Make Way For The Meatless Lifestyle: Pennsylvania Opens Its First All-Vegan Grocery Store

It would seem the country is going vegan, one state at a time! Boyertown, Pennsylvania recently saw the opening of its first all-vegan grocery store. Married couple Michael Martinez and Loriann Wade had opened up the Firefly Cafe, an all-vegan restaurant, in the area in 2016, but decided they wanted to expand and create a full vegan experience. Their addition of a grocery store also includes a room above to rent — complete with cruelty-free beauty products and plant based cleaning materials. For those looking to see the vegan lifestyle in all its healthy and delicious glory, Boyertown is the place to go.

 

“It really feels like now we have the whole package,” Wade said, explaining the popularity of their place. “A lot of people come for the whole experience. They want to grab something to eat, then shop.”

 

The Firefly Cafe offers a number of delectable vegan dishes, such as a pulled plant based pork sandwich made with barbecued organic jackfruit on a toasted multi-grain bun. All of their ingredients — from the plant based chicken substitutes to the mouthwatering chipotle mayo — can be enjoyed in the restaurant and then purchased for personal home use in the grocery store next door. Tammy Stamm of Reading routinely travels 40 minutes from her home for the plant based proteins the Firefly Cafe offers, claiming that she’ll meet with some friends that live locally for lunch and then do a bit of shopping for those hard-to-find vegan products (like Wade’s vegan miso dressing and jackfruit pulled plant based pork) at the outpost.

 

Wade claims that the favorite, fastest-selling item is their variety of vegan cheeses.

 

“A lot of the vegan cheeses that are more widely available are not always so good,” she said. “I really pride myself on our cheese selection because I’m very, very picky with vegan cheeses.”

 

Wade and Martinez have managed to create a healthy and delicious place that gives back to the community; by eliminating those pesky perceptions and showing residents and visitors how yummy vegan eating can be, their restaurant and grocery store encourage even those who aren’t vegan to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Since replacing meat with plant based foods can lower your mortality rate by 20%, the future really does seem to be vegan!

Veganism Grows Strong And Tall In The Big Apple

After Vegandale held its annual vegan food and culture festival last year on Randall’s Island, selling out immediately and bringing over 15,000 people to the small location, New Yorker’s knew a change was in the air. With many well-establish restaurants opening their palates to vegan foods (including White Castle, which is now boasting new sliders using the Impossible Burger), customers just can’t seem to get enough of the plant based meat.

The Big Apple’s newest vegan restaurant is run by a non-vegan chef. It’s not as surprising as it may seem — approximately 33% of the U.S. population report eating more vegan foods despite not being or identifying as vegan themselves. Champ Jones has a simpler goal: to “spur interest in what you can do without animal products.”

He admits that cooking without animal products (particularly butter) is challenging, he relishes the opportunity to have more intimate relationships with his ingredients, really experimenting with the flavors he can create.

“It’s allowed us to explore different combinations of uncommon ingredients to create intensely savory and satiating food that we want to be serving people.”

For example, one of Jones’ dishes requires the use of smoked olive oil to replicate the taste of bacon. Other recipes include soft-set tofu with demi tomato and golden beet, and the famed “TV Dinner”: a take on meatloaf with peas, carrots, and potato — all with vegan meat substitutes or plant based beef substitutes.

Food isn’t the only thing changing people’s minds and reducing the stigma surround veganism; in an effort to encourage comfortable, honest conversations about veganism and its related politics, ethics, and culture, Brooklyn-based writer Alicia Kennedy launched her first podcast, titled Meatless.

“I started Meatless because I didn’t see a space for comfortable conversations about this topic that people are usually uncomfortable discussing or bringing to the fore. Not everyone I interview is vegan or vegetarian, but everyone I bring on can have an honest conversation about the role of food in our cultural and political lives while holding space for the notion that animals deserve to live good lives.”

New York City is known for its rich culture and good food; next time you take a trip down, consider stopping at one of the many plant based meat, vegan restaurants while you’re there.

Vegan Chicken Never Tasted So Good! 3 Ways To Enjoy The Healthy Substitute

We all know that going vegan is good for you: those who have switched to plant based diets have a staggering 20% lower mortality rate than those who eat meat! Unfortunately, the concept of something like plant based chicken, or vegan meat substitutes in general, can make people assume that they’ll no longer be able to enjoy those flavorful dishes that bring them joy beyond simple hunger satiation.

Well, we’re here to tell you that that simply isn’t the case! For those intrepid and curious enough to try new combinations of plant-based meat alternatives (such as tofu, eggplant, cauliflower, or a variety of beans), you’ll be amazed at how truly yummy they can be. Here are three ideas for vegan chicken that will have you licking your lips in delight without sacrificing your health.

  • Chicken salad: Through the use of soy-based substitutes and vegan mayonnaise, this chicken salad will be moist and good for you. Experiment with different toppings — grapes, cranberries, almonds — to achieve that perfect combination of flavor and crunch.

 

  • Fajitas: When you think about it, the only thing in fajitas that isn’t vegan is the chicken itself. Chock-full of vegetables and spices, you simply need to find a suitable chicken substitute to enjoy this Tex-Mex dish. Add whatever veggies you enjoy the most: peppers, onions mushrooms — the possibilities are limited only by your palate!

 

  • Fried (vegan) chicken: Everything tastes better when it’s deep fried, including plant based chicken products! From chicken n’ waffles to fried chicken sandwiches, you’ll never run out of recipes that call for vegan chicken being smothered in oil and shoved into a fryer. Best of all, it doesn’t need to be inherently unhealthy — using sunflower or extra light olive oil in place of vegetable oil can eliminate those saturated fats without sacrificing the flavor.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean eating bland. With so many new vegan products coming onto the market — and so many tried and true recipes already in existence — you can enjoy some delicious food without any guilt, and will actually be improving your physical health at the same time.

Vegan Holidays: Easter Recipes That Everyone Will Love

Veganism is beginning to secure a solid foothold in this country and the world; over pork substitutethe last three years, the number of vegans in America has increased by an astounding 600%! And it hasn’t shown any signs of stopping. With reasons for switching ranging from ethical to medical and even environmental, the number of people changing their diets is almost exponential. Yet, feeding these people can be a tough challenge, especially around the holidays where everyone has their own preferences and traditions. One holiday, in particular, is known for its consumption of ham and eggs, where finding acceptable pork substitutes and egg replacements can be tricky: Easter.

You don’t need to be religious to celebrate Easter, despite its affiliation with Christianity. Like many massive holidays, tradition tends to extend beyond its religious roots; rather, they’ve become more associated with family and togetherness than religious observance. So, if your family adheres to the classic tradition of ham and eggs on Easter (like turkey on Thanksgiving), you’re probably going to struggle to come up with a suitable pork substitute.

Fear not! There are plenty of delicious plant based pork and vegan friendly meat products out there to help you along. Once you’ve chosen one to try, you can move onto the slightly trickier task of creating vegan sides, such as scrambled eggs. Here is a quick recipe to help you along.

Vegan Scrambled Eggs

 

  • 6 ounces firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup aquafaba
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kala namak (black salt)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric (for color)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

 

The trick to getting these egg-free scrambled eggs to actually scramble is the use of aquafaba, a.k.a. chickpea brine! Just mix the ingredients together in a bowl, and scramble in a pan like you would regular eggs. The recipe is as easy as finding a yummy pork substitute!

Now that you’ve got your entree and side, you need a sweet dessert to remind you of all the Easter chocolate you’ve amassed. Here is an easy recipe for vegan cinnamon rolls that will have everyone mmming in delight.

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

 

    • 1 packet instant (or rapid-rise) yeast
    • 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
    • 1/2 cup vegan butter, divided
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 – 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp organic cane sugar, divided

 

Instructions

 

  1. Heat the almond milk and 3 Tbsp vegan butter until warm and melted (it should be warm but not too hot or it will kill the yeast). Transfer to large mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast, letting it activate for 10 minutes. Then, add 1 Tbsp sugar and the salt and stir.
  2. Add in the flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring as you go. When the dough becomes to thick and sticky to stir, transfer it to a lightly-floured surface and knead it until it forms a loose ball (be careful not to over-knead). Rinse and clean your mixing bowl, then coat it with canola or grapeseed oil, and add the dough ball back in. Cover it with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place to double in size (usually takes about an hour).
  3. Roll out the dough into a thin rectangular piece, then brush it with 3 Tbsp melted vegan butter and top with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 – 1 Tbsp cinnamon.
  4. Tightly roll the dough and situate it with the seam down, and proceed to cut the long roll into 1.5 to 2-inch sections. Put these individual rolls (you should have around 10) in a well-buttered pan and brush them with the remaining 2 Tbsp melted butter. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it rise while your oven preheats to 350 degrees.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the rolls are golden brown. Top with vegan cream cheese and enjoy!

 

With these vegan recipes and excellent choice of a vegan pork substitute, your Easter Sunday celebration is sure to go off without a hitch, offering even the most specific of dieters something they will be happy to put into their bodies.

Feeling Left Out This Barbecue Season? Have No Fear, The Veggie Burger Is Here!

If you’re a vegetarian who feels left out at your family’s summer barbecue, you’re not alone. There are more vegetarians and vegans than ever before and they’re craving plant-based diets this grilling season. Even non-vegans are eating vegan foods: nearly 33% of Americans eat vegan options even if they don’t identify as vegans.

Veggie burgers and burgers made from meat substitutes are a healthy alternative to the calorie-laden burgers America knows and loves. And there are plenty of benefits of choosing a beef substitute!

They contain a lot of fiber and protein

A soy vegan beef burger usually contains about 10 grams of protein per burger. They also contain about 17% of your daily fiber intake, a source of nutrition necessary in aiding digestive health and well-being. These two nutrients are key to fighting diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

They contain practically no preservatives

Many beef burgers still contain preservatives necessary to extend their shelf life. This is a common practice in processed foods and burgers are no exception. However, vegan friendly meat products contain little to no preservatives, making it a healthy alternative that staves back brain cancer and forms of leukemia.

They’re low-fat and low-cal

Whether or not you’re on a diet, everyone can enjoy the benefits associated with a lean, but filling meal. Plant based beef products rely on, well, plants. Because plants are made of mostly water and contain tons of nutrients, you’re getting a lot of nutrition for a fraction of the calories and fat you’d find in a normal beef patty.

You’re promoting sustainability initiatives

One of the biggest sources of global warming and pollution comes from our agricultural industry, specifically raising cattle. Millions of dollars are sunk each year into an unsustainable form of agriculture that causes detrimental consequences to our environment and local ecosystems. By choosing plant based beef products over actual beef products, you’re helping reduce the agricultural industry’s carbon footprint and contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle.

It’s obvious that choosing a plant based beef substitute will benefit any backyard barbecue. The next time you get flack for being a vegetarian at a barbecue, include some of these facts when you’re helping to promote a healthier future.

4 Reasons Why You Need to Switch to Plant-Based Burgers

Lately, healthy lifestyles have been all the rage. This includes extreme and unique fitness regimens, only buying eco-friendly products, and eating plant-based diets. If you’re interested in completely changing your lifestyle, from stuffing your face with french fries three days a week to feeling the best you’ve ever felt, a plant-based diet is probably a good place for you to start.
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