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Understanding Vegan Depression: How to Wire Your Brain to Think Positive

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Have you recently turned vegan? Chances are by now, you are already questioning that decision or that you are battling vegan depression. It is not comfortable sticking to a strictly vegan diet. I know the thought of all those delicious meals that you have to flee is stressful. However, that is the wrong way to look at it. Instead, think of the countless benefits that accrue being a vegan.

The Common Side Effects of Turning Vegan

The transition is hardest just after changing your diet. The following side effects are common:

Social issues

This is the leading cause of vegan depression. There is going to be a backlash, and other people will ridicule or openly mock you for being a vegan.

Of course, other debates like why you kill those insects you stepped on will always come up. Don’t let this get to you. You are not out to save the whole world.

Have satisfaction in knowing that whatever little contribution you are making is of significant impact in the end.

Cravings

vegan donut image

Your body may have been accustomed to non-vegan foods, and changing diets will not go unnoticed. One way to deal with these needs is to change your diet gradually and not overnight. You can also pick your favorite vegan foods before your taste buds adjust to your new diet.

Energy and weight issues

A plant-based diet, naturally, has a lower calorie count compared to an animal-based diet. This automatically means that you have to consume more significant chunks of food to make up for the deficit.

Many people complain that they feel sluggish and this might tempt you to dismiss veganism. The trick is to eat more micronutrients and keep track of your food intake. See to it that you eat not less than 2000 calories.

Running out of new meals to prepare

You probably aren’t used to vegan-only meals. This might be a challenge having to eat the same lunch repeatedly. There are so many different types of squashes, apples, and potatoes alone. The vegetable family is so large that you can never run out of a new meal for each day. Research online or get a cooking 101 book to learn new cooking techniques. I also share easy to prepare vegan dishes in Solancha Lifestyle.

Health Issues

This is primarily a problem if your diet is not healthy. When taken in the right manner, a vegan diet has many benefits, but just like anything, this takes time. Don’t, therefore, be quick to dismiss this diet after only a short period of trying. Veganism is not a quick fix or a fad diet as many people think.

Digestive problems

abdominal pain image

Our digestive system is structured to readily accept the foods we consume on a regular basis. Bloating, constipation and diarrhea are the effects of switching your diet too much too fast. This is because a vegan diet is rich in fiber, which is rare in animal foods. Your gut will take time before it adapts to this fiber in your diet. However, not everyone experiences digestive problems. Only people with a rather sensitive tummy do.

Lower cholesterol levels

Studies show that vegans have a lower cholesterol count than those who consume dairy and meat.

How to Deal With Vegan Depression

How do you handle vegan depression? The frustrations that come with taking on a new diet may push you to be depressed. There is no medical cure for regional depression. In a world where there is a pill for every illness, this is still a grey area. The solution is mostly in the choice of foods you eat and how you respond to criticism.

Below are some effective ways to tackle vegan depression:

Do not change too much too quickly

A mistake most people make is changing their entire diet overnight. This has significant effects, especially on your gut system. To avoid health complications, change your foods gradually as your body picks up.

Start with your favorites

It is only reasonable to think that there is not a sufficient variety of veggies to pick from at the start. This mentality is what influences most people into giving up a vegan diet. Start by switching to your favorite vegetables as you explore new brands.

Eat healthily

Vegan sandwiches image

Instead of eating processed greens, eat more whole vegan foods to gain more energy and nutrients. In addition, a vegan diet means that you have to eat more to satisfy the body’s nutritional requirement. Make sure your food contains whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.

Research

How many vegan recipes do you know? Find new recipes and cooking techniques that you can try at home to make each meal unique.

Social crisis

Some people may talk you into dropping the vegan diet or much worse make fun of it. Learn to ignore this and don’t take everything to heart.

Make prior arrangements

If for instance, you are eating over at a friend’s, let them know in advance your diet choices to save yourself the hustle and inconvenience.

Stick to your diet

vegan snacks for kids image

Many people drop the vegan diet after just a few days of trying. A vegan has many options. Do not let the few downsides draw you away.

In Conclusion

A vegan lifestyle is more than just eating. We save the lives of several animals as we reduce the greenhouse effect. The health benefits accrued are also many. Research has shown that, compared to artists, vegans have a longer life expectancy. I agree that it can be difficult to switch to a vegan diet. Many people will also try to talk you out of it or mock you for it.

Reflect on why you chose to do it in the first place and focus on the goal. Remember that you can’t always be perfect. What matters is that you are making efforts and constant improvement. Vegan depression is only but a phase and everyone passes through it. It’s only that most people don’t even notice.

Rachel is a mom of two boys, a wife, and a part-time chef. By trying and testing new parenting trends she takes her motherhood to the next level! She finds that she processes things better when she writes about them, which has unleashed her passion for sharing her thoughts on life and parenting through her articles for SOLANCHA Magazine.

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A Vegan Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Recipe on a Budget

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vegan pumpkin spice smoothie image

Pumpkin smoothies are delicious. We spice the traditional smoothie to make a refreshing vegan pumpkin spice smoothie. This is an easy to make recipe, and I will make use of locally available ingredients this season. Let’s get started!

The Ingredients

  • Pumpkin – The Orange Squash is perfect for this recipe
  • A banana – To act as the smoothie base
  • 1-cup non-dairy milk – I prefer almond milk although coconut milk and soymilk will do just fine
  • ½-cup ice cubes
  • 1-tablespoon maple syrup to sweeten

The spices:

  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Procedure

Pre-boil the pumpkin until tender and puree. We will use just 1 cup of this puree in our recipe.

Add the rest of the ingredients in the blender and puree until smooth.

Garnish with freshly ground cinnamon and enjoy your vegan pumpkin spice smoothie.

This recipe serves two. You can double or triple the ingredients quantities for additional servings.

For That Extra Oomph

I like to add chopped nuts for a crunchy texture. Walnuts and pecans go particularly well with pumpkin.

Feel free to experiment with different spices but don’t go overboard. Pumpkin is rather mild in taste, and too much spice will overpower the flavor. In addition, If you’re on a diet, you don’t have to use a sweetener especially with the sweeter pumpkin varieties like butternut. Ideally, maple syrup offsets the cinnamon and nutmeg spice to create a balanced flavor.

If you have trouble with the resulting pumpkin flavor, add a tablespoon of instant espresso powder. You might not distinguish the ingredients in your vegan pumpkin spice smoothie afterwards.

To garnish, add a scoop of whipped coconut cream. It looks just like the non-vegan whipped cream, and it tastes even better.

Finally, for extra probiotics, you can add plain dairy-free kefir.

The Nutritional Value

Pumpkin spice image

Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A and C, complex carbohydrates, calcium, iron, anti-oxidants, and dietary fiber. They don’t contain any fats or sodium which makes them a healthier option. To harness even more of this pumpkin goodness, dry the pumpkin seeds and roast them. Then grind the roasted seeds and add this powder to your smoothie. You can use the powder in other meals as well. Pumpkin seeds are higher in nutritional value than soybeans according to this research.

Bananas are rich in potassium, fiber, vitamin C and B6, phytonutrients, and various antioxidants. Like pumpkins, bananas don’t contain any trans fats or sodium.

The spices we used in this recipe have several benefits in the human body:

  • Allspice is ground pimento tree berries. The berries are harvested while still unripe and sundried before grinding. It is native to the Caribbean islands and, therefore, some people call it Jamaica pimento. Traditionally, allspice was used to ease indigestion, to relieve intestinal gas and abdominal pain. Allspice is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. Studies show that it also has cancer-fighting and antiviral properties.
  • Cinnamon is made from the bark of Cinnamomum tree. It is rich in antioxidants, which help our bodies to fight diseases.
  • Vanilla is also rich in antioxidants. However, be careful when buying commercially processed vanilla. If possible, buy the vanilla bean pods and use them in your recipes.
  • Nutmeg is a spice originating from Indonesia that is rich in essential volatile oils like safrole, myristicin, eugenol, and elemicin. These have anti-inflammatory properties hence ideal for treating joint pains.

The Bottom Line

I’m certain that you can now appreciate the nutritional value of our vegan pumpkin spice smoothie. Feel free to experiment with other ingredients but stick to the basics.

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recipes

Simple Vegan Christmas Appetizers Recipes

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vegan Christmas appetizers image

If you have ever been a victim of boring vegan snacks or flavorless dips, then its time to make a change this Christmas. Good cooking is like good music. They are all based on the foundation of proper technique. Vegan Christmas appetizers, tapas, finger foods, canapés, or whatever you might call them, prepare your pallet for the main feast.

It is a diverse category of foods; just like the occasions, we serve them for. And the beauty is that almost all types of food ingredients can be adapted as appetizers. This makes it hard to narrow down on specific foods especially for major Holidays like Christmas. In this article, I will share with you my all-time favorites, variations, and serving tips. Read on!

Baked Apples with Vegan Cheese

These are the simplest vegan Christmas appetizers to make. The best apples for this recipe are the green Granny Smith varieties, and the best cheese is the vegan cream cheese. You can also add fruits, nuts, and spices. I love the combination of star anise, cinnamon, and black peppercorns with dried apricots.

Baked Apples with Vegan Cheese Image

For this recipe, feel free to adjust the measurements according to the number of guests you will be serving.

Ingredients

  • 8 apples
  • 4 tablespoons vegan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon diced dried apricots
  • 1 tablespoon diced raisins
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon, star anise, and black pepper

In a bowl, mix the vegan cheese, the diced fruits, and spices well.

Remove the core of your apples and a little more flesh around it. This creates holes in the apples for stuffing.

Spoon the cheese mixture in the apples and bake them at 200 degrees Celsius for 20-30 minutes or until your apples are tender.

As a tip, add a little water in your baking tray to keep the apples from drying out while baking.

Remove from the oven, garnish with some whole spices.

Serve hot!

Stuffed baked apples with vegan cheese image

Variation

Instead of apricots, you can use chopped pecans or dried cranberries. These are rich in anti-oxidants and other nutritional benefits.

You can also use other firm apple varieties such as Empire or Cortland.

Finally, you can add maple syrup if you have a sweet tooth but remember to balance the sweetness with a pinch of salt. This also depends on the apple variety you use. If your apple is naturally sweet, you don’t need to add more sugar.

Vegan Cheese Balls

Vegan cheese balls appetizer

Cheese balls are a delicious choice of vegan Christmas appetizers. You can prepare them in advance and cook them when your guests arrive. For this recipe, we shall use our favorite vegan cheese recipe.

Once you have the cheese ready, you will need the following to make the vegan Christmas appetizers.

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
  • ½-teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1-teaspoon chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • ½-teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1-tablespoon corn flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and boil your potatoes (skin on) until tender. Peel off the skin and mash them with a fork. Add salt, pepper, and all the above ingredients and mix well. You can use any spices of your choice.

mashed potato image

Now scoop the potato mixture and using your hands, flatten them into small patties. Add some more vegan cheese. Fold the patties into small balls, and set aside. The idea is to have more cheese inside your balls. So once they are done, you take a bite, and the cheese at the center melts in your mouth.

Make some batter to coat them before cooking. This batter gives a crispy layer outside. And at this point, you can get more creative.

For my batter, I use:

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour

Mix well to form a light batter.

Dip your vegan cheese balls and swirl around to coat well.

Roll the coated ball in breadcrumbs and set aside.

Repeat with the rest of the potato balls and roll in different coatings such as pistachio, chocolate shavings, chopped nuts, and cranberries to make several colorful vegan Christmas appetizers.

Freeze these coated balls for at least 1 hour before cooking. This ensures your cheese is firm enough to withstand the heat when cooking.

To cook, you can deep fry them in hot oil, or pan fry with just a little vegetable oil, or bake them at 250 Celsius for 15 minutes. However, deep-frying produces the best results.

Serve hot with a sweet and sour chili dip or this delicious vegan sour cream.

Baked Avocado Fries

Avocado Fries Image

Avocado is a key ingredient if you are on a Ketogenic diet. They are rich in monosaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals. For these fries, you need to preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius (425 F).

Ingredients

  • 3 avocadoes – Slice them evenly (like French fries but not too thin)

For the flour mixture

  • 2 tablespoons of arrowroot flour, or cassava flour, or coconut flour (you can also use all-purpose wheat flour)
  • Spices – ½ teaspoon each
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Chili flakes
  • A pinch of salt and black pepper to taste

Mix all the dry ingredients and set aside.

For the wet mixture

  • 1½ tablespoon ground chia seeds (or you can use flax seeds)
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 1 lime juiced

Mix well and set aside.

For the final coating

You can use breadcrumbs, coconut flakes, cornflakes, or any similar ingredient that can create a crunchy effect.

Bread Crumbs image

To assemble

Dredge the avocados in the flour mixture to coat well. Dip in the wet mixture and finally in the coconut flakes or breadcrumbs. Lay the slices on a lined baking tray and spray with olive oil (optional).

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

These avocado fries need a tangy dipping sauce. The vegan sour cream works well, but you can also use our vegan ranch.

Vegan Christmas Appetizers for the kids

vegan christmas snacks for kids image

For the kids, this vegan snacks recipe has several treats that you can easily serve as appetizers. These include the energy balls, Tofu fingers, and of course the cashew cheese balls.

Cashew Cheese balls image

Cashew cheese balls

You can also make deep fried vegan chicken nuggets from our easy vegan chicken recipe.

vegan chicken nuggets image

So now you don’t have an excuse to serve sloppy vegan appetizers. The options are endless. You only need to be creative and think outside the box. Happy holidays!

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recipes

Delicious Vegan Christmas Cookies Done in 2 Ways

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vegan christmas cookies recipes 2020 Image

What makes vegan Christmas cookies delicious? The list of ingredients and the procedure followed. Cookies are a versatile delicacy, especially when serving many people. You only need to make one batch of cookie dough and get creative with the shapes and cookie decoration designs.

In this article, I will share with you easy recipes for the two most common Christmas cookies: Christmas sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies.

Let’s get started!

For both recipes, you need to pre-heat your oven at 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees F).

Christmas Sugar Cookies

vegan sugar cookies recipe image

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups vegan butter
  • 1-cup white sugar (this is the best option to achieve pale sugar cookies)
  • 3 tablespoons vegan cream cheese (my secret ingredient)
  • 3 cups of almond flour (or any gluten-free version you have. You can also use all-purpose flour)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds – pre-soaked for 4 hours (these act as an egg substitute)
  • ½-teaspoon baking powder
  • Spices
  • 1-teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½-teaspoon almond extract
  • A pinch of salt

Cream the sugar, butter, and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Use your fingers to know the right consistency. If you can still feel large sugar granules, continue whipping.

Add the wet ingredients and mix well.

Sift in your dry ingredients and combine to form flaky dough. Avoid over-mixing at this point.

Let the dough chill for 1 hour.

Roll the dough to 1/4″ thick. Cut out different shapes using a cookie cutter.

christmas cookies cutters image

Transfer the cutouts on to a lined baking tray. You can also lightly spray the baking tray with coconut oil.

Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how crunchy you love your cookies.

Let them cool completely before decorating.

vegan sugar cookies image

Gingerbread Cookies

Vegan Gingerbread man image

Ingredients

  • ¼-cup coconut cream
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar (you can use 2 tablespoons of maple syrup)
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses (optional)
  • 1-teaspoon bicarbonate
  • Spices
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • A pinch of salt

Mix all the dry ingredients.

In another bowl, mix the cream and sugar with all the wet ingredients. Combine with the dry ingredient and mix well to form soft dough. You can add a little almond milk if the dough is too dry.

Chill for 1 hour. Chilling makes the cookie dough firm hence easier to roll.

gingerbread dough image

Roll the dough to 1/4″ thick. Cut out different shapes using cookie cutters.

gingerbread cookies cutters image

Transfer the cutouts on to a lined baking tray. You can also lightly spray the baking tray with coconut oil.

Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how crunchy you love your cookies.

Let them cool completely before decorating.

Gingerbread Cookies Image

For the Frosting

  • 1-cup coconut cream
  • ½ cup sifted sugar
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk (for a slightly firm-runny consistency)
  • Natural food coloring (Green and red for Christmas themed vegan cookies)

Whisk the ingredients together.

Chill the frosting until you’re ready to decorate.

vegan cookies decorating image

In Conclusion

These vegan Christmas cookies taste terrific, and they are all gluten-free and of course dairy-free. They make an excellent breakfast addition or an accompaniment for your 10 o’clock tea. My kids usually poke holes right before baking. And when the cookies are baked, they loop a string around them and hung them in the Christmas tree as decoration. As you enjoy the cookies, create memories for your family this festive season. Merry Christmas!

Christmas bauble cookies image

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