Friday, February 17, 2012

Purple Delicious Smoothies

Since I am struggling to stay on top of my workload for school, this post will be short and sweet (literally).

      Purple is one of my absolute favorite colors, so it is very appropriate that my smoothies usually end up being that color as well!  Typical ingredients in my smoothies are soy milk, apple juice, frozen fruit, agave nectar, walnuts or almonds, and cinnamon.

Both delicious AND heart healthy!

      Smoothies are a great way to add something sweet to your day.  They are also a great snack because they are full of vitamins and protein from the fruit and nuts!  They help boost my energy when I need some, or relax me when I'm stressed.  I make a smoothie at least every other day for all of these reasons and because I really just LOVE them :)

I have shared this at:

What do you turn to in order to satisfy your sweet tooth?

Que te vaya bien!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Vegan Dollars [Part 2]

      As a college student who eats healthy, you may think that I have to spend a lot of money on food.  I will gladly admit that this is not the case at all!  Out of desperation springs creativity and I have found that now I actually spend less on food than I did before I was vegan.  I do not buy meat (which is expensive anyways), dairy, or junk food anymore so all of that money stays right where it should: in my bank account.

If you are just joining me, feel free to also read Part 1 of Vegan Dollars.

Here is Part 2 of my tips on how to eat healthy without giving up your precious money!

  1. Drink water (and only water).  
    • This cuts out all of the other extra drinks that you would buy, such as soda and juices, which are full of unnecessary sugars.  
    • Don't waste your money on bottled water either. Instead invest in a water filter that you keep in the fridge and simply refill it daily.  
    • If you want a change from water then make tea, lemonade (using real lemons), and/or squeeze some oranges or grapefruits.
  2. Split the bill. 
    • Find foods that you and a roommate frequently eat and offer to split the bill with them on those foods.
  3. Write out a grocery list, then revise it.  
    • Let it sit for a little while and then go back to it.  Read over it and decide which items are likely to run out quickly.  Replace those items with foods that will last longer.
    • For example:
      • Lettuce goes bad quickly, replace it with spinach.
      • Fresh fruit goes bad and runs out quickly, replace it with frozen fruit or freeze it yourself.
  4. Freeze the fresh fruit. 
    • When considering quantity, buying fresh fruit is actually cheaper than buying frozen fruit. The problem? Fresh fruit needs to be eaten quickly. The solution? Freeze it after you buy it. Many fruits do well when frozen, so buy them fresh and freeze them yourself.
    • Fruits that freeze well:
      • Bananas
      • Grapes
      • Berries
      • Refer to this website and that website for more detailed tips on freezing your fruits.
  5. Read the ingredient list.  
    • The packages of many food items may claim to be healthy, but read the ingredient list just to make sure.  If it has a long list of added preservatives, whey (milk), meat, or dairy then hopefully this will deter you from buying the item.
    • Most bread is not actually vegan, so read the ingredients to make sure.

I hope that this helped, look forward to Part 3!
(And don't forget about Part 1)

Que te vaya bien!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Now that I'm Vegan, Is Baking Out of the Question?

      Before I was vegan, I was an avid baker. Banana bread, cupcakes, cookies, and all of the delightful things in life. After I became vegan a part of me thought that I would never be baking those things again. But to my great surprise and delight, there are substitutes for eggs and butter (which are the main ingredients in baked goods).
      There is a chart that I came across Here that shows you how to effectively replace non-vegan ingredients in baking.

Now get back to baking!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homemade Hummus

      Hummus is naturally vegan (except for in the rare case that yogurt is added, this is something you may want to keep in mind). It is also absolutely delicious, good for you, and all around fun to eat. It is also very expensive when bought from the store.

      As the main goal of this blog is to help you learn how to eat healthy with a healthy budget, I stress the importance of making your own food.  Buying the ingredients may seem like a big chunk of money, but it will last much longer than going out to eat (especially if you are eating vegan, those restaurants tend to be pretty pricey).

      Also, homemade hummus will be much healthier than store-bought hummus due to the lack of preservatives and extra sweeteners that the producers tend to add.

Anyways, here is my recipe!

  1. Simply combine the above ingredients in a food processor or blender, add either a little bit of water or liquid from the can of chickpeas, and blend it all together.
  2. Taste it and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
  3. Enjoy with pita chips, carrots, broccoli, or any other kind of vegetable or bread!

    I have shared this at:


    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    3 Steps to Effectively Share Your Beliefs

    Sharing your beliefs with another person requires courage and confidence.  Sometimes, these can be mistaken as a personal attack on the other person. Therefore it is important to approach the subject with great care and delicacy.  This takes a lot of practice, kindness, and an open mind.

    When sharing your beliefs (in this case I am talking about Veganism, but it also applies to any situation) it is extremely important to remember 3 main points. They are:
    1. Respect
    2. Information
    3. Patience

          Respect is important when establishing any relationship.  In order to gain people's trust, you must first gain their respect. You can do this by listening to them, being understanding of their situation, being kind, and by choosing your words carefully.  You do not want to immediately turn the other person off by condemning him or her, saying that what they are doing is immoral and/or extremely unhealthy, or by using other offensive comments.  Respect begins with you. Other people will be much more responsive to your information once you have gained their respect.

          It is important to present correct, fully documented, and fully researched information when sharing your beliefs.  Without this information, the other person will lose trust in you because you will seem as if you are merely giving your opinions which are not based on fact.  Your opinion is important, but it must be backed up by facts.  Once you have given them the facts, it will make your argument stronger and it will also make it easier for you to explain why you have chosen to live in the lifestyle that you do.
    If you do not know the answer to a question, do not simply make one up.  Research it for yourself and get back to them.  Do not expect them to do all of the research themselves because, remember, you are the one presenting the information, therefore it is your job to be informed.

          Changes do not happen immediately, so do not expect your friend to accept your point of view in that moment.  Be patient and give them time to think about all of the facts, reasons, and problems/solutions that you have presented.  Showing patience also builds respect because the other person can see that you are sincere and devoted.  Do not be discouraged or upset if the person is not convinced right away.  It may take months or even years to see a major change.  Sometimes you will not ever change their mind, but it is still important to maintain these 3 points in your relationship with them.

    A lot of respect, information, and patience will go a long way. You would be surprised.  I know this works because it is how I was convinced to become vegan.  I highly respect the person who shared with me in this way, and am very thankful for the respect and patience that was given to me during the process, because now I am happier and healthier than I ever have been before.

    Here are some questions to ask yourself when sharing your beliefs with someone:
    • How would you want to be approached with a new idea/lifestyle?
    • How did you react the first time that you heard this information?
    • Is there anything that you wished the other person in your past had done differently?
    • If so, how can you learn from that experience and apply it to your own strategies?

    How do you share your beliefs with others?

    Baked Plantains & a Salad

    Usually I try to stay away from sugar but sometimes I need something sweet. Maybe I should have drizzled agave nectar on them instead... an idea for next time.
    Also warning about sugar, not all of it is vegan so please do some research before you purchase your sugar.

    If you have never tried plantains (plátanos) then I recommend that you give them a chance, they are so delicious!  They look similar to bananas, just a little bit larger and colored slightly different. Usually they are fried but I bake mine instead, this makes them healthier because they are not soaked in oil.

    Here is my recipe for baked plantains:

    • Ripe plantain (a ripe plantain is very yellow with black spots)
    • Cooking Spray
    • Optional: Powdered sugar or agave nectar for sweetening.
    1. Preheat the oven to 400
    2. Cut the ends off the plantain, peel the skin off, and slice the banana-looking part into diagonal pieces about 1/2 inch in width.
    3. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray or olive oil and place the plantain pieces on it.
    4. Bake for about 10 minutes, turn them over and bake for another 3-5 minutes.
    5. They are already sweet but if you want them to be sweeter just top them with one of the optional sweeteners.
    6. Serve alongside desserts, as a side for a meal, or even add to your salad!
    I added mine to my salad and it was absolutely amazing :)


      Monday, February 6, 2012

      Mushroom, Spinach, and Black Bean Fajitas

      Serves 3 or 4

      • 1 can of Black Beans
      • 4or 5 Medium Mushrooms
      • 2 or 3 Handfuls of Spinach
      • 1/2 Medium Onion
      • 2 Cloves of Garlic
      • 1/2 Green Bell Pepper
      • 1/2 Cup of Green Peas
      • 1 Tablespoon of Paprika
      • 1 Tablespoon of Chili Powder
      • 1 Tablespoon of Black Pepper
      • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
      • Flour Tortillas
      • Hot Sauce (optional)

      1. In a frying pan, heat up the black beans on medium-low heat.
      2. Cut up mushrooms, onions, and garlic.  Put them in a separate frying pan on medium-low heat with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.
      3. Fry them lightly, then add spinach, peas, green bell peppers, and spices to the mix.
      1. Cook until the spinach is soft and dark green.
      2. Heat the flour tortillas and combine the beans and mushroom mix in the tortillas.
      3. Serve with some hot sauce (or your choice of seasoning).


        Sunday, February 5, 2012

        Vegan Dollars [Part 1]

        Isn't being vegan expensive?
         Answer: No.
        There is a rumor going around that being vegan means spending more money than 'normal' people. I would like to take some time to show you that this is not the case.  With a little bit of brains, common sense, and a love for the kitchen, being vegan can in fact be cheaper than being a non-vegan consumer.

        Here are a few tips on how to shop with a healthy mind and pocket:

        1) Walmart.
        Yes I know. It's Walmart. Ugh! Who really likes to go in there anyways? Well, I do because they really do have the lowest prices.  Buy "Great Value" whenever possible, but also check the other brand's prices because sometimes the Walmart brand is not necessarily the cheapest (nor the tastiest). If you still refuse to go to Walmart, try another store, such as Harris Teeter, that also has their own brand of foods. If you have a Trader Joe's in your area, lucky, then of course buy there.

        2) Frozen Fruit.
        If you are a fruit lover like me then you know that fresh fruit is the best.  Unfortunately, many of my favorite fruits are not usually in season and therefore they are very expensive.  So, instead, I tend to buy the cheapest frozen fruit that I see.  Frozen fruit still has many of the same vitamins that fresh fruit has (because they were frozen, not canned) and therefore you still get the same benefits. Plus, frozen fruit is so versatile and it lasts a long time!  You can put it in oatmeal, smoothies, cereal, and whatever else you want.  Just defrost the pieces you need and keep the rest in the freezer for future use.

        3) Bagged Fruit.
        Although the fruits sold in a bag are not usually organic, they are cheap. As healthy as I am trying to be, I am willing to sacrifice organic fruits for bulk fruit. For example, a bag of grapefruit with 6 pieces will most likely cost less than buying 6 grapefruits individually.  Compare the prices and decide for yourself which is better for your budget.

        4) Dried Beans.
        Yes I know, canned beans are so much easier than dried beans. You can just open the can, throw them in the pot, and voila-la! They are finished.  Despite the ease of canned beans, I recently switched over to dried beans because they are cheaper and come without the preservatives that are in the cans.
        Just throw them in the crock-pot (along with a few cups of filtered water) before you go to bed and turn it on low.  By the time you wake up you have a ton of beans ready to go!  If you do not have a crock-pot, soak them overnight then boil them the next day.  My advice, add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of cumin while they soak/cook.  This seasons them and makes them easier for your body to digest.

        5) Rice.
        Any person on a budget knows that rice and beans are cheap.  They are also vegan.  Eat a lot of both!  Buy rice in a bag versus rice in a box. Cook a lot of it at once on the weekend so that you have it at your disposal throughout the busy week.

        6) Green bell peppers vs. colored peppers.
        I love red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, but sadly they tend to be 2x more expensive than green bell peppers! Instead of buying the colored ones (which can be almost 2 dollars each), buy two or three green bell peppers (which tend to be between 50 cents and a dollar).  With a tight budget comes sacrifice.  In this case I am sacrificing a colorful meal.

        7) Must-Haves
        There are a few items that I will forever and always buy, no matter the cost.  For me, these items are avocados and mushrooms.  Avocados tend to be expensive here in the states but thankfully mushrooms are not so bad.
        If there are 'must-have' food items, allow for them in your budget. If you need to, sacrifice something else for them.  In my last shopping trip I sacrificed a bag of lemons for two avocados and 3 kiwis. Silly? Maybe. But it's my thing, I'm sure that you have your own as well!

        8) Cook your own food.
        I think that 'being vegan' implies that you do this, but some people still insist on buying their food pre-made and pre-packaged.  Pre-packaged food will forever and always be more expensive than making it yourself, plus it is not fresh and will most likely come with nasty preservatives that scream "I WILL KILL YOU. Eventually." Stay away from that and get yourself into the kitchen!
        If you do not know how to cook, teach yourself. Start with something simple like pasta and pasta sauce (read the ingredients before buying the sauce, many are not vegan but many are as well!) and when you get the hang of that add some of your own ingredients to the mixture.  Before you know it you will be on your way to becoming a professional chef! Well, in the eyes of your friends and family at least.

        Do you have any tips for frugal vegan shoppers?

        Being a Vegan

        That word has a lot of bad connotations.
        Health-nut. Crazy. Over-reactor. Hippie. Stuck-up. (and that is just to name a few)

        Whenever I tell someone that I am vegan I always get "the look" (you're weird...) followed by many questions "What does that mean? Why? So... you don't eat meat? OR dairy?? Not even eggs?!"

        In every situation, I do my best to tell them why I'm vegan without sounding like any of the above connotations. I really just want to sound like an informed person with strong beliefs about food.
        All of the questions might get annoying sometimes but, honestly, I love answering them. It gives me a chance to explain myself and get rid of the negative connotations and introduce positive ones.

        Healthy. Happy. Athletic. Curious. Inventive.

        My goal for starting this blog is to show you the advantages of being vegan while pushing both you and myself to try new foods while living on a budget.

        I hope that you stick around and join me on this journey!