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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

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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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Vegan Fourth of July Shopping List

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Fourth of July is around the corner. What are your plans? Let me guess. Eat (a good meal), have a few drinks, share a memorable time with friends and family, and most importantly, thank our independence heroes for making this day a reality, right? Our Vegan fourth of July recipes are a must try. You don’t have to get stuck with your grandma’s recipe book. It’s time to try something different.

You see, life is hard enough walking past smoke-filled environments. While everyone else thinks of beefy burgers and char-grilled ribs, let me share with you my easy to make vegan delicacies. The best part is that you don’t have to prepare them from scratch. That’s why we have our lovely friends at WholeFoods, Trader Joe’s, and Target, right? So what’s in store for 2019s Vegan Fourth of July?

TraderJoe’s Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels for $3.29

Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels Image

Trader Joe’s

These morsels are very delicious. They are a blend of soy flakes and orange sauce. They actually taste like real chicken. After being off the shelves for almost a year, they are now back; repackaged and very tinkered.

When you buy them, defrost the sauce in hot water. Secondly, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the morsels for 9 minutes, turning them occasionally until they become golden and crispy. I serve mine with rice or noodles, the dipping sauce, and my favorite cheese combo or a green salad.

Sometimes when I’m in a hurry, I prefer to stir-fry them on a skillet using a tablespoon or two of olive oil.

Trader Joe’s Falafel Waffles for $2.99

falafel waffles image

Trader Joe’s

Falafel waffles are an excellent addition to a traditional Mediterranean breakfast with chickpeas and ground fava beans. I add a few spices to mine. A combination of cumin, coriander, garlic, and red onions go well with these waffles. You may also choose to cut the waffles into wedges and dredge them in plain yogurt. Whichever option you prefer, preparation time is always less than seven minutes.

Kruger’s Beyond Burger Plant Based Patties for $5.99

Beyond Meat Burgers Image

Kroger

These pea protein-based burgers are very similar to the classic American burger. However, these are healthier and tastier. They have a meaty texture. And by healthier I mean zero soy, GMOs, and gluten. They are available in packets of 20g.

An ideal way of preparing vegan burgers is by grilling the patties for 2-3 minutes each side. Then you grill your gluten-free burger bun (just to warm it up). Meanwhile, sauté a few slices of white onions in olive oil. Finally, build the burger. Add Daiya cheddar slices, lettuce, tomato, and your favorite sauce.

To melt your cheese, always place it on the hot patties as you assemble the burger. Within a few minutes, it will be oozing with tantalizing flavors.

Walmart’s Thai Kitchen Gluten-Free Brown Rice Noodles for $3.82

 Thai Kitchen Gluten-Free Brown Rice Noodles Image

Walmart

These are not your ordinary noodles. They are made from whole grain brown rice. I love the fact that they are easy to prepare. Just steam them for a few minutes and serve. These noodles are free from fat, cholesterol, gluten, eggs, and dairy, making them the perfect vegan option.

Walmart’s Tofurky Deli Slices Hickory Smoked for $2.88

Tofurky Deli Slices Hickory Smoked Image

Walmart

These Tofurky Deli meat slices are cholesterol free and ready to eat; straight from the packets. They contain wheat and soy, but they taste like real turkey. They are stoked with real hickory wood chips to give them a nutty smoky flavor.

To make a Tofurky sandwich, you need the Tofurky Deli Slices, chopped olives, chopped red Onions, vegan cream cheese, jalapeno peppers, and gluten-free tortillas. Mix the ingredients and wrap them with the tortillas.

You can also make bread sandwiches with the tofurky deli slices. I mix mine with tomato, red onion, lettuce slices, vegan cheese, and mayo, mustard, and Tofurky Smoky Maple Bacon. Then sandwich between two slices of whole grain bread.

Whole Food Market’s Sukhi Potato Samosas

Sukhi Potato Samosas Image

Whole Food Market

These samosas make a delicious side dish or a snack. They are loaded with spiced potatoes and peas and additional peanuts. To prepare them, first remove the samosas from the packaging tray. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the samosas on a baking dish and bake them for 15 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Serve with cilantro chutney or your favorite dipping sauce.

Target’s Korean Barbeque Meatless Chicken for $3.99

Korean Barbeque Meatless Chicken Image

Target

This delicacy contains soy, sunflower, miso, and organic tamari sauce. It is packed in frozen bags accompanied with a separate sauce packet. Microwave the chicken strips for 2 minutes and then mix with the sauce.

Gardein’s Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites for $3.97

Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites Image

Walmart

These porkless bites come with an easy to follow the recipe at the back. Pan-fry the bits until you get a crispy outside (just like you would with real pork bites). The sauce compliments any pasta or vegetable dish that you would like to serve with.

Wegmans Don’t Be Chicken Meatless Chicken Style Breasts for $4.19

Don’t Be Chicken Meatless Chicken Style Breasts Image

Wegmans

These chicken breasts are made using soy and wheat. To prepare the breasts, bake them for 15 minutes, turning them midway. Alternatively, you can also grill them. Lightly coat the breasts with vegetable oil. Grill them for two minutes on each side while covered (to prevent them from over-drying). Afterward, grill them for a further three minutes, this time uncovered. You can and the chicken breasts to your favorite vegan pot pie. Alternatively, sandwich them with burger buns.

Amy’s Vegan Margherita Swirls for $5.79

Vegan Margherita Swirls Image

Amy’s

These quick snacks contain wheat flour, tomatoes, and basil. To prepare the swirls, unwrap them and bake for 12 minutes. The new surges should otherwise be kept frozen at all times.

Meal Delivery Services For Vegans

In case the vegan fourth of July finds you far from your favorite store, you could request for a delivery to your doorstep. Veestro delivers plant-based pre-cooked meals nationwide. Mamasezz delivers a la carte meals suitable for three servings. Foodflo delivers raw, alkaline and gluten-free vegan diets like side salads and raw snack bars. Other home delivery services are from Food Nerd, Fresh N Lean, 22 Days Nutrition and Nutrifit.

In Conclusion

Pick one or two vegan meals from above and create a memorable vegan fourth of July summer party. Whether it’s an appetizer, the main course, or even dessert, there are a lot of easy to make meal options to choose from. Better still, select one of the gourmet dishes from a vegan delivery service and enjoy this Independence Day. Happy vegan Fourth of July!

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Best Recipes For Your Vegan Fourth Of July BBQ

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Our independence day is almost here. Celebrate freedom with great tasting vegan delicacies. Make this year’s vegan Fourth Of July stand out with diverse cuisine ranging from BBQ burgers, vegan hot dogs, cheesecake, and many more. Who says parties without animal-based barbeques should be boring? With these recipes, even the non-vegan will find it hard to resist.

Thai Quinoa Burger

If you love the Thai flavors of cilantro, lemongrass, and curry paste and you cherish the American burger, then this is for you. The Thai Quinoa Burger combines all these ingredients to give you a spicy finger licking burger rich in protein.

Vegan Quinoa Burger Image

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • Two flax eggs
  • Three tablespoons ground flax seed
  • Five tablespoons of water

For the Patty

  • One can of rinsed and drained chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup of chopped snow peas
  • 1 cup dry oats
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • Two tablespoons canola oil
  • One tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • One tablespoon red curry paste
  • One tablespoon of freshly ground ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 cup finely diced red onions
  • A pinch of ground black pepper and Kosher salt
  • Fresh green chilies
  • One tablespoon of agave nectar

To Assemble The Burger

  • 6 Burger Buns
  • BBQ sauce of your choice (like mayo and hoisin sauce)
  • Spinach, fresh carrots, or lettuce
  • Mung bean sprouts

Procedure

In a bowl, whisk the ground flax with water and set aside for 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan, boil the vegetable broth with quinoa. Reduce the heat and let it simmer until the broth is completely absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Meanwhile, pulse the oats in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add in the flax egg together with the rest of the patty ingredients. Process for a while until the mixture is smooth and thick. For a small serving, measure one cup of the cooked quinoa and add it to the food processor. Refrigerate the rest of the quinoa for future use.

Coat a baking sheet with oil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, Make at least six patties out of the burger mixture. Heat a large frying pan with vegetable oil. And fry the patties on each side until they are golden brown. Place the fried patties on the baking sheet and bake them for 10 minutes.

Get your six-burger buns and assemble with your favorite BBQ sauce, veggies, and sprouts.

Vegan Hotdogs

Hot dogs are a favorite summer meal. I love grilling mine on the Vegan Fourth Of July while basking in the sunshine. These vegan hot dogs have little or no saturated fat. In addition, they don’t have cholesterol and they are lower on calories compared to the animal-based hotdogs.

vegan hotdogs image

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 pieces of well-drained marinated artichokes
  • 12 pieces of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 11/2 cups of kidney beans well drained
  • One garlic clove – minced
  • 1/3 cup of rolled oats
  • One teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • Black pepper, a pinch of salt, and oil.

Procedure

Drain the artichoke hearts and the sun-dried tomatoes using kitchen paper towels to remove excess oil. Add the artichokes, the tomatoes, kidney beans, clove, oat, and paprika to a food processor. Smear a pinch of salt, pepper, and oil. Blitz the mixture until it is evenly mixed.

Spray your baking tray with oil. Mold the mixture into sausage shapes of the desired size as you line them up on the baking tray. Spray the sausages with oil and bake them for half an hour checking them occasionally to ensure they are firm and golden brown.

Vegan Raspberry Cheesecake

This chilled cheesecake looks very sophisticated yet very simple to make. It has different layers of pink and a beautiful fresh raspberry arrangement on top with a velvety cream perfect for the Vegan Fourth Of July dessert. We use agar powder to make the cake firm even in this hot summer weather.

vegan cheesecake image

Ingredients

  • 6 Medjool dates
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup raw cashews – soak them overnight and pat them dry
  • 3 cups of freshly made coconut cream
  • 1/8 cup of lemon juice
  • 4 cups of fresh raspberries
  • One tablespoon of agar powder
  • 1 cup of water

Procedure

Pulse the dates, coconut, and salt in a food processor. Ensure the mixture still maintains its rough texture. Press the mixture firmly on a cake ring to prepare the cheesecake crust. Keep aside.

Meanwhile, blend the soaked cashews and 1 cup of coconut cream, slowly adding more coconut cream until the mixture is well blended. Add the lemon juice and mix lightly without curdling the milk. Divide the coconut base among four separate bowls and keep aside.

Puree the fresh raspberries with the dates to prepare the raspberry base. Remove the raspberry seeds by straining them. You can also use cheesecloth to get rid of all raspberry seeds.

In a small saucepan, add the agar powder, water and the dates-raspberry mixture. Heat the saucepan, and then let the mixture simmer for a minute. Do this quickly before the agar sets.

Get your four bowls of coconut base. In the first bowl, add ten tablespoons of the raspberry mixture. In the second bowl, add seven tablespoons of the raspberry mixture. Five tablespoons in the third bowl, and finally two tablespoons in the fourth bowl. The raspberry mixture shall create different layers of pink in your cake. The first bowl is mostly red whereas the last bowl is the lightest in color.

Use a spoon to mix the raspberry mixture into the coconut base in each bowl.

Get the cake ring. Spread fourth bowl mixture over the crust to create your first layer. Then spread the third bowl mixture on top of the first layer to create your second layer. Do the same with the second and first bowls respectively. Then top up any raspberry-date mixture that remained onto the fourth layer. Swirl it with a sharp knife to create pretty effects.

Chill the cheesecake for three hours before removing the cake ring. Garnish the cake with fresh raspberries or some edible flowers.

The Bottom Line

If you loved these Vegan Fourth Of July recipes, then I’m sure you’ll love our other collection of vegan recipes. The vegan pizza, vegan chicken nuggets, and vegan donuts can also be an excellent addition to your dishes for the 4th of July party. Try the above recipes this Vegan Fourth Of July, and let us know what you think.

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A Simple Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread Recipe with a Twist

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The basic banana bread ingredients are the bananas, eggs, butter, flour, and milk. However, for the vegan chocolate banana bread version, we shall substitute the non-vegan ingredients and add a little twist to make it even more delicious and nutritious. Ideally, the difference between this bread and the ordinary vegan banana bread is the addition of chocolate. Let’s bake!

Preheat your oven to 350F (180 C)

The Ingredients

  • 1-cup gluten-free plain flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup of vegan dark chocolate chips (for extra oomph)
  • 1 vanilla pod (or your favorite flavor like strawberry or cinnamon)
  • Mixed nuts (to add some coarse texture)
  • ¼ cup agave nectar (although not necessarily because ripe bananas add some natural sweetness)
  • 2 ripe bananas (very ripe ones work best)
  • 1/2-cup milk (non-dairy) or just water (almond milk works fine for me)

The Procedure

vegan chocolate banana bread recipe image

Grease your baking tray with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Alternatively, just line it with a greaseproof baking paper to prevent the vegan chocolate banana bread from sticking.

In a wide bowl, mash the ripe bananas until smooth. You can leave them chunky for more texture but not very big chunks.

Add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix evenly.

Now sift in your dry ingredients and using a wooden spoon, fold them in until evenly distributed.

The folding process is vital for moist banana bread.

Bake the bread for 30-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.

To serve, garnish the bread with berries and dust with a little icing sugar.

The Twist

You can add as much vegan chocolate as you like. However, the surest method is to stick with the cocoa powder measurements and instead add melted dark chocolate. Similarly, you can substitute the dark chocolate chips with the white ones. However, the bread won’t have that deep-dark chocolate color.

The reason I used vegan chocolate chips instead of a roughly chopped dark chocolate bar is that the chips maintain a uniform profile while baking and once you bite into the bread, the chocolate melts in your mouth.

The nuts are optional. They just add a little texture to the cake and add air spaces to make the cake spongy. Unlike vegan cupcakes, banana bread can be quite dense. I use coarsely chopped (or whole) nuts to add air spaces while baking, which makes the bread lighter.

Again, if you will garnish with icing sugar, go easy on the sweetener, unless you have a very sweet tooth.

Finally, this can be your everyday type of bread, even if you’re on a diet. However, it only keeps fresh for a few days (less than a week), whether refrigerated or at room temperature. Please do not be tempted to keep it longer.

Is Chocolate Healthy?

As we wait for the bread to bake, let me fill you in on the nutritional value.

Vegan dark chocolate with cocoa powder Image

There are several categories of vegan chocolate: the original dark chocolate and the different versions of processed chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants. It also contains significant amounts of iron, zinc, manganese, fiber, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and selenium.

All these are important minerals in our bodies (not metals). When you feel a deep craving for chocolate, it is because your body has discovered that some of the minerals you lack can be obtained from chocolate. However, the type you crave for depends on you.

Is your vegan chocolate banana bread ready? Enjoy!

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