I am delighted to have been asked to take part in a special blog event happening place today across the US and Canada for FARM Animal Right's Great American Meatout, a campaign with a goal to expose 20,000 new people to plant-based foods. They are almost at 18,500!
Inspiration for New Whole Plant Enthusiasts for FARM
A few weeks ago, I received a message from Oddin Helgason, who attended one of my classes with his girlfriend Erin approximately a year ago. When they walked in, they asked me what type of fish we would be making. When I found out Odinn is a well experienced hobby chef that loved to cook with meat and cheese, I was not sure if they would enjoy my whole plant approach. To my surprise, they were more than enthusiastic and even went out half way through the class to bring back some wine.
Above: A picture of one of Odinn's favourite plant-based recipes, Mock Tuna Salad. Recipe below.
To celebrate FARM's campaign for reaching new people to make positive change in the world, I thought there would be no better way than to interview Odinn, a new plant-based whole food enthusiast. Below he shares his experiences and one of his favourite recipe's for Mock Tuna Salad. Please meet Odinn and enjoy!
Odinn Helgason, Project and Marketing Manager for Franklin Coatings Ltd.
Odinn LOVES...his girlfriend Erin, Cooking, Traveling and Almonds
What inspired you to change your diet?
Odinn: The number one reason is for my health At 6’3” 245lbs I felt very over weight. Years of yo-yo dieting had taken its tollon my health and my well being.Something was not right about how and what I was eating. After reading about
the benefits of a vegan diet and seeing it in my girlfriend Erin, (already vegan for 6 months at this time) I decided to take eating vegan seriously and adopt this much more conscience eating to my lifestyle.
How are you feeling with your lifestyle change?
Odinn: I feel healthier. Almost all aspects of my life seem improved. Better sleep, never feel bloated, abundant energy, all which give me a more positive outlook on life. In general, I feel that food just tastes better, and I know that it is better for me.
I also removed caffeine from my system. I never get the crashes from the caffeine filled so-called “energy” drinks redbull/ monster etc. I have more energy without these types of stimulants.
What are some challenges you have experienced as a new vegan?
Odinn: To be honest, it has not been too much trouble changing from a meat/ dairy eater to a vegan. I already cook the majority of my meals form scratch, and had been cooking for my girlfriend for the last 6 months, so I already knew what I was getting into. If there is a challenge, it will be when I work out of town and I am away from my kitchen. I have even gone to the trouble of bringing my own hotplate out to ensure I have a nutrition and balanced diet while working on the road.
I am curious! Did my class inspire you to make lifestyle changes?
Odinn: Julie, you definitely gave me my first lesson (eye opener) that vegan food can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. As an avid meat-eating amateur chef, I had a great time being introduced to food items that I had really little knowledge of. You helped me overcome my initial intimidation, and respect vegan cuisine for the beauty that it is. Reading your blog after the initial class has been inspiring and rewarding. Many of your Whole Foods suggestions and various other recipes have been very helpful in allowing me to enjoy my vegan lifestyle and add variety to my cuisine. Thank you Julie!
What are your favourite whole vegan food flavour combinations?
(pssst...this is the Secret for Delicious Inspiration of Everyday Healthy)
(1) Mixing many different spices with saiten. Cumin / onion powder / fresh garlic / black pepper
(2) Miso paste / Braggs liquid aminos / peanut butter / lime juice
What are your favourite health/ vegan resources (books, websites etc..)
The Happy Herbivore (Book and Website)
VeganYumYum (Book and Website)
I asked Odinn to share one of his favourite plant-based recipes. I was delighted that he chose this one, as it offer alternatives to those who are new to plant-based foods and crave the taste of meat or fish.
Mock Tuna Salad (Erin’s Favourite)
Taken from the book – The Happy Herbivore (see picture above)
15 ounces chickpeas, drained and rinsed
•2 whole celery stalks
•2 tbsp relish (dill pickle)
•½ tsp onion flakes
•2 tsp nutritional yeast
•1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
•2 tbsp vegan mayo (fat-free)
•½ tsp kelp powder
In a large mixing bowl, mash chickpeas with a fork until coarse and no whole beans are
left. Alternatively, pulse beans in a food processor a few times -- careful not to puree,
and transfer to a mixing bowl. Shred celery with a cheese grater or pulse a few times in
a food processor. Transfer to the mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients, stirring to
combine. Add more vegan mayo and/or kelp as necessary or desired and black pepper
You can also add a light squirt of lemon juice for added flavor or some sliced dill pickles.
Thank you Odinn!
of Everyday Healthy and Get the GLOW!