How to Cook with No Oil: 8 Useful Tips. Vegan Kitchen Simplified Series.

I know it’s been a while since the last episode of the Vegan Kitchen Simplified series, but better late than never, right? Today I’d like to talk about the single thing that can improve your vegan diet from the health standpoint – cooking with no oil. Why would we want to cook with no oil, you may ask? In case you haven’t noticed, the subject of cooking with or without oil is one of the most polarizing among vegan chefs and cookbook authors. One school of thought believes that as long as all of the ingredients are cruelty-free, they are worth using in our kitchens, so hail to the vegan butter, vegan margarine, vegan shortening, all types of oils, etc. Another school of thought is convinced that using all of the above in your cooking on a regular basis will have a detrimental effect on your health, starting from chronic … Read the rest of the post

How to Eat Plant-Based while Traveling: Think Outside the Box!

Most people following a plant-based diet will agree: it’s the easiest to follow when we can cook all of our meals at home, in our own well-stocked kitchens. However, life interferes, and we may find ourselves stressing over food while getting ready to travel to a new destination that may or may not accommodate our veggie-oriented eating. As you know by now, earlier this month Rob and I moved from our 3+ year home in Alabama to the wild and woolly frontier just outside Seattle, WA. During our transition, we spent a week in hotels equipped with only a microwave and a small fridge (okay, it’s better than nothing), first in New Orleans, Louisiana, then in a little town on Whidbey Island in Washington. Quite a bit of time was spent researching places where we could go eat next, all while trying to keep our meals healthy and affordable. Thankfully, we’re not … Read the rest of the post

Carbohydrates or Fat: Which One Makes Us Pack On the Weight?

Ever since I developed an interest for nutrition, I’ve had so much contradictory information pass through my brain that I’m surprised that my head hasn’t yet exploded. Fat doesn’t make us fat, carbohydrates do! – Carbs are good, eat more of them for more energy! – Olive oil is good for your heart! – Cut out all oil for better health! These days, it’s easy for an average person to get confused while trying to figure out what type of eating behavior is the healthiest. For as long as I remember, I’ve always had a notion in my mind that eating lots of carbohydrates (breads, pasta, potatoes, etc.) could make me gain weight. The proponents of low-carb diets said that all of the carbohydrates we consume turn into sugar, and sugar then turns into fat in our bodies. Early in my twenties, I even tried the famous Atkins diet for a month but soon quit after my … Read the rest of the post

Why Low-Carb Diets Have It Wrong

Have you noticed that in the past few years low-carbohydrate diets have become very popular? We can open just about any popular health-related magazine and see recipes and articles targeted to the followers of low-carb lifestyle. We often hear about this or that celebrity dropping lots of weight on a strict Atkins diet. TV shows invite ‘experts’ that give you advice on how to cut more carbohydrates out of your diet: I recently saw a bit on Today show where their guest suggested replacing pizza crust with a grilled chicken breast (!) – yep, just pile all of your pizza toppings and cheese on a piece of meat on your way to those skinny jeans! And yet, the obesity levels in the US alone are at their all-time high, and we are even more sick than we’ve ever been. What’s going on? When it comes to health and wellbeing, our priorities have undergone a … Read the rest of the post

White Potatoes – A Nutritional Powerhouse That’s Seriously Underrated. Plus: Why Potatoes Are Not Fattening.

I never get tired saying that potatoes are one my favorite vegetables: I cook them at home a few times a week, plus I’ve featured a number of recipes with potatoes on this blog. White potatoes were a big part of my menu while I was training for a marathon last November, and later during my running streak that lasted from Thanksgiving till New Year’s Day. So whenever I hear someone declaring that a white potato is a starch-laden vegetable with hardly any nutritional benefits that will make us all fat and devoid of energy, I shake my head with disappointment at yet another expert who didn’t do their basic homework. Carbohydrates have gotten a lot of bad rap lately. New low-carb diets keep popping up every day with claims of turning us into slender, energetic machines if only we stop consuming all carbs altogether. And yet our society is growing fatter and unhealthier year by … Read the rest of the post

First Steps in Going Vegan: Where to Start, What to Expect, and How to Stick with It

I’ve had the idea for today’s post for some time. Too often I see that people who decided to go vegan experience a number of difficulties on their journey, especially at first, so I decided to put together a post that could help them reduce their troubles. Regardless what brought you on the vegan path – compassion for animals, environmental concerns, search for better health – you should know that you’ve made a noble choice, and sticking with being vegan will only get easier for you with time. It’s easy to get confused in your initial research about the vegan diet and lifestyle: internet is full of contradicting information; the reaction of friends and family might be less than approving; settling into a new shopping and cooking routine can challenge even the most determined types. However, your transition will go more smoothly if you keep your eyes on the big picture. There … Read the rest of the post

‘Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein?’ Why a Plant-Based Diet is Perfectly Sufficient in Supplying Our Protein Needs

If vegans were to make a list of questions they get asked the most, the number one question is most likely going to be: Where do you get your protein? This is no surprise – the very idea of a balanced meal in our society is built upon the scheme that includes ‘a lean protein, a healthy carbohydrate, and a vegetable’ on every plate. No one’s going to argue that balance is good, but it happens that when someone chooses to eliminate the most often cited source of ‘lean protein’ (read: meat) from their diet, they are automatically considered to be headed for the abyss of protein deficiency. Yet so often those people go on to thrive, get healthier, and show no signs of a nutritional disaster in progress. (Photo credit: Pinterest) So who’s right and who’s wrong, and how is it possible that vegans might be getting enough protein … Read the rest of the post

A List of 10 Common Questions (Newly) Vegan Athletes Ask: Part 1 of 2.

Whether you’ve followed a plant-strong vegan diet for a while and recently decided to get more active, or you’ve been athletic for some time and are thinking of switching to veganism, you’re likely to have some questions and concerns about how to do it right. Today’s post is going to cover 10 most commonly asked questions by newly vegan athletes. First of all, let me bring on some good news: you’ve got nothing to fear on your plant-strong athletic journey! Luckily, people all over the world have been reaching amazing athletic achievements while eating the vegan way. There are a number of successful professional athletes who follow a vegan diet.  Like Scott Jurek, the  pro endurance runner who held the American record for the longest distance run in 24 hours (165.7 mi), and who won Western States 100 Mile Ultramarathon seven times in a row (Scott talks about his transition to … Read the rest of the post

How To Go Veg Without Going Crazy: Article 3. Scientists and the Whole Food Plant-Based Diet.

I’ve always been very interested in nutrition and how it affects our wellbeing, and the more I read up on the subject, the more evidence I found suggesting that ditching animal-derived foods and consuming lots of unprocessed, “whole” plant-based foods can make a drastic change in how we feel and perform. Practice shows that in many cases, low-fat whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet can even prevent and reverse certain diseases! In today’s post, I’d like to talk about the scientists and doctors who have been studying nutrition for decades, both in theory and in practice. They were able to determine the goodness of WFPB diet through many years of scientific research and medical practice. Oftentimes, their views on nutrition made them quite unpopular among their more mainstream scientific peers, but that never discouraged them to continue on their own path in search of truth. And truth is exactly what they found … Read the rest of the post

Week 2 of Marathon Training. The Goodness of Carbs. Also: Hummingbirds!

I’m two weeks in into my marathon training, so in this post I’m going to recap how the second week went, as well as share with you a secret of my new favorite energy source! Hint hint: it’s been around all along! This week went by very quickly, and fairly uneventful. My running mileage isn’t very high these days – since I replace 2 days of short runs on my marathon training plan with strength training at the gym, it’s unlikely that I’ll hit really high numbers. (I do, however, run to and from my gym, so it adds about 2.5 miles of running to my gym days.) I followed this strategy last year when I was training for my first marathon, and I was very grateful for all of my strength training on race day: it turns out that being strong all over helps big time in a long … Read the rest of the post