Tempeh Taco Salad

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I know, I know…

It’s been a hella long time since I posted anything vegan on here. Laziness is really the excuse.

Now that’s out of the way, lol, let me talk to you about a recipe I just found – tempeh tacos.

I noticed a lot of vegan recipes use a lot of the same ingredients – tofu, tempeh, and jackfruit – in various forms. While it might be exciting at first, after a while, you’re wondering if you’re going to have the same ol’, same ol.

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Oh Tempeh!

Enter a tempeh taco salad.

Tbh, this originally was supposed to be tempeh tacos but somewhere along the line either I said eff it or I was about to do tacos but kept snacking on the tempeh mixture. #fatgirlproblems

I created my own homemade guacamole using just avocados, tomatoes, lime,  salt, and pepper. Yeah, that’s it. Sometimes you just need the basics without the B.S.

I followed this recipe for the tempeh mixture. It’s real simple to make. Buyer beware: the recipe does call for soy sauce so if you have a soy allergy, you might want to either skip this or look for an alternative.

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This is not a pretty picture but this came out so darn good!

Most of all, this recipe was a big hit with the hubby. We’re both not vegans, but we love to eat a lot of plant-based food and go meatless several times a week. He really found this to be delicious. Bear didn’t care for it, but he’s also a rather picky five year old so I have to figure out another alternative for him when we do meatless dishes.

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What are your favorite tempeh recipes?

 

 

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Let me tell you about buckwheat

No, not the fictional character, the food.

I was recently introduced to buckwheat by the hubs. I honestly didn’t know it existed but once I tried it, I found that I liked it. I also found it has numerous health benefits I think you might like.

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I would love to say it’s a hidden gem within the clean living/vegan/vegetarian community but chances are, some of you may have known about it already. And like the picture above, the benefits of buckwheat totally make this a food you must have in your staple.  (It’s new to me, but it’s also super yummy!)

Recently, my hubby made buckwheat. He added a few veggies and Ukranian salo to it. I did add a little sea salt for taste. It actually came out really good! (I have to note because my hubby did use salo, this particular version of buckwheat isn’t vegan or vegetarian.)

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Cooked buckwheat with tomato, green onions, and Ukrainian salo.

I have to admit the biggest benefit of buckwheat is the fiber content. I need to get a little gross here for a moment, but if you have trouble “going,” this will help you ease with that process.

I strongly believe you can solve some medical issues by what you consume and how active you are as oppose to taking supplements or drugs. So, if you’re having problems “going”, put down the Metamucil and pick up a bowl of buckwheat.

There are so many buckwheat recipes to try from, so give them a shot! And let me know what recipe you tried in the comments!

She’s a Bad Mamma Jamma

Continuing Clean Living Week here on the blog, is another friend of mine who recently went vegan.

You may not know Dana Young, but you probably have heard of her husband, singer L. Young. He is a ridiculously talented musician who has made several popular YouTube videos:

 

I’ve been friends with Dana dating back to high school (keep the age jokes to yourself now). She recently went vegan and I had to speak with her how it was like being black vegan since it’s still not a popular way of life within our community. We talk about the challenges she’s faced, why she decided to homeschool her children, and her unexpected favorite dinner.

For those who don’t know you, introduce yourself!

My name is Dana Young. I am married with lots of kids. Lol! I am a creative mind and love learning new things…anything that helps me do life better!!

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Courtesy of Dana Young

Describe your parenting style.

I am pretty much an authoritative parent. But also recognize that there are times I need to allow my children the freedom to feel what they feel and express themselves in whatever manner they see fit as long as it’s respectful.

You have two older children (Isaiah, 21 and Laurelle, 14) and two small children (Isa, 6, and Omega, 2). What lessons did you learn from your oldest children that you’re doing (or even won’t do) with your youngest?

When I had my first I was 18 years old. I knew NOTHING about being a parent of course and I was just growing up myself. We learned together. I was so strict though. I was unbending and strict. I didn’t allow my oldest to have a voice of his own. MY voice was his voice. It proved to be a little detrimental in his development…but by the time I had Isa (third child) I was a lot older and more knowledgeable about how to parent each of my children. 

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Courtesy of Dana Young

You’re married to singer L. Young, who’s known worldwide for his amazing YouTube videos. How is it like being married to someone in the industry and he’s constantly traveling?

You know…you definitely have to be unselfish, understanding and patient even more than in a marriage with someone who’s not in the business. It’s hard to plan things too much ahead of time because it can all change at the last minute. It’s a lot of sharing and making a lot of sacrifices. But as long as we are having GOOD communication with each other we have very few issues. 

You met and fell in love with L. when you had pre-teens and I didn’t know about this, he already had children! (Not pictured are Kymrence, 23; Khalil, 21, and Kennedy, 17.) What advice would you give to single mothers who are dating or about to start?

L had 3 children before we met and I had 2 and now we have 2 together. SEVEN kids! I would say to any single mom…don’t wait too long to introduce your kids to the man your spending free time with. It’s imperative that you see how he interacts with them. If he doesn’t ask about them or show any concern for them then don’t waste your time with him.

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Courtesy of Dana Young

You recently became vegan and you told me that while most people are encouraging, there have been some pushback from others. This is a two-part question:

  1. Are you the only vegan in your family? If so, how are you adjusting to your new lifestyle? If not, how is the family adjusting?

  2. Being a black vegan, have you run into any challenges and misconceptions about black people and what we “should” be eating?

Our whole family is vegan…actually we are considered plant-based (because we do eat honey). My husband actually watched “What The Health” and was so moved that he sat me down and we watched together. We immediately stopped eating me and dairy and haven’t turned back. The kids has adjusted wonderfully. Kids have a way of eating whatever you feed them when they’re hungry.  But they have actually adapted to the lifestyle and haven’t looked back!  

Before becoming vegan I had the misconception that Veganism was a “white people” thing. Come to find out Veganism is actually an African thing. I had no clue there were so many black vegan groups and that sooooo many black people lived the vegan lifestyle. It really was refreshing to find this out!!! It’s made the transition that much easier. 

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Courtesy of Dana Young

You are homeschooling your youngest. What made you decide to go into homeschooling? What are the challenges you’re facing?

My husband and I talked around homeschooling when Isa (6) was a baby. We were just disappointed in some of the curriculum in public schools…especially regarding American history…and we always said that if we weren’t financially able to put our kids in private school that we would homeschool them.

I researched the best way to homeschool for 2 years before making the decision to go with a public school online. It was easier for me because there are so many different types of curriculum and it was getting a bit overwhelming trying to figure out what was best. We decided to go with Connections Academy which is a California public school.

We started with our daughter, Laurelle, (Isa wasn’t old enough to start school). She was starting the seventh grade at the time. The main challenge at first was keeping her focused. That 7th grade year was TOUGH! But she got through it ok.

The next year we had her and Isa enrolled. She thrived and Isa did great too! His main challenge was staying focused. He sooo busy and always moving so I’ve had to find ways to keep him focused. Some other challenges have been making sure he gets enough time with children his age and has plenty of activities outside our house.

Connections is GREAT with that as they have at least 5-6 field trips to choose from per month. All in all it’s been an awesome experience. Laurelle is now going to traditional high school and is doing great! Isa will be starting 1st grade after Labor Day and I am so excited to see what this year brings for him!

Race has been brought to the forefront once again in our country, which is growing more divided by the day. Have you had “The Talk” with your children? If so, how did that go?

Yes! We’ve have some form of “The Talk” with all of the kids. We feel it’s imperative to have lots of “talks” with our children with regard to where they are in their thinking. We keep the lines of communication open in our house and we keep it real!! 

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Courtesy of Dana Young

Looking back at your life up until now, what is the one event you could say, ‘Hmm…I probably should’ve thought about that one a bit more.’ It could be any event. It’s not necessarily a regret; it could also be a triumph. But what is something that happened that makes you wonder, ‘I probably should’ve thought that one through…’

Oh there are so many things/events that I probably could have done different. The main thing I would have done differently is just not be afraid to be myself or to be judged. People are always going to judge every decision you make. Find people who are in your corner…not YES men/women…but people who genuinely care for your overall well being and are on the same path you’re on. 

Fun time! Name five fun facts about you.

  1. I am the one who puts the furniture together in my house! I absolutely LOVE it!! Thank God for a husband who doesn’t feel threatened by it! But yeah…should have been an engineer or something. 
  2. My dream home has about 10 different rooms…all with different themes.
  3. My favorite dinner is fruit loops and almond milk.
  4. I am obsessive-compulsive when it comes to cleaning my baby’s noses.
  5. It may be cliche, but I really do fall in love with my husband every single day.

Thank you so much to my friend, Dana, for her interview! Thank you for sharing some light on what it means to be a black vegan!

I leave the interview with a popular performance from her hubby! It’s actually my new favorite video:

For more information on L. Young, visit the following:

Website

Facebook page

YouTube page

Twitter

 

 

She’s Vegan & She’s Got It Like That

Kicking off the Clean Living Week here on the blog, I interviewed a close and dear friend of mine, Tianna McCormick.

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Tianna is one of the co-founders of Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting and just all-around badass. Join us as we talk about why she made the choice to go vegan, how her children are adjusting, and what role did Billy Joel play to convince her to stop sucking her thumb.

For those who don’t know you, introduce yourself!

Hey everyone! I’m Tianna. I’m married to Eamon and mom to 8 year-old Dylan and a 5 year-old Mia and a crazy pup named Lola Sue who has adopted us. When I’m not trying to change the world one vegan at a time, I work in a hospital laboratory doing some sciency stuff while trying to save lives.

Describe your parenting style.

Whatever style helps me to stay alive and sane without drinking all the wine. Haha! But seriously, my kids are both on the spectrum so everything I always knew about parenting was thrown out the window. So I would say I’m pretty laid back and try not to take life too seriously. My kids require flexibility, thick skin and an incredible amount of patience. My husband and I try to keep life as light as possible, laugh a lot and just go with it.

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What made you decide to become vegan?

The animals, it was always the animals. However, it was a multitude of things for me that made the final decision. I had wanted to be vegetarian since I was a teenager. At that time, I didn’t really know/understand the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan. I honestly cannot say why I never pulled the trigger, so to speak, laziness is probably the answer.

I have lectured, and basically harassed, everyone I personally know about not using products tested on animals. I’ve been buying vegan cosmetics for as long as I can remember. And now, looking back I think, what the hell took me so long? I’m ashamed to admit actually, that it took several major health scares for me to finally give up animal products. The shameful part comes from how much I adore animals and how, it took health to get me here instead of them.

I’m glad I finally made it here though…it’s where I need to be. Back to the animals, though, – I love them and I wholeheartedly believe that they are not here for us…we are here for them.

You recently became vegan and said while most people are encouraging, there have been some pushback from others. How do you handle the criticism of those who think it’s an extreme lifestyle and that your children aren’t getting enough nutrients?

I laugh it off now, I have to or I will become angry and bitter. In the beginning, I got all puffed up, ready to word vomit all over people. I realized rather quickly though, that behaving like that just turns a possibly open mind off, which perpetuates the idea that vegans are crazy or part of some cult. I know, that most of the foods I give my kids are healthy.

They eat beans, legumes, brown rice, avocados, almost every fruit and vegetable under the sun really and they love them (well, most of them). And sure, we indulge in some chips, plant based ice cream and other comfort foods but I’m teaching my kids about their health, about how to take of their body and most of all, about compassion, something this world could use a lot more.

So having that knowledge in the forefront of my brain, allows me to just let it go. I won’t lie though, haha, some people still have the ability to wind me up, to make sure I understand how much life my kids are missing out on. I just do my best to educate people with kindness and respect. Everyone has a road to travel.

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Are you the only vegan in your family? If so, how are you adjusting to your new lifestyle? If not, how is the family adjusting?

My husband and kids are vegan too. I thought convincing them would be hard but I’ve gotten surprisingly little fuss about it. My husband even turned down meat at a bbq so that made me really happy (score!) It was difficult in the beginning, relearning how to shop appropriately and remembering what staples you need in your pantry.

You have to figure your new easy ‘go to’ meals for when you don’t feel like Julia Child and that takes time, which can be frustrating. I think it’s definitely harder for the kids since they only understand to a certain extent and animal products are pushed on them at every turn. However, my son is also a celiac so he, and us by extension, aren’t new to food restrictions.

How are the children handling being vegan away from home? Do you give any instruction to their friends’ parents on what they can consume?

I really feel like I have been lucky so far. I haven’t come into contact with any adults who are determined to sneak my kid some meat or dairy so they aren’t ‘missing out on life’. Did you know that was an actual thing? It’s weird to me. I’ve met with my kids’ teachers and after school staff. They all asked me a lot of questions and allowed me to provide a box of emergency snacks.

We make the kids their lunch every day and we try to make it fun and delicious so they aren’t tempted to buy a school meal. I think the tough part comes during parties and going to a friend’s house. I’ve sent my son to birthday parties with his own vegan cake and pizza and he was successful. Also, his friend’s parents have texted me to ask what he can have.

I know that when I am not there, they don’t eat meat (which makes me really happy) but they do struggle with cheese – we are working on it. My kids are stubbornly independent so my husband and I try to educate them about veganism and their health as much as we possibly can with the hope that they will make good decisions. Ultimately, I want them to choose for themselves and I know that they will choose the vegan options if they have positive reinforcement from us.

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You’re the co-owner/creator of Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting. I find it to be fascinating because despite how mainstream veganism is becoming, there’s not a lot of online resources for parents to explore the vegan lifestyle. Can you explain the motivation behind the website?

Really, I have to give the credit to co-creator Janet Kearney, because the website was her idea and without her hard work, the facebook group would still be filled with nudies and spam. The motivation is truly what is in the question: the almost complete lack of education, guidance and resources for vegan parents.

In so many cases, it goes even further than a lack of resources, many physicians and other medical professionals will strongly discourage anyone from having a vegan pregnancy and raising their kids vegan. One of the main misbeliefs regarding veganism is that it’s not healthy and that people often suffer from malnutrition, which is just not true IF you do your homework and understand what your body needs – something that is important to do whether your vegan, vegetarian or omnivore.

While you can find endless information on veganism for adults, those same reputable, scientific sources just aren’t there for having a healthy vegan pregnancy and raising vegan kids. So in addition to our main Facebook group, Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting, we have six different subgroups, three of which are in different languages, Spanish, Portuguese and German (links below).

Our other co-creator, Miranda Graham, is a medical doctor who specializes in plant based eating and nutritional guidance. The main goal for providing these groups and our website is to provide this package of scientific knowledge of nutritional needs for pregnant people and children in such a way that it excludes all animal products while still promoting a healthy, nutritious and (most of all) compassionate way of life. We will offer advice on poo too – because really what it all comes down to in parenting, is poo.

Looking back at your life up until now, what is the one event you could say, ‘Hmm…I probably should’ve thought about that one a bit more.’ It could be any event. It’s not necessarily a regret; it could also be a triumph. But what is something that happened that makes you wonder, ‘I probably should’ve thought that one through…’

I’ll go with a bit of a regret…Student loans….my gosh, I took out way too many. I don’t regret my education, in fact I love it. I have an undergraduate and a graduate degree in science and they certainly keep me grounded with the knowledge that coconut oil cannot cure everything. However, it was a fairly expensive endeavor and I wish I could go back and do some things differently so that I didn’t have this enormous, mortgage sized bill dancing around in front of me.

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For those who are starting out in the vegan lifestyle, what tips can you give them?

I think the best thing a person can do for their own empowerment is to educate themselves from reputable sources. There is a lot of adversity to being vegan, from ones own family members to ones own medical care givers. In addition to that adversity is the deeply ingrained animal product consumption society that we live inside. Couple that with extreme viewpoints on the magical powers of coconut oil and the medical community as a whole, it’s a recipe for disaster if you go down the wrong rabbit hole.

I would obviously recommend that people explore our website and facebook groups as the first place to go. In addition, Miranda runs a nutritional website called www.thepuredoctor.com. She is constantly posting new articles and information on adapting to this lifestyle.

Finally, I would recommend researching vegan recipes, not only for healthy foods, but also for comfort foods. You wouldn’t believe the amount of vegan comfort foods that exist out there – many of them super easy to make. I don’t necessarily recommend one book over another because many of them have their good and bad aspects.

Really, I would just check out our Instagram and Pinterest (links below). We often feature our own home cooked meals as well as the meals from people in our groups. We also have a YouTube channel (linked below) that we are building and hope to have recipe demonstrations on it in the very near future. Some of our favorite youtubers are Mic the Vegan and Bite Sized Vegan.

To avoid failure and the temptation to return to an animal consumption life, build up your personal recipe database and keep adding to it. One of the biggest struggles is learning how to replace that section on your plate that you used to put meat on. Take the time to find things that will satisfy that deficit rather than longing for it.

Did you know that the liquid inside a can of chick peas whips up as fluffy as egg whites and can be used as such in baking and other recipes? It’s called aquafaba! Who knew?

Fun time! Name five fun facts about you.

  1. I am literally terrified of ketchup: the thought that it might touch me gives me the heebie-jeebies….sometimes I even start breathing really fast if it gets close to me.
  2. I grew up in a town so small, it’s called a Village.
  3. My favorite music is pretty much anything from The Beastie Boys.
  4. I once started a new job and quit after 27 minutes. They mailed me a check for those 27 minutes.
  5. I sucked my thumb long past it being socially acceptable for a kid. I quit by pretending that Billy Joel (uptown girl days) was watching me sleep and he most definitely would not think I was cool at all.

Thank you, Tianna, for such an informative interview! Please click on the links in the interview and subscribe to the YouTube channels.

For more information, here are some additional websites:

Website:

www.veganpregnancyandparenting.com

www.thepuredoctor.com

Facebook Groups:

Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting

Raise Vegan

Vegan Eats for Smaller Feet

Plant Based Pregnancy and Parenting

Plant Based Families

Gravidez e Criacao Vegana

Embarazo y Crianza Veganos

And a special treat just for Tianna…I just happen to love this song:

Kickin’ Off Clean Living Week!

Over the past several years, I’ve been slowly but surely employing lots of home remedies, easy lifestyle, and clean living in our little home. While we haven’t completely cut out red meat from our diet, we only eat it once or twice a week (we tend to eat it every three or four days, so it can properly digest through our bodies). And I always make sure we have lots of veggies and fruits in stock.

And then I watched this:

whatthehealth

It was a very enlightening documentary, to say the least. While I won’t become vegan (I just bought a new car that has leather seats and let’s keep it real, I’m probably not going to take it back to the dealership), the documentary did inspire me to take a good, hard look at what I’m consuming and make some swift changes.

So, I figured…let’s make a journey out of this.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll make a weekly blog post about my successes and failures as we adopt a more clean living lifestyle. This week, is a special treat on the blog! I will post food recipes, homemade remedies for the common cold, allergies, and pest control. Plus, I will have two interviews with friends who recently went vegan!

So, kick back as we tackle this journey of eating and living clean (as possible). It’ll be an adventure for sure!

Lastly, I do recommend everyone to watch What The Health. You may become vegan or maybe not. But the documentary was very informative and eye-opening.