs are a great source of protein, they’re also very high in cholesterol. High cholesterol can be a leading factor in heart disease, so most nutritionists say limit your egg consumption to one a day. Eggs can also cause food poisoning if not cooked correctly, so make sure you cook them properly to avoid any illness. In general, scrambled eggs are less likely to make you ill than eggs with runny yolks. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy eggs, but make sure they’re properly cooked and safe to put in your body!


Coconut Oil

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The pros: For a while, it seemed like everyone was talking about how amazing coconut oil is. And then… everyone suddenly changed their mind? Coconut oil is often found in vegan snacks and baked goods, which is why so many people love it. I personally consume a lot of products containing coconut oil, because it works as a great filler for butter and lard. It also has a light, non-detectable taste, hence why it’s used in so many products. 

The cons: Unfortunately, although it is natural, coconut oil is extremely high in saturated fat. Similarly with high cholesterol, this can lead to heart disease and other serious issues. It’s been argued that consuming coconut oil is actually worse for you than butter, but again, if you’re a vegan, that’s usually your only option. I like to think of coconut oil in the same light as butter- it’s not healthy to eat all the time, but in a baked good or a sweet treat, a little bit is okay. One vegan cupcake will certainly not kill you.


Zero Calorie Sweetener

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The pros: Zero-calorie sweeteners were introduced for consumers seeking to limit their sugar and calorie intake. These types of sweeteners, both natural and artificial, can be useful for people with certain allergies who need these types of substitutes in their diet. Zero-calorie sweeteners will also not raise your blood pressure, making them ideal for folks with diabetes.

The cons: I personally do not consume any zero-calorie sweeteners, because I believe the cons outweigh the pros in this case. These sweeteners can cause a variety of problems down the line, including, uh, CANCER. Some sweeteners can also have a laxative effect, and can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea. I’m personally not a big soda person, but I always choose the real deal over the “diet” variety. I’d rather deal with a few extra calories than diarrhea and cancer, personally speaking. If you are looking for an alternative sweetener, try fruit juices/nectar, honey, molasses, or maple sugar.


Dairy Milk

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The pros: Drinking dairy milk during childhood has been linked with preventing childhood obesity, and can help to promote healthy bones and weight management. The high calcium in milk is what makes it so great for bone health, and that’s a leading reason why some people choose it over nut milk. Cow’s milk is also a great source of potassium, which can reduce high blood pressure. 

The cons: I am a little bit biased with this viewpoint, because I personally do not consume any dairy (no butter, cheese, ice cream, and certainly no milk). I primarily do this for ethical reasons, but I also abstain from dairy for health reasons. To put it simply, cow’s milk is not designed for human consumption. Excessive amounts of calcium can cause an influx of mucus and kidney stones in your body, which certainly doesn’t sound pleasant. I personally just feel healthier and lighter drinking almond milk instead, and I don’t notice a significant difference in taste, either. In a NUTshell, to each their own!


Sources: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-white-rice-bad-for-you

https://woman.thenest.com/advantages-disadvantages-eggs-2077.html

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/health-fitness/a10160379/coconut-oil-pros-and-cons/

https://milk.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000656

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Apples | Fiber & Antioxidants

Fact: It’s not fall without apple-themed activities. I haven’t been able to go apple picking in a hot minute because I’m always away at school and don’t have many opportunities to do so. Let me tell you, I am going to make a valiant effort this year. Not only are apples delicious and versatile in cooking- they’re also extremely good for you! A diet high in fiber prevents spikes in low blood sugar, meaning you won’t get hungry again soon after. Eating a lot of fiber also reduces your chances of developing colon cancer, because it keeps your intestines healthy by cleaning out bacteria. It’s noteworthy to add that although many fruits contain fiber, fruit juice does not, so you can’t get in your fiber by downing tons of apple juice. Sorry about that. 


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Grapes | Vitamins C & K

Grapes are one of those foods I can eat mindlessly, and before I know it, half of the cluster is gone. I could have worse eating habits- after all, grapes are a fantastic source of vitamins C and K, and can even help prevent certain chronic diseases. Vitamin C can help protect you from immune system deficiencies, prenatal health problems, and even reduce the appearance of wrinkles on your skin. In a nutshell, a heavy dose of vitamin C will just help you live longer. The vitamin K in grapes can help to improve your bone health, heart, and can even aid wound healing. I’m not too familiar with any ways to cook with grapes, and I’m not a raisin person, so my favorite way to eat them is fresh off the bunch, or tossed into a fruit salad. I heard somewhere that grapes in chicken salad is actually really yummy, so I’ll have to try a vegetarian version and put that to the test!


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Green beans | Folate & Cell Growth

Green beans are adorable- try to change my mind. They’re also a perfect vegetable side dish, cooked or not, and come with a variety of health benefits. Green vegetables in general are recommended for decreasing your chance of heart disease and obesity, and some studies have shown that green veggies can even brighten up your skin! I personally enjoy eating them raw, because canned green beans can contain a lot of sodium unless you rinse and drain them properly. In regards to other health benefits, green beans can promote cell growth, a healthy metabolism, and even fertility. This has to do with the high iron content in green beans, which is yet another nutrient essential to the vegetarian/vegan diet. 


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Corn | Eye Health & Digestion

Have you ever met a person who didn’t like sweet corn? Seriously, I want to know. There’s nothing quite like the smell of pulling apart some fresh farmstand corn and shucking off the ears, especially on a crisp fall evening. Maize is one of the most widely used staple foods in the world, and sweet corn in particular is one of the most popular types. The high fiber content of corn makes it excellent for digestion, and also contains carotenoids that benefit eye health. It’s an extremely versatile food to work with, and one of my favorite recipes with corn is Beth Moncel’s loaded enchilada pasta. I can’t find a copy of it online, but it’s featured in Budget Bytes, a cookbook I previously mentioned on my blog. I also enjoy buying bags of frozen corn, and will heat some up when I’m in need of a sweet snack.


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Carrots | Weight loss Friendly

Similarly to grapes, carrots are one of my favorite things to snack on. My dog loves them too, and when I’m home we like to munch on them in bed together. Messy, but adorable! Carrots are a great snack for your dog and can keep his teeth healthy, but be sure to cut the carrots into small pieces (or give your pet baby carrots). It’s a little known fact that carrots can help to prevent vision loss, but they can also protect you from different kinds of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The great thing about carrots is that you can use them in a variety of dishes- savory, sweet, juiced, pureed, whatever you’re feeling. I’m going to include a link to a vegan carrot cake at the bottom (WITH vegan frosting), so let me know if you try it!


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Zucchini | Anti-inflammatory Nutrients

Squash in general is in season this month, so be sure to pick some up at your local farmer’s market. I love zucchini because it’s nearly impossible to fuck up- even my college dining hall serves some pretty delicious baked zucchini. Zucchini is an extremely nutrient-dense fruit (yes, a fruit), packing fiber, potassium, and manganese. It also contains no fat and has an extremely high water content, making it a great snack if you’re trying to lose weight. To get those anti-inflammatory boosts from the vitamins C and A, you should eat the skin of the zucchini together with the flesh (that’s where large amounts of these nutrients are found). Once I eventually have my own garden, I’d like to grow zucchini myself to make sure I always have access to these health benefits. But first, I need to learn how to keep my basil sprout alive. 


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Cauliflower | Learning & Memory

I’ve definitely written about cauliflower in another produce guide, but for those of you who aren’t up to speed, cauliflower is a delectable and healthy snack, renowned by vegans for their invention of “buffalo cauliflower bites.” I’ve said I’m going to make those for months now, but I promise I’ll get around to it. The choline in cauliflower is what helps with improving learning and memory, and the antioxidants can even protect against cancer. There are so many unique ways to cook with cauliflower, including soup, pizza crust, and mixed in with fried rice. It’s always been a go-to vegetable for me, because the taste is mild and responds well to other flavors. I’ll link the buffalo cauliflower bites I’m interested in making below, so let me know if you end up trying them as well! It’s very easy to sub in dairy-free options with this recipe.


There were a few other fruits and veggies in season, but I’ve written about many of them before and don’t want to sound like a broken record. If you’re interested in reading my other produce guides, you can find them all under my Vegetarian Journal tab. 

Vegan Carrot Cake: https://www.loveandlemons.com/vegan-carrot-cake-macadamia-frosting/

Buffalo Cauliflower bites: https://theforkedspoon.com/easy-buffalo-cauliflower/ 

Sources: Healthline.com

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