Recently, James Aspey, world renowned vegan and animal rights activist, got into a heated discussion with a Christian man while James was speaking at an event. The whole argument that the man kept trying to make was that animals were created for his use. Often times when James presented the man with a sound response, the man would change his own argument, agree with James on many points, and then go right back to saying animals were created for his needs and nourishment. The whole exchange was interesting to me because I am a Christian, and I totally disagree with the man for several reasons.
Humans DO Not Need Animals for Nourishment
Everything we need, including protein, can be achieved by eating a plant based diet. There have been countless studies that show that by adopting a plant based diet people live longer, are healthier, happier, and less disease stricken. Research published by The National Center for Biotechnology concluded that "vegan diets seem to provide some added protection against obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes; and cardiovascular mortality."
In the Beginning
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food. And it was so." Genesis 1: 29-30 (NIV).
When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, God commanded that they eat seeded fruit and green plants. Those were His words.
To me, this says that this was God's original design, but after the fall of man, death and destruction became part of the natural life cycle. Predators killed prey, and the life of one living thing depended on the death of another. I believe veganism is closer to God's original plan and design.
Factory Farming and Slaughterhouses
It seems like every day there are countless stories, images, and articles about animal abuse and torture. Whistleblowers often record first hand accounts of the relentless abuse that animals endure for the sake of being food for humans. In a recent Compassion Over Killing (COK) undercover investigation at Mason Dixon Farms, gentle mother cows were violently abused.
Uncover footages shows: cows being kicked in the face, punched in their udders, continuously shocked with an electric prod, jabbed with pens and elbows, and having their tails painfully twisted or bent by workers. Because of their hazardous living conditions, they were also repeatedly getting stuck on water troughs or inside stalls.
People can continue to make the argument of "animals were put here for our use" all they want, but use does not equal abuse. I think it is great when I see seeing eye dogs being eyes for their owners, or pets providing therapy and making people's lives better by bringing happiness and joy to families.
I certainly don't think the God whom I love and in whom I believe, the God of love and compassion, is pleased with animal cruelty, slaughterhouses, or factory farming where these types of atrocities occur every day behind closed doors. These animals are living, breathing creatures with feelings and emotions. They experience joy and pain. They have families, but sadly often times they don't have a voice.
"The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel." Proverb 12:10 (NIV)
Please share your views below!
If you browse through the various vegan recipes on my site you will see everything from vegan quesadillas to salads. Although there are many types of recipes, they often have one thing in common: beans! I include beans in my weekly meals and recipes because they not only taste good, they are good for you. A recent article by Thrive Cuisine highlights the amazing benefits of beans. The article is fascinating and goes in depth about the scientific research as well as some important health information as well. There are so many reasons why we should eat beans, but in this post we will look at four.
Number one: Studies show that consuming beans could positively impact resting heart rate and also combat cardiovascular disease.
Number Two: Studies show that regular consumption of low glycemic index foods like beans, may be beneficial in preventing and managing of Type 2 diabetes.
Number Three: Beans can help you lose weight! They are one of the only foods with protein, fiber and complex carbs. This combination slows digestion and delays the onset of hunger so you stay full for longer.
Number Four: Eating beans can make you less gassy. Many people avoid beans because of this very issue, but according to the Thrive Cuisine article, "The more beans you eat the better your body gets at breaking down the resistant starches which in itself has several benefits such as colon cancer prevention."
So grab your grocery list, and if beans are not on there, you many want to add them!
For more information, check out the full article "The Benefits of Beans: We Explore the Scientific Research" here.
I love a great vegan burger! I prefer to make my own, but if I do not feel like cooking, there are many brands and varieties that I can choose from in my local supermarket. Several of the brands have a similar look, taste, and texture...but then you have the Beyond Meat Beyond Burger. It is in a league of its own! I have been a fan of Beyond Meat products for a while. I really like the Beast Burger, and I also use the Beyond Chicken Strips, and Beyond Beef Crumbles in my vegan recipes.
I thought the company outdid itself with the Beast Burger, but the Beyond Burger looks remarkable. Now that is has arrived in Georgia, I am going to have to give it a try. People have been flocking to Whole Foods in Sandy Springs and Whole Foods Avalon to stock up while they can. I have seen mixed reviews on the burgers, but mostly positive comments.
They are sold in the meat section of grocery stores, and the company website describes them as "the world's first plant based burger that looks, cooks, and tastes like fresh ground beef."
It looks like I need to go to out and try them for myself! I will keep you posted!
Have you tried the Beyond Burger yet? If so, what do you think?
Several weeks ago when I went through the drive thru at Chick-fil-A on Windward Parkway in Alpharetta, I was given this card with my receipt. I briefly glanced at it and took a closer look at it when I got home. As a vegan, the options on this card did nothing for me. I placed the card in the door of my car and forgot about it. As my daughter and I were running errands this afternoon, I glanced at the card and had an idea.
I decided to call my local Chick-fil-A and see if they would accommodate for a vegan. It was worth a shot. I spoke to a manager named Brandon. I told him I received the card and explained that I am vegan and asked if I could switch an item on the card for a vegan option on the menu. He asked me to come by the store. A few minutes later, he came out and handed me two of these cards.
I am very grateful that he took the time to do this for my daughter and I. I was truly impressed. Since I had such a great experience. I called the North Point Parkway location as well to see what would happen. I received the card below in the mail from that location for the same promotion. This photo shows the back of the card. The front of the card shows a chicken biscuit, sausage biscuit, or egg white sandwich.
So...I called the North Point location, asked to speak to a manager, and I told him about the card I had received in the mail. I told him I am vegan and asked if I could substitute a vegan item for an item on the card. He quickly recommended a wrap. I asked him if the flatbread is vegan. He asked me to call back in five minutes while he checked. When I called back, a girl answered the phone. Before I could explain anything she stated, "He said the flatbread is not vegan friendly." That was it. No trying to offer a fruit cup or fries or anything. He just had the employee relay the message. So, I said, "Okay, thanks." That was it.
Although they would not offer a vegan substitute for a non-vegan one, this was not a total loss. While on the phone with the manager initially, he asked me several questions about being vegan, asked me how long I had been vegan, and had me to specifically define what vegan meant. I was able to share information, and maybe in the future when they do customer promotions, they will put a variety of items on the card to cater to all of their customers!
When searching for vegan options at a non-vegan restaurant, have you ever had any memorable or interesting experiences? Share your story below!
Well, folks...I MADE IT. I recently celebrated my one year anniversary since becoming vegan February 2016. It was definitely one of the best decisions I ever made. I can truly say it has been an amazing vegan journey of learning, discovering new foods and creating recipes, and sharing as much as I can with as many people as I can. There are three things I have learned during this past year.
You Will Get Asked Many Questions About Being Vegan
I think I have been asked every question under the sun regarding my decision to be vegan. People have questioned me and tried to challenge me as well. Unhealthy, junk-eating, carnivores suddenly become nutrition experts and try to tell you how being vegan isn't "healthy." The best thing you can do is educate them with the facts, talk about things like nutrition, factory farming, slaughterhouses, etc. I became vegan for ethical reasons. The vegan health benefits are an added bonus! And yes, vegans eat plenty of plant based protein. That brings me to the next thing I learned.
There are MANY Vegan Sources of Protein
When I was putting together recipes on my blog, I was amazed at how many of my vegan recipes have over 10 grams of protein per serving. From vegan tacos to vegan pizza, the protein is packed! Other sources of vegan protein include: tofu, lentils, almonds, peanut butter, avocados, spinach, broccoli, kale, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, green beans, veggie burgers, etc. I could keep going for a while! This is the absolute number one misconception people have about food. There are a vast number of people that still think meat from animals is the only way they can get their protein. Boy, are they wrong!
Becoming Vegan Was Not a Hard Process
Lastly, People often tell me they could never give up milk, or cheese, or bacon. They ask me how it was so easy for me. After watching a documentary that showed baby chicks being thrown alive into a grinder, I was speechless. Many egg farmers grind male baby chicks to death. Why? Because they are deemed "useless" to the egg industry. They are too small to be profitable to raise for meat and unable to lay eggs. So, millions are thrown into high-speed grinders that are similar to woodchippers. It was images like this and other footage showing factory farm undercover footage of chickens, cows, pigs, etc. being severely abused and slaughtered. That was enough for me.
This year has been phenomenal, and I look forward to more learning, more recipes, more product reviews, and sharing more information with my friends, family, and followers on social media. Stay tuned!
This Thanksgiving was unlike any other. This was the first Thanksgiving that I celebrated as a vegan. It has been almost a year since I embraced the vegan way of life, and it has truly been a phenomenal experience. I am educating myself more than ever on what it truly means to be vegan and learning more and more about vegan food, dangerous factory farming, and I especially enjoy creating vegan recipes!
My Thanksgiving meal consisted of a lot of delicious steamed veggies, and roasted Tofurky, a product I enjoy using in many of my recipes. I truly had a nutritious, colorful plate! I am thankful for so many things: my wonderful family, my health and my faith are just a few.
This holiday weekend, I have been able to reflect on my vegan journey, and I am thankful that I am healthier and not participating in the harming of animals that suffer extreme violence in slaughterhouses and factory farming across the nation.
I made a delicious veggie bowl with the Thanksgiving leftovers. It consisted of wild rice, black beans, sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions, steamed kale, and Tofurky.
I am proof that healthy eating doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. You can create great vegan meals using 10 ingredients or less just like all of the vegan recipes listed on this site. You can make everything from vegan desserts to vegan pizza!
I am looking forward to posting some great vegan holiday recipes throughout the month of December!
It's that time of year...cold and flu season. When you have a preschooler, it takes on a whole new meaning. Last year was my daughter's first year in school. Before she started, she was rarely ever sick. We kept her at home. Then she started preschool, and it hit us like a freight train. Her doctor said, "It's not uncommon for a preschooler to be sick six or more times during the school year." She was not kidding! It seemed like there was a cold every two or three weeks, but it did get better. School has been going on for about two months now, and there have already been a few colds and stomach bugs making their way around the classroom. Fortunately, we have not had to deal with the onslaught like we did last year, but we have had a couple of bouts. In fact, we are going through one right now. There are several things that I learned during the process.
Fresh fruit naturally boosts the immune system.
Fruit is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and water. Consistently eating fresh fruit fortifies the immune system without the harmful side-effects of traditional cold medicines that often times contain artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, and GMOs. These are things I don't want to ingest, and I definitely do not want that for my child. The side effects are very troubling. Let's take a look at children's acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Inactive ingredients: anhydrous citric acid, butylparaben, D&C red #33, FD&C blue #1, flavor, glycerin, high fructose corn syrup, microcrystalline cellulose and carboxymethylcellulose sodium, propylene glycol, purified water, sodium benzoate, sorbitol solution, xanthan gum.
Studies have shown that blue #1 aggravates asthma, red #40 can lead to hyperactivity and lower IQ, and sleep disturbances; high fructose corn syrup, which is genetically modified and can potentially lead to a whole host of complications. Sodium benzoate, can cause nausea and vomiting.
Doctors also love to prescribe antibiotics. There are numerous studies and reports about the dangers of antibiotics, and the Centers for Disease Control recently released a study saying "1 out of 3 antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary."
Dr. Joel Fuhrman recommends fresh fruits and vegetables to naturally boost your child's immune system.
Check out my plant powered plate below. Read about the health benefits of the ingredients in this blog post.
According to Healthy Habits Pediatrics, "During infancy and the preschool years, the average child gets seven or eight colds each year. During the school-age years they average five or six colds each year. Finally as teenagers they reach an adult level of approximately four colds per year."
Thankfully, numerous studies show that a plant based diet is the way to go!
This is one of my typical meal prep meals!
"There are at least 200 cold viruses! As children have not had previous exposure to these germs, they are quite susceptible to catching each and every one they come in contact with. These germs are mainly spread hand to mouth." -Healthy Habits Pediatrics
What ways do you combat cold and flu season? What works for you? I would love to hear your feedback and see your food photos!
I use tofu in many of my vegan recipes. It is extremely versatile and tastes great, depending on how it is prepared. One of my non-vegan friends asked me, "What exactly is tofu, anyway?" So I decided to dedicate this post to my friend. I guess this is Tofu 101. It has been a staple in Asia for over 2,000 years. Tofu is made from soy. It is made by curdling soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. Tofu really doesn't have a taste, so it easily absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients.
I used tofu to make some amazing burritos!
It also works well in my chick'n salad. Delicious!
This fruit medley salad is truly one of my favorite recipes with tofu!
I always non-GMO tofu and tofu products. Tofu has some pretty impressive health benefits. It's high in protein, calcium, and B-vitamins. Tofu also reduces heart disease by lowering the level of "bad" LDL cholesterol, and maintaining the level of "good" HDL cholesterol.
The most common varieties are firm tofu, soft tofu, and silken tofu. Firm tofu has a dense texture and can be cubed and stir-fried, grilled, and served in soups. Soft tofu is great for desserts and smoothie recipes, and silken tofu is great for sauces, dressings and soups. It is very delicate. You cannot stir-fry it, as it will disintegrate, but it becomes firmer as it is pressed.
What are some of your favorite tofu dishes or recipes?
All across the nation, restaurants are starting to put more items on their menus to accommodate vegans. Restaurants that offer no vegan options are sometimes willing to modify a certain dish in order to make it vegan. More and more vegan eateries are popping up everywhere, but some cities are just not there yet. This can be a bit frustrating when you want to go out for a vegan meal but cannot find a suitable location in your town. Fortunately, a new study breaks down the number of vegan restaurants nationwide by city. So how does your city measure up?
A new study conducted by Priceonomics and Datafiniti examines which cities are better for vegan eating by analyzing a dataset of more than 18,000 U.S. restaurants that either self-identify as offering vegetarian or vegan cuisine, or actually have “vegetarian” or “vegan” in their names. Surprisingly, only four of the largest 25 metro areas - San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle - made it into the ranking of all metro areas. Small western cities and college towns dominated the list.
Since cities that have more people have a greater demand for more vegan-friendly restaurants, the list pretty much displays the largest metro areas. It was so great to see Atlanta in the top 10!
A look at the big metro areas shows Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle at the top, while Boston, Charlotte, and Philadelphia made it to the list of the least number of vegan restaurants per 100,000 residents.
If you live in one of the top cities, you can take your pick at many choices of vegan eateries. However, if your city is at the bottom, it can be a little aggravating when dining options are few. Thankfully, there are many groups, like Vegan Atlanta, on social media always posting information and reviews on vegan restaurants or restaurants that offer vegan options, and this is extremely helpful.
I have always considered myself to be healthy and fit. I was an athlete growing up and throughout college. I consistently worked out, and I was in the gym regularly. My diet consisted of mostly fruits and vegetables, and I ate turkey, fish, chicken, and dairy as well. I rarely ate fried food or junk food. I had pretty much maintained my weight....until I became pregnant with my daughter. I gained 70 lbs during my pregnancy!
By the grace of God, I had no complications during my pregnancy. I didn't develop pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes. I walked daily on the treadmill up until a week before I gave birth, and I delivered a healthy, beautiful daughter the day after my birthday! Following the pregnancy, I had a huge health scare. My husband and I were out running errands, and I blacked out and woke up in an ambulance. I was suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, and sleep deprivation. That wake up call fueled my mission to get back in shape.
It took me 11 months, and I lost all of the weight I had gained during the pregnancy. I did home workouts and restricted my calories and saw results. I thought I was doing great with my diet and nutrition other than occasional digestive problems that I would have. And then things changed. Around January of 2016 the digestive problems got worse, and I started developing aggravating patches of bumps on my hands and face. They would appear and disappear constantly.
This photo was taken February 17, 2016
This photo was taken May 26, 2016, approx three months later.
I was browsing through Netflix, and I found the documentary, Vegucated, and watching that documentary is one of thereasons why I am vegan today. I have been vegan since February 2016, and I quickly noticed remarkable differences. Does being vegan clear your skin? The answer for me is a definite yes. As you can see from the photo above, the mysterious rash disappeared, and I have not had any more of these outbreaks. I have not had any digestive problems since I stopped eating meat and dairy. After becoming vegan I lost twelve pounds in the first three months. My quick tips for vegan weight loss are educate yourself, keep it simple, and stick to your plan.
From easy, plant based meal plans to vegan workouts, there is so much great vegan nutrition and weight loss information out there. My skin definitely improved, and I will do a post soon about my favorite vegan makeup and vegan skin care products as well.
I feel great, and from time to time people tell me that my skin glows! I agree! I am enjoying educating myself on all things vegan, I love creating and trying new recipes for myself and my family, and I have created and joined some amazing, informative, and educational vegan forums and groups.
Before and After
After becoming vegan and starting The Sensible Vegan, I was contacted by Health Magazine. I was honored to have my vegan story featured. I was really getting into a great fitness routine and felt healthy and strong. I had a photo shoot with the magazine, and three weeks later tragedy struck. I was rear ended in a car accident and ended up having to have shoulder surgery. Three weeks after my surgery I was rear ended again!
The recovery from the surgery was grueling. I went through extensive physical therapy, and eventually made a full recovery. I relied on my faith, and I truly believe that my vegan lifestyle attributed to my turn around. Even after this setback, I was contacted by Woman's World Magazine and was featured in a story where Dr. Oz highlighted some of my nutrition tips.
I continue to learn more and more each day about veganism and animal advocacy, and I enjoy experimenting with ingredients and creating new vegan recipes. Stay tuned for more updates in the future!
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About Tabatha James
Tabatha James is a wife, mom, and children's book author navigating her way through a vegan way of life!