Vegan at Heart

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Secrets of a Busy Single Vegan Mom
05 Oct 2011

Dear Vegan at Heart,

Her name is Dr. Ellen Mausner by day and Ellen Orchid by night. She's a single mom/psychiatrist/stand up comic and playwright, so she has no time to cook. And she's one of the three charming and hilarious subjects of my film, Vegucated. This photo was taken before we put her on a vegan diet for six weeks and blew her mind with all there is to know about veganism. Back then, her fridge was packed with dairy and meat foods that were easy peasy to prepare. Since the experiment, she's lost over ten pounds, and her cholesterol is perfect. Most importantly, she has tons of energy and feels great.

How does she manage to maintain a healthy vegan diet while juggling so much? This week your mission is to read how she does it and see if you can integrate any of her ideas into your busy lifestyle.

1)  I buy large bags of frozen chopped spinach and frozen broccoli, which I keep in the freezer, and I add them to stir-fries and they cook up quickly.  I also add them to soups and stews to add nutrition and texture. 
2)  I have found a lot of prepared vegan meals that I can quickly microwave. For example, I love Indian food, and I have found a number of supermarkets and even [drug store] Duane Reade that have a good selection of Indian meals that just need to be microwaved for a few minutes.  There are quite a few vegetarian dishes in the Indian cuisine, with spinach, chickpeas, or lentils, which are nicely seasoned.  I'll microwave one (only 2 minutes!) and then add in some chopped frozen spinach or broccoli to jazz it up.
3)  I will add grains such as quinoa or brown rice to soups, such as a can of pea soup or black-bean soup, to add thickness and make it more of a stew.  I might throw in some chopped tomatoes too.  I find it easy to extend a soup into a very filling and healthy meal.

4)  I bought bottles of teriyaki sauce and soy sauce, and a marinade of Asian ginger-sesame sauce, and I keep them in the fridge.  I buy packs of tofu and cut up a handful of cubes, put it in the pan, pour on whichever sauce I'm in the mood for, and then add a handful of frozen spinach or broccoli, and I'll make a large amount of rice in advance which I keep in the fridge, and I add a handful of that which makes it easy to put together a decent meal.

5)  I found some prepared salads in the supermarket which include a pack of salad dressing and a pack of croutons, for example, which make it easy to serve a salad quickly.  [My daughter] Debbie likes to buy packets of salad greens, a separate container of grape tomatoes, and a bottle of balsamic vinaigrette, a can of chickpeas and put together her own salad.  She makes a large portion that'll last 3 days or so, and then uses a tupperware container to take a portion to school.  So, we found that cooking rice in large quantities in advance or making large quantities of salad in advance helps us save time on a busy day.

6)  Another thing I do to consume more fruit - e.g. apples or peaches- is sometimes I will cut them up and add them to a stir-fry.  It's unusual to have a cooked apple with a teriyaki sauce in a stir-fry but it adds interest and variety.

That actually doesn't sound bad at all. Hope you find these helpful. If so, leave a comment and let her know!

Peace on your plate,





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