If you think eating vegan or vegetarian simply means chomping on raw carrot sticks or eating only beans, then think again. Need proof? Well, although not entirely vegetarian anymore, I was raised a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian and the food my mother made was hearty, delicious and would satisfy both vegan and vegetarian dietary needs!
Theres no doubt that everyone had heard about vegetarians but the idea of vegans is not something that a lot of us have heard about until pretty recent times. Some might ask….has the word vegetarian simply been shortened to vegan? Or is it something completely different? This is not the case at all as there are some pretty big differences between a vegan and a vegetarian.
Are There Differences Between eating Vegan & being Vegetarian?
A vegetarian will exclude meat, poultry and seafood from their diets but for the most part they will continue to eat dairy products and eggs. However, some vegetarians will eliminate all dairy products and eggs but will still use produce derived from animals or tested on animals. There are many different types of Vegetarians. There are Lacto Ovo Vegetarians, Lacto Vegetarians, Ovo-Vegetarian, Demi-Vegetarian and the Semi-Vegetarian.
Vegans, however, do not include any animal products at all in their diets….this even includes honey and anything else that might have been made from animal products or has been tested on animals. There are also many different types of Vegans. I won’t go into explanations of each but there are the Paleo Vegans and the Raw Vegan.
I’ve included one of my favourite childhood recipes that would meet the nutritional needs of both vegans and vegetarians. My mom’s Lentil soup was quite possibly the least interesting sounding soup on the planet but once you tasted it you would find that it was the most unbelievably wonderful, hearty, comforting simple to make soup (stew) ever experienced.
My Mom’s Lentil Soup (Stew)
- 3 tbsp oil of your choice
- 1.5 onions finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic minced very finely
- 2 large carrots, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 3 cups of dried brown lentils (make sure you rinse and then drain thoroughly
- 14 ounces of crushed tomatoes (this is optional)
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika powder
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 lemon (zest + juice)
- Salt and pepper
- garnish with fresh parsley (optional)
- Warm Bread (this is not optional)
Heat the oil in a pot, add the onions and the garlic to brown slightly
Add in the carrots and the celery. Continue cooking until softened…cook over low heat.
At this point, add all of the other ingredients except the lemon, salt and pepper.
Increase the heat and let the soup simmer. You might notice a bit of “scum” on the surface. Don’t worry, just scoop it off and throw away (continue doing this if needed). Put the lid on the pot, turn the head down to a medium heat and allow to simmer for about 45-50 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
Thicken Soup: if the soup is a bit runny, take a cup or two and put into a blender for a little bit then transfer back into the pot.
Add a touch of water if you want to adjust soup consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Grate over the zest of the lemon then add a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving. Garnish with parsley if desired and serve with warm crusty bread slathered liberally with your favourite vegan or vegetarian margarine or butter!
Whether you’re new to vegetarianism or veganism or you’re just looking for some new meal ideas, I’ve discovered some amazing sites some of which offer full Vegan and Vegetarian cuisine and others that offer a great combination of both along with some non-vegan/vegetarian options. All are full of hearty recipes for main courses, salads, soups and more that’ll fit your needs — and make your tastebuds very happy.
At Custom Bodies Fitness and Massage we strongly advocate for our clients whole body health and wellness so more on everything health and wellness, see our Blog and follow Candis at:
- Candis Ahmad and her website at I converted for the food
- I Love Vegan
- Oh She Glows – Plant-based Nutrition