Book Review: Vegan Cooking at Home

When I reviewed Samantha Shorkey’s  Jacked on the Beanstalk: Plant Based Fuel for Vegan Athletes, I mentioned Samantha was a part of The Vegan Project, a blog dedicated to the journey of adopting a vegan lifestyle. Samantha, along with her blog mates Bridget Burns (author) and Jennifer Boyle (co-author and co-founder of The Vegan Project), and a bunch of other contributors, put together an eBook collection of some of their favorite home-cooked, vegan recipes.

According to Bridget:

About This Book

I’ve been eating vegan for almost four years, and I’ve rarely felt deprived. How do I do
it? I make sure I’m set up with the ingredients and tools to have food that I can eat on
hand, always.

The following recipes have been designed with ease in mind and I’ve relied on them
many times over the years. We have a term for it around here – home food. It’s not
something you’d entertain with, but it’s something you eat often in the comfort of your
own home…so simple, yet so good.

In this book you’ll also find tips for choosing healthier foods, a seven-day meal plan, a
guide to vegan snacks, and a shopping list – everything you need for successful and
delicious vegan cooking at home!

Vegan Cooking at Home: Plant Based Eating Made Easy offers tips for weekly shopping and big batch cooking, recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and sample meal plans. With recipes like Tofu Scramble (Who can’t use another tofu scramble recipe? I’m always on the lookout for a new twist on mine!), Kale Caesar salad (Helllloooo Kale!), Tempeh Tacos (mmmm….tacos….), this ittle book is a hit. And, at about $12US, it’s a good value, too. (Or, you can buy the combo pack, a copy of Vegan Cooking at Home and Jacked on the Beanstalk, for a significant savings.)

Book Review: Jacked on the Beanstalk

Over the past few months, I’ve become more interested in athletic conditioning/bodybuilding and the “proper” vegan diet for hard core athletes. And although I’m finding there is no perfect or proper diet (but there are endless arguments about it), I thought I’d continue with the theme of my last post and asked Samantha Shorkey of Jacked on the Beanstalk and The Vegan Project for a chance to review her latest eBook, Jacked on the Beanstalk: Plant Based Fuel for Vegan Athletes. Samantha is a vegan athlete and bodybuilder/bikini competitor. She knows vegans can rock the stage and has the first place victories to prove it.

Here’s a blurb about the book (in Samantha’s words):


Welcome to the very first “Jacked on the Beanstalk” recipe e-book for vegan athletes!  It’s pretty cool that
more and more vegans are competing and excelling in professional sports—proving just how fit and
JACKED we plant-eaters can be!

For those who don’t know me, I’m just a regular ol’ vegan girl who recently won first place in my first-ever
bodybuilding competition (bikini division) in British Columbia, Canada.  I demonstrated that you don’t have
to eat meat, eggs or any animal product to build lean muscle.

I’m very excited to share this recipe e-book that The Vegan Project and I had such a blast working on.  
Jacked on the Beanstalk is not necessarily geared toward vegan bodybuilders or bikini competitors but
rather anyone looking to lose weight, gain muscle and fuel intense training sessions on a whole food, plant-based diet.

Jacked on the Beanstalk offers readers clean and simple meals that can be made in big batches to keep even the busiest vegan athlete on track all week. Starting off right with a list of the top 10 foods for vegan athletes (hellllloooo oats!) and ending with a sample, a glimpse at a hearty, vegan athlete meal plan, this handy little eBook offered recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner: everything from protein pancakes to tofu mushroom stir fry – two of my personal favs! Oh, and did I mention the desserts? What? You thought vegan athletes didn’t eat dessert? Well, my friends, you thought wrong. How about black bean brownies, raw fruit pie or carrot cake balls? Sounds good to me!

If you’re interested in boosting your athletic performance through your vegan diet, check out Jacked On the Beanstalk. It’s worth the minimal investment (about $12 US).


Guest Post: Mattie Attends the Austin Naturally Fit Super Show

Hello, Everyone! Today I have a real treat for you…a guest post! Mattie Hernandez Horsley from Mattie’s Raw Fitness Beauty is sharing her experience at the recent Austin Naturally Fit Super Show. Enjoy!

Vegan & Bodybuilding…Is it really an Oxymoron???

On July 26 and 27, the city of Austin and the Naturally Fit Super Show were taken over by 15 Vegan competitors as they took the stage to prove that muscle can definitely be built on a vegan diet.  The Plant Built Muscle Team was started in 2012 by Giacomo Marchese and Dani Taylor in order to bring Vegan Athletes together to compete in one location and to make a statement about the vegan lifestyle.  Their vision came to fruition as the 15 competitors placed in 5 out of the 7 categories in the competition.  The overall male and female winners were both from the Plant Built Muscle Team.  It was really exciting to watch all the vegan muscle on stage and to see the victories at the end of the show.

I participated in the event as a spectator and supporter of the team.  After meeting many of these athletes on Facebook and hearing about this show that was going to take place close to where I live, I made plans to attend this history making event.  I was privileged to be able to be behind the scenes and hang out with the team as they prepared and competed over the weekend.  I was able to observe the preparations prior to the competition and also talk to a few of the athletes about their diets and how they trained for the show.  As far as diet , some of the most popular foods I observed them eating were things such as sweet potato, tofu, brown rice cakes, almond butter, grapefruit, and green smoothies.  The athletes were limiting their water intake in order to get the shredded look [from dehydration].  After 2 days of competition, the winners were announced and the vegan athletes took many of the top spots.  One of the things I found interesting was when the announcer would state which competitors were part of the vegan team…there were many!  I believe the vegan team had the biggest fan support there as well; you could hear loud cheers every time a vegan competitor went on stage.  Another highlight of the weekend was the opportunity to finally meet Robert Cheek, author of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness and owner of the website.  Robert has been travelling for years spreading the word on vegan bodybuilding, and he has been a great voice for promoting the vegan lifestyle.

Each competitor had their unique style of training and diet.  For the females, the average calorie intake was from 1600-1800 with a special diet closer to competition in order the decrease body fat.  Some athletes used supplements and others chose not to use them. Plant Fusion was a sponsor for the team, so the athletes were provided with Plant Fusion Protein powder to help them in their training.  As far as the length of training to prepare for the show, some trained for many months, and one competitor only had 12 weeks to train.  Many of the athletes hired trainers, nutritionist, and posing coaches while others did it all on their own.  Regardless of training style and diet, the competitors came together in the end to rock the stage and show off their plant built muscle.

Although the show was very exciting to watch, the best part was after the competition was over.  Immediately after all the winners were announced, the entire team came back to the  and Plant Fusion booths where vegan cupcakes and cheesecake were waiting for them from Capital City Bakery (a local vegan bakery).  I was able to get a taste of the cupcakes, and they were so delicious and moist, it was like heaven in your mouth.  It was entertaining to watch the athletes pig out on the vegan goodies as people walked by the booth in shock as they watched these athletes slam down these vegan sweets.  That evening we all headed out to Arlo’s Food Truck to enjoy their famous vegan bacon cheeseburgers.  There were so many of us that they had to shut down because they ran out of food.  From the food truck, we then ventured over to Sweet Rituals Ice Cream shop, where we indulged in vegan ice cream and waffle cones.  I observed one of the competitors eat five scoops of ice cream and two waffle cones, while another athlete ate an ice cream sundae, two scoops of ice cream and a brownie.  It was amazing to see how much food these athletes could put away.  I could only manage one scoop of ice cream and a waffle cone.  I guess after many months on a strict competition diet, these athletes deserved a pig-out session.

This event was a great experience for me as a fitness professional in a field that has been controlled mainly by “meat eaters.”  It was great to see vegan athletes begin to take their place in the competitive world of bodybuilding.  The vision of Giacomo and Dani is to grow the Plant Built Muscle Team to include other competitive sports until vegan athletes begin to take over.  They have stated they will begin the application process  in September  for any vegan athletes interested in competing next year.

Overall, my weekend experience was something I will always remember.  It was a start of many great things to come for vegan athletes.  These 15 athletes set the standard of greatness for all upcoming vegan athletes to follow.

As the athletes stated, “The only thing they killed was the stage!”


torre washington

Torre Washington


trishia andmindy

Trisha & Mindy

dani and clients

Dani & Clients



ice cream

Vegan Ice Cream Treats After the Show






pam and guys

Pam & the Guys






Product Review: Daiya Pizza

I tried Daiya pizza…and it was OK. I wouldn’t buy it again, considering it was $10, but It tasted OK.


I kept reading about how awesome this product was, so when I saw it at my favorite Whole Foods last week, I went ahead and picked up the Fire Roasted Veggie variety.

The box was pretty big. It didn’t fit very well in my small freezer. Luckily, It wasn’t in there long, so that was only minimally annoying. The biggest problem I had with this product was the cooking instructions.


500 degree…really?! The box says to cook the pizza either on a cookie sheet or on the oven rack at 500F for 20-24 minutes. Um…ok….that’s as high as my oven goes, and I was under the impression that was the broil option, and broiling is usually a pretty short process, so I was more than skeptical these directions were correct. Thankfully, I checked the pizza after 10 minutes, and the edges were already starting to burn. But, as is the case with really high heat, the center was barely warm. Not surprised.


I went ahead and took the pizza out of the oven and let it sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to help disperse the heat towards the middle of the pizza. It tasted OK – warm in the middle but not crispy like the outside pieces. I topped half of the pizza with nutritional yeast. I also jazzed up the pizza with salt, pepper, dried oregano, basil and fennel.

The nutritional profile of the pizza isn’t great either, but it is Daiya – not exactly health food.



My overall opinion is to save your money. Buy a bag of Daiya, if that’s you’re thing, and add your own toppings to your favorite crust. If you don’t have a favorite crust, try the prepared crusts from Trader Joe’s; they’re cheap and tasty! (They don’t have a gluten free variety yet. Bummer.)

Review: Beyond Meat

Have you heard of Beyond Meat?


Beyond Meat is the newest plant-based animal protein replacement to hit the market. It’s a relatively new product (as far as consumer products go) and as recently as this year became available nationwide (after starting on the West coast). Made from a variety of plant-based proteins, Beyond Meat has received high accolades for its resemblance to animal protein in both flavor and texture.

I wasn’t impressed.


I’m always leery of fake meat products. I chose to adopt a plant-based diet to get away from animal products, so I’m a little freaked out by products that try to imitate the very foods I left behind. Luckily, very few faux meat products resemble their counterparts, so the occasional meat analogue isn’t a big deal (except for a weird McRib type sandwich I refused to eat once because I swore it was real).  Additionally, I’m usually hope very happy with the ingredients lists of most of the processed plant-based meat products; Beyond Meat was not exception.

I was a little excited to see Beyond Meat at the Whole Foods I go to in Dublin, Ohio. I’d heard such great things. And, at just under $6 for four servings (pretty big ones), I thought the value was OK. What I didn’t like were the ingredients. They almost deterred me from purchasing the product. The second ingredient is isolated soy protein. Ugh. (The first ingredient is water.) The package does reassure consumers the soy is non-GMO, which is good, but still, soy protein isolates? Oy! The very thing that gives soy a bad name, and BAM, there is it. Among the remaining list if ingredients (which isn’t short, by the way) is a HUGE chemical I’ve been going out of my way to avoid – titanium dioxide. Seriously? Why is an ingredient in caulking in my food?!?!

Even if this product didn’t contain questionable ingredients, I wouldn’t buy it again. The “Grilled” flavor wasn’t appealing in taste or texture, and barely ate any of it. What a waste.

Save your money and don’t even bother trying Beyond Meat. You can make an amazing meat substitute with tofu – a much less processed soy product. Or, mash up some beans, a binder and a little something to dry everything, and BAM, you’ve got a veggie burger. (I have a few burger recipes on the blog; do a search.)


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Juicy July: Juicy Resources

No, you didn’t miss-read the title of this blog, and no, you didn’t go back in time. I’m finally getting around to posting my final Juicy July post. Why so late? Well, you know, L.I.F.E. Ugh.

Moving to a new state required us to look at and buy a house in one day. Two days later, I woke up with a abscess on one of my wisdom teeth. This, fortunately, didn’t stop me from visiting a local amusement park (Cedar Point – Ever heard of it?), and either the pain got better or the excitement/slamming around on the rides made me forget about the pain because it wasn’t on my mind at all that night…until 230 in the morning. Needless to say, I was at the dentist by 9 a.m. on Monday, and I’ve been sucking down antibiotics and pain kills ever since. Yup. Meds. Sometimes I take meds. I’m all about the salt water rinse and sipping green juice, but sometimes that’s not enough. So, here I am, still in pain, barely able to open my mouth, refraining my usual workout routine, and finally catching up on blogging.

Juicing Resources

There are tons of free and inexpensive resources for your juicing adventures, and I highly suggest your consult a few before and during your juicing adventures. As I mentioned before, my first go at juicing was a major fail, and I didn’t come back to it for quite some time. I also made some major taste mistakes by trying to drink just one fruit or veggie juice straight (without other flavors added) and by throwing whatever I had in the fridge into the juicer and expecting delicious juice to result. It did not.

Fitlife.TV : Drew and his friends run this awesome website/YouTube channel and give their readers/views new juice ideas and inspiration a few times a week. They also have a Facebook Page (and maybe more social media outlets, but I only follow their FB page). They have a program you can sign up for, but you don’t need to do that to get the free recipes. Be sure to follow their YouTube channel for lots of interesting videos. (Note: Fitlife.TV is NOT vegan.)

RawRawLife : Carla has been juicing and juice fasting for years and offers a variety of juice recipes, tips and tricks on her website via written blog posts and videos. She just did a long juice fast after having a baby in the late spring, so her most recent videos relate to that. She also has a juicing recipe ebook and smoothie recipes ebook that are both really inexpensive. (I have both and really like them.)

Rawganic Vegan : Liana runs this Facebook page and offers a lot of nutrition and life advice, but she also posts tons of juice and smoothie recipes. If you’re looking for a guided juice fast, she sells one for $20 that includes a parasite cleans. (I have this, and although I have not tried it, I think it’s a really good deal for the information you get.)

Jay Kordich : a.k.a. The Father Juicing. Jay and his team (usually his wife, but sometimes his daughter) post tons of juicing recipes and other juicing related information on their YouTube Channel and Facebook page. Their website seems to be more of a sales page than anything else. (Jay his is own juicer.)

Amazon : Amazon? Really? How is that a free or inexpensive resource? Well, if you keep your eyes open for those free Kindle compatible books, juicing books are offered up all of the time. Don’t have a Kindle? Me either, so I downloaded the Kindle app to my iPhone, and now I have hundreds of free books on there. You can also access this via the Cloud on your PC, tablet or iPad, or MAC. [There are 6 free Kindle books related to juicing or smoothies listed as of this publication.]

And many, many more…


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