Tag Archives: B vitamins

London Musings Vol. I: (Mostly) For Vegans

I am officially on day 7 of my 14 day stint in London and these three things are true:

  • I’ve gotten a fraction of what I’d have liked done in terms of work;
  • It’s been profoundly emotive and emotional;
  • I’ve been solidifying all sorts of theories I had about why me and London weren’t best mates when I called it home.

I won’t bore you with the details of any of these…just thought you might like to know.  What I will do, however, is preach a little bit about proper vegan nutrition – something I’ve only recently wrapped my head around and something too few people – from die-hard omnivores to sworn vegans – properly appreciate.

Anybody who knows me (or reads me) knows that I’m not too keen on preaching about being vegan.  It’s something that’s very dear to me in terms of my life decisions, but I’m also well aware that people don’t like being told what to eat or how to eat it, and ranting about it is about as likely to get someone on one’s side as beating them over the head with a butternut squash.

What I’m struggling increasingly to keep quiet about is how vegans too often eat because:

  1. They personally don’t understand how important nutrition is;
  2. They trip over themselves incessantly in an effort to appease omnivores; or
  3. They fall victim to a lack of available foodstuffs that can keep them healthy.

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Killer B Anti-PMS Vegan Super Salad

People constantly ask, as soon as they’ve learned I’m vegan, “But where do you get your nutrients?” as if fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes were devoid of nutritional value.  The truth is, as the years have gone by, being a vegan has become so easy, and although I did indeed struggle at first to eat properly, that had a lot more to do with bad eating habits and less to do with my ethical decisions about what I put in my mouth. Nowadays I find that I almost never worry about getting the right vitamins or enough calcium, iron, omega-3’s and protein.  I just have to eat the right things.

Still, I must admit that I struggle to get enough vitamin B.  I always have.  And, in spite of the myth many omnivores have spread prolifically that B vitamins are not accessible in plants, that is nowhere near the case.  B vitamins are quite easy to find in the vegetable kingdom, particularly in raw, dark green veggies.  And that is my problem.  Give me broccoli steamed, stir-fried, or boiled and I’ll eat it up greedily.  But raw has always been a bit tough for me. And, as most of the ladies reading this will know, a lack of B vitamins can lead to a number of annoyances, among them PMS-ier PMS.  In particular, it’s B1, or thiamine, and B2, or riboflavin, that we lack most in the days leading up to and during menstruation.

This month as that dear visitor started peering in my window and knocking at my door, I thought it was high time I put some of the stuff I’ve learned about food to the test and see if I could stave it off. To that end, please find herewith a delicious recipe I invented last night, and that everybody – man or woman, vegan or omnivore – would do well to eat once in a while, because it is good for you, but also because it is downright yummy.  Fiddle with the ingredient amounts to meet your needs and tastes – the amounts I’ve given are a bit of a shot in the dark because last night I prepared for one.  And bear in mind that every single ingredient (with the exception of the olive oil, lemon juice and pepper) is brimming over with B1, B2, or both!

Killer B Anti-PMS Vegan Super Salad (serves 4)

Ingredients

For the Salad:

6-8 green asparagus spears, chopped finely

1.5 cups peeled and finely chopped broccoli

2 zucchinis, shredded

2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped (much more so than the broccoli and asparagus)

4 tbsp almond slivers

For the dressing:

6-8 tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4 tbsp nutritional yeast

Pepper to taste

Directions

Here’s the easy part:  put all the salad ingredients into a salad bowl.  Whisk the ingredients for the dressing in a separate bowl and pour it over the top of the salad.  For a bit more flavor (not that you’ll need it), you can throw in some fresh cilantro or basil.  Toss well and serve!

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