This is the third week of the Merry-Go-Veggie-Kids Summer 2014 event. In case you've missed the previous weeks of this event, here's a little recap - the Merry-Go-Veggie-Kids Summer 2014 a virtual event featuring a few blogging friends who are sharing with us their kid-friendly recipes, tips and pieces of advice. We hope you will be inspired by what our blogging friends have to say and their delicious recipes.
This week's featured blogger is Helyn of Helyn's Healthy Kitchen. Helyn, as I came to know when I stumbled upon her blog, follows a Nutritarian diet. If you are like me and had never before come across the term, here's a little description:
A Nutritarian diet focuses on food choices that maximize the micronutrients per calorie. A Nutritarian diet is designed with food that has powerful disease-protecting and therapeutic effects and delivers a broad array of micronutrients via a wide spectrum of food choices. The Nutritarian diet may not necessarily be vegan but since plant-based foods surpass animal-based food by far in terms of their micronutrient per calorie, plants are usually favoured. The foods with the highest micronutrient per calorie scores are green vegetables, colorful vegetables, and fresh fruits. The term Nutritarian was coined by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
That's interesting to know as I couldn't agree more with Helyn when she says on her blog "Just because it's vegan, doesn't mean it's healthy!". So, let's get to know Helyn a little bit more.
1. When did you begin your blog, and what inspired you to start it?
I started Helyn's Healthy Kitchen in late 2012. I got so excited about my weight loss and the health benefits that I was experiencing on a plant-based diet, that I wanted to start sharing some recipes. It took off like a rocket!
2. You said that you love sharing delicious and healthy vegan recipes, can you explain why you chose a vegan lifestyle?
I originally chose a vegan lifestyle for health reasons. My weight was up, as was my blood pressure. I had some blood work done and found that my triglycerides were also quite high. Now that I have been vegan for over 2 years, I have also become more aware of the horrific abuse that factory farm animals endure both on the feed lots and in the slaughterhouse. Then there is the negative impact that factory farming has on our environment. So now I am vegan for all of those reasons.
3. How long did it take you to become fully adapted to a vegan lifestyle, what has been the most challenging part?
It took about 2 months to where I was not craving fats and oils and other junk food. I didn't have too much trouble giving up meat because I was never really a meat and potatoes kind of person. Butter was the hardest for me to eliminate. Now, if I eat those kinds of foods, they don't taste good to me anymore! :)
4. What impact has the vegan diet had on your health?
40 pounds dropped with ease. Blood pressure lowered to normal. Triglycerides dropped to below "average." I also sleep better, my skin is smoother my hair is thicker and I have more energy.
5. How do people respond when you tell them you are vegan?
People are more responsive now than ever about healthy eating/living choices. Most people are curious about what I eat and I'm happy to share with them my plant-based recipes and adventures!
6. What advice do you have for vegans mums or parents looking to make the change to a vegan lifestyle?
Start slowly. Children are such creatures of habit. Introduce foods that are fun/look fun and transition with things that they already like, such as mac & cheese. There are many vegan versions of mac & cheese floating around the web that are really yummy.
7. What type of vegetable dishes have you found to be most successful with children?
As I mentioned, start with things they already like... If your child likes cereal, try a homemade granola with healthy nuts, seeds and fruits. Pizza can be a good choice (what kid doesn't love pizza?) because you can load it up with veggies and use just a small amount of vegan cheese like Daiya brand. And let them help to prepare the food. That's KEY!! Kids love to help and when they help to create their own, fun meals, they are more likely to eat them. Visual appeal is also super important with kids. Make the foods look bright and fun!
½ cup tamari or other low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp liquid smoke
TIP: use a quart sized mason jar to marinate the carrots, standing them on end. This way they will be evenly submerged. The jar will fit about 10 carrots.
To make the carrot dogs, simply cut the carrots into the length of a usual hot dog, then using a veggie peeler, shape each end so it's rounded. Then par boil them until a fork can pierce the carrot easily but not all the way to the center (about 10-15 minutes). Remove them from the water, pat them dry and soak in the marinade overnight. Then bake or grill until tender and top with your favorite condiments!
Thank you Helyn. Carrot dogs sound wonderful! By the way, check out the recipe for the spelt buns that Helyn has used in this recipe on her blog.
Connect with Helyn
Helyn's Kitchen Blog
Visit the Merry-Go-Veggie-Kids Summer 2014 event main page for updates on participating guest bloggers every week until August 2014.
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