unprocessed vegan diet - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 12-29-2003, 08:02 PM
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I'm wondering how easy/hard it is to eat an unprocessed vegan diet. Vegan convenience foods (i.e vegan 'burgers' etc) are expensive for me and sometimes hard to find as lots of veggie 'burgers' seem to contain egg white . Plus I reckon it's proberly healthier to eat unprocessed food anyhow.

I am not that great a cook so I would really appreciate it if anybody could give me some easy and quick recipes. I would really like to experiment with international cuisines i.e Mexican, Middle Eastern, Asian etc so I could really do with some recipes using beans, lentils, tofu etc. Oh and a recipe for falafels would be great too.


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#2 Old 12-29-2003, 08:29 PM
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wellllll... how 'unprocessed' are you going to go?

Do you consider tofu to be 'processed'? How about soy milk? soy sauce? TVP? Pasta? Or are you just talking convenience foods (like you mentioned - veggie burgers)?

Just wondering because that will help figure out what to suggest.

Tonight, DH and i made a huge batch of fried rice. We had some left over sushi rice (yeah, it was a little 'seasoned' but what the hey). We dumped in some frozen peas, chopped carrots, onion, celery, water chestnuts from a can, and soy sauce. A few of those things could be considered processed if you are going to extremes but I think you might just be referring to packaged foods...

what about tortillas? Burritos are always a super tasty snack & are always so easy. You can make your own pinto beans in less than 2 hours. I just put 1 cup of dry beans in about 2 Qts of water, boil them for an hour (NO salt! It cracks the beans), then drain all the water out. Then I add about 1/2 cup of water (or whatever seems about right - not too much) to the cooked beans and simmer with onion, green pepper, 1/4 tsp cumin, and 1/4 tsp chili powder for about 1/2 hour, covered. Then I add salt until it tastes right and voila - pinto beans. Mash em up if you want them to be more like refried (you can fry them after mashing them but I don't have the patience!).

You know, one cookbook you might like is Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It has some incredibly basic recipes (like brussel sprouts with margarine & mustard - mmm!). It's not a vegan cookbook per se, but you can easily veganize about 90% of the recipes in it. But the recipes are quite simple and don't rely on convenience foods at all. Things like orzo salad, tomato basil salad, chickpea soup, etc...

here is a link to it:Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Good luck!

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#3 Old 12-29-2003, 11:18 PM
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In my experience, it's very easy. (Then again I live not with omnis / family so what I mean with easy is that it's easy to shop for it and prepare).

Meals I usually eat include (these are all super easy and fast and made from scratch - I even sometimes make the pitas and tortillas from scratch):

  • oatmeal (with raisins or banana) - on an uninspired day (or one when I'm working lots), up to 50% of my calories come from oatmeal!
  • leftover quinoa, couscous or rice with raisins
  • fruit (currently banana, apples, citrus - much more variety in summer)
  • stir fried or steamed veggies (any or several of broccoli, carrots, zucchini, peppers, cauliflower, peas, mushrooms, cabbage, cooking greens, potatoes...) with brown rice, couscous, polenta or quinoa
  • salad (lettuce, tomatoes, oil or avocado, balsamico)
  • miso soup (I eat it with something or add noodles for a complete meal)
  • burritos (tortilla with refried beans, and veggies)
  • pasta with olive oil and garlic (heat oil and garlic and add cooked pasta, stir and eat)
  • pitas (filled with hummus / baba ghanouj and veggies)
  • fruit / juice shakes (mostly OJ + banana)
  • couscous with beans or lentils and a salad
  • (things I forget right now)

When I shop, I buy mostly in the produce and the bulk sections. As for appliances, a rice cooker is a good thing to have (I also cook the quinoa in the rice cooker). If you need more info/recipes, let me know. Unprocessed rocks
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#4 Old 12-29-2003, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Oatmeal View Post

[*] oatmeal (with raisins or banana) - on an uninspired day (or one when I'm working lots), up to 50% of my calories come from oatmeal!

You mean everyday?
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#5 Old 12-30-2003, 05:02 AM
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Sorry I should have been more specific - I mean things like vegan convenience foods (shop brought vegan burgers, vegan sausages etc). I'm not about to start making my own tofu, soy milk, bread etc. As I said I'm not that great a cook. I mean in terms of what Oatmeal suggested.

I like those suggestions, Oatmeal. I live with my family (not even vegetarian let alone vegan) so I usually just cook for myself.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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#6 Old 12-30-2003, 08:36 AM
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I've been thinking about making a transition to a nonprocessed food diet. Specifically store packaged veggie dogs & burgers. I'm sure it may be difficult at the beginning but you can make loads of different meals like chili, stews, stir fries, etc.. then freeze them.
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#7 Old 12-30-2003, 09:05 AM
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I don't think it will be too hard - I suppose not eating processed veggie dogs and burgers forces you to experiment with beans, lentils, tofu etc and I suppose it helps you to learn to cook more and I really need to learn to cook.

Does anybody know if Old El Paso tortillas (flour and corn) that are sold in the United Kingdom (UK) are suitable for vegans? They are the only brand of tortillas I can find in my local store.
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#8 Old 12-30-2003, 02:23 PM
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When I first became a vegetarian (in the early 90s) there weren't many convenience foods available, and the stuff there was--whew, you wouldn't want it. So primarily unprocessed foods was the only way. The only trouble you might run into is that you might (like darn near all of us) have developed a taste for high seasoning, salty stuff, and intensely sweet food. So, going unprocessed might require a transition period where you begin to accustom your palate to less hardcore stuff. It only takes about two weeks to do this.

For a lot of great meal/recipe ideas check out some older veg cookbooks from your local library. Stuff from the 70s and 80s is almost all whole foods by necessity. Some especially good books are Lorna Sass' Tales From an Ecological Kitchen, all of the McDougall books, Bryanna Clark-Grogan's books, and Ten Talents (a Seventh Day Adventist cookbook usually sold in healthfood stores that is very workable if you improvise a little with it).
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#9 Old 12-30-2003, 08:01 PM
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As far as my opinion on convience foods go they get rather expensive.

But I know even the worst chefs can make Spagehtti, bean burritos and rice and tofu dishes.

Another idea that I like is to buy a can of soup, say progresso vegetarian barley is good, and add anything you want to it. Kind of like build your own stew and all the seasonings are already there from the soup base.

What works well? Extra frozen or canned veggies, small cubes of extra firm tofu, rice can be added thats pre cooked or you can cook it there for a whole lot longer. Noodles and anything else. its pretty convient since you don't spend a lot on spices etc
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#10 Old 12-30-2003, 08:24 PM
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I haven't completely elminated processed foods from my diet. I still use commercial soy milk (store brand--tastes identical to Silk, probably made by the same manufacturer, but $2 for the half gallon) and soy yogurt, various artificial sweeteners, 100% whole wheat flour, regular oats, and caffeine-free off-brand diet sodas, all of which are highly processed. But, the bulk of my calories are from produce and raw nuts/seeds.

Usually for breakfast I have 3-4 cups of fruit (fresh and frozen)--mixed berries, citrus and a banana or something else, with 1/2 c soy yogurt, 1 T freshly ground flax seeds, and a few hazelnuts and walnuts, and soymilk with a hot beverage.

For lunch, I make a stir fry with 1/2 t Chinese hot sauce (from the Asian store--soybean oil based with hot peppers), soy sauce, about 1 c sprouted mung beans (I sprout them myself), 1/2 sweet potato, 1/2 beet, 5-6 cups of cruciferous leaves (napa cabbage, collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, bok choi, etc.), onion, tomato, mushroom, summer squash, and whatever else I have. I top this with a few freshly shelled nuts.

Dinner is usually a salad with mixed lettuces, tomato, red bell pepper, and maybe some cooked (from frozen) vegetables.

Snacks are usually fruit and popcorn. Rarely, I will bake myself a treat or have some cooked oatmeal or cooked sprouted buckwheat.

I can't afford much in boxes, and very little in the way of "Vegan" processed foods. I go to my independed grocers in the morning, where they have special markdowns on certain types of produce and I work with whatever--taking home about 60 pounds worth, and I base my meals around that. I've cut back on grains and increased greens. The result is that my diet has far more vitamins and minerals now, for the same number of calories.
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#11 Old 01-01-2004, 08:30 AM
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I still use processed foods quite a lot. I still eat canned foods, tofu, premade

breads, store bought soy milk and cereals. I do not eat store bought Veggie Burgers all that much, I make my own and I think that they are very good. I make chili, I make Veg Mcmuffins and my own muffins, Mark eats stir fries with homemade seitan.

Making your own seitan is easy and I can post my favorite recipes if anyone is interested. They are recipes from Chef Deb.

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#12 Old 01-01-2004, 11:15 AM
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skarlett- Ok, I just have to say, that cat is sooo cute. Aww.

This is a great thread, too. Gave me some good suggestions- I'm getting burnt out on Boca burgers, bananas, and Kashi ALL THE TIME.
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#13 Old 01-01-2004, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Joanne View Post

Does anybody know if Old El Paso tortillas (flour and corn) that are sold in the United Kingdom (UK) are suitable for vegans?

Yep they're fine - I've got a packet right here in front of me. Although looking at the ingredients right now, there are lots of E numbers in there. Wish I hadn't looked at it now ...
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#14 Old 01-01-2004, 01:17 PM
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I eat a lot of whole grains and make it different each time by adding different spices, liquids, seasonings, spices, herbs, etc. Add different veggies and/or seaweeds and it's delicious. Adding a sauce or gravy changes it up too. I prefer whole grains to processed foods like bread and tortillas or cereals.

It also so much less expensive, even buying organic and is so much healthier. Imagine that
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#15 Old 01-01-2004, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Joanne

Does anybody know if Old El Paso tortillas (flour and corn) that are sold in the United Kingdom (UK) are suitable for vegans?

Around here (Arizona) I've never seen a tortilla that wasn't vegan. They used to make them with lard, but you don't see that too often anymore, certainly not in the supermarket. What are the ingredients in the ones you have?
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#16 Old 01-01-2004, 07:26 PM
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I "process" my own foods. My juicer and blender are my very best kitchen buddies.

I can juice tons of veggies and pack in a barrel of nutrients in a few gulps and nothing satisfies those cravings for sweet things like a fruit smoothy. In between I snack on veggies here and fruit there.

I started off doing a lot of packaged fake meat stuff but now I just go to the produce isle buy stuff and figure out how to eat it when I get home. Then I have on choice but to eat that way.

Just about any combination of veggies go with any variety of rice/grains.

And by all means check out the great raw books and vegan books out there - there are many dishes that don't require cooking but simply clever food/flavor combos.

Best of luck and enjoy the journey.
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#17 Old 01-02-2004, 06:59 AM
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I just noticed this...

Originally Posted by Marie View Post

You mean everyday?

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