Category Archives: Vegan Lifestyle

Weight Watchers Officially Promotes Support for Vegans; Example Recipe – Senegalese Peanut Stew with Spinach and Sweet Potatoes

With its latest email, Weight Watchers has gone one step further in providing support for its members and potential members who embrace a Vegan diet. Publishing a “Cuisine Intensive” web page assembling a list of “Vegan: Essential Ingredients” and cooking techniques, as well as organizing several recipes posted on their website through the years, Weight Watchers has taken one of its most official and public stances to date acknowledging the growing population of plant-based eaters. Weight Watchers sending an email to its members promoting the headline of “The Ins & Outs of Eating Vegan” would have been unfathomable several years ago – it is truly a testament to the growing awareness of the benefits of a Vegan lifestyle, as well as the demand for plant-based alternatives that has developed by leaps and bounds in recent times.

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I wanted to share one of the listed recipes which has gotten rave reviews – Senegalese Peanut Stew with Spinach and Sweet Potatoes.

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Vegan Senegalese Peanut Stew with Spinach and Sweet Potatoes
6 Servings | 5 Weight Watchers SmartPoints per serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium uncooked onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 pound uncooked sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 medium uncooked carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 6 Tbsp reduced-sodium natural creamy peanut butter
  • 8 cups fresh spinach leaves, stemmed and chopped

Instructions:

  1. Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the sweet potato, carrots and garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Add the ginger, cloves, salt and cayenne; cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth.
  4. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly, stirring once in a while, until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
This recipe goes great with: Vegan Butternut Squash Fries

 

Be kind, feel good.

Em

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Going Vegan – a healthier you and a healthier planet

Feeling great about your body and your health are just two of the many reasons to go vegan. One of the additional benefits is the knowledge that by simply cutting animal products out of your diet, you are supporting a healthier planet.

A 2010 report from the United Nations Environment Programs’ International Panel of Sustainable Resource Management found that not only are diets rich in meat and dairy unstainable in light of a predicted population surge to 9.1 billion people by 2050, but animal agriculture accounts for 19% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the lead author of the report stated that “biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels” and only a “substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products” would be able to prevent large increases in poverty and climate change in the coming decades.

Here is a nice music video presenting some interesting statistics that might surprise even some of your eco-friendly friends and family. Although the message suggests that we “Save The Humans”, I prefer to think in terms of us supporting vegan interests in our communities to help promote a healthy planet for all of its inhabitants for generations to come.

 

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Earnest Eats — Hot & Fit Cereal

Too busy to make your own hot cereal? Try picking up a can of Earnest Eats. I found the “American Blend” (5PPV for 1/2 cup) in the oatmeal section at my local Target Superstore!

A great substitute for when I haven’t had time to prepare my own batch for the week.

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Staying on track during the holidays

The holiday season is a tough time for anyone trying to lose or maintain their weight. This time of year can be even more difficult for those practicing a vegan lifestyle. Below are some of my favorite tips for staying on track during the holidays, while sticking to the foods we love!

  1. Attending a potluck? Bring a VeganWW meal like the Three Bean Chili or Creamy Spinach Pesto. I love hearing family and friends gush about how much they love these dishes “even though it is vegan”. Bringing a home-cooked recipe guarantees that there will be at least one main dish that I can enjoy in addition to whichever salad will likely be available to complete the meal!
  2. Stick to the veggie and fruit tray. Most parties have at least a small veggie platter for appetizers and some fruit for dessert, and steering clear of the other options will help ensure you are staying on point while also staying true to your vegan lifestyle.
  3. Attending a party at restaurant? Call ahead to ask if they have a vegetarian option. Chances are, if they do, the restaurant will be able to make a vegan version, as well.
  4. Exercise! Try to get those extra activity points in as much as possible this time of year – it will without a doubt make a difference between gaining, staying the same, and losing weight.
  5. Traveling? Plan ahead. Pack a Vegan Weight Watchers friendly snack for the plane or car ride. Flying internationally? Call your airline ahead of time to reserve a vegan meal — in my experiences, airlines’ vegan meal options have actually tasted much better than the prepackaged food served to everyone else on the plane, and the vegan options are certain to be A LOT healthier!

Do you have any other tips / tricks during this time of year to stay on track?

Be kind, feel good.

Em

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Maintenance Tips

I saw this in a magazine and thought it would be a good reminder for all of us! Below are the top 4 maintenance activities of adults who lost more than 30 pounds and have kept that weight off for atleast a year, according to the National Weight Control Registry.

90% exercise, on average, 1 hour per day.

78% eat breakfast every day.

75% weigh themselves at least once a week.

62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.

Is there anything you all would add to this list? I would say drinking plenty of water!

Be kind, feel good.

Em

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Vegan Weight Watchers Friendly iPhone Apps

With all the buzz about the new iPhone 5 I thought I would share with you some of my favorite free “Vegan Weight Watchers Friendly” apps.

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Vegman: Worldwide Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant Guide

“Eating out has never been easier for vegetarians and vegans – the number of restaurants catering to us continues to grow.The Vegman App helps you find vegetarian and vegan restaurants in your area and tells how to get there – wherever you are in the world.”

Animal-Free

“Animal-Free is an online product checker and pocket reference guide for identifying common and hidden animal ingredients. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, part-time veg, or simply trying to shop veg-friendly, Animal-Free will help you make conscientious shopping decisions.”

21 Day Vegan Kick Start

“The 21-Day Vegan Kickstart app gives you recipes and resources to improve and regain your health and includes step-by-step recipe photos.”

Unified Lifestyle

“The Restaurant Nutrition application allows a user to easily view nutritional information about restaurant menus”

and of course… WeightWatchers – if you are not yet using eTools be sure to set up an account and download the iPhone app!

There are many more great apps out there for a minimal fee that are great resources for when you are on the go!

Be kind, feel good.

Em

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Organic vs Conventional Produce

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Recently I have been making a conscious effort to purchase more organic produce. There is only one issue – it is SO expensive! The Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out a list each year of the fruits and vegetables with the most residue left over by pesticides a.k.a the “Dirty Dozen”. As well as a list of the “Clean 15″, produce lowest in pesticide residue. By keeping a handy copy of this list in my purse I am able to stretch my weekly shopping budget by only purchasing items on the “dirty dozen” that are organic!

How important is it to you to purchase organic produce?

Be kind, feel good.

Em

Dirty Dozen – Buy these organic

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines – Imported
  7. Grapes – Imported
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries – Domestic
  12. Potatoes

Plus:

Kale / Collard Greens
Green Beans

Clean 15 – Lowest in Pesticides

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cantaloupe – Domestic
  12. Sweet Potatoes
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms
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Are fruits and vegetables really only ZERO PointsPlus?

Yes – fruits and vegetables are technically 0 PointsPlus, however as a Vegan Weight Watcher we have to be aware of how many of those illustrious 0 PointsPlus fruits and vegetables we consume. Weight Watchers recommends at least 5 servings per day (up to 9) of a mixture of fruits and vegetables, but did you know that a serving is considered 1/2 cup? In fact, a large banana is really considered 2 servings!

If you are not seeing the scale move in the direction you prefer (down Wink) try keeping close attention to your tracker for a few days to see how many servings of fruit and vegetables you are consuming. If you are finding that it is way more than 5 servings per day, try limiting your fruit intake to only 3-5 servings per day and swap out some of your fruit snacks for veggies. Making small changes here and there to your fruit consumption can really make a difference in the way the scale moves!

Just like using those extra weeklies I believe the amount of fruit and vegetable servings each person can consume to continue losing weight varies from person to person. For me — I try to limit my fruit intake to 3-5 servings per day and allow myself as many veggies as I would like. However, I know that if I am in a rush and have to choose between an apple and a pre-packaged snack the apple is probably the better choice.

Do you limit your fruit / vegetable intake?

Be kind, feel good.

Em

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Vegan Guide to Eating Out

Check out “VegGuide.org” – an awesome resource for vegans / vegetarians eating out. They have their restaurants organized by country, state, town and even have a category for airports (this would have been VERY helpful last month when my husband and I took our summer vacation)! While they all many not be 100% Weight Watcher friendly this will surely be a good source to guide you in the right direction. Remember it is OK to make substitutions and ask for changes when eating out – after all you are the one paying right?

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VegGuide has over 15,000 entries world-wide, and there are all sorts of features to help you find them. You can search for entries near a specific address, look for only vegan-friendly places, and much more. When you visit the front page, it automatically finds the restaurants nearest to you. Whether you are at home or on the road, VegGuide has everything you need to make your dining experience a pleasure.

VegGuide is a community-driven website, and anyone can rate an entry, write a review, or add a new entry. If you’ve visited a restaurant recently that you loved or hated, share that with us. To rate a place you’ve visited, just go that place’s entry on the guide and use the stars to the right of the entry’s name. Every entry also has a “Write your review” button below those stars. We love new reviews!”

I have already found a number of new places in my local area that I cannot wait to check out!

Be kind, feel good.

Em

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What do vegans eat?

What do vegans eat? A question all too familiar when talking to friends and family who are not familiar with a plant-based diet. I came across this “Vegan Food Pyramid” online and thought it was a great representation of all of the different foods that we eat. It is amazing to me how many people assume all we eat are vegetables, if you are willing to get creative, eating a vegan diet lends itself to a multitude of options!

Be kind, feel good.
Em

 

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