Starting Your Plant Based Lifestyle


If you are thinking about changing your lifestyle to include being vegan, you have made a great choice! We have some steps to help make the transition easy!

First thing is there are no hard and fast rules. You need to make changes in a way that works for you. Don't view a plant based lifestyle as the finish line, but as an evolving process of mindful eating and living. I can tell you that you will eventually lose all cravings when it comes to eating animal products. I can also tell you, you WILL get enough protein, and you WILL be asked this question for the rest of your life.

Many people go vegan overnight and if that works for you – great. But for a lot of you, baby steps work best. You can start off by making small changes to your everyday meals. Here are some ideas but always make sure whatever plan you chose, it works for you.

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During your first week, you can try switching up your breakfast meals to plant based choices. Tofu Scrambles, Nut Butter and banana toast, avocado toast and protein packed smoothies are all quick to prepare and delicious. Our website has tons of easy recipes. Adding either nut or coconut milk or vegan cream replacements to your coffee is another easy one. There are great butter replacements in the grocery stores or you can use coconut oil. Try to source out ingredients that don’t contain unsustainable palm oil.

Next, you can start adding plant based lunches. If you can switch them all up at once that’s great. If not, change up your weekday lunches and leave the weekend meals for later. Smashed chickpea and avocado wraps, vegan pesto pasta, instant vegan miso soup, and quinoa veggie bowls are all super easy to make, are packed with protein and are tasty. There are plant substitutes for almost everything out there. So if you are craving mayo on your wrap, your grocery store probably stocks vegan mayo-if not, ask for it.

Looking up new plant based recipes to try will give you some inspiration and help you when you go grocery shopping. While you are researching new recipes, take a look for local restaurants who offer vegan choices.  When you are eating out, most restaurants will accommodate your requests for a vegan meal, so if you don’t see something on the menu just ask.

And as far as the protein question goes, here is your answer - rich sources of protein are found in all types of plant based foods including beans, soy products like tofu and seitan, quinoa, nuts, seeds, nut butters, lentils, non-dairy milk, green peas, oatmeal, hummus, hemp seeds, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, bananas, nectarines, nutritional yeast and wild rice…. As you can see there are tons of ways to add protein to your plant based diet.

Beet Burgers

Beet Burgers

Remember that living a plant based life isn’t just about your food choices nor is it a “diet”; it is about living a healthy life while causing the least amount of harm to animals and our environment. You need to find your reasons for choosing this lifestyle and remember them if and when you think you might stray. Once you learn the real affects animal products have on your health and the environment, it will be an easy choice.



Easy Vegan Salad Dressings - Make Your Own

Unfortunately most of the salad dressing options out there contain a ton of ingredients that can include some pretty nasty stuff. Here are some easy recipes to make your own. Don't forget to experiment with the flavors you love!

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-  1 avocado
-  2 cloves of garlic
-  1 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
-  3 Tbsp olive oil
-  Salt, pepper and water

-  Throw everything into a food processor or blender and add water a little at a time to get the right consistency. About 4 servings.


-  3 Tbsp Vegan Mayo
-  1 Tbsp each: Apple Cider Vinegar and maple syrup
-  ½ tsp each: minced garlic and onion OR garlic powder, onion powder, PLUS pepper, salt
-  1 tsp Dijon mustard

-  Mix everything together and let sit for about 30 minutes. 2 servings.


- 2 Tbsp each: Balsamic Vinegar and Olive oil
-  ½ tsp each: minced garlic (or garlic powder), mustard, salt and pepper

-  Mix everything together and let sit for about 30 minutes. 2 servings. 


-  2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
-  1 Tbsp each: Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Maple Syrup
-  ½ tsp each: minced garlic or garlic powder, salt, pepper

-  Mix everything together and let sit for about 30 minutes. 2-3 servings.


-  2 Tbsp each: Vegan mayo and Apple Cider vinegar
-  1 Tbsp each: Maple syrup (or agave) and poppy seeds
-  1 tsp each:  Dijon mustard, Olive oil, lemon juice, chopped shallots or onion
-  ½ tsp each: minced garlic or garlic powder, salt and pepper

-  Chop the shallots or onions fine and garlic if using and mix everything together and let sit for about 30 minutes. 2 servings.


-  2 limes zested and juiced or 1/3 cup of bottled lime juice
-  1 Tbsp each: agave or maple syrup AND Apple cider vinegar
-  ½ tsp chili flakes or cayenne (or small chopped jalapeno), salt and pepper

-  Mix everything together and let sit for about 30 minutes. 2-3 servings.


-  3 Tbsp Vegan mayo
-  1 Tbsp lime juice
-  1 tsp agave or maple syrup
-  ½ tsp each: chipotle powder and garlic powder, pepper, salt

-  Mix everything together and let sit for about 30 minutes. 2-3 servings.

Vegan Salads Full of Protein

As a Vegan, the most asked question I hear is - how do you get enough protein? Well, even though this question can sometimes get a bit annoying, I always let people know that protein isn't ever an issue if you eat healthy. Most vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds contain some protein and many of them have a lot of protein.

These salads are so delicious, even your non-Vegan friends will love them. Feel free to change up these recipes and add whatever plant based ingredients you like. Enjoy!

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-  ½ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
-   1 cup each: black beans and chopped cucumber
-   1 fresh mango, cubed
-   1 avocado, cubed and sprinkled with lime or lemon juice
-   ¼ cup each: mint (chopped), cilantro (or parsley)
-   2 Tbsp each: olive oil and lime juice
-   1 garlic clove, minced
-   Salt and pepper

-   Cook quinoa according to package.
-   Mix olive oil, lime juice, garlic and salt and pepper.
-   Add all the other ingredients and toss with dressing. Cool in refrigerator.

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-   3-4 medium beets
-   1 Tbsp olive oil
-   A bunch of mixed greens (organic of course)
-   Vegan Goat cheese
-   ½ cup of chopped walnuts

-   1 ½ Tbsp. each: maple syrup, Dijon mustard, minced onion
-   3 Tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic
-   5-6 Tbsp of olive oil
-   Salt and pepper

-   Preheat oven to 400. Scrub beets and cut off both ends. Drizzle with olive oil and put on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil. Cover with tin foil loosely. Cook for 1 hour. Let cool enough to handle. Peel skin off and slice. OR clean (don’t cut off ends) put in a pot and boil for 40 minutes. Let cool and peel.
-   Mix all of the dressing ingredients together.
-   Arrange mixed greens, top with beets and cheese and drizzle with dressing.

-   Add cut up orange pieces to salad. Replace one of the Tbsp. of vinegar with orange juice and a bit of orange jest.

Easy Healthy Snacks

We all need to recognize when we are truly hungry versus just eating for the sake of eating. Sometimes we eat just because others are doing so, or because there is food in front of us, or even because we can’t bear to leave food on our plates, but in order to be successful at maintaining our goals – we need to say no. And avoiding the urge to eat when you are bored, stressed or even depressed can be difficult some days but it is also a must!

Snacking is something that can easily destroy the best intentions when it comes to keeping on top of your calories and fat. Having said that, healthy snacking can also help to curb overindulging at your next meal because you are starving. The best thing you can do is snack healthy. I have put together a few suggestions for those who are craving somethin somethin.

-   3 cups of organic air-popped popcorn – you can top with spices to bump up the flavor.
-   2 1/2 tablespoons of roasted garlic hummus with 10 baby carrots for dipping.
-   10 baked organic tortilla chips with 1/4 cup of salsa.
-   1/2 cup of kale (remove stems) sprinkled with a teaspoon of olive oil and lightly salted, baked at 400 degrees until crisp.
-   10 olives – black or green.
-   1/2 cup of vegan cottage cheese with 1/4 cup of salsa.
-   10 mini pretzels with 1/2 teaspoon of mustard for dipping.
-   1/4 cup of dry roasted pumpkin seeds.
-   1/2 cup frozen organic grapes
-   3/4 cup of chocolate almond or soy milk
-   1 cup of organic blueberries or raspberries
-   2 medium kiwi fruits
-   1 oz of dark chocolate – make sure it is vegan – Most are, but some sneak in ingredients like whey or casein.
-   2 cups of watermelon
-   1/2  cup of vegan yogurt with 1/4  cup of sliced fruit
-   Almonds and goji berries – about 20 of each
-   2 celery sticks with almond butter
-   2 dates stuffed with almond butter – add a slice of banana
-   1cup of kale, beet or sweet potato chips – check the ingredients to make sure they are vega


Vegan Soups Made Easy

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-   3 cups of carrots, peeled and cut into ½  pieces
-   2 cups of parsnips, peeled and cut into ½ pieces
-   1 medium onion, cut into big pieces
-   1 Tbsp. Olive oil
-   Salt and pepper
-   2 cups of veggie broth
-   1 tsp each: turmeric, cumin, chili powder

-   Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-   Toss veggies in olive oil and add spices and salt and pepper.
-    Spread onto baking sheet lined with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes (stir once in a while).
-   Let cool a little and add veggies to blender. Add veggie broth ¼ cup at a time until it is the consistency you like. Reheat for about 3-4 minutes.

-   Add one large chopped Sweet Potato and reduce the carrots and parsnips to 1 C each.
-   Use an immersion blender instead of a blender.
-   Add a tsp of curry powder to veggies before cooking and remove chili powder.
-   Add a sliced/peeled apple to veggies last 10 minutes of cooking time.

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-   2 Tbsp of Vegan butter or Olive oil
-   1 onion, chopped
-   5 cups of mushrooms – any kind, a mix is good
-   4 cups of mushroom or veggie broth
-   ½  cup of white wine or sherry
-   1 tsp each: thyme and tarragon and mustard
-   Salt & pepper

-   Heat up butter/oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add spices and mustard and cook for a minute or two.
-   Add stock and wine, salt & pepper.
-   Bring to a boil and the lower heat to medium low and cook for about 25 minutes.
-   Let cool slightly. Take a bit of the onion/mushrooms out of the pan. Use an immersion blender and blend the rest. Add broth or water if it gets too thick. Add back in the mushroom/onions that you took out. Serve with Vegan sour cream.

Easy Vegan Tacos

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-   5 whole wheat tortillas
-    8 ounces of extra firm tofu
-   1 Tbsp each: smoked paprika, thyme
-   1 tsp each: cumin, garlic powder, pepper
-    ½ tsp cayenne
-   1 Tbsp Olive Oil

-   1 cup each: red and green cabbage, sliced thin
-   ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
-   Salt & pepper

-   2 avocados
-   2 garlic cloves, mined
-   1/3 cup of lime juice, fresh or bottled
-   1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
-   Salt & pepper
- Cilantro or parsley, chopped (optional)

-   Drain and rinse tofu and press it between kitchen towels and weight it down.
-   Preheat oven to 400 and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
-   Combine cabbage, vinegar and salt/pepper.
-   Mix spices: paprika, thyme, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne and pepper.
-   Cut tofu into 1 inch pieces and lightly coat with olive oil. Bake in oven for 10 minutes.
-   Remove tofu from oven and sprinkle with spices.
-   Heat 1 Tbsp olive oi in large pan on medium heat and add tofu. Cook for about 5 minutes per side.
-   Place all ingredients for Crema in blender and blend until smooth.
-  Warm tortillas and add tofu, slaw and crema. Top with cilantro if using.

-   Add chopped tomatoes, rinsed and drained black beans, and chopped jalapenos.
-   Replace tofu with black beans, chopped mango and jalapeños.
-   Buy packaged coleslaw.

Vegan Valentine's Day Dinner for Two

A special Valentine's Day Dinner made for two.


·  5 ripe Roma tomatoes
-   1 small red onion
-  3 cloves garlic
¼ cup sundried tomatoes in olive oil and Italian herbs
-  ½ cup golden flaxseed meal

-  2 tablespoons brown rice flour
-  1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
-  1 teaspoon onion powder
-  1 teaspoon garlic powder
-  1 teaspoon dried basil
-  1 teaspoon smoked paprika
-  ½ teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt


-  2 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon pine nuts
-  1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-  1 tablespoon lemon juice
A few sprinkles Himalayan/sea salt
-  A few sprinkles freshly ground pepper


-  ½ block firm or extra firm tofu
-  1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
-  1 teaspoon tomato paste
-  1 teaspoon miso paste
-  1 teaspoon sesame oil/extra light olive oil

-  ½ teaspoon pure maple syrup
-  ¼ cup high quality breadcrumbs



1.  Preheat oven to 320°F (160°C).

2.  Chop the Roma tomatoes, red onion and garlic in relatively small pieces. They don’t have to be tiny but it will help with the chopping process.

3.  Put all the chopped vegetables and sundried tomatoes in the blender (or food processor) and pulse it briefly to chop it up. DO NOT PUREE IT! It’s important that if you’re using something like Vitamix, you pulse it for a second quickly, then stir, and pulse until most of the stuff is chopped but not a complete mush.

4.  Pour the mixture into a fine mesh sieve and squeeze out about a cup of juice. You can keep the juice in a container to use as broth for other things! (It will be a total waste to throw it out.)

5.  Pour the chunky mashed vegetables in a large bowl and add the flaxseed meal, brown rice flour, olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, basil, paprika and salt. Stir until everything is well mixed.

6.  Align baking parchment paper on an 9×13 inch oven tray and grease the baking paper with non-stick cooking oil.

7.  Pour the mixture on the baking tray with parchment paper underneath, and spread it out across the entire tray, so the layer is nice and thin, and even.

8.  If you want the bread to be thin and crunchy, you will need to use a larger oven tray so the layer can be thinner. It will take shorter time to bake so you MUST check every 10 minutes or so after it’s been baking for 25 minutes, because the bottom may burn easily.

9.  Bake in the oven for 50 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes (depending on the thickness). Allow it to cool before cutting it up. Be careful though, some thinner parts may burn, so every 5 minutes or so after it’s been baking for 40 minutes.


1. Add all the ingredients in a bowl and toss and turn it around until the spinach leaves is coated by everything pretty evenly.


1. Cut half of a regular block of tofu out and squeeze out as much water as you can without breaking the tofu. Once water is squeezed, use some paper towels to get more water out from all sides.

2. Carefully cut the tofu block in three layers, then slice across to make 6 small rectangles. (But you can really cut them in any sized pieces you want). You will see that more water will emerge from the middle, so once again, get more paper towels to squeeze out even more water.

3. You may even want to leave it out for a little while to dry off. The more water you squeeze out, the better the outcome.

4. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, tomato paste, miso paste, sesame or olive oil and maple syrup and stir until the sauce is even.

5. In a separate shallow dish, pour the breadcrumbs on it. I used Trader Joe’s.

6. Dip the tofu steaks in the sauce, then quickly coat them with breadcrumbs. Do this to each of the tofu steaks.

7. Spray some non-stick cooking oil on a ribbed grill pan and lay the tofu steaks neatly on the pan.

8. Turn the heat on medium high (between 5-6) and cook the tofu on one side for about 10-13 minutes until you see it brown, then flip it over as carefully as you can, and cook the other side for another 6-10 minutes until the other side has browned as well.

 Recipes and photos courtesy of Vegan Lifestyle Magazine

Three Bean Chili

The good thing about Chili is you can add just about anything you like. So feel free to experiment. This freezes well and makes 4-6 servings.

- 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, chopped
- 2 Carrots, Diced
- 1 of Each: Green and Red Pepper, chopped
- 1 Large Can of Chopped Tomatoes, including liquid
- 1 Large Can Each: Black Beans, Kidnet Beans, Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 Cups of Vegetable Stock
- 2-3 Cloves of Garlic, chopped fine
- 2 Tbsp. Each: Chili Powder, Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp. Cayenne Powder
- Salt and Pepper

- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots, peppers, salt and pepper and cook until tender. About 5 minutes.
- Lower heat and add garlic, chili powder, cumin and cayenne and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in tomatoes with liquid and stock. Turn up heat and bring to a boil.
- Add all beans and cook for about 20 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

- Add a cup of chopped mushrooms, zucchini or a diced jalapeno in Step 1.
- Use any type of beans you like.
- Top with chopped cilantro, pesto or vegan cheese.


Avocados Two Ways


- 2 Cups Almond Milk or Coconut Milk
- 1 Cup Ice
- 1 Each: Avocado and Banana
- 2 Tbsp. Cacao Powder
- 1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
- 2 Tbsp.Honey

- Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

OPTIONS: Omit ice and use frozen bananas and add 4 frozen strawberries.


- 1 Large Avocado
- 1 Large Can of Chickpeas (or 2 small cans)
- 1/4 Cup of Chopped Cilantro
- 1-2 Garlic Cloves, chopped fine
- 3 Green Onions, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. Lime Juice (fresh or bottled)
- Salt & Pepper
- 4 Slices of Whole Wheat Bread
- Lettuce

- Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mash with a fork.
- Spread on bread and top with lettuce.

OPTIONS: Omit bread and top a handful of lettuce with mashed ingredients.