Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Foods I Never Heard of Until I Became Vegan

Raw oatmeal: oat groats (soaked overnight), pecans, dates,
banana, almond milk, & flaxseed meal sprinkled on top

Many people assume vegans don't get much variety in their diet with the elimination of dairy, meat, & eggs but I eat so many different things now, my mind is boggled at the things I buy and eat now that I hadn't ever heard of before.

Consider these:

  • Spirulina--used daily in my smoothies, a superfood to give me more chlorophyll
  • Quinoa--this cooks in just 15 minutes (as quickly as white rice) but is packed with fiber & protein (which white rice doesn't have)
  • Tempeh--this is a sort of gourmet soybean product as it takes a little longer to prepare
  • Seitan--this is wheat gluten but the texture resembles chicken so you can play with flavors
  • Flaxseed--this is a powerful superfood of omega 3s; also can be used as an egg replacer in baking
  • Cacao--yet another superfood; this is raw chocolate I use in my hot chocolate & granola
  • Coconut water--exactly what it says; I buy young coconuts & break them open to get the water & use in my smoothies. This is also a fabulous probiotic.
  • Coconut sugar--I don't use this but Jim does, in his coffee & also in baking; a minimally processed sweetener
  • Stevia--another minimally processed sweetener, I use sparingly in my hot chocolate (about 1/8 tsp)
  • Almond milk--soak almonds for 6-8 hours then blend with water; fresh "milk" in my muesli
  • Hemp seed nuts (also known as hemp hearts)--another superfood; I put these in granola & muesli and also salads
  • Bulgur--another grain that cooks quickly; used in tabbouleh & other Middle Eastern dishes
  • Barley--this grain takes longer to cook but is so delicious; I use it in casseroles & salads
  • Millet--yet another grain; great in cereal & breads
  • Amaranth--this is actually a seed but is used as a grain; wonderful in hot cereal
  • Muesli--this is a raw cereal I make weekly, with rolled oats, nuts, & dried fruit
  • Oat Groats--minimally processed oats; I soak them overnight in water, drain & rinse in the morning, then pulse lightly in the food processor.

Perhaps some of you have heard of these foods--I hadn't. But now I use all of them. So in addition to all the wonderful fruits and vegetables I eat, I add these foods to my lifestyle as well. And that's something I never did before.

Variety is the spice of life* and I enjoy all the variety in my diet.

*Paraphrase from William Cowper's The Task

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