The question “What DO you eat?” has most likely been heard multiple times by many vegetarians and vegans. Even though our culture has become far more accepting of such diets in recent years, some physicians even recommending a plant-based diet as the optimal diet for health, there are still many people who cling to the stereotypical image of a vegetarian subsisting on blocks of watery, tasteless tofu and huge stalks of broccoli. So I thought it would be fun to give a list of what I DO eat as an “almost vegan,” starting today with one of my favorite meals–breakfast. Because even though many people prefer to skip breakfast, it truly IS the most important meal of the day. Not only does it prevent you from becoming starving around 10 or 11:00, but it also gives you a mental boost that will help carry you throughout the day. So here are some random recipes and ideas; I hope they may prove useful…
First, let’s discuss oatmeal. Sure, you could simply toss a packet of instant oatmeal in a bowl, add hot water, and devour. But oatmeal made from scratch not only tastes fresher, but is also healthier and allows you to customize it as you please. Here is my basic recipe for oatmeal:
Half a cup of rolled oats (You can used steel-cut oats, but they require a different oat-to-water ratio, about 1 to 3, and a longer cooking time. Also, the texture is different).
One cup of water or nondairy milk
One teaspoon of cinnamon
One to 2 tablespoons of sweetener, if desired (sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar, etc…).
Simply combine all ingredients in a pan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 4 or 5 minutes, until desired texture is reached. Of course, I rarely just use these three ingredients; some of my favorite add-ins are 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, bananas, apples, blueberries, raisins, or granola. Also, I highly recommend topping your oatmeal with some sort of nut butter (I prefer almond butter), then mixing it in and letting it cool for a few minutes before eating. Scorching hot oatmeal not only burns your tongue, but also tastes more bland. After all, when your mouth is on fire, you can’t really taste anything. And you can always make a pot of oatmeal ahead of time, then heat it up when you are ready to eat it. If you do this, then you won’t have to rely on instant oatmeal packets anymore. Here are some pictures of my different oatmeal creations…
Now onto green smoothies–or just smoothies in general. Smoothies are the perfect in-a-frantic-rush breakfast, because you can drink them quickly and they don’t require any chewing time–for those people who for some reason are either too hungry or impatient to wait. For a single-serving smoothie, here are the rough measurements I use:
Half a cup to one cup of nondairy milk or juice (I prefer vanilla almond milk)
One frozen banana, chopped
2 cups of baby spinach (if you want a green smoothie. Or you could add a couple small shredded carrots)
One-third a cup of other fruit, if desired (blueberries, raspberries, cherries, etc…)
Any other add-ins (cinnamon, almond butter, cocoa powder, ground flax, protein powder, canned pumpkin puree, chia seeds, etc…)
You could always add some sort of sweetener, if you prefer sweeter smoothies, such as maple syrup or sugar. Also, for green smoothies, you could use kale instead of spinach, but be warned–kale has a much stronger taste than spinach when put into smoothies. You can barely detect the taste of spinach in a smoothie, but the kale taste is more prominent. I won’t list all my recipes for smoothies, since they are on my recipe page, but here are some of my favorite combinations: (1) Spinach, banana, almond milk, blueberries, cinnamon. (2) Spinach, banana, almond milk, cocoa powder, cinnamon. (3) Banana, raspberries, almond milk, lemon juice, cinnamon. (4) Spinach, banana, almond milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon.
And here are some pictures of those smoothies…
Pancakes are another delicious and fairly simple breakfast, and are truly not any more difficult that whipping a batch of Bisquick pancakes. Here is the standard recipe I use for a single-serving batch of pancakes:
One-third a cup of flour (regular, whole-wheat, gluten-free, etc..)
One-fourth a teaspoon of baking soda
1 to 2 tablespoons of sweetener, if desired (sugar, maple syrup, agave, etc…)
One-third a cup of water or non-dairy milk
Any add-ins (cinnamon, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, chopped nuts or fruit, etc…)
Whisk dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients and stir together. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray (or use 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil to grease the pan). Add the pancake batter, making two to three pancakes, and cook until the edges are firm and dry. Then flip and cook for a few minutes more.
The flour and milk ratio may vary depending on what else you put in your pancakes; just experiment and find out what works best. Some great pancake toppings include almond butter (plain or flavored), maple syrup, jam, or some sort of fruit compote. Here are some pictures of pancake recipes I have created: Blueberry Lemon, Chocolate Mint Coconut, Cherry-Vanilla, and Cocoa Cinnamon. All the recipes are on my recipe page, of course.
Then, of course, there’s always the option of granola bars, either store-bought or homemade. If you are buying them from the store, some of the brands with the least-frightening ingredients are Larabars, Go Raw! bars, Kashi bars, KIND bars, Journey bars, and a few others. Homemade ones are always delicious as well, though, and can be customized according to your granola bar preferences.
To finish off this post, here is a list of some great breakfast recipes from different blogs…
1. Lightened Up Summer Granola from Oh She Glows.
2. Polka Dot Banana Bread from Chocolate Covered Katie.
3. Vegan Energy Bars from Peas and Thank You.
4. Chocolate Date Cake from Kat’s Health Corner.
5. Caramel Apple Green Smoothie from Modern Girl Nutrition.
I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and Memorial Day tomorrow! I will probably just be hanging out with my family–the best way to spend a holiday. I have my ballet performance coming up in about a week, which I am most definitely looking forward to. And then it will be time to start summer classes, which means I will be at the studio for about five or six hours each day Monday through Friday–and teaching for a few hours on Saturdays. I can’t think of a better way to spend my summer than that!! I will also be taking a couple online courses through my community college: Introduction to Literature and an Arts/Humanities course. I am definitely looking forward to those as well, particularly the literature course, since I love to read. I can’t believe summer is almost here already; these last few months have gone by so fast…