As some of you know, one of the reasons I decided to move from Montreal, Canada to Mexico is, sure enough, the weather. I just couldn’t stand the thought of another long, freezing winter and way too many grey rainy days for my taste.

Neither could I accept the thought of waiting until retirement to make the move. I longed for sunshine and heat, all the time, all year round. And oh my did I find just that in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico!

However with the year-round heat, sun and sea breeze also comes the hurricane season, which runs from June to October in Baja. This means that during those months, we can expect some rain and there is a risk of tropical storms and hurricanes of varying intensities.

I experienced my first one here last week, Hurricane Norbert, and it was scary and exciting at the same time. Locals tell me it wasn’t a bad one, but it was enough to knock out my telephone and Internet service for 7 days!

We are now expecting Hurricane Odile scheduled to greet us this Sunday. I am quickly uploading my recipe for you this week just in case the hurricane takes away my Internet again!

When the storm was just starting to brew, I stocked up on supplies and hit the kitchen to make a couple of soups – the ultimate comfort food for damp and windy rainy days. I created a coconut, spinach and mung bean concoction so soothing, creamy and delicious that I couldn’t wait to share it with all of you! To my surprise, the mouth-feel and taste reminded me of a luxurious clam chowder.

Before making this recipe, remember to soak your mung beans overnight, just like we do with other dry beans and chickpeas. I added just a little cumin, fresh ginger and basil for flavor – you may want to add more or less to suit your taste.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.


Coconut Spinach Mung Soup


Makes approximately 6 servings

3 tablespoons coconut oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

6 green onions, chopped

1 potato, peeled and chopped

1 small chunk of ginger, about 2 inches, minced

2 cups mung beans, presoaked overnight and drained

2 cups spinach, frozen or fresh (chopped)

1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced

1 cup coconut milk

3 cups water

½ teaspoon cumin

Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Place coconut oil, garlic, onions, potato and ginger in a large pot and sauté over medium heat for about 4 or 5 minutes.
  2. Add mung beans, stir and continue to sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add spinach, basil, coconut milk, water and cumin and slowly bring to a boil. Immediately lower heat and simmer for approximately 1 hour, or until mung beans and potato are very soft and soup is creamy.
  4. Add salt and black pepper as desired.


“Each one of us is here for a reason that is greater than the roles that are ascribed to us and that we ascribe to ourselves. We are alive, in this moment in time, going over material together for a reason. The reason is greater than your role as a parent, as a sibling, as a child, as a friend, or whatever you do in your career. It is greater than your relationships, your insecurities, your stresses, or your bodies. When we get blindsided by the temporary, by the daily routine and the stresses that rise up within it, we stay cloaked behind the veil of illusion that prevents us from seeing the truth. The truth is this: we are here to examine why we are here, who we are, and how we are connected to each other and to the earth that continues to sustain us. That truth also states that beneath this world of change and separation is a deeper world of unchanging existence, and it is from there that we all stem. From a place of permanence, of unchanging energy and consciousness.”

~Bram Levinson, The Examined Life 

Follow my vegan adventures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Get my cookbook, Cooking With Amore, for over 100 delicious, plant-based recipes!

A long, busy day ahead? A train, plane, bus or road trip coming up? Something to munch on between classes? A tasty, satisfying, healthful snack to bring along with you is always convenient. All it takes is a little planning ahead to pick up a few required ingredients, some time to put the recipe together, and in this case of my raw vegan granola bars: 12 hours total in the dehydrator.

A dehydrator is a fun, versatile and useful kitchen tool for preparing many raw vegan recipes, but if you don’t have one and are not interested in making the investment, you can bake these granola bars in the oven at 350°F for about 20 minutes.

In my opinion, however, there are certain advantages to choosing a dehydrator over an oven. A dehydrator uses a fan and much lower heat than an oven to remove the water content from foods without actually “cooking” them.

Heat can denature or transform foods and make them less nutritious. To get technical, a food can be considered raw so long as it is not heated above 118°F (or according to some, 120°F). According to raw food experts and proponents, such as Dr. Brian Clement and Dr. Gabriel Cousens, foods cooked above 120°F lose much of their nutritional value because most of their natural enzymes are destroyed by heat and may even create some toxins for the body.

A dehydrator can help create the taste and feel of our favorite cooked foods, while maintaining the nutrition of whole foods by keeping their enzymes and vitamins intact. Raw and organic whole foods can be very healing for people with certain diseases and can help rejuvenate the body. Dr. Cousens for example uses a raw vegan diet to help his patients reverse Type II Diabetes and other severe illnesses.

Although many raw foodists take an all or nothing approach and choose to maintain a fully raw diet, for some people this may sound impossible or simply undesirable. Going fully raw is definitely doable and may improve your health drastically, however, I believe we can all benefit from adding more raw foods to our diets thereby maximizing our nutrition without necessarily removing all cooked foods overnight. These delicious, nutritious, filling and easy to make granola bars are a lovely addition to anyone’s diet. Give them a try!

If, on the other hand, you are ready to transform your diet completely there are many resources out there to support you, including my beloved culinary institute, Living Light Culinary Institute, where I learned not only how to prepare scrumptious fully raw meals and desserts, but also the science behind it.

Raw Vegan Granola Bars


Makes about 20 bars

1 ½ cup dates, pitted and chopped

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons agave nectar (or maple syrup)

1 ¼ cup raw almonds

1 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds

½ cup raisins

½ cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruit of your choice)

¾ cup shredded coconut

2 tablespoons brown rice syrup

¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt


  1. Place chopped dates, vanilla extract and agave nectar in a food processor and blend until mixture becomes a thick, chunky paste.
  2. With the help of a spatula, scoop date mixture into a large bowl and stir in all remaining ingredients.
  3. Place about 1/3 of the mixture at a time into the food processor and pulse 4 or 5 times. Mixture should be sticky with large chunks of fruit and nuts. Continue until all the granola has been processed.
  4. Place granola on a dehydrator tray lined with a paraflexx drying sheet. Form a square shape about 1-inch thick and score the granola into rectangular bars of desired size.
  5. Dehydrate for 6 hours at 110°F. Flip the granola onto another dehydrator tray without the drying sheet. Score again so that the bars are more defined. Dehydrate for another 6 hours. Bars will be firm but moist and chewy when ready.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” ~Orison Swett Marden

Follow my vegan adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Get Cooking With Amore!

We all know that a squirt of lime improves the taste of almost everything, from a nice cold beer to a creamy guacamole. Not only are limes incredibly health-promoting, they have that unique ability to bring out the flavors in other foods.

I use lime juice to dress my salads and enhance many other dishes and drinks all the time. Here are my favorite ways to use lime, some of which may totally surprise you:

1. Corn on the Cob – I am so excited to share this simple, healthy, vegan option for topping your corn on the cob. I learned it from a Mexican friend here in Mexico and now I am hooked! It’s even better than butter I promise!

All you do is squeeze fresh lime juice on the corn, sprinkle some Himalayan salt and indulge!

Corn on the cob

2. Papaya and Coconut – Have you ever tried freshly squeezed lime over papaya? Oh, this is another one of my favorites I discovered in Mexico! The tangy citrus balances and contrasts the sweetness of the papaya so perfectly! Chopped up coconut meat, as the famous song suggests, also tastes delicious topped with lime juice and a dash of Himalayan salt.

Papaya with lime

3. Salads – Lime, coupled with olive or flaxseed oil and Himalayan salt, makes the most exquisite dressing for any type of salad. Here I used it to dress a mango, cucumber and tomato salad. Lime is great with all greens and my much loved cilantro salad, La Mexicana.

Mango Salad

4. Teas – I like to refrigerate teas in the summer; an iced tea of any variety is so refreshing! One of my favorite teas is fresh lime juice and mint. I add the mint leaves to boiling water and let them seep for a couple of hours while the water cools down slowly. I then remove the mint and add the lime juice. For those of us requiring a little more sweetness, a teaspoon of agave nectar does the trick very nicely.

Mint and lime tea

5. Soups – A squirt of lime enhances the flavors of almost any soup!

6. Alcoholic Beverages – We all know and love the classic lime margarita, but as with soups, many alcoholic beverages are enhanced with a little lime. Don’t even think of having a cranberry vodka without a squirt of lime – it just isn’t the same! Even a plain glass of water or carbonated water is greatly enhanced with a little fresh lime juice.

7. Brazilian Lemonade – This lemonade recipe actually uses lime, rather than lemon. Conventionally, people add condensed milk, but my vegan version uses coconut or almond cream. To sweeten it, I use agave nectar instead of sugar. To make 4 servings, chop up 2 limes (peel and all) and toss them in the blender with 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup of coconut or almond cream, several ice cubes, and a tablespoon of agave nectar. Blend briefly and then strain the liquid through a strainer or nut milk bag. Add a little more ice and serve immediately. Salud!

8. Kicking the habit – Did you know that lime juice may help you quit smoking? One medical study concluded that, “fresh lime can be used effectively as a smoking cessation aid.”

9. Key Lime Pie – Wow this one is a huge treat! Key Lime Pie you’ve surely heard about, but what about a raw vegan version? At the Living Light Culinary Institute, where I studied raw vegan cuisine and nutrition, we learned a recipe for a raw vegan key lime pie which was out of this world! I made it several times since then (below I made them as little tartlets), and this recipe has been a huge crowd-pleaser!


10. Armpits – Yes, you read that correctly: armpits! Did you know that rubbing a piece of lime under your arms works better to control body odor than any deodorant on the market? You have to try it to believe it!

I hope I’ve inspired you to try lime in new and exciting ways! Enjoy!

Join me for more Cooking With Amore on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Get Cooking With Amore and enjoy over 100 vegan recipes, all made with amore!

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.”



This week I bring you another delicious Mexican classic: gorditas! A gordita (literally translated into English as “little fatty”) is a type of flatbread made from cornmeal and then stuffed with pretty much anything you like, such as vegetables, meat, or even a sweet filling.

I always choose the vegan options, and was thrilled that a favorite gordita spot here in Mexico, Doña Tota, offers two fillings devoid of animal products: a refried beans option (without the cheese, which is a typical addition) and a potato filling.

Gordita Dona Tota

These two fillings at Doña Tota don’t have any meat, but how can I be absolutely sure that they don’t contain any animal products? I cannot, unless I make them myself at home.

I must admit, I was a bit intimidated to try this recipe on my own. Making gorditas is an art form, but then again, so are many other culinary creations such as pizza and lasagna! The difference is I did not grow up in a Mexican kitchen, so unlike Italian dishes, this wonderful and inspiring cuisine is all new to me. But, alas, I am a very eager student, and a lover of all things Mexican.

I mustered up some confidence, got myself masa harina, corn flour, and set out for a culinary adventure in my kitchen. I had to determine the flour to water ratio, so I experimented based on my experience with making pizza dough, adding water to the flour slowly and feeling my way through. I created a big loaf of soft dough and then pinched tangerine-sized balls of dough, patting then into flat cakes, about ½ inch thick.

Making Gorditas

I then heated a frying pan on medium to high heat (no oil) and placed the patties in the pan. I flipped them once they had some colour, after about four minutes on each side.

Gordita patties

Once they were done, I removed them from the heat and let them cool slightly. Some people deep fry them at this point, but I don’t think this is necessary since they are already wonderfully flavorful. Once they cooled, I used a serrated knife to slice them about ¾ through to create a pocket. The serrated knife is super important for this step so that the shell doesn’t stick to the knife or crumble.

Now your gordita is ready for you to fill with any filling you like. I made a sweet potato, corn and bean mixture and garnished it with chopped cilantro and onion. If you’d like to try the refried beans filling, like the ones from Doña Tota, I gave you my recipe last week.

Have fun and buen provecho!

Maria's Vegan Gorditas


Gordita Shell

Makes about 5 shells


2 cups corn flour

1 2/3 cup water

Pinch of salt


  1. In a large bowl, add the flour and a pinch of salt. Add the water slowly, about 1/3 cup at a time.
  2. Knead the mixture into a large loaf.
  3. Pinch off tangerine-sized balls and pat into flat patties, about ½ inch thick.
  4. Heat frying pan (dry, no oil) on medium to high heat. Add patties and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, until they start to get a golden color.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  6. Slice open (using a serrated knife) and fill with any stuffing and garnish you desire.


Sweet Potato, Bean and Corn Gordita Filling


½ white onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

½ cup frozen corn

1 cup cooked pinto beans

½ teaspoon onion powder

Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Add onion, garlic, sweet potato, rosemary and oil to a frying pan and sauté until soft, about 5 or 6 minutes.
  2. Add corn, pinto beans, onion powder, salt and pepper and continue sautéing for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside until ready to fill your gordita shells.


Get my cookbook, Cooking With Amore, for over 100 vegan recipes, all made with amore!

Follow my vegan adventures on Facebook, Twitter (@veganchefamore) and Instagram (cookingwithamore).

See you next week with another irresistible vegan recipe! 

It’s been a while, my friends! I am so thrilled to be back here on Forget The Box, sharing my passion for vegan living with all of you!

Much has happened since you last read me about 10 months ago. Namely, my cookbook, Cooking With Amore, was finally published and launched at the Montreal SPCA Annexe (Emergency Shelter). I completed a program in gourmet raw vegan cuisine and raw food nutrition at Living Light Culinary Institute in northern California. And, to keep things exciting, I moved to Los Cabos in Mexico!

It has always been my dream to live in a beautiful, tropical location. I decided to take the leap and make it happen this past May, making the drive all the way from Montreal to San Jose del Cabo in Baja California Sur, Mexico. What an incredible adventure it has been so far!

I have so much to share with you, but let me start this week with the sheer deliciousness known as refried beans. It’s easy to come across this highly popular dish in Mexico, since it is served as a side dish with almost everything, including breakfast.

I love making bean dishes from scratch, soaking beans overnight and cooking them myself (rather than using the canned variety). I was super eager to make this dish at home, but not before reading up a little to find out its origins and history.

Refried beans are essentially cooked and mashed beans. The name “refried beans” is derived from the Spanish “frijoles refritos” which interestingly does not refer to the beans being refried (fried twice), but rather well-fried. In fact, one way of preparing these beans doesn’t involve frying at all. You can basically boil the beans and add all the other ingredients to the same pot until the mixture is thick and creamy. At that point, you can use a potato masher or put all or most of the mixture into a blender for a very brief blend.

When I make them, I do use the frying method because I always boil a big batch of beans and freeze some for other recipes.

Refried beans are very versatile. They can be served as a side dish, as a filling in a tortilla or gordita, as a dip for totopos or tostadas, as a layer for nachos – the possibilities are endless! I even add a large dollop to my salad for extra flavor and heartiness. Here’s my recipe. You can use any beans you like, but it seems that pinto or black beans are the most popular.


Maria’s Rendition of Refried Beans


2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, or any oil you prefer for cooking

1 white or red onion, chopped

3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 poblano or red bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, chopped

2 cups cooked pinto or black beans

2 cups water

¼ cup chopped cilantro, more for garnish if desired

Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Add oil, chopped onion, garlic and peppers to a large frying pan and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the cooked beans and 1 cup of water to the frying pan and allow to simmer until most of the water has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add second cup of water and repeat.
  3. Once most of the water has evaporated, and the bean mixture is very soft, stir in chopped cilantro and turn off heat.
  4. Use a potato masher or blender to create a thick purée. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

So full of flavor, I just love this recipe and hope you enjoy it as well. Read me next week as I share with you another vegan recipe and tale from Mexico!

Get Cooking With Amore for many tips and tricks for cooking beans, and over 100 vegan recipes, all made with amore!

Follow my vegan adventures on Facebook, Twitter (@veganchefamore) and Instagram (cookingwithamore)

As I headed to the book launch of vegan chef Maria Amore last week, my mind wandered back to a day in high school health class. During the class we were shown a video which graphically detailed all the destructive ways smoking ravaged your body. Being the mature, thoughtful teenager that I was, after watching the video I of course promptly went outside and lit up a cigarette. Being told how bad it was for me only made me crave the thing more.

After discussing veganism and trying out some treats from Cooking with Amore, I wondered if I would experience a similar feeling of rebelliousness? Would I leave the book launch and crave a hamburger afterwards? Living on my own, the cost of food is usually the deciding factor of what goes into my shopping cart. Like many others I’m sure, the life of the animal and its journey to the grocery store is honestly something I’ve never given much thought to.

Maria Amore

I’m sure my outlook on food consumption would be very different of course if, like Amore, I was faced with a serious illness. Amore’s first career was in law. And with the long hours and intense pressure that came with being a corporate lawyer, Amore had no time to think about food preparation and nutrition. Because of this, Amore says, eventually her body succumbed to exhaustion.

“With the medical doctors at a loss as to how to help me, I decided to take matters into my own hands and started learning about nutrition,” Amore writes in the preface to her cookbook. While studying nutrition, Amore was horrified to learn about the truths behind factory farming and made the decision to become vegan. Combining her new belief system with her love of cooking, Amore knew she’d found her true calling as a vegan chef.

Amore became so adept at promoting her new profession online (including writing an FTB food column for two years) that she was recently offered an exciting new career opportunity.

“I was approached by investors who’d seen my Facebook page and asked if I’d like to run a vegan bistro in Mexico,” Amore told me during the book launch, grinning widely, “living in a tropical climate has always been something that’s interested me, so it wasn’t a hard decision. And because of the bistro, I’m thrilled to be able to donate all proceeds from the cookbook to the SPCA animal shelter.”

Amore left Montreal last Friday, and Bistro CasAmore will open later this year in Mexico.

Leaving the book launch I did not end up going for a hamburger, but instead thought about trying out some of Amore’s recipes like vegan shepherd’s pie, Portobello burgers and curried chickpeas with couscous. Unlike my teenage self, I am finally beginning to understand the importance of a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

I did finally quit smoking two years ago but I fully admit I still have a long way to go before I can truly say I lead a healthy lifestyle. Moderating my meat intake and combining it with more vegetarian and vegan options seems like a pretty great start.

Here is a recent interview Amore did with Global Montreal promoting her book:

Photos by Adida Khavous

Pasta and beans is a tasty, traditional stew-like Italian dish. It is a hearty meal, which I love to make at this time of year when the garden is in full harvest mode. Using perfectly vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh crisp celery, aromatic basil, and of course lots of garlic – all from the garden – make this dish absolutely irresistible, healthy and nourishing.

For optimal flavor and nutrition, I use the ripest garden tomatoes I have available. The first step is bringing a large pot of water to a boil and dropping the tomatoes in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and allow time for the tomatoes to cool. At this point, the tomatoes can be peeled with ease. These are tastier and way healthier than any diced tomatoes you can get from can.

You don’t have to make the pasta noodles yourself. Any type of pasta you like will work fine in this dish, even rice pasta for those of you who prefer gluten-free. I have included my homemade pasta recipe, however, for those of you feeling adventurous. Also, I’d like you to see how easy it is to make homemade pasta! Tagiatelle are like fettucini, except a little shorter. I chose spelt flour for my pasta. You will need a pasta maker for this recipe. Have a blast!

Pasta e Fagioli

Makes approximately 4 servings

6 ripe tomatoes
Pot of water for boiling
5 cloves of garlic, minced
6 fresh basil leaves
1 celery stalk or celery heart
1 ½ cups (375 ml) pinto or kidney beans, cooked
⅓ cup (80 ml) fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons (30 ml) grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons (10 ml) sea salt (or more to taste)
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) black pepper (or more to taste)
6 cups (1 ½ L) of water
Small pasta of your choice or homemade spelt tagliatelle (recipe below)

1. Bring the pot of water to a boil. Drop tomatoes into the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Remove pot from the stove and drain. Let tomatoes cool before peeling and dicing them.
3. In a large pot, heat grapeseed oil on medium heat and add minced garlic. Brown garlic slightly, about 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Add diced tomatoes, celery, basil, and a teaspoon of sea salt. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.
5. Remove celery and basil leaves and discard. Add chopped parsley, cooked beans and black pepper.
6. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add your choice of pasta. Reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked. Most of the water will be absorbed by the pasta, but some excess liquid is desired, as with a stew. Taste test to see if more sea salt or pepper is desired. You can sprinkle some vegan parmesan over top if desired (see recipe below). Serve warm.

Spelt Tagliatelle

3 cups (750 ml) spelt flour, extra flour on the side
¾ cup (180 ml) water
Sea salt

1. Pour flour onto work station in a well formation. Keep an extra amount of flour on the side for sprinkling over dough when it gets sticky.
2. Sprinkle small amount of sea salt over flour well (about ½ teaspoon, 2.5 ml).
3. Pour water slowly into well a bit at a time, working flour into the water gently with your fingers or a fork.
4. Once firm, knead dough for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle small amounts of flour onto work station and dough if it becomes too sticky.
5. Form a loaf and let loaf sit for 15 to 30 minutes.
6. Sprinkle small amount of flour over dough. With a rolling pin, flatten the dough. Cut small amounts and pass through the pasta maker at the setting which will further flatten the dough (No. 8 setting).
7. Lay pieces of flattened dough on flour-sprinkled work station to avoid sticking.
8. Pass all the pieces of dough, one by one, through the fettucini setting of the pasta maker. Lay pasta on flour-sprinkled work station. Once all the pasta is ready, add to your tomato and bean mixture to cook. If you would like to keep some pasta for another recipe, you can freeze the pasta. (Lay it flat, single file, on a cooking sheet and once it is completely frozen, transfer it to a freezer bag.)

Vegan Parmesan


¼ cup (60 ml) raw cashews

¼ cup (60 ml) nutritional yeast


1. In a food processor, combine cashews and nutritional yeast. Blend until powdery. Sprinkle over any dish you like.

This is just one of the many recipes you will find in my soon to be released cookbook, Cooking With Amore: 100 Vegan Recipes for Health, Well-being and Spiritual Evolution. 


In the meantime, join me on my Facebook page where I share recipes and health-related articles everyday.

“Let me share my vision with you: I see a world without sickness, sorrow or mental disturbance in which we are living in perfect balance with abundant health and harmony. Reconnect with nature and your body will take care of the rest. This is the beauty of self-healing.”  ~Dr. Ann Wigmore

It was brought to my attention that I have never shared a cold soup recipe. Well, it’s about time I do that! Here is a vibrant, refreshing summer soup which I adore.

Gazpacho is the name given to a type of soup which is served cold. It has Spanish roots and was originally tomato-based. The other vegetables and herbs added to the soup are usually raw. Because of its refreshing quality, it is a soup which is served in the summer months.

My gazpacho is watermelon-based. Watermelons are abundant this time of year. If you can, get an organic one – they taste even sweeter! Nothing feels like a summer feast more than a huge, organic watermelon! The basil I use here is also organic since it is from my own garden. If you have a small leaf variety of basil, it works best in this soup since it has a subtle taste – much less bold than the larger leaf varieties of basil. Any type of basil you like will do, however. If you choose to go with the red onion, that will add to the sweetness of the soup, whereas the white onion will slightly contrast the sweetness with its sharp, pungent flavor and aroma.

My Watermelon Basil Gazpacho is a lovely dish to serve on a hot summer’s day not only because it’s cooling, but also the combination of flavors makes it fun to eat when we are not in the mood for anything heavy. Another great thing about this soup is that it is quick to prepare and requires only 4 ingredients! Enjoy!

Maria’s Watermelon Basil Gazpacho


6 cups seeded watermelon, chopped

1 small white or red onion, finely chopped

1 seeded cucumber, diced

1 cup fresh basil, finely chopped


1. Blend watermelon in a blender until liquefied.

2. Strain liquid through a strainer into a large bowl. Remove excess pulp and any stray seeds. (You can discard the pulp or eat it like a pudding.)

3. Add chopped onion, cucumber and basil to the bowl and stir. Chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before serving.

4. Scoop up watermelon soup into serving bowls. Garnish with additional fresh basil. Serve.

“Your body is a Temple. You are what you eat. Do not eat processed food, junk foods, filth, or disease carrying food, animals, or rodents. Some people say of these foods, ‘well, it tastes good’. Most of the foods today that statically cause sickness, cancer, and disease ALL TASTE GOOD; it’s well seasoned and prepared poison. THIS IS WHY SO MANY PEOPLE ARE SICK; mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually; because of being hooked to the ‘taste’ of poison, instead of being hooked on the truth and to real foods that heal and provide you with good health and wellness. Respect and honor your Temple- and it will honor you.” 
~SupaNova Slom, The Remedy: The Five-Week Power Plan to Detox Your System, Combat the Fat, and Rebuild Your Mind and Body

Join me on my Facebook page where I share vegan recipes and health-related articles everyday.

It’s the beautiful, hot, spectacular month of July in Montreal and home gardens are in full bloom! The tomatoes are not quite ready yet – we have to patiently wait until August for them to be vine-ripened to perfection. But other lovely delights like all kinds of lettuce, kale, broccoli, celery, hot peppers, onions and herbs of all varieties are bountiful and delicious.

There is one plant I’d like to talk to you about this week, common in Italian home gardens: the zucchini plant. Not only do we love the eventual zucchinis, but we also use the male flowers from this plant to make a sweet treat.

This year, I had the pleasure of taking a gardening workshop through Sociale. Urban Seedling offered informative instruction on planting beautiful, flourishing gardens in urban settings, with limited space and resources. What a gift to our health to be able to grow our own organic food!

Not only is gardening fun, it feels amazing to be outdoors, one with nature, tending to our plants lovingly, and then harvest the bounty. What can be more natural than growing our own food? We also beautify our living space and attract wildlife by planting gardens, flowers and trees.

All my life, I have adored learning about gardening from my parents and grandparents. My grandmother taught me the difference between the female and male zucchini flowers.  The female flower is a large golden yellow flower at the end of the emergent zucchini. The male flower is slightly smaller and grows on the stem of the zucchini plant, with no zucchini attached. Both flowers are edible, but Italians typically use only the male flower for cooking, since it opens to release its pollen, and then simply falls off the plant.

My family has a very special recipe for this Italian classic known as fiori di zucca: flowers from the zucchini plant, dipped in a tempura-style batter, and sweetened with a sprinkling of raw cane sugar.  Oh yum – what a treat! I veganized the recipe, of course, because that’s what I do!

We can make a batter with any type of flour you like to use. I chose a combination of kamut and spelt, old-school grains which are easier to digest than modern day, more industrialized wheat. Instead of eggs, I used egg replacer, which worked like a charm to bind the batter. For stovetop cooking, I like to use grapeseed oil since it doesn’t denature at high temperatures and has a neutral taste. Check out the recipe below and try your hand at this classic Italian treat, now veganized!

 Fiori di Zucca


½ cup kamut flour

½ cup spelt flour

¾ cup water

2 tablespoons raw cane sugar

½ teaspoon sea salt

3 teaspoons egg replacer

½ cup grapeseed oil

Zucchini flowers, whole or shredded, stem and stamen discarded



  1. To prepare the batter, mix all ingredients, except the flowers, with a spatula in a large bowl.
  2. If you have many zucchini flowers, you can dip the whole flower into the batter and fry it. If you have only one or two flowers, shred them and mix them into the batter. Some people prefer to discard the stem and stamen of the flower.
  3. Heat oil over high heat in a frying pan.
  4. Drop a large spoonful of batter or whole dipped flower into the frying pan. Fry for 1-2 minutes and flip over. Sauté until golden brown on each side.
  5. Remove from oil and allow excess oil to drain on paper towels. Place on a serving dish and sprinkle with extra cane sugar if desired. Serve immediately.


If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

Join me on my Facebook page where I share vegan recipes and health-related articles every day!

We got a little taste of Mexico last week with my vegan taco and bean salad recipe. This week, I thought it would be fun to savor Vietnam! Here is a vegan spring roll recipe I made up, which is really colorful and delicious.

One of the ways I make spring rolls is by using my versatile Josephine dressing as a sauce. For your convenience, I added the recipe below, in sufficient quantity to allow you to make about 20 rolls.

With rice paper and Asian rice noodles, this recipe is naturally gluten-free. You are free to chop up whatever veggies you like. I like daikon, carrots, celery, and red pepper. I also like to add sprouts, and sometimes, I omit the noodles and only use sprouts.

Keep in mind that rolling these beauties takes some practice so don’t give up if your first one rips or doesn’t look too appetizing! Just keep rolling! Usually, a glass working surface is the least sticky so you can use a plate to roll them on, or a damp clean dishcloth. Make your rolls as tight as possible so the stuffing doesn’t fall out when you bite into them.

Maria’s Vegan Spring Rolls


Makes approximately 20 rolls

1 package rice paper

1 package rice or buckwheat Asian noodles

4 carrots, peeled and sliced into long, thin strips

3 celery stalks, sliced into long, thin strips

1 red bell pepper, sliced into long, thin strips

1 daikon, peeled and sliced into long, thin strips

4 cups sprouts

2 cups arugula

2 cups fresh parsley or basil

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Sea salt


  1. Prepare your Josephine sauce (see recipe below).
  2. Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain and pour about half the amount of sauce onto noodles and stir. Sprinkle sesame seeds over noodles and allow time to cool.
  3. Once all the vegetables have been sliced, and the noodles have cooled, you are ready to start rolling the spring rolls. You will need to use a work surface that does not stick too much to the rice paper. A glass surface is a better option than wood. You may also want to place a moist paper towel or clean, moist dishcloth on the surface and assemble the rolls on that.
  4. Prepare a large bowl of warm water and dip a rice paper very briefly in the bowl. Lay the rice paper on your work surface.
  5. Lay fresh parsley or basil as your first layer in the center of the rice paper. Once you form the rolls, the parsley or basil leaves will show through the thin rice paper and it will be aesthetically pleasing. Next, lay a handful of noodles, leaving a space about 2 fingers in width at the top and bottom of the roll.
  6. Add the sprouts and a few slices each of the carrot, daikon, celery and pepper.
  7. Add about a teaspoon of sauce over the vegetables. Add a few leaves of arugula.
  8. Roll the rice paper by picking the left side of the rice paper and bringing it over the vegetables. Next, bring the top part over. Then the right side over to the left, as tightly as you can and as carefully as possible, not to pierce the paper with any of the vegetables. Lastly, bring the bottom part over. Turn roll over until you see the parsley or basil. Your roll is complete. Place it on a serving dish. Serve immediately. If you wish to store your rolls, cover them with a moist paper towel and refrigerate them in an airtight container.

The Josephine Sauce


1/3 cup tahini

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons wheat-free tamari

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons oregano

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 small piece ginger, finely minced


1. In a small bowl, whisk all these ingredients together.


“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” ~W.C. Fields

Join me on my Facebook page where I share vegan recipes everyday!


Is there anything more versatile than pasta? With so many different varieties, relatively short preparation time, wonderful sauces for every occasion and mood, and so many ways of serving it, pasta must be the most common go to meal in our society.

This week, to celebrate the sun, lovely warm weather, and my vegan birthday (4 year old vegan as of June 13th!), I prepared a picnic, with this colorful, delicious pasta salad I put together. Any variety of small noodle will work, and there are many varieties of gluten-free pasta out there for those of you who avoid gluten. I chose an organic wholegrain spelt spiral pasta, which you see here in the picture. Spelt has a more digestible form of gluten than conventional wheat. I like spelt pasta very much because it is perfectly al dente when cooked right, just the way I like my pasta!

I chose to include hearts of palm in this recipe simply because they are very tasty and I had them handy, but they are totally optional. The sun-dried tomatoes, however, I find more essential to this dish because they add a bit of saltiness, flavor and texture. I like to buy sulfite-free so they are healthiest. I found a delicious organic batch from Prana which I adore.

Lastly, I chose to add nutritional yeast to the dressing for its delicious cheesy flavor. I find that organic nutritional yeast is even more cheesy-tasting than non-organic, so I prefer it.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! Enjoy it in the beautiful outdoors!

Maria’s Summer Fiesta Pasta Salad

Makes approximately 6 servings

4 cups small pasta noodles of your choice, cooked
2 gloves of garlic, minced
8 green onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup hearts of palm, chopped
½ cup sulfite-free sundried tomatoes, chopped
⅓ cup fresh parsley, chopped

½ cup vegan mayonnaise
¼ cup nutritional yeast
Juice from ½ lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon sea salt


1. Cook pasta in salted water as per instructions on the box. Drain and set aside to cool.
2. In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and mix thoroughly.
3. Place all chopped vegetables and cooled pasta in a large bowl.
4. Pour dressing over pasta and vegetables and toss.
5. Place in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to chill and let flavors fully marinate. Garnish with more chopped fresh parsley if desired. Serve chilled.

“Enchant, stay beautiful and graceful, but do this, eat well. Bring the same consideration to the preparation of your food as you devote to your appearance. Let your dinner be a poem, like your dress.”

~Charles Pierre Monselet

Join me on my Facebook page where I share vegan recipes and health-related articles everyday.


As you noticed, I veganize everything, including breaded cutlets, known as “cotoletta” in Italian. For this recipe, I combined a whole bunch of organic veggies and black beans, then breaded and baked them. You can also fry them, as is typical for cutlets, but I find it easier to bake and also appreciate the fact that we don’t have to use any additional oil.

This recipe is somewhat time consuming just because there are several vegetables to chop, and they should be chopped into small pieces. The other tricky part is once the mixture has been blended, it tends to be quite sticky.

The bread crumbs come in handy here, as they coat the cutlets, they become manageable. The bread crumbs (I make my own with sprouted whole grain bread which I dry and grate) also add to their deliciousness once baked.

I especially love this served with iceberg lettuce, with a simple lemon vinaigrette. This week, I share with you both recipes.

I also want to share a very informative and quite entertaining video that captured my attention recently. Dr. Michael Greger is a medical doctor, author and speaker who analyzes and presents the latest medical research on nutrition.

In the video, he presents some truly eye-opening information regarding the incredible benefits of a vegan diet. Can you believe that just two weeks of a completely plant-based diet can stop cancer in its tracks? From the research, it appears that a vegan diet is even more important than exercise for cancer prevention!

There you have it: in addition to the obvious ethical and environmental reasons to adopt a plant-based diet, medical research also indicates that it is the single most important thing we can do to improve our health, as well as reverse and prevent disease.

Enjoy this delicious, fully plant-based meal! Live your best health!

Sweet Potato Veggie Bean Cotoletta with Iceberg Lemon Salad


Makes approximately 12 cutlets

2 cups black beans, presoaked and cooked
1 cup kale, stems removed, chopped
1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons sea salt, more to taste
1 tablespoon steak spice
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup kamut flour
½ cup bread crumbs, more to coat cutlets
5 tablespoons ground flaxseed
½ cup water


  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2. Line baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine flaxseed and water and set aside.
  4. In a large pot, heat grapeseed oil on medium heat. Add all chopped veggies (make sure veggies are chopped into very small pieces), including onion, garlic and ginger. Add all spices and sea salt. Sauté on medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until all vegetables are very soft. Remove from heat.
  5. Add chopped parsley and beans. Mash with a potato masher.  Add soaked flax seed, bread crumbs and flour. Mix well.
  6. Place half of the mixture into a food processor (we will only blend half of the mixture) and blend briefly. Return mixture to pot with mashed veggies and mix well.
  7. Form patties by taking a small amount of veggie mixture with your hands and coat with bread crumbs. Lay the patties on the parchment paper.
  8. Place in the oven to bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Flip them over after 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven. You may sprinkle more sea salt overtop if desired. 

Iceberg Lemon Salad


1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 or 2 lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste


1. In large salad bowl, combine lettuce, oil and juice from one lemon. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Toss. Taste test to see if salad has enough lemon for your liking. If desired, you may add the juice from a second lemon.

Join me on my Facebook page where I share vegan recipes and health-related articles every day!

The greatest wealth is health.  ~Virgil


Looking for a dairy-free, sour cream-like dipping experience? Look no further – even vegans can dip!

I wanted to create a creamy vegan onion dip for chips and veggies to completely dazzle guests and for those fun movie nights at home.

From the amount of “mmm’s” I received, I think I succeeded!

Whenever I am faced with a vegan challenge involving either a cheesey taste or any type of creamy texture that I need to create, my first impulse is to experiment with soaked cashews. They work so well for these types of recipes. Their soft texture, neutral taste and light color make them the perfect dairy alternative. They are also extremely healthy. I get them raw and unsalted to maximize their nutritional value.

I personally love hot peppers, but the jalapeño is entirely optional here. Likewise, the chili flakes can be left out to create a mild version of this dip.

Adding an avocado to this recipe is a tasty alternative, making it even more creamy! The avocado doesn’t keep fresh as well as the other ingredients in this recipe, so add it only if you plan on eating the entire quantity right away. Also, I suggest to make the dip the day before if you can because I find it tastes best when the flavors have had sufficient time to marinate. However, do not add the avocado the day before. Add it to the dip right before serving. Just mash it well with a fork and mix it into the dip. Really delicious!

As many of you know, I am in the final stages of writing my cookbook, Cooking with Amore: 100 Vegan Recipes for Health, Well-being and Spiritual Evolution. This dip is just one of the irresistible recipes you will find among the 100 I created. The book will be published sometime this summer, and will be followed by a launch party, to which all of you will be invited!

In the meantime, have fun and enjoy this amazing totally vegan recipe!

Maria’s Creamy Cashew Onion Jalapeño Dip

Makes approximately 6-8 servings

1 cup (250 ml) raw cashews, soaked overnight
½ cup (125 ml) water
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
2 teaspoons (10 ml) lemon juice
4 tablespoons (60 ml) nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons (10 ml) sea salt
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) black pepper
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) red chili flakes
1 tablespoon (15 ml) dried chives
2 cloves of garlic, minced
⅓ cup (80 ml) green onion, finely chopped
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh dill, chopped
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh parsley, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (optional)


1. Drain cashews and place in a blender or food processor. Add water, oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, chili flakes, garlic, parsley and sea salt. Add the mashed avocado, if desired. Blend until creamy.
2. Pour into bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Garnish with added chives, small pieces of green onion and jalapeño pepper if desired.
3. Chill for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator to allow all the flavours to blend perfectly. If you can, make this dip the day before and let the flavors marinate in the fridge overnight. Serve with veggies, crackers or your choice of chips.


Join me on my Facebook page where I share vegan recipes and health-related articles every day!

“When we bring mindfulness to the dinner table, it suffuses the rest of our life as well. We become more sensitive to the well-being of animals, of the environment, and of ourselves and our families. We are more aware of the choices we make in all areas of our life. We enjoy food more, know that, while the obtaining of even plant foods necessitates some suffering, the amount and kind of suffering is dramatically reduced when we leave meat off our shopping lists and out of our kitchens. We become more aware of how meat consumption feeds violence and anger.”

~Kate Lawrence, Mindfulness in the Marketplace: Compassionate Responses to Consumerism



Superfood is a term used to describe food with an exceptionally high phytonutrient content considering its calories per serving. In other words, when you eat superfoods, you are getting the highest possible nutrition from every calorie you consume. They are a class of the most potent, concentrated and nutrient-rich foods on the planet.

Some superfoods are rather exotic, like goji berries and chia seeds, while others are common everyday foods such as spinach, blueberries and broccoli.

The recipe I chose to share with you today makes use of many superfoods. In fact, I created it with the intention of including many of the superfoods I love and consume regularly. One of these superfoods is the goji berry, also known as the wolfberry. This incredible tiny berry, indigenous to southeastern Europe and Asia, is a complete protein and contains over twenty important trace minerals! It has so many unique and health-promoting properties, such as: powerful antioxidant, immune-stimulating polysaccharides, anti-aging sesquiterpenes, and liver-cleansing betaine. A truly super-healthy superfood, go get some organic goji berries today!

David Wolfe, in his awesome book, Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future, explains how superfoods are both a food and a medicine since they are powerfully nourishing and also healing. Consuming superfoods allows us to get more nutrients while eating less food, all the while improving our overall health and even healing imbalances and diseases.

While there are different opinions on which foods should be considered superfoods, Wolfe lists the top ten superfoods as:

1. Goji berries
2. Cacao
3. Maca
4. Bee products, such as honey, bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis (**Please note that bee products are NOT vegan. Due to the common severe exploitation of bees, I never consume any bee products.**)
5. Spirulina
6. AFA Blue-Green Algae
7. Marine Phytoplankton
8. Aloe Vera
9. Hempseed
10. Coconuts

I encourage you to read up on superfoods and consider adding some to your diet, depending on your needs and health goals.

Here’s a superfood salad I created. I call it the Kale Goji Berry Rocket Fuel Salad because it is highly energizing! It’s also really delicious, full of protein, vital vitamins and minerals and healing superfoods!


Makes approximately 2-3 servings

2 – 3 cups curly kale, stem removed and chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon godji berries
1 tablespoon shelled hemp seeds
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari (sea salt unnecessary if you use tamari) or balsamic vinegar (add sea salt to taste if you use vinegar)
1 tablespoon olive oil or flaxseed oil
Almond shavings for topping


1. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Sprinkle almond shavings on top if desired.
2. Serve.

“It is becoming clearer that to achieve the best health ever, the best relationship with food ever, and to have the most fun with our food ever, we must consume superfoods, superherbs, and raw and living food cuisine. In doing so, we will find that our desire for less healthy foods will fall away naturally because we no longer find them enjoyable.”

~David Wolfe, Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future

Join me on my Facebook page where I share vegan recipes everyday and health-related article.

I have a seriously delicious, creamy vegetable casserole recipe to share with you this week. The best part is that you can add and substitute vegetables you like best – no rules, except: make sure you add plenty of greens!

The mushroom sauce I created for this one, combined with the noodles, gives it almost a “mac and cheese” texture – absolutely scrumptious!

This is a convenient dish to make on the weekend and have leftovers for quick reheating during the week when you are more rushed to get lunches and dinner on the table quickly.

With vegetable dishes this delicious, I’m confident that I can make you and your whole family love veggies! Try it and let me know how it goes.

Veggie Lover’s Casserole

Makes approximately 6 servings

4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
4 cups Swiss chard, kale, spinach or rapini, stems removed and chopped
1 ½ cups of peas
2 cups of broccoli, chopped
4 cups of noodles of your choice, you may use gluten-free options
6 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon dry chives
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Sea salt
Jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced, for garnish, if desired

Ingredients for Mushroom Sauce:

3 cups of mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours, drained
½ teaspoon oregano
1 ¼ cups water
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup hemp seeds
½ teaspoon black pepper


1. To prepare the mushroom sauce, heat 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil in a large frying pan. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, and after 1 minute, add chopped mushrooms. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sea salt and chipotle powder. Sauté until mushrooms are soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Place ⅔ of the mushrooms in a blender with the soaked cashews, oregano, tahini, olive oil, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, black pepper and water. Blend until creamy.
3. Add remaining mushrooms to the sauce and set aside.
4. Place the chopped potatoes and sweet potato in a large pot and cover with water. Add one teaspoon of sea salt and 2 cloves of garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer until potatoes are soft, about 15-20 minutes.
5. Once potatoes are cooked, drain water. Add 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, chives, onion powder and 2 tablespoons of the mushroom sauce. Mash. Set aside.
6. Place peas in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and after 2 minutes, remove from heat and drain. Set aside.
7. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add chopped broccoli, sprinkle ½ teaspoon sea salt and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chopped Swiss chard, spinach, kale or rapini. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sea salt and sauté until wilted. Spinach will cook the fastest, and rapini or kale will take longer. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
8. Cook your choice of pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain.
9. In a large bowl, combine pasta and peas. Pour mushroom sauce over them and stir.
10. In a large glass casserole, place pasta and pea mixture as your bottom layer. Top it with the cooked broccoli and leafy greens. Spread the mashed potato mixture as the top and final layer. Sprinkle paprika for garnish and add thin slices of jalapeno pepper if desired. Serve warm.


“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~William James

Join me on my Facebook page where I share vegan recipes and health-related articles everyday!

Last week, I shared with you five popular myths regarding veganism. Here are five more and my attempts to address them:

6. A vegan diet does nothing to help major world problems like pollution, global warming, world hunger, water waste, etc.

This is completely inaccurate. With respect to pollution and global warming, by adopting a plant-based diet, we are dramatically lowering our impact on global warming, since the number one contributor to the production of greenhouse gases is the livestock industry. Most people assume that too many cars are the problem, however, enslaving the billions of animals for food and all that is involved with these industries produces 18% of the global emissions of greenhouse gases, as compared to 13% produced by all means of transportation combined. Furthermore, the animal food industries are notorious for water waste.

Adopting a vegan diet on a large scale would greatly reduce world hunger, since the massive amounts of grains that are grown to feed to animals (who eat way more than humans) could be used instead to feed humans directly. It is more efficient and cost-effective.

7. Vegans only care about animal suffering; what about all the people suffering?

As if we vegans only have room enough in our hearts to care for one species! Caring about animal welfare is not mutually exclusive with other causes. This cause happens to be dear to us, hence many vegans are also animal activists. We don’t choose a cause; a cause chooses us.

8. A vegan diet is too complicated, impractical, and expensive!

Actually, the opposite is true. It is very easy to have your diet focus around fresh, vegan produce. Furthermore, preparing plant-based meals, even mostly organic, is cheaper than animal-based meals. Vegetables, beans, whole grains, fresh fruits, when bought in season, locally whenever possible, are far less expensive than meats and cheeses. Once you make the decision to adopt a vegan diet, you find your favorite places to shop which are practical and affordable. Even eating out is not a huge dilemma by simply speaking to the staff and letting them know your dietary preferences. Visits to friends and family are also easily solved by bringing along vegan dishes for everyone to share. Since people generally love to eat tasty food, they will be delighted.

9. A vegan diet is unhealthy

On the contrary, a vegan’s diet has the potential to be healthier than a diet based on animal-derived foods. I say “potential” because it takes some effort and education to maintain a healthy diet, be it a vegan or non-vegan one. Certainly we have unhealthy vegans, just as we have unhealthy non-vegans. Furthermore, there is more to health than diet alone. This I know to be true based on my own quest to restore my health.

Let’s look at this optimal health potential a little closer:

• Fiber:

Plant-based foods contain more fiber than animal-derived foods. A diet high in fiber brings with it regular bowel movements and issues of constipation, common among meat-eaters, is practically non-existent. Healthier bowel movements decrease the risk of colon cancer and other diseases.

• Avoiding animal protein, especially casein:

In The China Study, Drs. T. Colin Campbell ad Thomas M. Campbell, present the research linking animal protein, in particular casein, which is the protein found in dairy milk to cancers such as prostate and breast. This is a highly important book in the field of nutrition and demonstrates clearly how our diet can significantly contribute to obesity, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

• More minerals and vitamins:

In general, unprocessed, fresh vegetables and fruits contain more vitamins and minerals than animal products. They are also more alkaline, rather than acidic, like meats and dairy. Disease thrives in an acidic environment.

• More antioxidants:

Antioxidants protect against cell damage. Vegetables and fruits are much higher in antioxidants than animal-derived products.

• Lower cholesterol, triglycerides and BMI:

Vegans typically have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and have a lower body mass index (BMI). This all converts to better cardiovascular health.

• Bacteria, disease and contamination:

Since animals are unfortunately raised and killed in filthy conditions, and since they are in such poor health for their short, miserable lives, the risk of bacteria contamination is very high. We can see evidence of this by the number of meat recalls just this year alone. Also, you will notice that when you adopt a vegan diet, illnesses like the stomach flu or other infections become so much less frequent than previously.

10. Animals eat other animals in the wild, so if we don’t eat them, they will eat us!

Carnivores do eat other animals, and their physiology is designed to digest meat. Our physiology is not. Our physiology is not even that of an omnivore. Our physiology resembles one of a herbivore or frugivore. We are not meant to eat animals; this is just a custom that has become part of our culture of carnism.

The animals we typically eat are the gentlest and meekest of the bunch. They are precious beings that deserve our love and protection, not exploitation. They are artificially inseminated in massive numbers and genetically modified to grow quicker and heavier. If we stop consuming them, they will stop producing them. We are not talking about things here, we are talking about living, feeling beings.

I hope you found this analysis informative.

Check out my Facebook page and get vegan recipes every day and useful health-related tips!

“People look at me as a vegan and conclude that since I stepped on a snail or because the vegetables I eat resulted in a tractor death for a squirrel somewhere in Paraguay that somehow vegans are hypocrites, which of course they’re not since perfection is an unattainable goal and is something to be driven towards, never actually achieved. The difference between you and the vegan standing next to you is that while you’re both going to step on a bug tomorrow, they’ve decided to dedicate their lives to as little harm as possible, completely independent from what you do. So in no way does the protozoan life form they step on negate your responsibility for the lamb you’re paying a stranger to cut tomorrow. And falling 1% short of an unattainable goal is really good when you’re standing next to someone who won’t even try.” ~Shelley Williams