By Amaya Santana
As a teenage girl, I’ve definitely struggled with my body image. Then I started to notice that the foods I was eating were affecting me in other negative ways. I would come to school feeling groggy, tired, and really unmotivated. Dieting just didn’t seem feasible for me, but I needed to change the way I ate. I began watching vegan YouTubers, and the thought of a vegan lifestyle became appealing to me. I started to acquire knowledge about how amazing a vegan diet is, and learned about foods I’d never even seen before. I’ve been vegan now for about six months, and I love it.
A big part of living a vegan lifestyle is being aware of how cruel and inhumane the meat and dairy industries are. I watched videos about what they do to the animals in the factories, and I couldn’t believe what I saw. I am forever scarred by it. Being on the other side of the screen and not being able to do anything about it is what really pushed me to fully transition. Going vegan was just one of the few ways I knew how to help, because I wouldn’t be giving the industry my money to continue to do what they do to harm helpless animals.
My transition to becoming vegan was, honestly, pretty hard. I had to cook for myself, whereas before, I would just eat whatever my parents made me. The first few months were definitely the hardest, I made many mistakes, and wasn’t quite eating balanced meals. The worst part was, I was still feeling guilty about what I was eating. I would eat a lot of high carb meals that would consist mostly of pasta, potatoes, and rice, because that’s all I thought was available to me. I soon realized that my body was not reacting well to these foods, and found myself overeating. I knew this wasn’t right, and that I needed to change my diet again. I was up for the challenge. After doing research, I discovered healthy vegan meal ideas. I’m really happy with how things turned out – I have so much more energy and motivation. I know what I’m putting in my body is giving me the nutrients I need to be healthy, and is cruelty-free, too.
d.tech student, Phoebe Rak, has been vegan on and off for about years, and has been vegetarian her whole life. Going vegan was definitely hard for her in the beginning. She had some slip ups, like on Valentine’s Day, when she binged on ice cream. But when she’s not going through an ice cream episode, she’s eating oatmeal, salads, vegetable dishes, and her favorite go-to, spaghetti and marinara. Being vegan helped with her stomach problems and her anxiety. Rak mentioned, “being vegan isn’t as healthy as you think, because most tend to eat a high carb diet.”
I agree with Rak, but honestly it depends what kind of carbs you’re deciding to eat. There are healthier carb alternatives to pasta and rice, such as: whole grains, legumes, tubers, nuts, fruits and veggies. Below are some of my favorite vegan recipes for breakfast lunch and dinner!
FAVORITE VEGAN RECIPES
I usually like to do a juice, smoothie or smoothie bowl for breakfast. Smoothies and juices are also a good way to get your fruits and veggies in for the day. My favorite smoothie recipe is one I found from FullyRawKristina, a raw vegan Youtuber, and one of my inspirations for becoming vegan. I did some modifications on her recipe but if you wanna check out the original here it is.
WILD BLUEBERRY SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIE
1-2 ripe bananas
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1 tb Spirulina powder
1 tb raw vegan protein powder
1 tb chia seeds (optional)
1 tb flax meal (optional)
For lunch I like to keep it light, so I’ll either do a salad or some energy balls.
Date Mango Energy Balls
1 cup dried mango
10 pitted medjool dates
⅓ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
For dinner, my go to is either a Buddha bowl, or a stuffed sweet potato. They are filling, and pretty to look at. My favorite Buddha bowl recipe is from Minimalist Baker. Check it out, below.
Sweet Potato Chick-pea Buddha bowl
- 2 tb olive, melted coconut, or grape seed oil
- 1/2 red onion, sliced in wedges
- 2 large sweet potatoes, halved
- 1 bundle (227 g) broccolini, large stems removed, chopped
- 2 big handfuls kale, larger stems removed
- 1/4 tsp each salt + pepper
- 1 15-ounce (425 g) chickpeas, drained, rinsed + patted dry
- 1 tsp cumin
- 3/4 tsp chili powder
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp each salt + pepper minimalist baker
- 1/2 tsp oregano (optional)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)
TAHINI SAUCE (OPTIONAL)
- 1/4 cup (56 g) tahini
- 1 tb maple syrup
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2-4 tb hot water to thin