Frequently Asked QuesTions
How do you get your protein?
For myself, I eat at least three or four cups or more of beans/legumes a day (whether it be hummus, beans mixed with grains, bean salad, soup, what have you). Many “diet” theories say to stay away from nuts because they are high in fat, but do NOT listen to that nonsense! I eat so much nut butter, and it is a great way to get protein, and keep your hair, skin, nails, and your brain healthy! I have nuts, seeds, or a cold-pressed non-hydrogenated oil (such as olive, flax, or hemp) at every meal. Plus, the healthy fats in nuts and seeds actually speed up your metabolism and help you stay at your healthy weight. Score!
Lentils are some of my favorite legumes (they are higher in protein and vitamins than many others), as well as chickpeas. I make a 3-cup batch of hummus pretty much every three days or so, I eat the stuff with a spoon! Plus, it is high in protein and filled with healthy fats from the tahini and olive oil that help you to feel more satisfied. As for whole grains, try to choose the ones highest in protein such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, whole wheat, etc. The high protein and fiber will keep you full.
Another one of my favorite protein sources would have to be Vega Sport Performance Protein in vanilla. I love this stuff, and I have it at LEAST once a day! It always makes an appearance in my morning Cookie Dough Bowls
How do you stay satisfied?
As I mentioned before, I eat lots of protein in the form of legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. As for feeling fully satisfied, I had that problem for a LONG time, but found that I feel most satisfied when I have a whole graincarbohydrate, protein (legumes and/or nuts/seeds), and a serving of healthy fats (non-hydrogenated oils like olive, flax, hemp; avocado; nuts; seeds). Otherwise, I find my stomach growling for whatever I forgot!
To be truthful, calories truly do not matter very much when you are eating plants in their whole, mostly un-processed forms (and listening to your hunger signals!). Over time, I have learned how to “translate” my hunger signals so that I know exactly what kind of nutrient my body needs. Think of it this way: when you are hungry, your body does not necessarily want food or a certain quantityof food; it wants a certain nutrient. When you think of it that way, your food choices will be more nutrient-dense, and you will understand your body’s hunger signals a bit more.
Is soy bad?
Since I am not a registered dietician, I cannot claim soy to be “bad” or “good”. Personally, I stay away from soy because it is typically very highly processed and mucus-forming (you can read more about this in Kris Carr’s new book,Crazy Sexy Diet).
Soy itself (as a bean) is a primarily healthy legume (although quite acidic), and is a complete protein filled with healthy fats. Tempeh is a very low-processed soy product that is SUPER high in protein. Tofu is also good (I try to use it in moderation because it is processed), and is high in protein (and delicious!) as well.
What do you typically “watch out for” when looking to purchase vegan products?
Things that I watch out for in vegan products are anything hydrogenated (very rare in natural foods sections and stores, but you would be surprised where it hides). High fructose corn syrup is never good, and I always watch out for sugar (evaporated cane juice, cane juice, raw sugar, sugar, etc.). Most saturated fats in plant foods are actually very healthy, such as the saturated fats in unrefined coconut products. In fact, most of these saturated fats are not even turned into fat when entering the body; they are used directly to produce energy. Also watch out for flavors, aspartame, and anything you can’t pronounce. If you wouldn’t sprinkle it in the pot, don’t buy it!
What vegan products are the best? What about vegan cheese and butter?
In regards to vegan products in general, staying away from anything highly processed or refined is optimal. Staying away from anything “white” (white bread, white/all purpose flour, white sugar, etc.) is good, and always choose whole-grain options.
Vegan cheese is delicious to say the least. Daiya is great because it is gluten- and soy-free, and melts so well! You can also make your own nut cheeses, or order them through companies such as Dr. Cow. They taste better than the real thang! Nutritional yeast is also great, as it is high in vitamin B-12 and protein. It tastes like real cheese! Vegan butter made by Earth Balance is great, and made of primarily healthy, plant-based fats (but of course is best in moderation!). Also,Smart Balance Light is DELICIOUS and taste so good spread melty on warm toast.
Which non-dairy milk is the best? Oat, almond, hemp, rice, soy? There are so many!
I absolutely LOVE almond milk, especially Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze. I can drink the stuff straight out of the glass! I have never tried oat milk, buthemp is also delicious, and is filled with tons of healthy fats and is a complete protein. In my book, almond and hemp are my favorites, but I am not a nutritionist (yet!) so I cannot make the claim that they are “healthier”. Rice milk is not quite as nutritious as the others, but some people like it so they ignore the low protein factor. I, personally, try to stay away from soy milk because it is a highly processed form of soy, and it is very important to me that it is made from organic soybeans and not ones that are genetically modified (look for ones labeled “made with Non-GMO soybeans”).
How do you balance your vegan treats? Are vegan treats healthier than non-vegan ones?
In regards to the vegan desserts, they can be almost just as unhealthy as non-vegan desserts depending on the ingredients you use. Of course, all-purpose or refined/white flours are always less healthy choices, as is sugar. My favorite alternatives are stevia, agave syrup, and yacon syrup. NuStevia is byfar my favorite brand of stevia, and they even make a blend for baking! When looking at vegan desserts, it’s is obviously okay to splurge now and then! But if you are thinking of desserts that you would eat every day/as a snack, try to choose whole-grain flours and low-glycemic sweeteners (stevia has no glycemic index or calories, and it comes from a leaf).
Why did you eliminate gluten from your diet?
Although I have not been tested for a gluten intolerance, when I was eating lots of gluten-containing products I would get awful migraines and um…plumbingissues. And, I could not focus for the life of me. When I came to my doctor with these symptoms, she asked if I had been eating a lot of wheat lately, to which I answered yes. She suggested that I take gluten out of my diet for awhile and see how I felt. After two weeks, I felt brand spankin new! Since then, I have been completely gluten-free, and I have no more migraines or plumbing problems!:)
What mascara/makeup/hair products do you use? Your eyelashes are always so big and gorgeous!
First of all, thank you! My favorite mascara is Maybelline Colossal mascara, which I have been using for years and absolutely love.
As for hair, I’ve been using the same shampoo and conditioner for four years…that’s what I call a good product! I always roll with Aveda Pure Abundance Shampoo and mix it with Aveda Smooth Infusion shampoo. The conditioner I use is Aveda Pure Abundance Conditioner.
I have very fine hair, so this works perfectly! And smells yummy:)