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Rank #39 in Nutrition category

Alternative Health
Health & Fitness
Nutrition

Vegetarian Zen

Updated 1 day ago

Rank #39 in Nutrition category

Alternative Health
Health & Fitness
Nutrition
Read more

Vegetarian | Vegan | Veg-Curious | Plant-Based | Recipes and Resources MINUS the Judgement

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Vegetarian | Vegan | Veg-Curious | Plant-Based | Recipes and Resources MINUS the Judgement

iTunes Ratings

355 Ratings
Average Ratings
336
12
6
0
1

Great Podcast-Easy to Listen to

By Sara Marceline - Jan 20 2020
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Everyone says that this is the least judgemental and most inclusive vegetarian podcast they listen to, and I agree. My partner is a Pescatarian who heavily leans towards Vegan-no dairy, no eggs, no meat; she eats very limited amounts of fish. And I am veg curious, primarily omnivore. To my point, I feel accepted and welcome here. I don't feel guilty about being me, while learning lots about vegetarianism and veganism. Vicki and Larissa have really pleasant voices to listen to. The information is great, presented well and very useful. And they have lots of resources beyond the podcast. I definitely recommend this podcast (and go back to the early podcasts if you can) as a great place to begin your vegetarian journey.

Fantastic and interesting

By Bhals - Jan 15 2020
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This podcast provides great info for anyone interested in food, particularly vegetables. :) I appreciate so many things, including the interesting topics, real discussion, relatability, and not to mention the quality of recording (you know how some podcasts are just too quiet or loud? not here). Loved the episode with the review of Game Changers - my husband just suggested we watched that and decided he’s finally ready to go vegetarian. Woohoo! Thanks for the show and the content, and for the great Facebook group for more support too!

iTunes Ratings

355 Ratings
Average Ratings
336
12
6
0
1

Great Podcast-Easy to Listen to

By Sara Marceline - Jan 20 2020
Read more
Everyone says that this is the least judgemental and most inclusive vegetarian podcast they listen to, and I agree. My partner is a Pescatarian who heavily leans towards Vegan-no dairy, no eggs, no meat; she eats very limited amounts of fish. And I am veg curious, primarily omnivore. To my point, I feel accepted and welcome here. I don't feel guilty about being me, while learning lots about vegetarianism and veganism. Vicki and Larissa have really pleasant voices to listen to. The information is great, presented well and very useful. And they have lots of resources beyond the podcast. I definitely recommend this podcast (and go back to the early podcasts if you can) as a great place to begin your vegetarian journey.

Fantastic and interesting

By Bhals - Jan 15 2020
Read more
This podcast provides great info for anyone interested in food, particularly vegetables. :) I appreciate so many things, including the interesting topics, real discussion, relatability, and not to mention the quality of recording (you know how some podcasts are just too quiet or loud? not here). Loved the episode with the review of Game Changers - my husband just suggested we watched that and decided he’s finally ready to go vegetarian. Woohoo! Thanks for the show and the content, and for the great Facebook group for more support too!
Cover image of Vegetarian Zen

Vegetarian Zen

Latest release on Jan 26, 2020

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Vegetarian | Vegan | Veg-Curious | Plant-Based | Recipes and Resources MINUS the Judgement

Rank #1: 5 Awesome Health Benefits of Potatoes (VZ 301)

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The Great Potato Controversy There are several foods that cause a lot of controversy regarding their overall healthiness. One of these foods is the potato. If you Google “Are Potatoes Good for You?” you’ll find plenty of articles arguing each side of the issue, all citing studies in defense of their perspective.   Larissa and …

The post 5 Awesome Health Benefits of Potatoes (VZ 301) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Mar 24 2019

21mins

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Rank #2: Goodbye Autoimmune Disease with Dr. Brooke Goldner (VZ 321)

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Who Is Dr. Brooke Goldner? In this episode of the Vegetarian Zen podcast ,we are EXTREMELY pleased to welcome Dr. Brooke Goldner! Dr. Goldner is a board certified medical doctor and the author of 3 best-selling books, Goodbye Lupus, Goodbye Autoimmune Disease, and Green Smoothie Recipes to Kick-Start Your Health and Healing.       …

The post Goodbye Autoimmune Disease with Dr. Brooke Goldner (VZ 321) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Aug 11 2019

1hr 6mins

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Rank #3: These are a Few of Our Favorite Things (2019 Edition) (VZ 333)

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The Holidays Are Upon Us! The fall and winter months are our absolute FAVORITE seasons of the year! Maybe it’s because it’s actually cool enough outside to spend some quality time in nature. Or maybe it’s because all of the decorations, lights, good food, and time with family make this time of your extra special. …

The post These are a Few of Our Favorite Things (2019 Edition) (VZ 333) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Nov 03 2019

42mins

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Rank #4: A Review of The Game Changers (VZ 337)

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In this episode of our podcast, we review a recently released documentary called The Game Changers.

Back in episode 275, The Rise of the Vegan Athlete, we discussed how many athletes are turning to a plant-based diet.

If you listened to episode 275, you might recall that I was particularly excited about this because, as a former athlete, I know there are a lot of stereotypes and misinformation purporting that vegans are unable to get the nutrition they need to perform at the top levels of their given sport. Of course, this is not true.

Summary of The Game Changers

This documentary follows an elite Special Forces Trainer, James Wilks.  After suffering a serious injury, James spends his recovery time researching and uncovering the truth behind plant-based diets and top athletes.

The film features several very well-known elite athletes, special ops soldiers, and some familiar faces in the world of plant-based nutrition, including Rip Esselstyn, Caldwell Esselstyn, and Dean Ornish.

Check out our review of The Game Changers here:

Here’s the official trailer:

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves, and our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.

A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:

Further Reading and Resources Used for this Episode:

The post A Review of The Game Changers (VZ 337) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Dec 01 2019

23mins

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Rank #5: 7 Powerful Pantry Organization Tips! (VZ 323)

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In episode 319 of the Vegetarian Zen podcast, we gave you 7 Awesome refrigerator organization tips to help you stop wasting food. Also in that episode, we promised to share some pantry organization tips with you…so here we are! Let’s get organizing! Why Pantry Organization?  While most pantry foods have longer expiration dates than things …

The post 7 Powerful Pantry Organization Tips! (VZ 323) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Aug 25 2019

22mins

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Rank #6: Epic Vegan with Dustin Harder of The Vegan Roadie (VZ 332)

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Who is Dustin Harder? Dustin Harder is the host and creator of the original vegan travel culinary series, The Vegan Roadie. The show is described as a version of the popular Food Network series Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. He is an author, recipe creator, and graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute.   Living La Vida …

The post Epic Vegan with Dustin Harder of The Vegan Roadie (VZ 332) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Oct 27 2019

33mins

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Rank #7: Imperfect Produce and Meal Prep with Melissa Grove (VZ 312)

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Imperfect Produce – A Review A few weeks ago, we did a live Facebook video just to chat with folks in the Peas and Carrots Society (our closed Facebook group). One of the participants in that chat, Melissa Grove, mentioned that she uses Imperfect Produce, a fresh produce subscription service that offers perfectly good, although …

The post Imperfect Produce and Meal Prep with Melissa Grove (VZ 312) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Jun 09 2019

45mins

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Rank #8: Finding Flexitarian with Harlie Pruder (VZ 307)

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Meet Golden Apple Roundtable Member Harlie Pruder! We LOVE getting to know the folks within our Vegetarian Zen community! In this episode of the Vegetarian Zen podcast, we chat with Golden Apple Roundtable member, Harlie Pruder about her plant-based journey from omnivore, to vegetarian, to strict vegan before finding that flexitarianism is right for her. …

The post Finding Flexitarian with Harlie Pruder (VZ 307) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

May 05 2019

31mins

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Rank #9: A Review of What the Health (VZ 309)

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What the Health Review What the Health is a documentary that was released in 2017 directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn.  The film follows director Kip Andersen as he interviews several physicians with whom many of us are familiar–Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougall, and others. Andersen also …

The post A Review of What the Health (VZ 309) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

May 19 2019

28mins

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Rank #10: Your Guide to Baking Homemade Bread (VZ 326)

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Fall is typically a great time to do some baking and there nothing quite like the taste and smell of homemade bread! Check out this episode of our podcast for our discussion on all things bread, or read on for a summary of what we discuss on the show!   Why Bake When You Can …

The post Your Guide to Baking Homemade Bread (VZ 326) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Sep 15 2019

32mins

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Rank #11: 5 Awesome Benefits of Pea Protein (VZ 308)

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What is Pea Protein? Pea protein is exactly what it sounds like. It’s protein extracted from peas. Peas are ground to remove the fiber and starch, a process which leaves just the protein. Nutritionally speaking, peas are one of the top sources of plant-based protein, a fact that many people don’t realize. A standard serving …

The post 5 Awesome Benefits of Pea Protein (VZ 308) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

May 12 2019

20mins

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Rank #12: 7 of The Best Vegan AND Cruelty Free Shampoos (VZ 316)

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What is cruelty-free, and is it the same as vegan? Before we talk about shampoos, let’s explain the difference between a “cruelty-free” product and one that is considered “vegan.”  A product can be both or only one of these, but they are not the same. For a product to be “cruelty-free,” neither the finished product …

The post 7 of The Best Vegan AND Cruelty Free Shampoos (VZ 316) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Jul 07 2019

24mins

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Rank #13: Ask Us Anything! (VZ 327)

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In this episode of the Vegetarian Zen podcast, we asked YOU to ask us anything! Yes, anything and everything was on the table. Here’s what you asked and our responses!   Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn …

The post Ask Us Anything! (VZ 327) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Sep 22 2019

30mins

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Rank #14: 7 Awesome Refrigerator Organization Tips to Help You Stop Wasting Food (VZ 319)

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You went to the store and bought some of the yummiest looking produce and refrigerated foods with all the best intentions to make delicious meals. A couple of weeks pass and then…“Oh no! I didn’t see that back there!” You find a once-beautiful squash now blackened and mushy in the back of your fridge. You …

The post 7 Awesome Refrigerator Organization Tips to Help You Stop Wasting Food (VZ 319) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Jul 28 2019

26mins

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Rank #15: Awesome Sauce! 8 Vegan Sauces You Need to Try! (VZ 338)

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The perfect sauce can take a dish from bland to simply AMAZING!  Here are 8 awesome vegan sauces you need to try!

  1. Easy Lemon Tahini Sauce

    Tahini was something I had not eaten before becoming a vegetarian. If you’re not familiar with it, tahini is essentially a paste made from crushed sesame seeds.

It’s a common condiment in Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine and is a major ingredient used in hummus.

Tahini is versatile and easy to use in a variety of dishes.

Here’s a recipe from A Couple Cooks for a lovely lemon tahini sauce.

  1. Cashew Sour Cream

    I’m a big fan of sour cream. Even though I still consume dairy sour cream on occasion, I prefer to reduce my dairy consumption when I can.

    Fortunately, I can easily swap regular sour cream for the vegan version without noticing too much.

Oh She Glows has a great recipe for making your own cashew sour cream.

Try a spoon or two of this on your next baked potato or spinach enchiladas for some added flavor!

  1. Vegan Pad Thai Sauce

When Larissa and I go for Thai food, we both usually order Pad Thai. Many Thai restaurants offer a tofu substitution so it’s easy to order and easy to customize the “heat” (spice) of the dish.

This is great since I usually order mine “Thai hot” and Larissa opts for no spice (‘cause she’s a wuss!).

We found a great, easy recipe for Pad Thai (which of course includes the sauce) from Nora Cooks. One of the best things about this recipe is that it only takes about 30 minutes to make. It also makes delicious leftovers!

  1. Miso Sauce

You can use miso in stir fry, for dipping, as a dressing, or as a flavoring for rice. The possibilities are endless! Miso sauce is a great staple to have around your kitchen.

If you aren’t familiar with miso, it’s made from cooked soybeans and grains (most commonly rice and barley) and mixed with salt and a fungus called koji.

Miso has an umami, or savory, flavor.

It’s rich in essential minerals and is a good source of vitamins B, E, K, and folic acid. Miso also helps promote good gut bacteria.

For an all-purpose miso sauce, check out Just One Cookbook. This simple 4-ingredient recipe can be used in a variety of ways.

  1. Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce is a great fridge or pantry staple because you can use it to top off a quick bowl of pasta and veggies or use it as a sauce for veggie pizza.

This recipe from Pass The Plants involves a pressure cooker and has a total cook time of about 25 minutes, which means you can serve up dinner quickly with minimal supervision!

  1. Vickie’s Salsa

It’s no secret that I LOVE spicy stuff — the hotter the better! Salsa was a common condiment in our refrigerator when I grew up.

While there are plenty of salsa brands and varieties on store shelves they often contain a lot of unhealthy additives. Also, the best storebought salsa out there just can’t compare to the fresh flavors of homemade.

To make my salsa you’ll need:

  • 2 Serrano peppers, boiled
  • 8 oz can of stewed tomatoes
  • Pinch garlic salt
  • Chopped cilantro (optional)

Blend this all together for a few seconds and chill before serving for an awesome vegan salsa!

  1. Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce

This recipe for Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce comes from The Veggie Society.

You’ve probably seen this sauce sitting on tables at Asian restaurants. Not only is it great for dipping veggie-packed spring rolls but you can also use it for tofu, tacos, and drizzled on your favorite Buddha Bowl.

  1. Caramel Sauce

Let’s finish off this list with a dessert sauce! This sauce comes from one of our FAVORITE sites, Pinch of Yum !

You can use this caramel sauce not only for desserts but also in oatmeal or yogurt, on toast, or for dipping fruit.

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves, and our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.

A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa

The post Awesome Sauce! 8 Vegan Sauces You Need to Try! (VZ 338) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Dec 08 2019

19mins

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Rank #16: The Rise of Vegan Businesses with Jonny Edwards of Nuzest-USA (VZ 313)

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Vegan Businesses are BOOMING! Yes, it’s true! Vegan businesses are on the rise!  When Larissa and I became vegetarians in 2013, there weren’t nearly as many vegan businesses or products on the market as there are today. I remember looking for vegan fashion and was very disappointed at the lack of available products. Flash forward …

The post The Rise of Vegan Businesses with Jonny Edwards of Nuzest-USA (VZ 313) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Jun 16 2019

41mins

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Rank #17: We All Scream for Vegan Ice Cream! (VZ 314)

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Beat the Heat with a Non-Dairy Treat! What do you think of when you think of summer? Being from South Texas, the first thing I think of is triple-digit HEAT! Then I think about ways I can keep cool. A nice dreamy swimming pool is an awesome way to cool off. A DELICIOUS way to …

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Jun 23 2019

24mins

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Rank #18: Your Guide to AMAZING Vegetarian Enchiladas (VZ 320)

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La-La-La-Ladas! At least once a week (if you don’t count leftovers!) Larissa and I enjoy an awesome plate of vegetarian enchiladas! If you’ve listened to the show for a while, it’s no secret that Vickie’s favorite type of food is Mexican food. With her Mexican and Central American grandparents, she grew up eating some wonderful …

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Aug 04 2019

17mins

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Rank #19: All About Pumpkin! Health Benefits and, of Course, Pumpkin Recipes! (VZ 331)

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A sure sign that Fall is here is that pumpkin is everywhere! From coffee drinks and baked goods to jack-o-lanterns–yes, everywhere! But how much do you know about pumpkins?   Pumpkin — fruit or vegetable?  Pumpkin (Cucurbita Maxima) is technically a fruit. It’s a type of winter squash in the same plant family (Cucurbitaceae) as …

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Oct 20 2019

22mins

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Rank #20: The Best Darn Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili…Seriously Ya’ll! (VZ 339)

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What’s better than a BIG bowl of vegetarian chili? How about a BIG bowl of Instant Pot vegetarian chili!

Here’s why…

But first, a quick disclaimer from this Texan who takes her chili VERY seriously!

Since traditional Texas chili doesn’t call for beans or veggies, we’re going to be taking some liberties with the recipe.  The reason we’re making this Instant Pot chili with vegetables is to ensure that it’s packed with nutrients. Not only is our chili tasty but it’s chock-full of good stuff, too! 

One last note before we talk about chili. The only thing that makes this recipe “vegetarian” rather than “vegan” is that you can add cheese or sour cream on top. Obviously, you can leave these out if you’d like. That would make this recipe vegan!

You can listen to the podcast here where we discuss our recipe or read on for a quick summary!

Why we LOVE Chili!

Chili is great for many reasons. Here’s why we love it so much:

  • Easily customizable to tastes (as spicy as you want it to be)
  • Easily customizable to eating preferences (mixed households can have meat on the side)
  • Easy to batch cook
  • Great reheated 
  • Can be used as a topping or as a meal on its own

Why we LOVE Our Instant Pot! 

The recipe we’re talking about today will call for an Instant Pot. You don’t absolutely need one, BUT this kitchen appliance can make life soooo much easier, especially for batch cooking.  Here’s the model we use…

What’s the Difference Between an Instant Pot and a Slow Cooker? 

Unlike a slow cooker (crockpot), an Instant Pot is multi-functional: you can use it to steam, saute, cook, and warm.  It could seriously take the place of several appliances!  Therefore, an Instant Pot makes this a one-pot recipe since it can do everything but chop the veggies!

So without further ado, here is a link to our recipe!

Adding quinoa to this recipe ups the protein. If you choose to add some beef-free meat crumbles such as Beyond Meat, you’ll add some extra texture and protein, too. 

We hope this episode has not only inspired you to try some vegetarian chili but has also inspired you to pull out the Instant Pot and put it to use! It really is a great appliance to have in any kitchen! 

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves or that come from a trusted resource. Our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners..

A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa

The post The Best Darn Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili…Seriously Ya’ll! (VZ 339) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Dec 15 2019

23mins

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The Top 9 Kitchen Tools Helping Us Get Healthier in 2020 (VZ 345)

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Before we get into our top kitchen tools going into a 2020, we want to stress that you do NOT need to spend a lot of money to get healthy!

We’ve accumulated many of these tools over YEARS. In this episode, we simply want to share some of the things we’re using that are making our lives just a little easier as we head into a new year in which we’ll be focusing on our health.

You can listen to us talk about our kitchen tools here or read on for a quick summary:

Our Top 9 Kitchen Tools

  1. Vitamix 1365 CIA Professional Series Blender

First on our list of kitchen tools is one of the first appliances we purchased when we became vegetarians in 2013. Our Vitamix blender turns 7 this year and is still going strong! 

We primarily use this blender for smoothies and LOOOOVE the way it simply pulverizes foods. Seeds and protein powders are grounded up nicely in this high-powered blender, ensuring smoothies have no gritty texture.  

You can make quick bread batter and soups right in the Vitamix, too. 

While the price for this blender can be a bit steep, keep in mind that you’re playing for a very high quality tool. 

Follow this link for a more in-depth review of the Vitamix blender.

  1. Omega VRT350 Juicer

The Omega VRT350 Juicer is another appliance we’ve had for a long time. 

We decided to invest in this kitchen tool because, as a low speed masticating juicer it slowly squeezes the juice from fruits and vegetables so that it maintains as much of the nutritional value as possible.  

It’s a heavy appliance but doesn’t take up a lot of counter space. 

For more details, check out our updated review of the Omega VRT350 juicer here.

  1. Plan To Eat

Plan to Eat is a meal planning calendar and grocery list maker that we’ve used for years.

There is a strong positive correlation between how healthy we’re eating and how much we’re using this tool. The more we use it to plan meals, the less inclined we are to make poor eating choices. 

Plan to Eat allows you to add and organize recipes and drag those recipes onto a calendar to plan them. The software automatically creates a grocery shopping list based on your planned recipes. 

By providing tools that streamline the meal planning process Plan to Eat equips households to eat better food, eat together, save money at the grocery store, and have a less stressful cooking experience in the kitchen. 

Visit vegetarianzen.com/plantoeat for more info. They offer a 30 day free trial (no credit card required). Then it’s only $4.95 a month or $39 a year (you save some money by subscribing yearly).

  1. My Fitness Pal

“What gets tracked gets managed” is something I very much believe in, which is why we decided to invest some time researching a good tool to help us track our nutrition. 

My Fitness Pal isn’t exactly a “kitchen tool” but rather an app that helps us make better decisions in the kitchen. 

It tracks various nutrients in the foods you eat, including calories, protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals ingredients. You can also and log exercise, weight, and other personal stats and health and fitness goals in the app. 

There are over 11 million foods in the database, as well as recipe ideas (yes, even including vegetarian and vegan ones). 

It also syncs with quite a few popular exercise apps such as Fitbit, Samsung Health, Apple Healthkit, and Map My Run. 

There is a free version which will allow you to track calories, carbs, fat, and protein.

The premium version does that but also lets you track macronutrients, has a food analysis tool (view your daily tracked foods broken down by nutrient), and lets you set per-meal calorie goals. It also contains several other features designed to provide you with more in-depth information regarding your nutrition and exercise habits.

They have a generous 30-day free trial so that you can check it out without paying anything.  

      My Fitness Pal App 

  1. Le Creuset

In episode 107 of the podcast, “Is Danger Lurking In Your Kitchen Cabinets,” we talked about the importance of making sure that the cookware you use isn’t leaching dangerous chemicals into your food.  

This episode inspired us to invest in quality cookware. Le Creuset has been in business since 1925 and offers French cast iron cookware, tableware, kitchen tools, and more. 

The pans we have (which can be found in ourLe Creuset product review) are enameled cast iron, and they’re heavy and built to last! Here are some key features: 

    • Ideal heat distribution and superior heat retention
    • Durable, nonreactive Interior
    • Crack- and chip-resistant exterior enamel
    • Heat- and moisture-locking recessed-edge lid

Another somewhat pricey product, but we’ve invested in Le Creuset cookware slowly over time. 

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  1. Cuisinart Air Fryer

Our Cuisinart Air Fryer is the “baby” of our healthy kitchen tools family.  

You may recall that episode 259 was titled “Air Frying – Is it Awesome or Just a Bunch of Hype?” 

This episode was recorded in June of 2018. We didn’t have our air fryer yet but were seriously starting to look into getting one.

After a bit more research, a solid recommendation from a trusted friend, and an Amazon Black Friday special, we decided to buy ourselves an air fryer for Christmas. 

In episode Episode 343, we told you that we decided on the Cuisinart TOA-60.

Since then, we’ve been experimenting with air-fried veggies, onion rings, French toast, and a few other things. 

This product made our list of kitchen tools helping us get healthier in 2020 because it allows us to cook up some tasty food without all the oil. 

We’ll be posting more air-fried goodies soon, especially on Pinterest and IG, so be sure to follow us there! 

  1. Zojirushi NS-TSC10 Micom Rice Cooker 

In episode 221, “How to Use Your Rice Cooker for More than Rice,” we introduced you to our Zojirushi rice cooker. 

Rice cookers are great kitchen tools because a good cooker (like this one) is versatile enough to cook rice (of course) but also:

    • Quinoa
    • Grits
    • Polenta
    • Oatmeal
    • Veggies
    • Desserts like poached fruit and tapioca pudding 

  1. Instant Pot Duo 60 321 Electric Pressure Cooker

The Instant Pot is another kitchen tool that is actually 7 appliances in 1. It’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, saute pan, yogurt maker, and warmer. 

We love our Instant Pot because there are so many vegetarian and vegan recipes that can be made in this one pot. 

For some ideas, check out episode 146 of the podcast, “Using a Pressure Cooker to Create Healthy Vegetarian Food.”   

We also recently released episode 339, “The Best Darn Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili…Seriously Ya’ll!” 

  1. T-Fal Steamer

My steamer is REALLY old. Larissa reminded me that I already had it when we first met in 2002! 

Our steamer is one kitchen tool we use 4-5 times a week. The particular model we use has been discontinued (because it’s so old) but I found one that looked very comparable to the one we have. 

It’s two-tier (like ours) and holds a total of 4-quarts of food (2 quarts per tier).

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We want to stress again that you don’t need a whole lot of money to get healthy. Some of our best kitchen tools simply make life a little bit easier for us!

Thanks for listening/reading!

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. That means, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves or that come from a trusted resource. Our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.

A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa

The post The Top 9 Kitchen Tools Helping Us Get Healthier in 2020 (VZ 345) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Jan 26 2020

28mins

Play

7 of the Healthiest Seeds You Can Eat (and Some Ways to Eat Them!) (VZ 344)

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Seeds — what they lack in size, they MORE than make up for in nutritional value! Here are 7 of the healthiest seeds you can eat to give you an extra nutritional boost!

You can listen to us discuss these “fab 7” seeds below or read on for a quick review of what we discuss:

  1. Flax

I (Vickie) eat flax seeds pretty regularly. Our local grocery store’s organic brand offers instant oatmeal with added flax, which makes it super easy to add flax to my diet.

Another easy way to consume flax seed is in a smoothie. A high-powered blender like our Vitamix  blends everything so smoothly that adding seeds to a smoothie doesn’t result in a gritty drink. 

Benefits of Flax Seeds

    • Great source of Omega-3 fatty acids
    • Good source of healthy fats
    • Good source of fiber

Some Ways to Eat Flax Seeds

    • Added to smoothies
    • Mixed in to cooked oatmeal
    • Added to quick bread batter

  1. Pepita (Pumpkin Seeds)

I love pumpkin, so I’m a little embarrassed to say that I only recently discovered the yumminess of pumpkin seeds. 

In addition to being yummy, pumpkin seed nutrition is impressive. 

Benefits of Pepita

    • The ONLY alkaline-forming seed. Many foods these days produce acid, which leads to inflammatory responses in the body. Eating pumpkin seeds can help to “alkalize” your body and protect against disease. 
    • High in antioxidants
    • VERY high in magnesium 
    • High in fiber
    • Can lower blood sugar levels
    • Good source of iron
    • Good source of zinc

Some Ways to Eat Pepitas

    • Sprinked on salads
    • Roasted (we are including a video from Minimalist Baker to show you how to roast pumpkin seeds) 
    • Added to quick bread batter
    • In granola (many store-bought granolas already contain pumpkin seeds)

  1. Chia 

Episode 227 of the podcast was entirely focused on “ch-ch-ch-chia seeds”! 

Benefits of Chia Seeds

    • A great source of omega-3
    • Help to raise your HDL (good cholesterol) 
    • Great source of fiber
    • Great source of protein
    • Loaded with antioxidants

Some Ways to Eat Chia Seeds

    • Added to smoothies
    • Chia Seed Pudding (recipe from Cookie + Kate). This is a GREAT, healthy breakfast or snack! 
    • Added to your favorite homemade salad dressing
    • Added to breadcrumb coating for tofu, veggies, etc.

  1. Sesame 

To be completely honest, sesame seeds aren’t my favorite. I will eat them, but when Larissa cooks with them she tends to use less just because I’m not a huge fan of the taste.

What I AM a huge fan of is their health benefits, which is why I still eat sesame. 

Benefits of Sesame Seeds

    • Good source of fiber
    • Great source of protein
    • Good source of B vitamins
    • Reduces inflammation
    • Bone health

Some Ways to Eat Sesame Seeds

    • Roasted and sprinkled over salads
    • Sesame oil
    • In hummus
    • Added to dressings and marinades

  1. Hemp 

Hemp is considered a superfood by many because of its high nutritional value. 

Before we became vegetarians I wasn’t very familiar with hemp…I primarily associated it with marijuana. 

While hemp and marijuana come from the same plant, Cannabis Sativa, hemp does not contain THC, which is the mind-altering substance found in marijuana. (Note: Athletes or others required to take drug tests should buy hemp seeds from trusted sources to ensure there isn’t the possibility of cross-contamination with THC). 

Benefits of Hemp

    • Protein (3 tablespoons has about 10 grams!) 
    • Good source of omega-3 fatty acids
    • Fiber (purchase unhulled seeds for an extra fiber boost)

Some Ways to Eat Hemp Seeds

    • Smoothies
    • Hemp Milk (recipe from Detoxinista for homemade hemp milk)
    • Mixed with rice
    • Sprinkled on salads
    • Mixed into oatmeal

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  1. Sunflower 

Sunflower seeds were probably the very first seeds I ever ate! 

Benefits of Sunflower Seeds:

    • High in the powerful antioxidants vitamin E and selenium 
    • High in magnesium 
    • High in copper, which may aid in energy levels and boost overall brain health
    • Good for bone health

Some Ways to Eat Sunflower Seeds:

    • Roasted
    • Sprinkled on salads
    • In Granola
    • Added to quick bread batter

  1. Cumin 

While most people think of cumin in its ground form, it actually starts out as seeds. Cumin has been added to foods for thousands of years and has a nutty, spicy taste.

Benefits of Cumin: 

    • Great for stomach health and digestion
    • Rich source of iron
    • May lower cholesterol levels
    • Helps lower inflammation 

Some Ways to Eat Cumin Seeds:

Note: Since we’re talking about seeds in this episode, these suggestions apply to the seeds only. When cumin seeds are used in a recipe, they typically need to be added sooner in the cooking process so that the seeds have time to release their flavor.

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves or that come from a trusted resource. Our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.

A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:

Further Reading and Resources Used for this Episode:

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa

The post 7 of the Healthiest Seeds You Can Eat (and Some Ways to Eat Them!) (VZ 344) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Jan 19 2020

28mins

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A Review of Our New Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven (VZ 343)

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Yes, we finally did it! We bought an air fryer!  We decided on a Cuisinart Convection Toaster Air Fryer, which actually does quite a bit more than just air fry (yep, that’s one of the reasons we chose it).

Back in episode 259 of our podcast, we talked about air frying.

When we recorded that episode we didn’t have an air fryer of our own but asked for some input from our Peas and Carrots Society on Facebook about their experiences with air frying. We wanted to know if it was awesome…or just a bunch of hot air.

While the majority of our folks were really digging the air fryer, we weren’t exactly sold. That is, until this past Black Friday when Amazon was running a sale. 

In this episode of the podcast we discuss our new air fryer. You can listen here or scroll down for a quick summary of what we discuss.

Assembly

The Cuisinart Convection Toaster Air Fryer is pretty much ready to go right out of the box; there’s no real “assembly” per se. 

Parts —

  • Main oven unit
  • Toaster oven rack
  • Rectangular pan
  • Rectangular fryer basket

Counter Footprint

Being counter-space conscious, we are very happy with the relatively small amount of space this appliance takes up on our counter. It really doesn’t take up much more space than our toaster did (but it does so much more!). 

It fits perfectly on the countertop under the upper cabinets. When we use it, we just slide it forward a bit. 

Cooking with the Cuisinart 

Here’s where it gets a bit tricky. It’s taken us a bit to find the temperature settings that give the best results. For example:

  • Toast on the dark setting will turn your bread into a black pile of dust!  

  • Because the oven is small, you’ll find that you will need to bake at a lower temperature than packages or recipes specify. Even the instruction booklet states this.

  • If you’re making recipes specifically for an air fryer, stated cooking times and temperatures will be fine.  Basically, it just takes some experimenting to get the hang of it! Trust us…there may or may not have been a few over/under cooked foods in our house when we first got this appliance…

Some Recipes We Tried and Results

  • French Toast Sticks. These delicious French toast sticks are so awesome…and you don’t even need syrup! 
  • Frozen biscuits. The key here is to lower the temp quite a bit. 250 to 275 on the convection bake setting for 17-20 minutes is just about right. 
  • Air fried tofu. We loved this because the tofu gets crispy on the outside and has a nice firm, chewy texture. Yum!
  • Baked potatoes. Air frying whole potatoes results in extra crispy skin and insides that are almost creamy. Amazing!
  • Mexican street corn. The flavor was good, but the char was a little uneven.Rotating may be in order next time. 

And We’ll Be Trying These Recipes (and more!) Very Soon

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves or that come from a trusted resource. Our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.

Mentioned in this Episode

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa

The post A Review of Our New Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven (VZ 343) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Jan 12 2020

24mins

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How to Cook Quinoa and What To Do With It (VZ 342)

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Quinoa is one of the BEST plant-based proteins for vegetarians and vegans. In this episode of our podcast, we discuss what quinoa is, how to cook with it, and share a few recipes we’re eager to try.

You can listen to the podcast here or scroll down for a quick summary of what we discuss along with any resources we mention.

What is quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah)?

To some people, quinoa may seem like a new hipster craze, but it’s actually been around for a very long time.  

Quinoa is a flowering plant in the amaranth family. Eating quinoa really involves eating just the seeds of the plant. 

It’s considered an “ancient grain” which means it’s a plant that’s been cultivated for millennia. 

(Again, though, it’s technically not a grain … it’s a seed). 

The seeds are eaten similarly to grains like rice. 

What Does Quinoa Taste Like?

I like to describe quinoa as tasting a bit like brown rice but without the super nutty, grainy, taste of brown rice that turns me off.

Instead, quinoa has a milder taste and texture that is somewhat like oatmeal. 

What Are the Health Benefits of Quinoa?

Quinoa is CRAZY healthy in general, but specifically for vegetarians and vegans. It’s one of the foods you get to say when you answer the question, “Where do you get your protein?” 

Quinoa is not only high in protein but it’s considered a COMPLETE protein! 

That means it has all 9 essential amino acids. Of the 20 amino acids, the human body can produce all but these 9, so it’s necessary to get them from foods. Lots of plants have some of these essential aminos, which is great, but finding one that has all 9 is a bonus! 

In addition to being a great source of protein, quinoa is also a great source of:

  • Iron
  • Fiber
  • Magnesium
  • B-Vitamins
  • Vitamin E
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus 
  • Folate

Interesting fact, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, quinoa was chosen as one of the “bonus foods” onboard the International Space Station. It’s being looked at by NASA scientists as something that could potentially be grown in outer space.  

Is Quinoa Gluten-Free?

Yes quinoa is gluten-free however, be sure to look for a label on any quinoa you’re buying that says it’s certified GF.  

Problems with cross-contamination can occur in the manufacturing process whereby quinoa can be grown and harvested in the same facilities where grains such as barley and wheat are also grown.  

Is Quinoa Considered Keto?

For those on a Ketogenic (aka Keto) diet, this is probably not the food for you. 

A keto diet is essentially a low-carb, high-fat diet that is sort of like the modern day “Atkins” diet.  

Since quinoa has about 39 grams of carbs per cup, that would eat up a lot of the daily carb allowance on a keto diet. 

So Which is Healthier For Me, Brown Rice or Quinoa?

In a head-to-head battle, brown rice and quinoa are very well matched! 

Note: Brown rice is specifically used in this comparison since white rice doesn’t have anywhere near as many health benefits as brown rice. 

Brown rice and quinoa are closely matched when it comes to:

  • Calories 
  • B1

Brown Rice wins in the categories of:

  • B3
  • Selenium

However, we start to see quinoa pull away for the win in the categories of:

  • Fiber 
  • Protein
  • B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Zinc

How to Cook Quinoa

The 3 main types of quinoa are red, black, and white. White quinoa is the most neutral tasting so it’s probably the best one to start with if you’ve never cooked quinoa before. Much like rice, the red and black varieties of quinoa have their own distinct flavors so you may want to try a little bit before buying a lot. 

Rinse First! 

I’m usually in the habit of rinsing foods first but quinoa specifically has a natural coating called saponin.  Saponin is not considered toxic to humans but can make the quinoa taste “soapy”.

Let’s Get Cooking! 

Much like rice, cooking quinoa can be a bit tricky.  If you don’t do it right, you can end up with a mushy pot of food.  The easiest thing to do, of course, is follow the directions on the package.

If you buy in bulk, however, there is no package… in that case, I like this method per The Kitchn.

In addition to cooking it on the stove top, you can also make quinoa in rice cooker and Instant pot. 

For a rice cooker use the setting for white rice. Be sure to let the quinoa rest for a bit before fluffing it up with a fork. 

For a pressure cooker, use about 1 ½ cups of water or veggie broth and a dash of salt. Seal the lid and use the rice setting. 

OK, I Cooked Some Quinoa, Now What Do I Do With It? 

Quinoa is often used just like any other grain so it substitutes well in any grain recipe or even by itself as a side.

BUT, we don’t want to disappoint without some tasty recipes to try.  

Here are 5 we’ve queued up to try ourselves! 

  1. One Pan Mexican Quinoa from Sina at Vegan Heaven. This one takes 25 to make and can all be made in one pan! 

  1. Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl from Love and Lemons.  Quinoa isn’t just for lunch or dinner. Because if it’s almost oatmeal like consistency, it can be made to be porridge-style or you can leave it a bit more dry if you prefer. Only 3 ingredients needed (almond milk, quinoa, cinnamon sticks) and add any fruits you wish for a protein-packed breakfast!

  1. Zucchini Patties with Quinoa from The Spruce Eats – Very much like Larissa’s own Broccoli patties, these zucchini patties are like latkes minus the potatoes. Now that we have oru new air fryer, we may even try popping these in there to see how they turn out! 

  1. Thai Veggie Quinoa Bowls from Avocado Pesto – Yes, more bowls!  This one has a total prep and cook time of about 35 minutes. The dressing gives it a sharp and tangy Asian flare.

  1. Vegan Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Beans, Corn, and Peaches from Yummy Mummy Kitchen. I love fruit in salads but hadn’t thought of adding peaches to a quinoa salad. While not always in season, peaches sounds like a refreshing fruit to mix in with this already super healthy and beautiful salad!

How Do I Store Quinoa? 

Keep uncooked quinoa in an air-tight container in your pantry. It will stay fresh for a few months.

Cooked quinoa should be placed in your fridge and will stay fresh for a few days.

We hope this has provided you with some great information about quinoa and provided you with some cooking ideas.  

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves or that come from a trusted resource. Our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.

Mentioned in this episode:

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa

The post How to Cook Quinoa and What To Do With It (VZ 342) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Jan 05 2020

27mins

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Instead of “New Year, New Me” Try This! (VZ 341)

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We are knocking on the door of a brand new year which means many people are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. “New Year, New Me!” is the rallying cry of many people vowing to start good habits and ditch old bad habits.

Even so, most people know that the percentage of people who actually accomplish New Year’s resolutions is very small. Forbes estimates that less than 25% of the population are still committed to their resolutions after 30 days. Think that’s bad? Only 8% actually end up accomplishing their goals! 

This year, instead of “New Year, New Me” we’re offering you 5 ways to think about the upcoming new year that might help increase the odds of you actually moving the needle on those things you deem important for yourself.

5 Ideas to Try In Place Of “New Year, New Me”

  1. Decide What You Want

This may sound simple enough but there is a catch. Think about what you want, but also think about the price you’ll have to pay to have it.  Are you willing to pay that price?

For example, for the longest time, I wanted to be a professional musician. If I’m honest, I’d say I have some mediocre raw talent that could probably be raised a couple of notches by consistent practice.

At one time, I was willing to pay the price of daily practice and total commitment to my instrument.  In fact, I even received my BA in Music and toured with a band for a while.

However, as time went on, I found that being a professional musician was no longer a goal. I wasn’t willing to pay the price and that’s okay. Everyone’s goals change as time goes on.

One common goal of many at the start of each new year involves diet and exercise. If increasing your exercise and improving your diet are among your goals, think about what you’re really willing to commit to. So many times we set ourselves up for failure with “all or nothing” thinking. Be real with yourself!

  1. Try Not to Think In Terms of “Resolutions” or “Goals.” Think “Systems” Instead!

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard with respect to goals came from Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams:

“Goal-oriented people exist in a state of continuous pre-success failure at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out. Systems people succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they did what they intended to do.”

I was blown away by this idea when I heard it because it made so much sense!

 A great personal example of a successful system we established this year involves exercise. Larissa is NOT a fan of exercise and quit the YMCA after several months of basically donating her dues.

Rather than spend any more money on a gym membership she wasn’t going to use, we decided to start walking the dogs at our local duck pond prior to dropping off shipments from our vintage store at the post office.

This system has enabled Larissa to start walking at least 5 days a week!

  1. Find a Support Group

Whether in person or online, setting yourself up with a group of people who “get you” will be CRITICAL to helping you succeed.

If your goal is to run a marathon this year, surround yourself with other runners. Not only can you train together, hanging out with people who share your goals will motivate you and help you stay on track.

One year, I decided that I really needed to improve my health. I signed up with a personal trainer and stopped hanging out with the “happy hour gang” every week.  It was a bit challenging at first but I found that substituting one social group for another more aligned with my goals definitely put me well on my way to hitting my target!

  1. Metrics Matter

I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of measuring things but I do know this: what gets measured gets managed.

For example, I recently had some challenges with hitting some of my productivity goals.  I bought a simple task tracker app for my phone and started measuring how much time I spent on certain activities. I also kept a journal of my energy levels. Boy was I surprised how much time I was wasting on certain tasks that weren’t moving the needles on any of my goals!

One caveat, though — try not to become obsessive or judgy about it. In other words, don’t use metrics as an opportunity to beat yourself up. This will only discourage you.

Instead, be objective. Imagine you’re a scientist analyzing an experiment. Make corrections as needed but don’t get down on yourself.

  1. Review Results and Adjust!

A big reason people quit on their New Year’s Resolutions is that they don’t see their expected results fast enough (if at all). But wait…don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!

If you spend some time managing metrics and journaling, you might notice patterns that you can adjust to improve your chances of hitting your goals. If exercising in the morning isn’t working for you, try the afternoon or evening. Not ready to be a full-time “raw” vegan? Try slowly incorporating raw foods into your diet instead. Play with different approaches to find your paths to success!

We hope we’ve provided you with a few good tips for how to make your New Year an AMAZING one!

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves or that come from a trusted resource. Our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.

A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:

Further Reading and Resources Used for this Episode:

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa

The post Instead of “New Year, New Me” Try This! (VZ 341) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Dec 29 2019

20mins

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7 Tips for Navigating the Holidays As Vegetarian or Vegan (VZ 340)

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We are RIGHT in the thick of the holiday season with many people getting together for family, fun, and food! Navigating the holidays can be challenging for ANYONE.

However, making your way through potlucks and parties can be especially challenging especially if you’re a new vegan or vegetarian or are simply trying to reduce meat consumption.

Luckily, plant-based eating is becoming less and less of a “fringe” lifestyle as more people are realizing that yes, good food without animal products is ENTIRELY possible!

Nevertheless, the challenge of finding something to eat at a party or potluck can be a struggle. We’ve put together 7 tips to help you navigate the holidays as a vegetarian or vegan.

Tip #1: Check in With Your Host First

These days, with so many people suffering from food allergies or adhering to special diets, a good host will more than likely reach out to guests to check for any sort of dietary restrictions.

Still, don’t be surprised if your host freaks out a little if they find out you are vegan or vegetarian. In speaking with my own family and friends, several admitted to really worrying that I’d have enough good stuff to eat.  Help put them at ease! This is a great opportunity to help dispel any stereotypes and let them know you’re happy to help in any way you can.

For example, my brother took over hosting Thanksgiving for the family soon after Larissa and I became vegetarian.

He admitted not knowing anything at all about what to serve so I helped him understand that Larissa and I prefer the side dishes anyway, so if he could substitute vegetable stock instead of beef or chicken stock in his recipes, that would be helpful.

Problem averted, AND I also indirectly educated him on how easy it was to use vegetable stock in place of beef or chicken stock!

Tip #2: Bring Something!

Probably the safest way to ensure you’ll have something to eat is to bring your own dish.

This is also a GREAT opportunity to showcase vegetarian and vegan food. There’s nothing quite like someone trying your dish and saying, “That’s vegan??? Wow!”

Tip #3: Eat First

Even if you do bring your own dish, it’s often a good idea to eat a little something first so you aren’t starving when you get there. This is a good tip, especially if you are attending a potluck for your job or one that’s being hosted by someone you don’t know.

Eating something first will help you stick to your goals and allow you to enjoy the event.

Tip #4: Don’t Use Holiday Events as a Soapbox

Many vegetarians and vegans are passionate about protecting animals, but there is a time and a place for everything.

You may recall that in episode 291 we talked about how the “call-out culture” is actually hurting the bigger cause of protecting the animals and the planet attempting to shame people into changing their behaviors or beliefs.

Just as you wouldn’t bring up politics or religion in this type of setting, it’s a good idea to save the discussion about animal activism for a different time and place.

Tip #5: Stay Focused on the People and on What Truly Matters

The holidays should be about the family and friends we get to spend time with. While food is a great way to bond and share an experience, it’s really secondary (or at least should be!) to the people at the party.

Staying focused on what truly matters is always sound advice, especially when spending time with loved ones.

Tip #6: Keep a Sense of Humor

Navigating the holidays (or anything for that matter!) is always easier when you keep a sense of humor.

Good ol’ Uncle Joe probably doesn’t mean harm when he tussles your hair and tells you that there seems to be something missing from your plate.

Take it in stride!

Tip #7: Navigating the Gift List

This year, we tried something new with our family: we started a thread in our “family only” closed Facebook group for sharing gift ideas for ourselves and for all of the kids.

If you’re trying to avoid receiving a leather bag or a steakhouse gift card, having a family gift list will help alleviate some of the guesswork for others. People will definitely appreciate it! 

Additionally, you shouldn’t feel pressured to spend your money on a steakhouse gift card or any other gift that goes against your beliefs. These days, there are plenty of options for gifts, including generic Visa gift cards that can be used almost anywhere. 

We hope we’ve provided you with some useful tips for navigating the holidays as a vegan or vegetarian, or as someone who is simply looking to reduce meat.  

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves or that come from a trusted resource. Our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.

A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa

The post 7 Tips for Navigating the Holidays As Vegetarian or Vegan (VZ 340) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Dec 22 2019

20mins

Play

The Best Darn Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili…Seriously Ya’ll! (VZ 339)

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What’s better than a BIG bowl of vegetarian chili? How about a BIG bowl of Instant Pot vegetarian chili!

Here’s why…

But first, a quick disclaimer from this Texan who takes her chili VERY seriously!

Since traditional Texas chili doesn’t call for beans or veggies, we’re going to be taking some liberties with the recipe.  The reason we’re making this Instant Pot chili with vegetables is to ensure that it’s packed with nutrients. Not only is our chili tasty but it’s chock-full of good stuff, too! 

One last note before we talk about chili. The only thing that makes this recipe “vegetarian” rather than “vegan” is that you can add cheese or sour cream on top. Obviously, you can leave these out if you’d like. That would make this recipe vegan!

You can listen to the podcast here where we discuss our recipe or read on for a quick summary!

Why we LOVE Chili!

Chili is great for many reasons. Here’s why we love it so much:

  • Easily customizable to tastes (as spicy as you want it to be)
  • Easily customizable to eating preferences (mixed households can have meat on the side)
  • Easy to batch cook
  • Great reheated 
  • Can be used as a topping or as a meal on its own

Why we LOVE Our Instant Pot! 

The recipe we’re talking about today will call for an Instant Pot. You don’t absolutely need one, BUT this kitchen appliance can make life soooo much easier, especially for batch cooking.  Here’s the model we use…

What’s the Difference Between an Instant Pot and a Slow Cooker? 

Unlike a slow cooker (crockpot), an Instant Pot is multi-functional: you can use it to steam, saute, cook, and warm.  It could seriously take the place of several appliances!  Therefore, an Instant Pot makes this a one-pot recipe since it can do everything but chop the veggies!

So without further ado, here is a link to our recipe!

Adding quinoa to this recipe ups the protein. If you choose to add some beef-free meat crumbles such as Beyond Meat, you’ll add some extra texture and protein, too. 

We hope this episode has not only inspired you to try some vegetarian chili but has also inspired you to pull out the Instant Pot and put it to use! It really is a great appliance to have in any kitchen! 

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves or that come from a trusted resource. Our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners..

A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa

The post The Best Darn Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili…Seriously Ya’ll! (VZ 339) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Dec 15 2019

23mins

Play

Awesome Sauce! 8 Vegan Sauces You Need to Try! (VZ 338)

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The perfect sauce can take a dish from bland to simply AMAZING!  Here are 8 awesome vegan sauces you need to try!

  1. Easy Lemon Tahini Sauce

    Tahini was something I had not eaten before becoming a vegetarian. If you’re not familiar with it, tahini is essentially a paste made from crushed sesame seeds.

It’s a common condiment in Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine and is a major ingredient used in hummus.

Tahini is versatile and easy to use in a variety of dishes.

Here’s a recipe from A Couple Cooks for a lovely lemon tahini sauce.

  1. Cashew Sour Cream

    I’m a big fan of sour cream. Even though I still consume dairy sour cream on occasion, I prefer to reduce my dairy consumption when I can.

    Fortunately, I can easily swap regular sour cream for the vegan version without noticing too much.

Oh She Glows has a great recipe for making your own cashew sour cream.

Try a spoon or two of this on your next baked potato or spinach enchiladas for some added flavor!

  1. Vegan Pad Thai Sauce

When Larissa and I go for Thai food, we both usually order Pad Thai. Many Thai restaurants offer a tofu substitution so it’s easy to order and easy to customize the “heat” (spice) of the dish.

This is great since I usually order mine “Thai hot” and Larissa opts for no spice (‘cause she’s a wuss!).

We found a great, easy recipe for Pad Thai (which of course includes the sauce) from Nora Cooks. One of the best things about this recipe is that it only takes about 30 minutes to make. It also makes delicious leftovers!

  1. Miso Sauce

You can use miso in stir fry, for dipping, as a dressing, or as a flavoring for rice. The possibilities are endless! Miso sauce is a great staple to have around your kitchen.

If you aren’t familiar with miso, it’s made from cooked soybeans and grains (most commonly rice and barley) and mixed with salt and a fungus called koji.

Miso has an umami, or savory, flavor.

It’s rich in essential minerals and is a good source of vitamins B, E, K, and folic acid. Miso also helps promote good gut bacteria.

For an all-purpose miso sauce, check out Just One Cookbook. This simple 4-ingredient recipe can be used in a variety of ways.

  1. Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce is a great fridge or pantry staple because you can use it to top off a quick bowl of pasta and veggies or use it as a sauce for veggie pizza.

This recipe from Pass The Plants involves a pressure cooker and has a total cook time of about 25 minutes, which means you can serve up dinner quickly with minimal supervision!

  1. Vickie’s Salsa

It’s no secret that I LOVE spicy stuff — the hotter the better! Salsa was a common condiment in our refrigerator when I grew up.

While there are plenty of salsa brands and varieties on store shelves they often contain a lot of unhealthy additives. Also, the best storebought salsa out there just can’t compare to the fresh flavors of homemade.

To make my salsa you’ll need:

  • 2 Serrano peppers, boiled
  • 8 oz can of stewed tomatoes
  • Pinch garlic salt
  • Chopped cilantro (optional)

Blend this all together for a few seconds and chill before serving for an awesome vegan salsa!

  1. Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce

This recipe for Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce comes from The Veggie Society.

You’ve probably seen this sauce sitting on tables at Asian restaurants. Not only is it great for dipping veggie-packed spring rolls but you can also use it for tofu, tacos, and drizzled on your favorite Buddha Bowl.

  1. Caramel Sauce

Let’s finish off this list with a dessert sauce! This sauce comes from one of our FAVORITE sites, Pinch of Yum !

You can use this caramel sauce not only for desserts but also in oatmeal or yogurt, on toast, or for dipping fruit.

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves, and our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.

A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa

The post Awesome Sauce! 8 Vegan Sauces You Need to Try! (VZ 338) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Dec 08 2019

19mins

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A Review of The Game Changers (VZ 337)

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In this episode of our podcast, we review a recently released documentary called The Game Changers.

Back in episode 275, The Rise of the Vegan Athlete, we discussed how many athletes are turning to a plant-based diet.

If you listened to episode 275, you might recall that I was particularly excited about this because, as a former athlete, I know there are a lot of stereotypes and misinformation purporting that vegans are unable to get the nutrition they need to perform at the top levels of their given sport. Of course, this is not true.

Summary of The Game Changers

This documentary follows an elite Special Forces Trainer, James Wilks.  After suffering a serious injury, James spends his recovery time researching and uncovering the truth behind plant-based diets and top athletes.

The film features several very well-known elite athletes, special ops soldiers, and some familiar faces in the world of plant-based nutrition, including Rip Esselstyn, Caldwell Esselstyn, and Dean Ornish.

Check out our review of The Game Changers here:

Here’s the official trailer:

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves, and our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.

A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:

Further Reading and Resources Used for this Episode:

The post A Review of The Game Changers (VZ 337) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Dec 01 2019

23mins

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Your Guide to Vegan Chocolate (VZ 336)

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Who doesn’t love a great piece of chocolate??? And VEGAN chocolate? Even BETTER!

Checkout out the podcast here where we talk all about vegan chocolate or read on for a quick summary.

Wait…All Chocolate Isn’t Vegan? 

While it’s true that chocolate comes from the seeds of the cacao and is, therefore, vegan in its raw form, not all chocolate is created equal! 

When we get ahold of it, we add milk and a whole bunch of other stuff to it that not only makes it not vegan but can make it unhealthy as well! 

What is Vegan Chocolate?

For a product to be considered “vegan” it must not contain any animals or animal byproducts (which is why honey is not eaten by many vegans).  

So then, vegan chocolate does not contain any milk, honey, or other animal ingredients or byproducts. 

Is Chocolate Good For You? 

Just like coffee, I seem to come across articles pretty frequently that say, “Yes, chocolate is good or you!” followed by one that says, “No, chocolate is bad for you.”

Cacao beans do contain flavanols. Flavanols are antioxidants, and as such, can help reduce cell damage that can lead to cancer. That’s definitely a good thing! 

In short, look for chocolate with:

  • A high percentage of cacao (the higher percentage of cacao means more flavanols, which is a good thing!)
  • Few additives
  • no dairy, whey casein, milk fats or solids

In moderation, most agree that chocolate can be a healthy, tasty treat! 

Where to buy Vegan Chocolate

Peta has a very good guide for purchasing vegan chocolate

Luckily, as the popularity of vegan food increases, it’s getting easier and easier to purchase vegan products, including chocolate, in local stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

Homemade is the BEST! 

Making your own vegan chocolate is SOOO simple, and isn’t homemade always better anyway? 

While I personally enjoy the convenience of purchasing off-the-shelf and supporting good companies, I also like the ability to control what goes into my food and customize it to my particular taste. 

There are quite a few recipes for vegan chocolate out there but you essentially only need:

  • Cacao Butter 
  • Cocoa powder (unsweetened) 
  • A sweetener like agave nectar or maple syrup
  • Vanilla
  • Salt

Here’s a great recipe for vegan chocolate from Loving it Vegan!

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You can add nuts, peppermint extract, fruit, or anything else you want from there! 

FYI…plain, unsweetened cocoa powder isn’t so good, as this little guy found out!

We hope this episode has given you some chocolatey inspiration and provided you with some things to look for when purchasing some vegan chocolate or making your own. 

Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves, and our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.

Product of the Week:

Looking to gain confidence in the kitchen at your own pace? A membership to the Rouxbe online cooking school may be just the thing for you! 

In 2005, Rouxbe set out to capture the curriculum of a professional culinary school in high definition video and deliver it online to home and professional cooks around the world. 

Today, they are the world’s leading online culinary school. 

For $9.99 a month or $99/ year, you’ll get access to: 

  • 75 lessons and hundreds of chef-created recipes. 
  • More than 12 courses ranging from pasta to knife skills
  • Personalized instructor support and grading
  • A certificate of complete open graduating courses 

To keep you engaged along the way, you’ll get interactive quizzes, ongoing chef support, and an active online community. For more info and to start a 7-day free trial  head out to https://www.vegetarianzen.com/rouxbemembership

Further Reading and Resources Used for this Episode:

Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa

The post Your Guide to Vegan Chocolate (VZ 336) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Nov 24 2019

18mins

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Vegan Leather….It’s not Your Mom’s Pleather! (VZ 335)

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When we first became vegetarians in 2013, the state of vegan fashion wasn’t nearly what it is now. And that was only 6 years ago!  Today, as more and more people understand that we don’t need to use animals for food and clothing, demand for vegan and cruelty-free products has gone WAY up.  One of …

The post Vegan Leather….It’s not Your Mom’s Pleather! (VZ 335) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Nov 17 2019

29mins

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8 Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving Main Dish Ideas (VZ 334)

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Well just like that, we’re already into the November and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  I’ve mentioned in the past that Larissa and I tend to be “just the sides’ type of gals. This year though, we’re looking for a genuine vegetarian or vegan main dish ideas that we can take to our family …

The post 8 Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving Main Dish Ideas (VZ 334) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Nov 10 2019

20mins

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These are a Few of Our Favorite Things (2019 Edition) (VZ 333)

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The Holidays Are Upon Us! The fall and winter months are our absolute FAVORITE seasons of the year! Maybe it’s because it’s actually cool enough outside to spend some quality time in nature. Or maybe it’s because all of the decorations, lights, good food, and time with family make this time of your extra special. …

The post These are a Few of Our Favorite Things (2019 Edition) (VZ 333) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Nov 03 2019

42mins

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Epic Vegan with Dustin Harder of The Vegan Roadie (VZ 332)

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Who is Dustin Harder? Dustin Harder is the host and creator of the original vegan travel culinary series, The Vegan Roadie. The show is described as a version of the popular Food Network series Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. He is an author, recipe creator, and graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute.   Living La Vida …

The post Epic Vegan with Dustin Harder of The Vegan Roadie (VZ 332) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Oct 27 2019

33mins

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All About Pumpkin! Health Benefits and, of Course, Pumpkin Recipes! (VZ 331)

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A sure sign that Fall is here is that pumpkin is everywhere! From coffee drinks and baked goods to jack-o-lanterns–yes, everywhere! But how much do you know about pumpkins?   Pumpkin — fruit or vegetable?  Pumpkin (Cucurbita Maxima) is technically a fruit. It’s a type of winter squash in the same plant family (Cucurbitaceae) as …

The post All About Pumpkin! Health Benefits and, of Course, Pumpkin Recipes! (VZ 331) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Oct 20 2019

22mins

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20 Years of HappyCow with Eric Brent (VZ 330)

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Holy HappyCow, Batman! It’s Been 20 Years! Like many great ideas, HappyCow was born out of necessity. As a passionate world traveler, Eric Brent routinely encountered challenges in finding vegan-friendly restaurants. In 1997, Eric was living in India when he realized that the only online vegan/vegetarian resource guide was not being updated. At that time, …

The post 20 Years of HappyCow with Eric Brent (VZ 330) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Oct 13 2019

37mins

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The Forest Feast Mediterranean with Erin Gleeson (VZ 329)

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The Forest Feast Goes Overseas! For years, readers of The Forest Feast blog have been transported to Erin Gleeon’s picturesque cabin in the woods through her stunning photography of magic gatherings and vibrant vegetarian cooking. Her latest book, The Forest Feast: Mediterranean will transport readers to France, Portugal, Spain, and Italy via recipes inspired by …

The post The Forest Feast Mediterranean with Erin Gleeson (VZ 329) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Oct 06 2019

46mins

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Taste Tests: The Science of Simple Healthier Desserts with Samita Sarkar ( VZ 328)

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Like many people, I have a STACK of cookbooks in my kitchen. While many are good, few are quite as unique as Samita Sarkar’s vegan dessert cookbook, Taste Tests: The Science of Simple Healthier Desserts.   What makes Samita Sarkar’s book so different you ask? Well, not only am I a sucker for a great …

The post Taste Tests: The Science of Simple Healthier Desserts with Samita Sarkar ( VZ 328) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Sep 29 2019

27mins

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Ask Us Anything! (VZ 327)

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In this episode of the Vegetarian Zen podcast, we asked YOU to ask us anything! Yes, anything and everything was on the table. Here’s what you asked and our responses!   Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn …

The post Ask Us Anything! (VZ 327) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Sep 22 2019

30mins

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Your Guide to Baking Homemade Bread (VZ 326)

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Fall is typically a great time to do some baking and there nothing quite like the taste and smell of homemade bread! Check out this episode of our podcast for our discussion on all things bread, or read on for a summary of what we discuss on the show!   Why Bake When You Can …

The post Your Guide to Baking Homemade Bread (VZ 326) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.

Sep 15 2019

32mins

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iTunes Ratings

355 Ratings
Average Ratings
336
12
6
0
1

Great Podcast-Easy to Listen to

By Sara Marceline - Jan 20 2020
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Everyone says that this is the least judgemental and most inclusive vegetarian podcast they listen to, and I agree. My partner is a Pescatarian who heavily leans towards Vegan-no dairy, no eggs, no meat; she eats very limited amounts of fish. And I am veg curious, primarily omnivore. To my point, I feel accepted and welcome here. I don't feel guilty about being me, while learning lots about vegetarianism and veganism. Vicki and Larissa have really pleasant voices to listen to. The information is great, presented well and very useful. And they have lots of resources beyond the podcast. I definitely recommend this podcast (and go back to the early podcasts if you can) as a great place to begin your vegetarian journey.

Fantastic and interesting

By Bhals - Jan 15 2020
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This podcast provides great info for anyone interested in food, particularly vegetables. :) I appreciate so many things, including the interesting topics, real discussion, relatability, and not to mention the quality of recording (you know how some podcasts are just too quiet or loud? not here). Loved the episode with the review of Game Changers - my husband just suggested we watched that and decided he’s finally ready to go vegetarian. Woohoo! Thanks for the show and the content, and for the great Facebook group for more support too!