Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sharing Meal Plans - Will You Join In?

Planning makes life so much easier...

Most of you can relate to the fact that there just isn't enough time to devote to the things we'd truly like to spend time doing. For me, one of those things is cooking. If I choose a day/ night to make a double batch of something that can last for a few days and freeze the rest - I'm set! It's the nicest thing we can do for ourselves after a long, hard, drawn out day at work to come home to a meal I only need to warm up! Dinner is served!

With a little planning,  we can make healthier choices, save time and money. If we are going to make something we will eat a few more times in the same week, it had better be good! So good that we are actually looking forward to it the third time we are going to eat it. With all of the spices and sauces out there to flavor our food, this isn't difficult at all! Finding good recipes is essential to me! Then, I can cook up similar versions without a recipe another time. Some of my favorite plant based dinners include the following... Tempeh Marsala Sweet Potato Lasagna Shepherds Pie from Bon Appetit - wow! Great for holidays like Thanksgiving! VegNews Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza or any of their Veggie Burgers.

Check out a sample menu to make your plant based meal planning simpler!

Breakfast - French toast with almond milk
Lunch - Tomato & Avocado Sandwich
Dinner- big batch of Outside World Kale, Lentil and Walnut Burgers 

Breakfast - Oatmeal with Berries and Almond Milk
Lunch - leftover veggie burger
Dinner - Make your own Pizza with variousToppings

Breakfast - Granola with Blueberries and Almond Milk
Lunch - leftover Soup from last Saturday (Saturday was big batch soup day)
Dinner - Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and crumbled leftover veggie burgers

Breakfast - Whole wheat Toast with Sesame Seed Butter (Have you tried this?)
Lunch - leftover pizza
Dinner - Tacos, black beans, salsa, corn and leftover veggie burger crumbles

Breakfast - Quinoa Bowl with berries, warmed soy milk, cinnamon and agave
Lunch - Kale Salad
Dinner - Tomato, Avocado Sandwich and leftover cup of soup

Breakfast - Oatmeal or Granola Bowl
Lunch - Pita Pocket with Veggie Burger, Kale, Tomato and Onion
Dinner - Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes with black beans, corn, broccoli and Veggie Burger Crumbles

Breakfast - Muffins or Scones (from Colleen Patrick Goudreau's, "The Joy of Vegan Baking"
Lunch - PB & J Sandwich
Dinner - Big Batch of Soup, Chili or Stir Fry

These are some common meals for us in our house. You can see some menu items are listed more than once and even incorporated into different meals as the week progresses. It's actually fun to plan this out. Kind of like a puzzle to make it exciting and to make it work.  I challenge you to create your own healthy, veggie plan for the week and share it on this site in the comments! We could create, share and recycle the plans for the future! Think how much easier it would get  over time too! Let's see what you've got! Anyone willing to share?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Peaceful New World - Will It Come?

A Peaceful New World - Will It Come?

Recently, a NY school cafeteria went completely vegetarian! How cool is that? For more on that story….
This past week, some colleagues (work friends) of mine and I partnered with our cafeteria to heighten awareness of their newly created vegetarian options. I thought it was sweet because these friends aren’t even vegetarian but you’d think they were because they offered to help me and talked about all of the benefits of this healthy diet!
The cafeteria recently added “Vegan” and “Vegetarian” signage to the food which is great when trying to select options. They added “Flexitarian” posters with its definition in the area. In order to help get the employee’s attention, the Chef provided two vegan options for employees to taste test for free! Everybody loves free food! A quinoa, red onion and cucumber salad, and Peruvian lima beans with olive oil and scallions (delicious).
We set up a table to showcase the food and brought several cookbooks for employees to peruse through -Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s, “Vegan Table”, and Rip Esselstyn’s, “Engine 2 Diet” to name a few.
We didn’t think many people would come over or be interested since we have a lot of meat lovers that work with us. Our employee health team members joined our efforts so they could answer questions about health and nutrition. We didn’t know what kind of reaction to expect.
It was a rainy day so many employees stayed in for lunch instead of going out so it was very crowded! And guess what? It was a hit! Total success! People loved the food, the books and the effort! We asked people if they were interested in learning more about a flexitarian/vegetarian (baby steps) diet and joining an onsite local club – and we got 26 people interested! Some vegetarians, some not. Wow!
Now, we just need to figure out how to make it all work! See what people are interested in, how often we want to meet etc. Any and all suggestions are welcome!
PS - A lovely lady handed me the pamphlet in the photo above today. She could have picked from a number of pamphlets with different stories and themes, but she chose the one about peace coming, peace even between humans and animals. There is hope - we have that!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Hello and Welcome to VeggiEvolution! A place where you can find great tips and connect with others who want to learn how easy it is to be vegan!

“Easy” is relative right? Change and human behavior are interesting topics and much of how you view them is largely based on your mindset and your experience. What is “easy” for one person may be extremely “difficult” for another. This has always fascinated me and my hope is to help others understand the impact of the choices we make,  help them to see how easy it is to live on a plant based diet and live a vegan lifestyle.

I finally started to realize the impact of my choices about six years ago. I never really cooked before I got married (other than pasta and jarred sauce) and realized when I started cooking chicken – that it was - oh - actually chicken!  Not making that connection for over thirty years speaks to how we are raised, what we are taught and what is acceptable in our culture – more to come on that topic in another blog. I’ve always loved animals and I decided to become vegetarian on my way to work one day when I saw some baby cows jumping and running around in an open field! They looked so happy and free - I knew I couldn’t ever eat one again! Just writing that, “I knew I could never eat one again” sounds so odd because just looking at them and their sweet eyes, I knew I could never harm one. Therefore, I can’t contribute to their harm by pretending they aren’t harmed on factory farms, pretending or being ignorant of the fact that they are mistreated and raised only to be eaten! That is so inherently wrong in a world that can and should be eating healthy a plant based diet for many reasons.

Being a vegetarian six years ago seemed so much more challenging then than it does now. Probably partly due to my finding my way, but also because it is becoming so much more prevalent in our society! Yeah!!! Almost every restaurant has at least one vegetarian option, if not an entire vegetarian menu! You can even find something at a steak house, if you get a little creative, which I think is fun! Most wait staff are willing to help you out, especially if you ask nicely! Thankfully, my sweet, adorable husband was very patient and encouraging of me in this endeavor and didn’t mind the diet change when we ate at home (he occasionally would eat chicken and/or seafood when out at a restaurant). This worked well for us and he was happy we were trying to eat more healthfully!  Healthful? While vegetarian food is somewhat healthier, it is often loaded with cheese! Pizza, burritos, paninis are usually doused with cheese or some dairy spread.  Not so sure about the healthful part!

Join me next time for: The Vegan Transition!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pledge to go Vegan for One Week!

With 52 weeks in a year, why not make one meat-free? Sign up below to join thousands of people—including elected officials—taking our 7-day VegPledge and get daily emails from April 22-28 sharing our favorite recipes and tips. You can also choose to receive a FREE US VegWeek Pack with recipes and information on new-to-you foods to try. Already vegetarian? Then pledge to go vegan!Use the link below....

Photo from Compassion Over Killing

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Change: If not us, then who? – John Lewis

It can be difficult when you learn what happens to animals so that people can eat a typical Western diet. It happens everywhere! Its heart wrenching! My thoughts range from, “Hey, at least I am not contributing to the cruelty anymore” to “How can we let this happen and what can I do?” I want to desperately tell everyone to stop! I want to tell them how the animals are treated and that plant based food will prevent and reverse our common diseases! Trying to do this delicately is a challenge for sure! Being passionate about something doesn’t help when you want instant change and need to allow people to find their way (just as I did) which will be more successful in the long run.

Sometimes I feel very small in the world on this issue. Thank goodness for social media and all of the available resources online. It is good to know you’re all out there feeling the same way! J

When do we focus on what is better for the larger “we” than on ourselves? While we are very much focused on “me, me, me” which will probably lead to our demise, what about caring beyond ourselves, for the greater good or for another being? Someone we may not ever see or know?

If there is one thing that has surprised me, it is that mindset makes all of the difference.  At one time I was unable to endure 40 (what seemed like eternal) days and nights of Lent to wait for milk chocolate I’d given up for Lent as part of my Catholic upbringing.  I haven’t eaten milk chocolate in over a year because I now know what is involved in making it – unnecessary suffering. Dark chocolate works beautifully as a substitute by the way! I loved milk chocolate – I was totally addicted! But, having this knowledge makes the choice very simple. It’s an easy one because there is a substitution. It’s not always THAT easy!

Let’s say you’re out to dinner with co-workers or friends at a meat eating joint…Very limited veggie options on the menu (though this is greatly improving these days) and you’ve not had a chance to look at the menu in advance or call ahead of time. You tell the waiter you’re eating a plant based/vegan diet and the only thing they’ve got is the boring old dry noodles with boiled vegetables on top! Yawnnnnnn. No sauces, no spices, no nothing to jazz it up at all! And after you’ve finished ordering, your co-workers respond with,” Hey – you’re a vegan? When did you do that?”, “Why?”, “What DO you EAT?”, “How do you get your protein?”, “Guess you can’t have cheese, huh? I could never give up cheese”.

 While there are benefits, it is a big change and requires a bit of sacrifice on our part. It’s easy to follow the crowd and not “bother” anybody. But, if you are polite about asking for minor accommodations, most people are willing to help you out. If you explain to your friends or co-workers, they may seem okay about it, or put off by it, but either way, they will think about it – and isn’t that the point?

Heck, if that’s the worst that it ever came to, that’s not so bad! Right? What a great opportunity to tell people what we’ve learned and how great we feel! While that dinner may not be the greatest time to get into detail about where their steak came from and how eating meat and dairy is shown to cause cancer and heart disease (we can save that part for after dinner drinks) we can focus on what we do eat and how we love it and feel more energized!

Let’s find each other and work to make this world a better place for animals (and ourselves in the process).  Being plant based and knowing I am saving the lives of animals is one of the things that makes me happiest in this life! It’s up to us! Give it a try…

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has!” – Margaret Mead

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Blueberry Spelt Pancakes from the E2 Diet! Delicious and healthy! Check it out at

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Going Vegan - The Transition

If I thought going vegetarian would provoke a number of questions, it was nothing in comparison to going vegan. “WHAT do you EAT?”, “HOW do you get your protein?” and “WHY did you decide to DO this?” are probably the most frequent questions.

Every day, someone brings up the subject with a very good question! I actually have to laugh because it’s so unbelievable that the subject keeps coming up! If there is one thing I have learned, it is that people are very accustomed to our “American diet” which doesn’t include many vegetables at all. There was a time when my diet consisted of meat and potatoes and not much else so I understand. So – at first – going Vegan can seem a little daunting! You might ask yourself questions like, WHAT am I going to EAT?”, “HOW will I get my protein?” and “WHY did I decide to DO this?” But it does get easier - I promise!

I have found so much more to eat than I ever did with my standard BBQ chicken and mashed potatoes with a veggie on the side. Now, I have tried various ethnic cuisines from Mexican enchiladas to Ethiopian stews! The possibilities really are endless, once you start to look differently. It is a change of mindset.  I enjoy cooking so it’s a lot of fun to try new recipes. However, it’s pretty easy to eat pasta with cannellini beans instead of beef. I like sandwiches made with avocado, tempeh bacon and tomatoes. Here is a list of the simpler recipes in our home:

Avocado, Tempeh Bacon & Tomato Sandwiches

Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Cannellini Beans

Whole wheat pizza with Mushrooms, Garlic and Daiya Mozzarella Cheese

Kale Salad with Miso-Agave Dressing

Three Bean Chili (Made on Sunday so we have leftovers during the week)

Smoothies, Oat Meal with Fruit, Cereal

Tonight I made Chili – perfect for a cold winter evening. It was great because I was able to throw in everything I had in the fridge and didn’t want to waste. Try this recipe or a variation of your own!

What is Left in the Fridge Chili:

In a Dutch oven, chop and add 1 medium onion, 1 carrot, 2 celery stalks, 1 Leek, ½ cauliflower head, 1 cup button mushrooms and stir occasionally until tender.

Add 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped

Add 1 tablespoon canola oil (or olive oil or water) to the Dutch oven

 Stir in spices:
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon each - cumin, coriander, dried oregano. Next add ½ teaspoon cinnamon and salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper.

Add 1-28 oz can of plum tomatoes, chopped

Finally, add two cans of rinsed red kidney beans until warmed and sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 main dish servings. Serve with warm bread on the side and a glass of wine!

HOW do I get my protein?
Protein is in vegetables (they have protein too) and beans and non-dairy milks, tempeh, tofu, pasta and more! You have to check out Forks Over Knives website and the movie if you haven’t see it! It helped me to understand more about protein and healthy eating!

I also highly recommend Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s 30 Day Vegan Challenge. It is filled with helpful information on how to eat and live vegan. She is awesome and makes it so simple!

Why did I decide to DO this?
Because I love animals so much and they need our voice! If I don’t speak for them, if you don’t speak for them, then who will? I know I can impact their well-being by deciding what to eat and what to buy. I’ve never felt better and I am so happy with my decision to go vegan.
Everything I do is primarily about the animals, our health and helping others to see how easy it can be.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more recipes soon!