Spring has sprung, and now that I’m gearing up and getting ready for my first apartment, I’ve been dedicating a lot of time to learning new recipes. One of my current favorite recipes at the moment is loaded enchilada pasta, and yes, it’s just as extra and fantastic as it sounds! If you’re a fan of comfort food, I promise absolutely nothing beats this cheesy, goopy concoction. It’s also relatively cheap to make, as it mostly requires kitchen staples such as beans, noodles, and canned goods. I’m not even a huge fan of Mexican food, and I absolutely LOVED this recipe. All of my close friends and family know I’m a notoriously picky eater, so the fact that I was willing to try the very elusive loaded enchilada pastareally says something about this dish.
Although hot dishes are typically not associated with the spring and summer months, I think that this is a great recipe to enjoy during the transitional months. It’s interesting, it’s creative, and it’s bound to delight your friends and family! Just like spring, it’s bursting with colors and smells, and furthermore, it’s a perfect Mexican dish to serve on Cinco de Mayo on May 5th.
Here are the quick facts about this recipe:
-It’s super easy to make, because it only requires one pot to throw everything into. It usually only takes a half hour for us to prepare, so it’s super speedy as well! It also produces about six servings.
-Black beans are a fantastic source of plant-based protein, so if you’re trying to get away from eating meat, this is a perfect, flavorful dish to start with. Beans are also a great source of iron, calcium, and magnesium.
-Like I said before, this recipe is totally economical as well because it mostly uses pantry staples. Particularly with COVID-19 forcing people to cut down on their spending, loaded enchilada pasta is a great meal to prepare and feed your family for under $10.
I came across this recipe in the Budget Bytes cookbook by Beth Moncel, and since I can’t find a copy of the recipe online, I’ll go ahead and insert Google Books link below so you can make it yourself! The recipe is located on page 104. Let me know if you make this recipe and what you guys think about it! It’s such a hidden gem for pasta lovers such as myself.
Even though I consider myself fairly healthy and conscious of what I put in my body, there are still positive steps I can continue to make in my life, diet-wise. One particular aspect that I’ve been thinking about often is “brain fogginess,” and the lack of having a sharp focus. In a nutshell, some foods just really mess up our memory and our mentality.
Obviously I’m not a doctor, and I’m also not saying nobody should ever eat these foods, but these are the things that I (and many others) have discovered cause brain fogginess when consumed too frequently. There is a scientific reason for why this can happen, so I’m going to go into that in more detail as well.
Soda & Sugary Drinks
Now, I’m not saying I think people should never enjoy these foods (in fact, I definitely eat at least half of them,) but they have given me something to think about in regards to my own health and how I can cut back in moderation. Unsurprisingly, soda, fruit juices, and other sugary drinks are linked to dementia and the reduction of brain function, even with people without diabetes. I’ve personally never been a huge soda drinker myself, but I would agree that I tend to feel sluggish after consuming too much sugar (particularly in sports drinks and fruit juices.) One way I like to incorporate fruity tastes into my drinks is to make my own low-sugar smoothies, or, even easier, just add raw fruit to your water. Strawberry water is one of my all-time favorites, and it’s a great health alternative to artificial fruit drinks.
Again unsurprisingly, refined carbs are yet another culprit of brain fogginess and sluggishness. Similarly to sugary drinks, refined carbs (such as white flour) can spike your blood sugar and cause you to crash shortly after consuming them. Conducted studies have shown that refined carbs can indeed have a poor effect on your memory, and long-term, it can even increase your chances of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. That doesn’t mean I intend on cutting pizza out of my diet any time soon (nor would I expect anyone else too,) but it is inspiring me to think more critically about the alterations I can make. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains are all healthier alternatives to refined carbs, and honestly, I think whole grain bread tastes pretty damn good.
Artificial Trans Fat
You’re probably noticing a trend here; foods that are highly processed or full of sugar and carbs are probably not the most brain-healthy foods. This includes all the typical junk foods; chips, instant noodles, microwave popcorn, etc. Even ready-made meals that market themselves as being natural and full of wholesome ingredients can be highly processed and full of trans fat, so just keep that in mind when grocery shopping. I still enjoy a Lean Cuisine from time to time, especially since they’re cheap and easy to prepare, but I still try to remain mindful of how eating these foods will mess with my focus in the days that follow.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, often found in food and beverages under the brand names “NutraSweet” and “Equal.” Even though the market likes to push artificial sweeteners as a weight loss aid, this particular sweetener is actually extremely controversial. Consumption of aspartame has been linked to behavioral and cognitive problems, although there’s no conclusive research on this product. Nonetheless, unless you have a pressing medical treatment such as diabetes (which forces one to utilize artificial sweeteners,) consider opting for natural, raw sugar instead.
Unfortunately, but probably unsurprisingly, dairy is one of the most notorious foods to cause brain fogginess, tiredness, and inattentiveness. While many of us are not allergic to us, there’s a fairly good chance you may be sensitive to it. I definitely think I am sensitive to dairy products, especially cheese, since I completely cut it out of my diet for a full year and then suddenly resumed eating it again. While I still love cheese and plan on continuing to eat it, it’s a good idea to remember that there are healthy alternatives, too. Little switches, such as drinking almond milk instead of cow’s milk, can make a huge difference in how you feel and how you sustain your energy.
What can I do about brain fog?
Even though you’re bound to experience brain fogginess from time to time, there are still steps you can take to keep yourself sharp and happy. One important thing I like to utilize is my intake of vitamin B12. Because it’s predominantly found in meats and eggs, us vegetarians have to ensure that we are still maintaining a healthy B12 intake to sustain or energy and focus levels. Another way to keep your mind feeling sharp is to eat dark, leafy greens, such as spinach and kale. And, of course, make sure you’re getting enough sleep and keeping your brain stimulated!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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).
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:
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.
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!
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!
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.
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:
Location: Dining hall
[Dinner] Butternut squash soup, white rice, crackers, fries, and Kix cereal
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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!