In light of last weekend’s events in Charlottesville – by which I mean a domestic terrorist plowing through a crowd of counter-protestors, killing Heather Heyer – I thought it would be trite to make my second Friday Five about my favorite podcasts or five ways to eat cauliflower. Instead, I’m giving you five ways you can take action against the rise of the alt-right, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, or whatever cute nickname you have for the racist, nationalist trash rising out of the gutters of this country.
Feel free to add more ideas in the comments, and please note that I will be monitoring the comments because, in case it hasn’t occurred to you already, a vegan feminist blog is not a safe place for bigots.
1. Support the Victims
There is an official GoFundMe benefitting the victims of Saturday’s attack. It has surpassed it’s original modest goal, but imagine the medical expenses that 19 people who were hit by a car are racking up. This fundraiser has been cited on many reputable news sources, so I feel confidant that the funds raised will go to the appropriate people. I have also seen GoFundMe campaigns for individual victims.
2. Educate Yourself
I’ve seen my Google analytics. I know that the majority of people who read this blog are white women. To the people of color here, none of this is news to you, feel free to call me out if I fuck it up. Being an ally goes beyond acknowledging your privilege. Being an ally does not mean posting memes or photo ops at a rally. While you should acknowledge your privilege, and sharing ideas online and attending rallies are all good things to do – don’t expect a trophy for being “a good white person.”
That being said, don’t count on people of color to educate you. It’s not their job. There are plenty of lists out there about books you can read to be a better ally to people of color, to women of color, and to the LGBTQ community. Read them. Bonus points if you read them without Instagramming them next to a matcha latte or whatever.
Also in this category, I’d say to my fellow white people – don’t get offended. There are going to be generalities spoken and if they don’t apply to you, don’t get riled up about them. If someone says “white people are racist” but you aren’t racist, it’s not about you, move on. If someone says “white women voted for Trump” but you did not, no need to wave that flag, just keep on keepin’ on. You don’t have to tell people you’re one of the good ones – prove it. Oh, and if you do get called out on something by a member of a marginalized group, take the time to try and understand why.
3. Engage With Real, Actual Humans
Fighting with weirdos on the internet is super fun, I’m not going to lie. But as satisfying as it is to sick burn an egg avatar on Twitter, it’s futile. Instead, combat prejudice in your own social circle, and in your family. Don’t let racists jokes slide at Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t let your aunt use the phrase “those people.” Compare Islam to Christianity when your dad starts going on about terrorists, show him that the similarities outweigh the differences. The most important thing you can do, and maybe the best use of white privilege, is to stop those microaggressions, and stop normalizing hatred and fear. Yes, it will get awkward. Yes, your mom will probably get mad at you. But the people being dehumanized by those microaggressions would take feeling awkward over being afraid any day – so stand up for them.
4. Build Your Community
After the election, local government bodies across the country saw a surge of interest from women. The same should be true in times like this. Whether you go through the steps of actually running for office, volunteering for a candidate you believe in, or you find your local chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations, or Black Lives Matter, or any grassroots organization – your hands and mind and body are needed! If marching through the streets isn’t for you, volunteer your time in after school programs that help to shape kids into compassionate people. Bonus: volunteering your time is an excellent way to alleviate that feeling of helplessness that can overtake you when it seems like the whole world has lost it’s damn mind.
5. Give What You Can
A t-shirt featuring a snarky comment about the president is fun to own, but consider instead throwing that $25 toward any of the numerous organizations that are working to combat hatred, defend the innocent, uphold our constitutional rights, and reform those who have been swallowed up by hate groups. There are so many I can’t list them all here, but a few you may not know about include Southern Poverty Law Center, Life After Hate, and Indigenous Environmental Network. Like I said – there are SO MANY amazing organizations, these are just a few. Feel free to comment about your favorites.
This really only scratches the surface, guys, but I’ve seen so many friends already talking about feeling drained and emotionally spent and not knowing what to do – so here’s a start. Whenever you start feeling drained, keep in mind that just because this fight is new to you, doesn’t mean marginalized people have not been fighting it for decades and decades. Because they have. So chin up, dudes. Let’s do this.
Less than 500 Sumatran elephants exist in the wild today. Due to the devastating impact of the palm oil industry, Sumatra’s rainforests are being destroyed at an alarming rate, causing the loss of natural habitat for many wildlife species, and creating easier opportunities for poaching.
They are now critically endangered, and palm oil is largely to blame. Because of all this, places like the Sumatran Wildlife Sanctuary have become a necessity in order to help protect land and wildlife.
Come join Hiraeth Diaries on September 8 at Slate Studio for a fundraiser event. Complimentary drinks and snacks will be provided, all palm oil-free. Images will be on display and for sale, and raffle prizes will be available as well. The night will end with a presentation featuring images and stories captured in Sumatra, giving you a deeper look into the affects of palm oil, the stories of people fighting to end deforestation, and learn more about what you can do to help.
All proceeds will be donated to the Sumatran Wildlife Sanctuary. Tickets are limited, so reserve your seats today!
Sunday night is meal prep night in my house. It’s a lot less daunting than it sounds. We take a few minutes after dinner and before Game of Thrones to wash the produce we’re going to use for the week, chop a few things, maybe whirl together a vegan cheese sauce or salad dressing, and then it’s off to see what Jon Snow is up to before bed. The rest of the week, thanks to those couple minutes of prep, we’re generally able to pack a healthy lunch and throw together a quick dinner without much hassle.
Katy Beskow has a similar philosophy on her blog Little Miss Meat-Free, and now in her new cookbook 15 Minute Vegan: Fast, Modern Vegan Cooking. The book is filled with smart short cuts to make filling breakfasts, sides, entrees and even desserts. It’s a no-presh intro to vegan food for beginners, and a “ah-hah” book of new ideas for old pros.
I chose this breakfast recipe to share because so many healthy breakfast options require loads of prep – whether it’s pressing tofu or making puff pastry, and this one takes literal minutes.
Recipe excerpted with permission from 15 Minute Vegan by Katy Beskow, published by Quadrille July 2017, RRP $22.99 hardcover. Please note that some links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a commission if you click – but this is not a paid or sponsored post.
Edamame Beans on Toast
By August 13, 2017Published:
- Yield: 2 Servings
Tip from Natalie: Throw a little nutritional yeast on these babies and go to town.
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 6 Tbs edamame
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- juice of one organic lemon
- small handful chives finely chopped
- pinch course sea salt
- 2 thick slices sourdough
- 4 cherry tomatoes quartered
- In a pan, heat the olive oil and edamame beans over a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and quickly stir-fry for another minute.
- Reduce the heat to low-medium. Add the lemon juice to the pan. Stir the chives through the beans along with the salt. Cook for a further minute and then smash the beans roughly.
- Lightly toast the bread until crisp and golden. Pile the beans high on the bread and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil for an added fruity flavour, if desired. Top with tomatoes before serving.
- TIP: Frozen edamame beans are available from many large supermarkets. They are very versatile, so keep a handy bag in the freezer.
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Hi. How are you? Welcome to Friday Five. I’ve been listening to a lot of Podcasts lately so I thought that would be a good way to intro this post. If it was really a podcast I’d talk for like, 20 minutes about some bullshit before I start actually talking about the thing you want to hear.
Anyway, this is Friday Five. It’s new. I wanted to have a place where I could shout-out random stuff I’ve been into lately so this is it. Sometimes it’ll be food, sometimes TV, sometimes cosmetics, maybe sometimes it’ll be something you don’t expect like my five favorite cannibals or five of the best public restrooms in Chicago, who knows?
Today it’s food. Specifically, healthy snacks. Tony and I have been on a fitness kick since about April, and ever since we started using MyFitnessPal to track what we were eating we realized we were eating like two dumpster rats. So I’ve been on the look out for snacks that fit my super unscientific criteria of:
- not a lot of sugar (<10g)
- not too many carbs (I don’t really know what this means)
- not too much fat (again, no idea what that means)
- not popcorn, because popcorn makes me fart
So here are five snacks I’ve been digging lately:
If you’re portion controlling be aware that one cookie = two servings, but on run days all 360 calories are exactly what I need. These are a little harder to find than Len and Larry’s vegan protein cookies, but I prefer them if for no other reason than the ingredient deck is short and simple. They’re also a little lower in sugar and carbs than Len & Larry cookies. I’ve tried all of them and the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip is my fave. Your best bet is to grab a 6-pack on Amazon, hopefully they offer a variety pack soon.
Yeah, that’s right. My own friggin’ recipe and you know what? It’s goooood. Whip one up when you’re craving a bowl of ice cream and you’ll be surprisingly satisfied. Add a scoop of your favorite vegan protein powder to this and it’s a complete breakfast.
Dude I’m so spoiled to live so close to Oromo Cafe! Their pastry case is filled with all these nutritious, vegan and gluten-free treats – and don’t get me started about the house-made pistachio milk. But my favorite nom is the Teff & Almond Butter Cookie. It’s just sweet enough to hit the spot, with a soft, crumbly texture that just begs to be eaten slow and savored. I couldn’t find an exact match online, but these Peanut Butter Maca Cookies sound pretty dope, too.
Hey – yeah, I could make these myself. Easily. I can also walk next door to the international market and buy a bag for $6 so don’t vegan-shame me. It’s an almond, wrapped in a date, wrapped in vegan dark chocolate – basically a vegan turducken. Throw some coconut oil in there and it’s what vegans are made of. These little gems are only 45 calories each, and under 3g sugar. They’re a little bigger than a bite size candy bar, and to these vegan tastebuds, they taste just like a Snickers bar.
Guess what I found out? My Nacho Chee-Zee Sauce recipe is healthy AF! It makes about three cups, which is about 12 servings, each of which is only 106 calories and 1g fat – but 7g protein! Yeah bitch, you can eat nachos alllllll day. Ok so tortilla chips maybe aren’t the best, but you could swap in some gluten-free bean chips or shoot, just dump it over your favorite nacho toppings and eat it with a fork, who needs chips? I’ve been using this recipe as salad dressing because nacho cheese > salad dressing forever and I keep some in the fridge whenever I feel like having a savory snack – it’s pretty rad with baby carrots!
OK dudes, that concludes my first Friday Five, I hope you liked it! I think next week I might talk about TV shows I’ve been binging on lately, but feel free to request topics in the comments!
Please note: This is NOT a sponsored post, I purchased and used these products and this is my honest opinion of them. Some of these links are affiliate links, which means if you click and purchase I might earn the smallest amount of money imaginable.
In Italian cooking, there is beauty in simplicity. Zucchini blossoms dusted with parsley, salt, flour, and fried until crispy. Fresh, crusty bread swirled in olive oil. Salty olives roasted with garlic and rosemary. A perfectly ripe cherry tomato dipped in salt.
My mom’s stories about my great-grandpa Teno’s onion sandwiches with black pepper and mayo set the stage for my life-long love of those simple pleasures. When you let fresh, seasonal ingredients do the talking you don’t need any fancy tricks or frills.
For those reasons, I was excited to get my hands on Rosalba Gioffré’s Vegano Italiano: 150 Vegan Recipes from the Italian Table. The recipes are divided into seasons, so you can skip right to your current season and cook with the ripest, freshest ingredients. Summer happens to feature lots of veggies and herbs that many of us have growing in our backyard (or in my case, back porch) gardens.
For this recipe, pluck those vine-ripe tomatoes, basil and green peppers or chili peppers and enjoy this simple meal that celebrates the summer’s bounty.
Published with permission from the author and publisher. Please note that some links on this site are affiliate links, andI could earn money if you click them and make a purchase.
Spaghetti With Pureed Tomatoes
By August 7, 2017Published:
- Yield: 4 Servings
In Italian cooking, there is beauty in simplicity. Zucchini blossoms dusted with parsley, salt, flour, and fried until crispy. Fresh, …
- 2 lbs ripe San Marzano or Florentine beefsteak tomatoes diced
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- fresh chili pepper or green bell pepper to taste
- 6-8 Tbs olive oil
- 1 clove garlic smashed
- 1 lb spaghetti
- Put the tomatoes, a few leaves of basil, chili pepper, salt, and plenty of oil into a blender. Blend on the highest setting until you have a red sauce. Pour into a mixing bowl and add the whole clove of garlic.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot - be sure to salt the water. Drain when al dente, and toss it in the tomato sauce.
- Add more basil and olive oil, toss, remove the garlic clove, and serve.
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I’ve written a few posts about my favorite vegan and natural skin care products, and I even wrote about my favorite natural remedies for stress. So I figured name-dropping some of my tried-and-true vegan hair care products only made sense to do. Please note that these are products I’ve used on my own hair, which is naturally very straight, color-treated, but generally healthy. If you have textured hair I can’t make any promises, but I can direct you to The Sistah Vegan Project for some of her favorite products.
I’m not going to lie, I’m a real shampoo tramp and it’s hard for me to be loyal to just one. However, I received a set of EVOLVh UltraShine Shampoo and Conditioner in my Petit Vour box a while back and actually repurchased. Those of you who receive sample boxes know that it takes something special for that to happen. Obviously I like that it’s vegan and cruelty-free, but I also thought the shampoo did a good job of removing product and sweat without stripping my color-treated hair.
When I’m having a little Lush splurge, I always grab a bar of New Solid Shampoo. I’m obsessed with all things clove, so this spicy scented bar smells good enough to eat. P.S. If you know of ANY clove beauty products please tell me in the comments. I’ve started making my own at home because there is a serious clove shortage in the beauty world. Solid shampoos are cool, just remember to make the lather in your hands and then rub that into your hair – don’t rub the bar on your head or you’re going to damage your do.
Another request – if you have a dry shampoo you love I want to hear about it. My hair is so fine and dark I’ve never found one that doesn’t show. I’ve also been told by my stylist that the best way to use it is on clean hair – kind of like putting deodorant on clean pits. That way it can absorb oil as your scalp makes it, rather than trying to sop up oil that’s already there. I’d love to hear your tricks if you have them!
My hair is box black and has been for years (this is my natural color if you’re curious). If you want to go the totally natural route, henna is a great, but messy option. You should know, however, that once you’ve used henna on your hair you pretty much have to grow it out because it goes insane when you try to lift it – and yeah, you can lie to your hairdresser about that, but they’ll find out soon enough when you have some kinda clown massacre under those foils.
If you’re looking for something natural (aka a color that could feasibly grow from a human head) you’ll find options in your local Whole Foods Market or health food store, I’ve personally never used those as I mentioned, I go for vampire black. For that, Arctic Fox’s Transylvania is a great semi-permanent option. Not only is Arctic Fox vegan and cruelty-free, but they also donate 15% to help animals (read more). It’s a little messier to use than what you might be used to – so buy a hair color mixing bowl and a brush, and be sure to rub some coconut oil on your ears and around your hairline so you don’t dye your skin. It’s really inexpensive, creates less waste than boxed hair color, and like I said, no bunnies were harmed, so I think it’s worth a little effort.
To keep my blue-black looking sharp between coloring, I use Overtone‘s Extreme Blue daily conditioner, and once week I throw on the deep conditioning treatment. (Use my affiliate link for $10 off your first $30+ purchase.) Overtone is cool because if your hair is light, you can actually color your hair with it, and you can use it to tint medium shades. For dark hair like mine, I use it as a toner. As I mentioned, my hair is blue-black, but dark purple is also a nice tone to use with black hair. It’s a quality conditioner, to boot, so your hair will feel great. Do be aware that it can stain your hands, so keep a pair of plastic gloves in the shower.
I mentioned Overtone’s weekly conditioning treatment in the paragraph above – that’s an easy way to keep my color fresh and give my hair some love. In a pinch, I also sometimes wet my hair, apply coconut oil, top it off with a plastic cap (real talk, I never have one, so I end up with a Target bag on my head) and let it sit for 20 or so minutes before shampooing it out. I’ve also massaged straight avocado into my hair – this is actually a good use for avocados that are too ripe to eat. Why waste them?
There are two other products that I use religiously to treat my hair. One is Hair Revive Oil by French Girl Organics – another company I discovered in my Petit Vour box. I actually just read their instructions and realized I have been using it incorrectly for years, but it works for me so whatevs. I put literally ONE DROP in my hands and rub it on the ends of my dry hair – then whatever is still on my hands gets smoothed over the crown of my head where all my frizz lives. I’ve had so many friends tell me how soft and shiny my hair looks and this is 100% why. I’ve had one 2oz bottle for more than a year now so it’s well-worth the $38 investment.
I noticed that my stylist always uses leave-in conditioner on my hair before she blow-dries it and I always thought it was overkill since we obviously just conditioned it when it was washed. But, I couldn’t deny that it was always smoother and less frizzy when I left her chair than when I do it at home so I grabbed some Giovanni Direct Leave In Treatment Conditioner at Whole Foods. I just use a little bit on my wet hair whenever I wash it (which is not suuuuper often) and it helps keep it smooth and prevents tangles while I blow dry.
I realized after I created this category that I actually only own one styling product because I have a super low maintenance bob. That’s Max Green Alchemy Texture Paste, if you’re curious. Otherwise I just smooth on some French Girl Organics Hair Revive Oil and I’m done. But, if you need more product to make your hair big, smooth, curly, bouncy, or what have you, some good brands to check out include:
Also, don’t be shy when you’re visiting the salon – tell your stylist you don’t want to use products containing silk, collagen, keratin, or beeswax and request that they use synthetic brushes. More and more high end styling products are going vegan and cruelty-free these days so it shouldn’t be tough for them to accommodate and if it is, see if you can bring your own products for them to use.
Finally, see if there are any cruelty-free salons in your area – lots of salons are starting to set themselves apart in this way. In Chicago we have Starship Salon, Black Hearts Hair House and Fix Hair Studio, just to name a few.
So those are my favorites – I’d love to hear yours! Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget – if you have hot tips for using dry shampoo or know of any great clove-scented cosmetic products let me know!
Disclaimer: Please note that I purchased all of the items mentioned here, and did not receive any of them for free, nor did I receive compensation for this post. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click and make a purchase, I will earn a commission.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me they’d love to go vegan but it seems expensive. I get it – if you were to load up on cashew cheese, fake meats from the frozen aisle, or just go to restaurants all the time it really would be. But shop the produce aisle, and keep a couple of staples on hand and all of the sudden you’re eating vegan for just a few bucks a meal.
In their new book, Frugal Vegan: Affordable, Easy & Delicious Vegan Cooking, Katie Koteen and Kate Kasbee of Well Vegan show you how it’s done. This cookbook features tips for smart shopping, and creative recipes that call for inexpensive ingredients that pack a flavorful, and nutritional punch.
I’ve mentioned a few times before my struggle with breakfast. I’ve overcome the battle to find something healthy and easy by just doing some prep work on Sunday night. You could easily prep the filling for these Sweet Potato Breakfast Boats ahead of time and then just throw them together on weekday mornings.
From Frugal Vegan by Katie Koteen and Kate Kasbee, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017. Photo credit: Allie Lehman
Please note: Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission if you click and make a purchase.
Sweet Potato Breakfast Boats
By July 23, 2017Published:
- Yield: 2 Servings
From the author: Sweet potatoes are a delicious and versatile, yet often overlooked, breakfast food. They can stand in for toast when sliced thin, cooked on a cast-iron skillet and topped with avocado, and they offer a healthier way to do hash browns. Here, we make them into boats we can fill with our favorite toppings. We went with a Southwest theme for this recipe, but you can really use anything you have sitting in your pantry or fridge. Chickpeas, broccoli, bell pepper, spinach—get creative!
- 1 sweet potato
- 1/2 avocado mashed
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup black beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup frozen corn thawed
- 1/4 cup salsa
- salt & pepper
- Using a fork, poke holes all around the sweet potato. Place it on a paper towel or microwave-safe plate and microwave for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Cut the sweet potato in half lengthwise, and then, with the fleshy parts facing up, cut a slit lengthwise down the middle of each half. Use a couple of forks to split open the sweet potato halves so you’re left with little pockets.
- In a small bowl, mash the avocado with the cumin and cayenne. Then, fill each sweet-potato boat with the avocado, followed by the black beans, corn and salsa. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Celine Steen is a vegan dynamo. Not only is she a prolific cookbook author and recipe developer, but she’s also styled and shot the photos for some of your favorite vegan cookbooks, including my own. I can’t believe it’s already been four years since we exchanged hundreds of emails about culinary triumphs such as Taco Lasagna, but somehow she’s gone on without me.
Her new book Bold Flavored Vegan Cooking: Healthy Plant-Based Recipes with a Kick is filled with recipes that deliver on the title’s promise. This one is for all the folks who think vegan food is one-note, bland, and no fun. This one’s for the vegans who long for those smokey, spicy, sweet, sour flavors you can only get when you do it yourself.
I decided to share this recipe in particular because Thai food offers all of those bold flavors – spice, sweet, citrus, herb – but typically draws its salty umami from fish sauce. Celine solves this problem with a fish-free sauce using Mushroom Dashi, shiitake powder and tamari. You’re going to end up using it on everything.
Mushroom Dashi Recipe (Yield:1 ½ cups mushroom dashi, 6 oz rehydrated mushrooms)
- 1 oz organic dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 cups cold or room-temperature filtered water
Lightly brush your mushroom caps clean with a pastry brush or mushroom-cleaning brush. Place in a large bowl or a glass measuring cup (such as Pyrex), and cover with filtered water until fully submerged. Stir gently to make sure all mushrooms will be hydrated. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, line a fine-mesh sieve with a paper towel to catch impurities. Place the sieve on top of a bowl or glass measuring cup. Gently squeeze the mushrooms over the dashi container to get extra liquid out.
Alternatively, the quick method is to use warm water and soak the mushrooms for 20 minutes until they are soft without being mushy. For best results, choose the overnight version. The longer the soak, the more flavorful the dashi.
Store the dashi in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store the rehydrated mushrooms in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Fish-Free Sauce Recipe (Yield: ¾ cup sauce)
- 1 ½ cups (355 ml) Mushroom Dashi (see above) or water
- 2 tsp (3 g) dried shiitake powder
- 2 tsp (12 g) smoked sea salt
- 4 tsp (20 ml) reduced-sodium tamari
- ½ roasted nori sheet
Place the dashi, shiitake powder, salt, tamari and nori in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook until reduced to about half the original amount, about 45 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed. Strain the nori and store the cooled fish-free sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Stir or shake before use, depending on the container used.
Reprinted from Bold Flavored Vegan Cooking: Healthy Plant-Based Recipes with a Kick By Celine Steen, published by Page Street Publishing. Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking, I might earn a commission.
Quick and Easy Pad Thai
By July 16, 2017Published:
- Yield: 3-4 Servings
OK, Celine admits that some of the elements of this dish do take some time to make, but she thinks once you've made them and tried them, you'll always have some on hand. Thereby making this a quick dinner you can throw together.
- 1/4 cup mushroom dashi recipe above
- 1 1/2 Tbs coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup Fish-free Sauce recipe above
- 2 Tbs fresh lime juice
- 2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs tamarind paste
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1/2 tsp grated ginger root
- 1 bird’s eye chile, seeded & minced
- 1 Tbs melted coconut oil or peanut oil
- 8 oz tempeh cut into bite-sized cubes
- 12 oz chopped green cabbage
- 4 oz brown rice stir-fry noodles cooked according to package directions
- Garnishes: Serundeng, lime wedges, fresh cilantro leaves, sliced scallions, reduced-sodium tamari
- In a medium bowl, whisk the dashi with the sugar to dissolve the crystals. Add the fish-free sauce, lime juice, vinegar, tamarind, garlic, ginger and chile. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- In a large pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the tempeh and cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
- Adjust the heat as needed and stir frequently. Add the cabbage and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the sauce and simmer for a few minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken slightly and the cabbage is just tender, about
4 minutes. Add the cooked noodles and stir to coat the noodles well.
- Serve with garnishes. Leftovers are even better, so the dish can be made ahead of time and reheated gently on the stove.
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I’m gonna talk about Austin Aries in a sec. But first, let’s talk about me. When I was pitching the idea for my cookbook, the one question every publisher came back with was, “What do vegan food and pro-wrestling have to do with each other?”
When I finally found a publisher that got it, it was time to promote the book. Often times my intro on the afternoon cable news segments went something like, “Her name is Natalie Slater, and she’s here to show us what on earth vegan food and pro-wrestling have in common!”
I dunno, to me it’s always made perfect sense. Professional wrestling has always been for weirdos, outsiders and drama queens and what is veganism if not also a safe haven for people who look at the world a little differently than everyone else?
So when people started talking about this vegan guy in the WWE, Austin Aries, I was a lot less curious about where he got his protein than I was about how he put up with answering the same stupid questions over and over again. Is wrestling fake? What would you do if you woke up on an island that had nothing to eat except pigs? What do you eat, like, tofu and stuff?
Aries’ first book, Food Fight: My Plant-Powered Journey from the Bingo Halls to the Big Time just dropped in June, and I had a chance to chat with him about dumb questions, the specific struggles of a Midwestern vegan, and what the difference between plant-based and vegan means to him. His book answers a lot of questions non-vegans are bound to have and will have long-time vegans nodding in agreement. You can grab a copy here!
Thanks SO MUCH to my friend Matt Barnette for editing this video – check him out on YouTube!
Hi. I’m Natalie. I am the oldest child, I was raised Catholic, and I am Type A AF. So yeah, I’m familiar with anxiety.
Before we get too far into this post I want to be clear that none of my recommendations are meant to treat severe anxiety and/or depression, nor do I wish to make light of those issues. This post is for people who occasionally find themselves overwhelmed or stressed and need more than a cup of chamomile to calm their nerves.
Obviously before I start inhaling or ingesting anything, I first try to remedy the source of my stress. If I’m anxious about an event because there’s so much to do, I ask for help. If I’m worried about something I can’t necessarily fix (for instance, freaking out that all of my friends’ vaguebook statues are about me because they all secretly hate me) I talk to someone I can trust until it’s out of my system. If I’m overwhelmed at work I try to break my big projects into smaller ones, etc. But sometimes I’m just kind of freaked out about a bunch of things and I don’t want to talk about it. So that’s where these other options come into play.
These are all methods and products that I have used and benefitted from. If you have your own recommendations I’d love to hear them in the comments section.
When I first started researching natural remedies for stress, I noticed one ingredient that kept popping up in every stress support supplement – magnesium. Turns out magnesium can suppress ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) – “stress hormones” – in the brain. Some of the most magnesium-rich foods are vegan – spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, black beans – but there are also lots of supplements available. I keep a magnesium supplement (that also contains B-vitamins and Valerian root) on hand for hectic days.
I was on a juicing kick for a while, and I liked to add fresh turmeric because the curcumin it contains is a natural anti-inflammatory. Later I also found out that it can also have antidepressant and antianxiety effects. However, it is a hot mess to juice at home and scrubbing yellow stains off my counter does nothing to improve my stress levels. So, I keep Turmeric Liquid Drops on hand and just throw a couple of droppers’ full into smoothies and other recipes like this Golden Milk Smoothie Bowl.
A friend of mine recommended keeping kava kava tincture on hand for bad days, so I grabbed a bottle at Vitamin Shoppe and gave it a try. Folk tales say that Kava Kava was given to people who were to be sacrificed in order to calm them down, and after trying it a few times I believe it. The tincture I tried was too intense for me – it tastes like tree bark, and it has a syrupy consistency so it’s hard to mix into anything less thick than a smoothie. These days I prefer Kava Stress Relief Tea – it’s blended with cinnamon and other spices so while it’s not delicious per say, it tastes better than the tincture, but it’s still very potent. Fair warning: kava affects people in different ways, so try it sometime when you don’t have anywhere to go. It might make you sleepy, it could upset your stomach, and some people have said it makes their mouths go numb.
I’m not an essential oil expert (my friend Jessica is, follow her) so I’m not going to go nuts here. But, I have tried aromatherapy and essential oils in various ways and found it to be beneficial. The mellowest way to use essential oils to combat stress is aromatherapy – I do this using a USB Essential Oil Diffuser. There are fancier and more expensive diffusers, but the one I use is small so it sits right next to my laptop and blows lavender essential oil directly at my face. My desire to spray this in my mouth and up my nose lead me to looking for more direct ways to benefit from essential oils.
My nail salon uses aromatherapy, and their amazing Wednesday mani/pedi deal was my first experience with topical essential oils. They basically slather your hands and arms in lotion, splash on a few drops of your choice of oil (tips for doing this) and massage your stress away. This inspired me to make temple balm for Tony to help with headaches, and variations for myself for anxiety. Applying essential oils to your skin is often the most effective ways to reap their benefits.
The final frontier for me was actually ingesting essential oils. It’s generally considered safe to put a few drops of your favorite essential oils in water, but I think it’s gross and I just can’t do it. Then my little sister got a MONQ Aromatherapy Inhaler and let me try it. MONQ combines blends of essential oils with vegetable glycerine, all packed into a little cigarette-sized package. You inhale it into your mouth (not into your lungs) and then blow the vapor out your nose. It’s sort of like having a diffuser that you put in your mouth, which as I stated previously, is pretty much what I do anyway.
MONQ actually sent me a set of their personal diffusers and I’m going to be shooting a video with Jessica the oil lady soon, so if you have any questions about essential oils or MONQ be sure to leave them in the comments or hit us up on social media so we can answer them.
Diet and Exercise
Listen, this weekend I laid in bed eating vegan mac n’ cheese and watching Claws. I am no Bad Ass Vegan when it comes to nutrition and fitness. But, anecdotally I can tell you that I joined a gym three months ago, and made some small adjustments to my diet (focusing on nutrient-dense ingredients, cutting back on sugar) and I have not had to take Kava or any of the other more intense supplements since.
There is extensive evidence that suggests even a small amount of physical activity (a 10-minute walk) can help reduce stress, and prevent anxiety disorders. I personally have found solace in the gym because it’s unadulterated me time, and I found a good no-judgement gym – but, it’s not for everyone. But, even if you hate the gym, and it’s too cold to take a walk, there’s a physical activity most people can agree on – sex. Yep, sex. Even, ya know, by yourself, can help you to better cope with stress.
If you’re a stress-eater like me, I have good news and bad news. The good news is, you’re eating because a brain under stress signals your body that you need more nutrients to cope. The bad news is, most of the time we reach for foods that are actually deficient in the nutrients that can help you combat anxiety. Look for foods rich in magnesium (spinach, almonds, avocado). Omega-3 fats (spinach again, walnuts, soybeans), and B vitamins (there are lots of types so read this). So you don’t have to become a raw vegan, but like, swapping in a spinach salad with avocado and walnuts for lunch once in awhile can actually give your body what it needs to deal with stress. I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to get a good overview of what I’m eating in a day and I find it really helpful, but you could also informally journal what you’re eating every day and how you feel to see if changing your diet helps you.
Meditating, Weed and Other Stuff
I asked people on Instagram what they did to relieve stress and anxiety and a few things came up over and over: yoga, meditation, and weed. I can definitely say I have seen all three of these work for other people, just not me. Mostly because I am v. jaded and cranky. But the point is, what works for your friends might not work for you, but you should keep trying things until you find something that does. I rolled my eyes about essential oils until I finally tried them, so maybe I’ll end up not hating yoga someday too.
Hopefully I offered a few suggestions you haven’t tried yet – let me know in the comments!
Essential oils (aromatherapy): University of Maryland Medical Center write up on the benefits of aromatherapy
Exercise: Exercise for Stress and Anxiety
Nutrient dense diet: Diet and Stress
Please note: I received some of the items mentioned in this post in exchange for my review, but I only wrote about items that actually worked for me and I would recommend to others. Additionally, some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking them I could earn a small comission.