Category Archives: Anabelle Taub

Vegans Have Fun Too! Day 80 of 365

Since I’ve become a vegan, I am finding that the delectable choices are endless. Here are some pics of what I’ve eaten over the last four days. I’ll be sharing a bunch of recipes in the next few days.

A short explanation of what you’re seeing:

  1. First picture: Greek style roasted lemon potatoes, Arabic warm red beet salad with tahini sauce, and Israeli chopped salad.
  2. Vegan coconut cake, with a scoop of vegan coconut ice cream. Ate this over the weekend at Sublime restaurant (located in Fort Lauderdale).
  3. Asian style cauliflower (same restaurant as above).
  4. A watermelon martini and vegan mac and cheese. Yep! You guessed it– Sublime in Fort Lauderdale.
  5. A healthy meal, cooked by me. Cuban style black beans, with freshly steamed broccoli (in lemon water), and a salad with vegan style honey (substituted with agave syrup) mustard dressing.

What’s For Dinner? #Vegan Spaghetti Puttanesca

"gluten free pasta in tomato sauce"

Can’t think what to make for dinner tonight? I made a delicious gluten-free vegan version of spaghetti puttanesca (minus the anchovies and the parmesan cheese), and didn’t feel the difference. Easy to prepare. Super delicious. Healthy. Mostly organic. All from fresh ingredients (minus the gluten-free pasta). I also made a delicious salad as a side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound gluten-free (optional) pasta of your choice
  • 6 cloves of roughly chopped garlic
  • 1 handful capers soaked in water, drained
  • 2-3 handfuls pitted kalamata olives (I chopped them in half, to make sure they were all pitted)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, cut in half (you can used canned tomatoes, but I try to only use fresh ingredients)
  • 1 bunch (handful) chopped basil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Cook the spaghetti in salted, boiling water until al dente. Meanwhile sauté the garlic and tomatoes. When half way cooked, add the capers and olives. I added some of the starchy water from the pasta pot. Cook for a few minutes and bring to a simmer, and continue to cook for 4 or 5 minutes, until you get a tomato sauce consistency. Add and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Remove from the heat, plunge the drained spaghetti into it, toss it over, and cover with the sauce. Give it a taste. If needed, add a bit more salt and pepper, and feel free to drizzle a little more olive oil.

Serve with fresh salad and enjoy! Choose the veggies of your choice. Drizzle with olive oil, and red wine vinegar. A little salt and pepper. Mix and serve.

"tossed green salad"

Upping the Ante on My Vegan Challenge (Day 7 of 365)

On this week's reading list, For The Love of Animals.
On this week’s reading list, For The Love of Animals.

Going from 90 days to 365 days!

When I set out on my vegan challenge (after years of being a vegetarian, switching to raw food, and eating fish) in the last several weeks, I opted for a 90 day challenge. I decided today that 90 days was not enough. Anyone can do 90 days of almost anything. Heck, I’ve juiced (without eating) for 62 days at a time.

I also realized that I face more challenges. Not food though, that’s not such a problem for me. My issue is how to incorporate other ethical choices in my day-to-day life. Such as: social outings, traveling, fashion, what do I do with my furniture, do I still cook meat for my family and friends, what about my dogs?! It’s obvious to me that it will take a good year to make the adjustments needed. It will require a ton of discipline. Relearning and undoing 38 years worth of habits. I am up for the challenge, though. I am excited about living a kinder lifestyle.

What I am committed to is to not judge, criticize or impose my views on those that eat meat (even those who wear fur!). This is a very personal choice, and I do plan on keeping it that way.

For those of you taking an interest in my journey, I am humbled. Thank you for reading my posts and for your encouragement.

Cheers to you and kinder choices!

Anabelle Taub

Eating Out, Social Events & Being a Vegan

Origin
“Origin of picture unkown.”

In my line of business I find myself often having to wine and dine my clients. As a vegetarian, it was never an issue. As a vegan, finding yourself in social settings might seem cumbersome in the beginning. In the last month, this is the approach I’ve taken:

  1. Super casual Starbucks meetings: Iced coffee with vanilla soy milk (I am not a fan of soy milk, and don’t have keep it at home. I prefer almond milk). No baked goods, as I didn’t find a vegan option. I don’t usually need it, because the grande sweetened iced coffee (with soy milk), or any of the frappuccinos (with soy milk), are more than filling.
  2. Social events/parties: I’ll usually have a green juice before I leave my house. That way, I’ve nourished my body, and my appetite is somewhat curbed. I recently went to a party, and the vegetarian/vegan options were limited. I filled up on salad, and crackers and hummus. I had fresh fruit as well. Having a freshly squeezed juice or healthy green smoothie (minus the honey) prior to going out to a social party or event will more than fill you up.
  3. Dinning out: Opt for ethnic restaurants. Here are some examples from my own experience:
  • Italian: If the rolls are egg free, I eat them while dipping in a mixture of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Bruschetta as an appetizer. Green salad and a pasta dish topped with marinara sauce, or ask the chef to make you a fresh basil and garlic sauce. OR, my favorite— spaghetti putanesca. Topped with fresh tomatoes, lots of garlic, and black olives.
  • Thai: Ask about the veggie rolls (instead of egg rolls). Curry vegetable dish with white rice. They usually have tofu dishes as well, but I am not a big fan of foods derived from soy.
  • Indian: The choices are endless! Every Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to has multiple vegan options (and they are usually very understanding of you asking about ingredients in the dishes they serve).
  • Middle Eastern: Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Eggplant salad, Falafel, Rice and peas, Grilled veggies (all served with fresh oven baked pita bread).
  • American restaurants: If all else fails, ask for a combination of side dishes (usually comprised of veggies and possibly rice) as a main dish.
  • Fast food: Not for social events, but in emergency, try Taco Bell. Ask for the bean burritos with NO sauce and no cheese.
  • LIMIT your alcohol intake to two drinks, and be sure to follow your sips with water! Because you’re eating lighter, the alcohol is absorbed by the blood stream much quicker. This is why I pace my self. Sips followed by sips of water.

I’ll post more ideas and tips as I advance through my vegan challenge.

The #Pescetarian vs. The #Vegan (Day 6 of 90)

"pescetarian"

Do you remember the scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where the hilarious aunt is introduced to Ian the vegetarian? His fiance mentions to the aunt that he does not eat meat, and the aunt innocently says, “That’s okay, I’ll make lamb.” That was and is literally my favorite line in the movie. For years, as a vegetarian, people would try to serve me chicken in lieu of meat. My mother too!

My well meaning mother no longer eats meat, but she does still eat fish. On day 6 of 90 of my vegan challenge, my mother reminded me of the funny aunt from MBFGW movie. My mother, knowing I could only eat soft food today, invites me to eat dinner with her. Knowing (and supporting) my vegan expedition, she innocently tries to serve me fish. I said, “Mom, I am a vegan.” She says, ” Don’t worry, I made fish.” I said, “Mom, it’s fish!” She replies, “Yes, I know. Perfect for your no meat diet.” I cracked up from laughter, reminding her of the scene from the movie. Thus the vegan teaching the pescetarian the dos and don’ts of a “no animal diet.”

My mom means well, and I am sure in no time, she’ll get used to the fact that her daughter no longer eats meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy, or any other animal by-product. I find the best method to help others around you adjust to the fact that you’re becoming a vegan is to gently explain what it is that you will and will not eat. Getting frustrated will only serve to get your ethical message lost in translation!

Naturally Sweetened Gluten-Free #Vegan Chocolate Smoothie

"gluten free vegan chocolate smoothie"

(Day 5 of 90 — Vegan Challenge)

Today, I opted for a naturally sweetened gluten-free (and oh so yummy) vegan chocolate smoothie. Recipe is courtesy of Oh She Glows Cookbook.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/4 cup avocado
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Godiva)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Very small pinch of fine-grain sea salt (optional)
  • 4 to 6 pitted medium pitted Medjool dates
  • Approximately 6 ice cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)

I used my beloved VitaMix.

  1. In high-speed blender,  combine the almond milk, avocado, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Blend on high speed until smooth.
  2. Add the salt, pitted dates, and espresso powder (optional). Blend until smooth.

ENJOY!! I certainly did.

Vegan Apple Sauce, Perfect for Post Oral Surgery

"vegan apple sauce in bowl with cinnamon stick as decoration"

Thanks to my little angel of a friend, Ginger, I got an amazing care package from her earlier this week which consisted of three vegan cookbooks: The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Oh She Glows Cookbook, and Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats. I am still unable to eat solid foods, and wanted to eat unprocessed soft food today, thus– I made a delicious, healthy and totally vegan apple sauce. The recipe is courtesy of The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick- Goudreau.

You can make this as chunky or as smooth as you like.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds apples (I peeled and cored them). Cut into  1/2 inch thick slices.
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon (my preference, of course, feel free to use store bought cinnamon)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg ( my preference, freshly ground)

Directions:

  • In a large saucepan combine the apples, apple cider, and cinnamon. Cover and simmer, stirring often, over low heat until tender but not mushy. After 20 minutes, add the sugar and ginger and nutmeg, if using, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and blended, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  • For chunky applesauce, break up the apples with a wooden spoon.
  • For medium texture, mash with a potato masher or use an immersion blender (I pulsed everything in my Breville food processor). Using a food processor will make your apple sauce’s consistency smooth.

Serve warm or chilled. I believe the shelf life is 3 to 5 days.

 

Vegan Options After Oral Surgery (Day 4 of 90)

"vegan mashed potatoes"

On day 4 of my 90 day vegan challenge, I had to think of some super soft food options after undergoing oral surgery. I would have been fine with just freshly squeezed juices, but given the very heavy antibiotics I have to take, my endodontist insisted on me eating soft foods with some substance to it. I spent the last couple of days eating and drinking mostly light and raw vegan food.

My mother suggested mashed potatoes. Yummy! The challenge– how to make vegan mashed potatoes.  Gone are the days of butter and cow’s milk (even though in my vegetarian  days I never used milk). Have a look at the recipe above. I promise you that if you’re trying to cut down your saturated fat intake (even if you’re not contemplating a vegan diet at this time), you will enjoy your vegan mashed potatoes just as much as the fatty version we’ve all been eating for years. In lieu of butter, I used olive oil. Instead of regular cow’s milk, I used almond milk.

The other alternative option I needed was for store bought apple juice (I mean who wants all that sugar and preservatives!!??).  Because of my multitude health challenges, I am insulin resistant, so food that is in it’s most natural state seems to agree with me best. Yes, even mashed potatoes! No sugar spikes, or LOWS. This hypoglycemic girl had a feast day on my cheat day today.

So, for my freshly made organic juice which packed loads of fiber and naturally derived sugar, I had fresh carrot and apple juice. Simply take 6-7 organic carrots (if at all possible) and 2-3 organic apples, cut them up, and put them through the juicer. I love Breville. I think their juicers and food processors are superior to others on the market. They are definitely more expensive, but a worth while investment. The result, well, see for yourself. 🙂 I had a tall glass for dinner, and drank it down with a straw (as eating was a challenge today).

"carrot and apple juice"
Here’s to your health! — Anabelle Taub.

My Grandmother Had Nicer Shoes! (Day 2 & 3)

"anabelle taub logo"
On day 2 and 3 of my 90 day vegan challenge, I’ve been wrestling with the idea of doing away with my fabulous and fashionable leather shoes. The designs are fab, the make– completely unethical, but well made. I’ve been searching and searching for vegan shoes. The only thing that kept going through my mind is that my grandmother had sexier and more fashion forward shoes than most of the choices I have found thus far. Though I quite fancy Stella McCartney’s handbags, most of her shoe designs are something to be desired! I have found a few links of shoes that I could possibly see myself wearing as trendy alternatives.  If you’re on the same ethical expedition as I am, here are the links to vegan chic shoes (well, as mod as possible) that I have on my to buy list:

If you have any links to some fab vegan chic shoes, please do share below in the comment section.

On to another note, my meals for the last two days (very limited, because I was prepping for oral surgery today , and wanted to eat very light and as raw as possible):

Breakfast & Lunch (Day 2 and 3):

"blueberry spinach vegan smoothie"
Ingredients:
Handful of fresh spinach, 1 banana, 1 cup blueberries, 2 handfuls of raw almonds, cover with water (about an inch over the ingredients). Blend in Vitamix. You may add some ice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner (Day 2 and 3):

"israeli salad"
Israeli salad with freshly cooked chick peas. Small chopped up tomatoes and cukes, onion and chickpeas. Drizzle good quality olive oil and lemon juice. Salt and pepper. Delicious!

My #Vegan Journey (Day 1 of 90)

"vegan slogan"

Welcome to my blog. If you’re contemplating adopting a vegan lifestyle, but are facing some of the same challenges as I am, I hope my journey will help you combat some of the uncertainties. I will start by writing that my motivating factor to adopting a totally vegan lifestyle is a moral/ethical one. It is based solely on my love and compassion for animals. All animals! For many years, I was a vegetarian on-and-off. I would eat fish, justifying that because of some challenging health issues, I needed the protein.

I would spend a month at a time eating and drinking only raw foods (which consisted only of fruit and vegetables), yet I’d still go out of the house rocking a Prada handbag and Louboutin shoes. Quite the hypocrite (I know, I know!).

I face the following challenges in my quest to adopting and sticking to totally vegan lifestyle (maybe some of you can relate):

  1. My penchant of high-end designer shoes and handbags (and if I can afford it, clothes). This probably comes off as superficial (and maybe it is), but I don’t think of it as that. I live and work in Miami. In my line of business, both in marketing and real estate, dernier cri  works symbiotically with one’s professional skills. Plus, I really do love fashion, and love to accessorize high-end items with inexpensive clothes.  Though when I am not out meeting with clients, my go to outfit (or as my mother refers to it– my uniform) is a t-shirt and sweat pants (totally vegan, but not conducive for work). I have to be honest though, nothing made me feel better after a bad health day, than a fabulous handbag to add to my collection. (I’ll be searching out alternatives and posting them).
  2. A combination of a debilitating health issue (I’ve suffered from for the last twenty years), glucose intolerance and hypothyroidism. I mention this, because, I’ve spent the majority of my life either in severe pain, or feeling very sluggish. Protein has always been an issue. The first thing you think of as a vegetarian or a vegan (well at least I did) is how will I consume a sufficient amount of protein?! After at least a dozen surgeries, chemotherapy, and battles with extreme weight gain and then weight loss, diet of one kind or another somehow always seems to be at the center of my life. It’s all-encompassing, to be quite honest.

While I’ve gone on juicing fasts for up to 60 days at a time, I found myself craving protein. After years of research and experimenting as a vegetarian (and finding out that I feel much better eating gluten-free meals), I am not a big fan of anything soy related. I don’t think it’s that healthy for me. I put on weight eating heavily soy based meals. I feel my sugar fluctuated too much, and I just did not feel great eating it. So…. soy based foods will more than likely not be included in most of my meals.

So, my menu for today was:

Breakfast:

  • Tea and fresh mint
  • Fresh carrot juice

Lunch & Mid Day Snack:

  • Fresh cut up banana and blueberries, topped with a raw cashew creamy milk base (I blended two handfuls of raw cashews in about a cup of filtered water, used half on my fruit, and kept the other half in the fridge for tomorrow)

Dinner (Because it was a very late dinner, I tried to keep it as light as possible):

  • Fresh cut up salad (organic lettuce, tomatoes, red onion and a little corn), drizzled with olive oil, fresh organic lemon juice, salt and pepper
  • Baked potato wedges, drizzled with same dressing as salad above (I was craving carbs)

I loved every bite of each meal I had. I felt satisfied, and felt refreshed throughout the entire day.

I think for me, as an animal lover, as a person who has spent the last 18 years of my life rescuing sick, abused and abandoned cats and dogs (and some farm animals too), I have finally had the guts to stare at myself in the mirror, and call my hypocrisy out! I saw a beautiful picture of a cow asking a dog, why do they choose to love you, but not me? What is the difference between a cow, or a pig, or a dog? Nothing! They are all intelligent beings. All have souls. They all have a nervous system, they all feel pain. They all feel fear. Every time I rock a designer handbag, I am doing it at the horrific cost of an animal’s life. Every time I cooked meat while entertaining guests (even though I was a vegetarian), my guests feasted on delicious menus, while the cows and chickens I fed them were slaughtered in the most inhumane ways.

It is for the above reasons that I have decided to stop being part of the problem. To face myself in the mirror, call myself out for the vegetarian impostor I was, and decide to live a more moral and ethical lifestyle. Though something tells me that although road to this vegan journey will start off on the path of morality, I will eventually end up on the path of a spiritually fulfilled adventure.

One final thought…. I do not plan on ever being one of those animal rights/vegan advocates (not that I ever was) that judges others for their choices, or calls them out on it. This blog documentation of my path to veganism is meant solely to be a supportive guide for others thinking of following a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.

Thanks for reading this, and I look forward to your comments and SUPPORT!

— Anabelle