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8 Vegan Eating Tips for Omnivores

8 Vegan Eating Tips for Omnivores

So things are getting interesting in the vegan world these days. The three biggies in “Gourmet World” — taste, texture, and presentation — are changing the landscape of healthy eating. You may be surprised to find out what you’re missing!

First, let’s make sure we are all on the same “foodie” page and define exactly what today’s vegan actually eats and does not eat. Here is the dictionary definition of vegan: “a strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products; also: one who abstains from using animal products (as leather).” Since we are only delving into food options today, we will leave the other vegan lifestyle choices out of this article.

After speaking with the people who are actually creating all those delicious desserts and entrées for their vegan clients, the trend seems to be all about finding substitute ingredients and developing the skill to rework the recipes — intensifying the flavors, ensuring the textures are pleasing, and using elements that have color and form pleasing to the eye.

So here are our eight vegan eating tips for omnivores.

1. Consider becoming “vegish.”

Actually, you’re already a bit “vegish” if you are eating some vegetables and salads. List all the vegetables you like, then the ones you don’t like, then the ones you have yet to like or not like. Maybe you need to explore how they are prepared, whether they are organic (which usually tastes better), and most importantly, how they are seasoned.

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Here are some other eating lifestyles for you to check out. Just find the one(s) that suit you:

  • Flexitarians eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but occasionally eat meat. Many people who call themselves “flexitarian” or “semi-vegetarian” have given up red meat for health reasons, while others have done so for environmental reasons and only eat free-range or organic animals and animal products.
  • Pescetarians are chiefly vegetarians; however, they also eat fish.
  • Vegish is an otherwise vegan who still eats fish.
  • Vegetarians don’t eat meat or fish; however, they do eat animal byproducts such as milk and eggs.
  • Vegans eat no meat, fish, or animal byproducts.

2. Enjoy cooking more of your meals at home.

Start slowly by planning one dinner meal every week that explores a new vegan menu item. Meatless Monday is one way you can get started. Check out who has signed up here.

meatless monday

    Meatless Monday is not a new idea. During World War I, the U.S. Food Administration urged families to reduce consumption of key staples to aid the war effort. “Food Will Win the War,” the government proclaimed, and “Meatless Monday” and “Wheatless Wednesday” were introduced to encourage Americans to do their part. The result was overwhelming; more than 13 million families signed a pledge to observe the national meatless and wheatless conservation days.

    If you want to try some morning meals, check out some of our Lifehack authors’ posts. Helena Negru has gathered 20 vegan breakfasts full of protein and Tegan Jones has 10 more breakfasts, meals, and snacks. She also found 20 more to consider! 

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    3. Host a vegish-based dinner party potluck.

    Ask your friends if they are interested in trying new dishes and make this a party project. Forward this article to them and see what happens. Go ahead and put some burgers on the grill and maybe even grill some veggies while you’re at it. Just have fun doing it!

    4. Frequent restaurants with vegan menu items.

    See what the pros are cooking! Some of our most successful home recipes are inspired by entrées we try at the fine restaurants we frequent. Even if you don’t order a vegan selection, ask how it is prepared and you just might get inspired!

    Here are the top 10 vegan entrées from “The Oregonian.”

    And here are the six vegan dishes from “America’s Best Vegetarian Restaurant Recipes.” Look for things like that the next time you are out dining or better yet, go ahead and try one at home!

    5. Do the math.

    Will adding some tastier vegan dishes to your diet save you money and extend your life expectancy? Probably, but you need to check your grocery shopping habits and see if you are paying for convenience at the expense of nutrition and taste. 

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    6. Know your veggies.

    Look for local veggies that are organic and really fresh. There are more and more small farming operations that specialize in high-quality produce free from pesticides and added chemicals that taste better and are better for you. Here are 10 vegetables you could be eating that, if seasoned to your taste and prepared for freshness, could add some variety to your diet.

    Look for world veggies at specialty markets. Here, in a very entertaining slide show, are 14 vegetables from around the world that you may not have heard of. The truth is, the world is full of edible, healthy and flavorful roots, stems and leaves, the vast majority of which you’ve probably never tasted. In the spirit of culinary adventure, we hope this list will prompt you to titillate your palate with something new. Try replacing those carrots, potatoes, lettuce or celery with one of these exotic vegetables — that is, if you can find them.

    7. Use fresh herbs.

    Fresh tarragon and dill, grown naturally right in your own garden or indoor window garden, will add incredible flavor to carrots, green beans, pea pods, and your own favorite vegetable. Make sure you cook your veggies just enough to be tender and flavorful.

    image024dill

      8. Know your sugars (and other sweeteners).

      White sugar, (a big sweetener in our foods) is processed with bone char. While there are many sugar substitutes available (six are approved by the FDA), I will not be covering them in this article. Below you will find some other common sweeteners. And don’t forget: honey is an animal product!

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      sugars

        Agave Nectar | Maple Syrup | Miel de Agave (article) | Truvia  | Molasses | Sorghum Syrup | Turbinado Sugar (brown sugar) | Sucanat (whole cane sugar) | Sugar Alcohol |

        Your body works very hard for you by taking what you eat and converting it to energy. Make sure you know what’s going on inside of you by doing your homework. Keep up with your health by checking in on the websites listed below.

        | How your liver works | How your intestines work | Digestion | Nutrition Data | Sugar & the brain |

        Maybe looking into the “vegish’ eating lifestyle will be more tasty, more nutritious, and even more inexpensive than what you are currently eating. Believe me, your body will thank you and your quality of living could very well improve.

        Bon Appetit!

        Featured photo credit: Chocolate Vegan Brownie/Jois de Vegan/Carolyn Busse-photographer via media.lifehack.org

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        Last Updated on November 11, 2019

        How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

        How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

        Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

        To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

        Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

        1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

        Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

        Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

        To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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        2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

        Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

        If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

        Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

        3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

        Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

        Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

        4. Feed Your Brain

        Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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        This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

        Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

        Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

        5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

        According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

        Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

        Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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        6. Write it Down

        If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

        It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

        You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

        7. Listen to Music

        Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

        8. Visual Concepts

        In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

        Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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        Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

        9. Teach Someone Else

        Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

        Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

        10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

        Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

        So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

        Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

        More About Boosting Memory

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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