Hiya and happy Monday! While I’m on vacation in New York, I’m pleased to present you with my first ever guest post. I first discovered Suzanne’s blog because she was submitting recipes to our Healthy Vegan Friday recipe round-up, and I loved her fun, lively attitude and spirit (to get an idea of her sense of humor, check out her veggie-inspired yoga series that she did for Vegan MoFo this year).
Since Suzanne is a student living with housemates, I asked if she would write something about how she manages to stay healthy and vegan while managing a busy life. Here is the post and recipe she wrote just for us:
My name is Suzanne and I like eating plants, getting caught in the rain, perusing farmers markets, and have way too many mason jars. I blog over at hello, veggy where I write about living a fun, active and healthy vegan life! I began blogging roughly four months ago and haven’t looked back; it has exposed me to such an amazing community of like-minded people, and has already changed my life for the better!
Now before I get to sappy about my passion for blogging, I’ll move on to what you all came for. Carrie asked me to write about how I manage to live a healthy vegan lifestyle as a university student. Though I don’t proclaim to be an expert, I have learned a ton since becoming vegan about 9 months ago; today I will share my tips and tricks with you. As a special bonus, I’ve also concocted a delicious and very easy vegan recipe to share.
Like most people these days, I lead a pretty busy life. I am a full time university student in my fourth year studying nursing, I have a part time job on the side, various volunteer commitments, and participate in an energy exchange program at a yoga studio. When my peers find out my veganism, one of their first comments is often “it must be so hard”!
I always understand where they’re coming from, university life is busy after all, but I don’t find myself agreeing with them. If there is two things that I can attribute to being successful in living a healthy vegan lifestyle as a university student: being versatile, and being prepared.
For those who presume that a vegan diet is confining and consists only of salad and tofu, I can certainly see why eating vegan may be perceived as challenging. Being constantly immersed in non vegan-friendly settings such as cafeterias and parties is another likely deterrent factor. With practice, I have come up with some ways to make eating a vegan diet interesting and easy in the university setting:
- pick up something new at the store to cook with, try a recipe you’ve recently bookmarked, or taste a new vegan option at the cafeteria to keep your palate from getting bored.
- throw a bunch of unlikely ingredients together; sometimes culinary mistakes turn into masterpieces.
- go with the flow in social settings; eat before going to the restaurant and order a drink instead (or call ahead to find out about vegan options). The whole point of getting together is to enjoy each other’s company anyway, so no need to feel deprived.
- bring a vegan dish to share at potlucks or social dinners. Vegan food really can be enjoyed by all!
Yes, it is true that vegan options can be hard to come across when out and about. I am very lucky to attend a school where vegan options exist, in a town where I can easily access vegan kitchen staples. If your environment isn’t as conducive for following a healthy vegan lifestyle, just remember what you learned in girl or boy scouts; be prepared.
- set aside one day a week for meal prep. Find some recipes that excite you and make big batches to reheat and eat all week.
- get a spiffy lunch box and tote your homemade lunch to school or work with pride.
- pack some vegan snacks in your bag to have access to at all times, for no one likes going hungry (or hangry). I always have a container of trail mix with nuts and dried fruit in my backpack!
I really hope these tips are useful, whether you are simply interested in eating more of a plant-based diet, or if you already lead a vegan lifestyle. Hooray for veggies!
Now without further ado, a easy and healthy vegan recipe for you to try: Pumpkin Coconut Red Curry Noodles.
This dish encompasses both the versatility and preparedness that makes being a busy vegan a success. I made this sauce one Saturday night with the intention of eating it for lunches throughout the week. I also made sure I had different types of noodles (zucchini and soba) and protein (edamame, tofu, and pepitas) on hand to switch things up and keep my taste buds from getting bored. It’s easy, delicious, and environmentally conscious:
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 c. sweet onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
- 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
- 1 c. pumpkin puree
- 2-3 tsp. red curry paste
- 1-2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp. tamari
- ¼ c. cilantro, chopped
- Your choice of spiralized veggie noodles, soba noodles, or your favourite pasta. Add some shelled edamame beans for extra protein.
- Turn on stove to medium and heat coconut oil in a medium sauce pot. Add ginger, garlic, onion, and peppers and soften for a few minutes.
- Add pumpkin, coconut milk, curry paste, curry powder, and tamari, and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.
- When boiled down, stir in cilantro.
- Serve over spiralized veggie noodles, soba noodles, or your favourite pasta. Add some shelled edamame beans for extra protein.
I really enjoyed guest blogging today; thanks so much to Carrie for having me! I hope you will check out more of my vegan adventures over at hello, veggy!
Thanks, Suzanne, and keep up the good work! The fact that you maintain a healthy, compassionate lifestyle in addition to doing so many other things is an inspiration.
And, if you have an iPhone or iPad, be sure to download my recipe app, Vegan Delish, featuring over 130 healthy, whole food recipes.