What do movie star Natalie Portman, TV host/comedian Ellen DeGeneres, Spiderman Tobey Maguire, Glee star Lea Michele, musician Alanis Morissette, former President Bill Clinton, and the Four Season Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills have in common? They are all Vegan.
It’s not just people who are doing it, restaurants and hotels are creating vegan menus to accommodate the growing demand. We’re not just talking salads here. Chefs are getting creative, cooking up mouthwatering dishes that aren’t just vegan, but often lower in fat and calories too. We asked why Executive Chef Ashley James from the Four Season Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills decided to add a vegan menu and he said, “So many of our guests maintain a healthy diet and are increasingly requesting vegan menu items. We created the Vegan StrEAT menu based on my favorite street foods from around the world. Many of the items are naturally vegan and we created the quesadillas with soy cheese.” And not to worry, the meat isn’t missed.
Being Vegan isn’t just a trend. It is a movement that can change bodies, and your health, some say it can change the Earth.
So how is Veganism different from Vegetarianism?
Vegetarian- Someone who doesn’t eat animal flesh including poultry, meat, and fish.
Vegan- Someone who doesn’t eat any animal flesh, or anything that comes from animals including eggs, milk, cheese, even gelatin (which is made from bones and animal byproducts). Many vegans also avoid wearing leather products.
How can Veganism change the Earth?
2.9 times less water & 2.5 times less energy from raising animal for food
Less Pollutants from animal waste in the soil and run-off into the water sources
How can Veganism change your Health?
Lower Blood Pressure than meat eaters
Reduced Diabetes Risk
Fortified Immune System
Why do people go Vegan?
Despite the benefits, being a vegan can be a struggle, especially at first. Why? Aside from not eating the foods you are used to (and might love) eating, it can be hard to find balance. Vegans still need to eat plenty of protein, iron and zinc, which you can get from beans, nuts, lentils and soy. Vegans also need to make sure they are getting enough calcium and Vitamin D, which you find in dairy but can also find in fortified juices and almond milk. B12, an essential vitamin to keep your nerves in check and is found in fish and meat, can also be found in walnuts, flaxseed and omega-3.
Have the sources of struggles completely turned you off to veganism? They shouldn’t. Going vegan is easier and tastier than you think (and you don’t have to be so strict with it to get many of the body and health benefits of a plant-based diet). You can often eat more, feel fuller, be totally stomach and tastebud-satisfied, all the while ingesting less fat and calories.
DELICIOUS Vegan Recipes
To introduce you to a some of the delicious vegan foods that you can easily cook at home, we asked Chef Ashley James from the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills for a couple of his most popular recipes from the hotel’s Vegan StrEat menu.
House made Tortillas (you can buy them from the market if you prefer)
One cup of Maseca
Pinch of Salt
3/4 cup of cold water
One Cup of Organic Farmer’s Market Assorted Mushrooms
One Guajillo Chile
One Head of charred Corn Kernels
1/2 tsp of chopped garlic
2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
One cup of grated soy cheese
Heat a warm skillet, add olive oil, saute the mushrooms for two minutes. Add the chile and garlic, saute for further 30 seconds. Add the charred corn and salt and pepper to taste.
Press the tortilla dough in a tortilla press and cook tortillas on a warm griddle for two minutes either side. Note, store bought corn tortillas can be used.
Divide the soy cheese between the tortillas. Then, add the warm charred corn and mushroom mixture on top of the cheese. Leave to cook on the griddle until the cheese becomes melted. Sprinkle with green onion and freshly chopped cilantro. Fold over the tortillas and enjoy with your favorite salsa and guacamole.
Young Hollywood Salad
Serves 4 people
4 cups organic mesclin greens
1/2 cup fresh Californian blueberries
1/2 cup fresh Oxnard strawberries slices
1/2 cup diced ¼ inch cucumber
1/2 cup diced ¼ inch heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup diced avocado
¼ cup hemp seeds
Vinaigrette ingredients for 4 people:
4 tablespoons Napa red wine vinegar
¼ cup Californian olive oil
1 finely chopped shallot
Salt and pepper
Place the chopped shallots, salt, pepper and vinegar in a bowl
Whisk in the olive oil to create a light emulsion
Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl except for the hemp seeds, season with salt and pepper. Add the vinaigrette to your taste.
Lightly toss all the ingredients together.
Place the dressed salad in a serving bowl, sprinkle with hemp seeds.
Eat up… to your Health (literally)!