If giving up burgers and cheese forever just doesn't seem possible, take heart: going mostly plant-based means you get serious health benefits and the flexibility to indulge now and then. Here's how, with tips from Dana Shulz of the Minimalist Baker.
There’s lots (and lots, and lots) of evidence on the benefits of eating vegan—but we don’t think it’s overstating things to say that making such a drastic dietary shift can be overwhelming. And we’re not the only ones, if the popularity of “vegan-ish” eating is anything to go by. A mostly plant-based approach that’s flexible enough to accommodate the occasional burger, chicken wing or slice of cheesecake, this diet plan has found fans in Jamie Oliver, whose Meat-Free Monday posts always look delicious, New York Times food guru Mark Bittman, who wrote a whole book about it, and Dana Shulz, the culinary mind behind the popular food blog Minimalist Baker.
According to Dana, whose new cookbook, Everyday Eating, features 101 easy-to-make vegan dishes (like her Thai quinoa meatballs, pictured above), a mostly plant-based diet doesn’t have to be hard work. “It’s really just about making sure you get plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and other plant-based protein sources. I think when you break it down like that, it isn’t as intimidating,” she says.
It definitely doesn’t mean subsisting on a few lettuce leaves. “I am a quantity eater and was raised by two very enthusiastic eaters. Feeling satisfied by my meals is very important to me, so salads for dinner just won't cut it. My recipe inspiration comes from having a big appetite,” she says.
Want to give vegan eating a try? Here’s her best advice:
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
“Meal prep ahead of time (like on Sundays), so you aren’t stuck without options during the week, when you come home starving and need something to eat,” Dana says. “Also, make sure you do research when traveling so you have some idea of where you can get vegan options.”
2. Try anything once.
She recommends doing a deep dive into vegan food blogs, flagging any dish that looks interesting. “Try a lot of recipes and narrow down your favorites, so you have an arsenal of easy, go-to meals that you love and enjoy,” she says.
3. Know your swaps.
Use flax or chia in place of an egg. (Check out Dana’s how-to.) Instead of using ground beef for tacos, season and cook quinoa, then bake until crispy. And just because you’re eating less dairy doesn’t mean Parmesan-free pasta. Make your own vegan Parmesan by combining cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and sea salt. (Here’s the Minimalist Baker recipe.)
4. Stock your pantry.
You’ll have to re-think your grocery shopping plan, but don’t get intimidated—Dana says you can’t go wrong by stocking up on a few staples: “My top 5 vegan essentials are flax seed meal, nut milks, nut and seed butters, a variety of legumes, and dates,” she says. “I don't go for things like vegan junk food or other things in the processed realm. Eating plant-based is not about fake meats, $9 organic soy milk, and sprouting your own beans. It’s about eating a variety of plant foods to feel whole and well.”
5. Choose the right tools.
“For prep, having a food processor is a must because it makes sauces and date caramel so easily, and if you have the grater attachment it can shred up carrots, potatoes and vegetables in no time,” Dana says.
<p>Raina + Wilson</p>
As we usher in the fall season we also welcome changing foliage, pumpkin spice lattes and the coveted transitional coat—which depending on where you live in Canada can mean different degrees of warmth and protection. Here are 13 transitional toppers that will have you looking stylish and protected this fall, we picked one to go with every major city in Canada, related to their average fall forecast.
Rainfall isn't an issue in Calgary come fall, but temperature's sit right around 5c so keep cozy.
Oversized Suede-Like Jacket, $179.
Montreal get's a solid dose of precipitation (sometimes rain, sometimes snow) come the fall with averages hitting 4c.
TNA league jacket, $85.
Yellowknife's fall average sit at a brisk -10c with roughly 30 cm of snow projected, so it's time to break out the puffer—and snowboots!
The North Face Thermoball PrimaLoft Hooded Parka, $230, shop.nordstrom.com.
Halifax gets a hefty rain fall come the autumn, with its rainiest month being November. The average temp is 6c. Look for thin jacket or puffer with a water-resistant outer shell.
Alderwood shell, $425.
Whitehorse sits at a respectable -4 degrees come fall. Look for jackets made from natural materials such as cashmere, wool and alpaca to keep you cozy. It's a wee bit of a splurge, but if you buy a classic shape it will be a wear forever piece.
Charlotte Coat in Melton Wool, $528.
Saskatoon sits at 0 or below for 185 days a year, but come fall temps range from 18c to -7, so versatility is key—layering is also a smart idea. Try wearing a cape over a wool sweater to keep you toasty warm.
Twik Three-button cape, $70.
Iqaluit is in the Arctic, so it's average fall temperature is a chilly one: -15. A jean jacket won't cut it in these parts, look for a short parka or heavy duty puffer with a hood to protect you from the wind.
Anouk Paraka, $729.
Out east they get warmer fall's and St. Johns, Newfoundland is no exceptions, with temperatures sitting around 4c. Try layering a utility jacket over a hoodie.
Sherpa-lined utility jacket, $118.
Winnipeg has its nickname "Winterpeg" for a reason, the city's temperature fluctuates but the fall average sits at -1c. Look for an oversized stylish coat, perfect to layer over a puffer vest on cooler days or keep it open with a scarf draped around your neck for warmer days.
Cashmere-like open collar coat, $100.
Vancouver's wettest season is autumn, with an average of 450mm of rainfall and a temperature that hovers around 10c. Which means it's the perfect time to break out the rubber boots and find a slick coat to keep your warm and dry in the downpours.
Michael michael kors hooded trench coat, $149.
Toronto average forecast is sitting pretty around 12c, which means it's the perfect jean and moto jacket weather.
Cropped Suede Moto, $458.
October is Charlottetown's rainiest month, with and average of 110 mm of rainfall and temperatures at -1c.
Rains trench coat, $119.
Fredericton enjoys a sunny climate, averaging about 2,000 hours of sunshine a year however its temperatures are on the chillier side come fall, sitting around 4c.
Wane Lux Wool Waterfall Collar Jacket, $750.
Kevin Wong Credits: Kevin Wong
Instead of reaching for the phone, try these takeout recipes you can make at home.
Always check packaged food labels for gluten, including ketchup (Heinz is gluten-free), sriracha, fish sauce and broth (homemade stock is best – and safest).
Everyone needs a fried rice recipe in his or her repertoire, because it's great for using up leftovers.
Serve these burgers to people who don't like lentils and they'll soon be converted!
Sub in different vegetables depending on what you have in your crisper to make unique brown rice sushi.
East meets West in these tasty little bites. We've doubled up on the spring roll wrappers, which provides extra crunch and prevents the filling from bursting out.
This recipe can easily be left to simmer away in a slow cooker for eight hours before adding the chicken.
Roasting all but one of the garlic cloves pumps up flavour to the max without having the overpowering taste of raw cloves.
No need for messy, greasy deep-frying with these crunchy baked wings. They make a fun meal for two – just add some sliced baby cukes, carrots and cherry tomatoes for a crunchy, fresh side.
Put down that takeout menu! This healthy spin on beef and broccoli will leave you feeling full and guilt-free.
This Vietnamese favourite is easy to make and is just as suitable for a main course as it is for an appetizer.
The essence of this Vietnamese pho lies in the long-cooking, rich beef broth which forms the base of the soup - the slow cooker is the ultimate tool for the task.
Our foolproof dough delivers the most amazing pizza crust you'll ever taste. The long rising time results in a lovely texture and extra-rich flavour.
This twist on a takeout favourite is made with sautéed chicken instead of greasy fried beef.
There's no need to dial up dinner when you can make this takeout classic – better, cheaper and faster – at home.
Even kids who hate fish with devour these fish fingers, and our Sweet Potato Oven Fries provide enormous amounts of vitamins A and C.