Monday, October 16, 2017

Committed or Crazy?

Finish the statement --" You know you're committed when..."

After working all day I decided to make a run to the grocery store for a couple of items I needed to restock my pantry.  To three stores actually, in another town 30 minutes from home.  Why?  Why drive that far for a couple of items?  Because they are foods we have come to enjoy as vegans but cannot find in our local grocery and discount stores.  As if being vegan isn't crazy enough, right?

Three hours later I pulled into the driveway with a trunk full of groceries and the realization that I'm not crazy, but rather committed to a lifestyle that benefits animals, the environment, and my own health.

Being vegan in a predominantly meat-eating world is not always easy or convenient. In fact, sometimes it is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and frustrating.  But at the end of the day, or at least the end of a longer than usual trip to the grocery store, how nice it is to sit down and savor a meal that is delicious, nutritious, and good for everyone!

Yes, some will call me crazy. But I like to think of myself as committed to something worthwhile and beneficial.

Copyright 2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The One Thing That Hasn't Changed

Nearly 18 months into the vegan lifestyle, I find myself distracted from some of the commitments I was so passionate about at first:  maintaining this blog, watching documentaries like they were the only genre that existed, and signing up for every animal save demonstration and veggie fest within a day's drive.  In some aspects I feel I have failed the cause, but there is one thing that hasn't changed:  my commitment to eat only plant-based foods, use cruelty-free products whenever possible, and engage in conversation about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Every now and then I dream that I have fallen off the wagon and eaten a hamburger or chicken breast, or at least been tempted to.  In those dreams I find myself reasoning that "what Joy doesn't know won't hurt her."  You see, Joy is my accountability partner in this journey, and she too remains committed to a life of meatless eating.  But I find that even in my dreams I remain true to my conviction and either decline to cheat, or feel remorseful if I do.

My reasons for remaining vegan are the same as the day I first began this journey. I love animals and find it unnecessary to kill them to feed or clothe my body. I want to be a part of the solution for climate change, not a contributor to it. And most importantly, I want to be the best me I can be -- healthy, strong, energetic, and filled with compassion toward all creatures great and small.

My dream is that others would dare to imagine that they really can beat their addiction to meat and cheese and give up animal-based products in favor of meatless alternatives, because I know that in so doing they would experience the freedom and joy of eating without guilt and the health benefits of a plant-based diet.




Copyright 2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Friday, August 11, 2017

Soy Curls: Who Knew?

Soy Curls with Cashew Milk
A few months ago Joy and I attended a vegan cooking class, where we were introduced to a delightful new food, soy curls.  Living in a vegan food dessert as we do, we have been unable to find these locally, so recently I ordered a bag of Butler Soy Curls from Amazon.com so we could try the recipe that we had been served that day.  The recipe -- Soy Curls with Cashew Milk -- made a strong first impression on us at the cooking class, and we were pleasantly surprised that we were able to duplicate and enjoy the dish at home.

First, a word about soy curls for those who don't know what they are.  Soy curls are a natural meat alternative made from soy beans. The particular brand we used, Butler's, are made from non-GMO whole soybeans grown without pesticides. Click HERE to read more about this delicious product and how soy curls are made.

Soy curls are easy to use and a versatile substitute for meat in many dishes. To prepare them for recipes, merely soak in hot water for 10 minutes, rinse, and squeeze out the excess liquid. Then season as desired or use in place of meat in your favorite dish. It's that simple. Extra soy curls not needed for your recipe can be stored in the fridge for future use. For more information on preparing them, click HERE.

Now that we've used them to make the dish above -- a sort of vegan chicken Alfredo -- we are eager to try them in stir-fry dishes and to make barbecue sandwiches! Click HERE for recipes from ButlerFoods.com.

The recipe for Soy Curls with Cashew Milk, pictured above, was adapted from the Give Them Something Better Cookbook, which we purchased at the cooking class, conducted by the director of the Hartland Lifestyle Center and students of Hartland Institute. We have provided that recipe for you and encourage you to order soy curls and try this for yourself! We served the sauce over whole wheat linguine and enjoyed every bite!

Soy Curls with Cashew Milk

Ingredients:
3 cups Soy curls
1 large onion, minced
4-6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 red bell pepper
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp. salt

Blend:
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup cashews

Directions:
1.  Soak soy curls in hot water for 10 minutes or until soft.  Drain, wash and squeeze water out of the soy curls.
2.  Saute soy curls with garlic, onion, bell pepper, and salt in a little water for about 30 minutes or until onions and bell pepper are soft.
3.  Blend cashews and water until smooth.  (NOTE:  If you are not using a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix, soak the cashews for at least an hour.)
4.  Then add the blended cashews and remove from the heat.


If you are new to plant-based eating, or if you are a seasoned pro and have never tried soy curls, you need to order a bag (or several) and give them a try!




Copyright 2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Friday, July 28, 2017

In My Dreams

There are times when we will dream something, and when we wake up we've forgotten what it was we dreamed about.  This is not the case for what I dreamed about last night.

It was sort of a strange dream, and for once, I felt like I was in the center, or focus, of the dream. In the dream, I was vocal, very emotional, and had my struggles. And it all started when a huge (way bigger than a normal sized seal) seal washed up on a beach....

People instantly started flocking to the seal, which was alive I might add. I was stunned, but quickly started to say "no, no, no..." Next thing I know, I'm running to get to the seal. I quickly stepped up for the seal, protecting it from the crowd of onlookers. The crowd of people wanted to do something to the seal. They didn't want to help it return to the ocean, but use the seal for their own personal gain.

I believe dusk had fallen when I gave my big, emotional speech in an effort to persuade the people to save the seal. I'm a quiet person, but in my dream, while giving the speech, I was loud, vocal, emotional, and there was such a passion in my voice. I remember talking about how humans mistreat all kinds of animals for their own selfish reasons.

I think the next thing I did in the dream was start researching and looking at maps. I had to find the right channel/area of water in order to get the seal back to the ocean. I was trying so hard to figure out how to return this seal to the ocean. Eventually, my mother came to me and said that it just wasn't going to happen. It looked like there was no hope, or way, of returning the seal to the ocean. I became so sad and disappointed. Tears started to flow from my eyes.

The next thing I know, I'm on the beach at the seal's side. A look of sadness and anguish was upon the animal's face. I was trying to comfort the seal, and I was most likely crying as well. In truth, I don't know if the seal ever made it back to the ocean. But I believe I saw it swimming in the water. At the end of the dream I think I was happy and had a sense of accomplishment. This leads me to believe the seal returned to the place where it belonged, the sea.

            I think I dreamed this because yesterday I thought about a painting I want to create. One of the most emotional and heart-wrenching acts of animal cruelty I've seen on video is seal hunting. A man going after a baby seal with a club, while the mother seal chases behind the man. The mother seal sniffing the bloody carcass of her pup after it's been clubbed and it's skin has been peeled right off. I really want to create a painting of this because it's been on my mind for so long now. Hopefully one day I will.

"Human beings are great in their own eyes, but are not much in the eyes of nature.   -- Kensho Furuya"
           
          ~ Joy





Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Unbearable

Unbearable.  It is a word often associated with oppression, sorrow, abuse, and burdens too heavy to bear. It is a word frequently used to describe adverse circumstances beyond our control or the stress inflicted upon us by others. What does the word "unbearable" bring to your mind?

As we continue to deal with the effects of a brutal summer heat wave my thoughts are drawn to the truckloads of pigs being hauled in extreme weather conditions to slaughter houses where they will be inhumanely killed to become bacon, pork chops, picnic shoulders, and sausages. Spending their short lives in deplorable conditions on factory farms, deprived of sunshine, fresh air, and the feel of grass beneath their hooves, these abused and fearful creatures will be slaughtered, cut into pieces, shrink wrapped onto Styrofoam trays, and arranged neatly in supermarket meat refrigerators. Humans who know nothing of their suffering or the capacity of these pigs to feel fear, will purchase their body parts and consume them without ever considering the price these creatures paid to satisfy man's appetite. Because we have been conditioned to accept this injustice as "normal," we are slow to accept responsibility for the unbearable plight we have subjected these pigs to, all because we view them as objects rather than the intelligent and sentient beings they are.

A similar fate plays out in the lives of many species of animals every day -- chickens, cows, fish, goats, sheep, bison, elk , deer -- animals killed to feed and clothe humanity, or hunted to satisfy man's pride.  We take their lives unnecessarily and without hesitation, never truly considering their rights or feelings, or recognizing that there are options that don't involve their destruction.

Nearly as unbearable as this image of pigs headed to slaughter is the thought that I have personally been responsible for the deaths of countless animals in my fifty plus years on this earth. For most of my life I, too, thought of farmed animals as nothing more than cartons of eggs or packages of bacon, to be purchased and enjoyed because that was my right. I viewed them differently from my domesticated pets or the animals on display at the zoo.  As a professing animal lover like you, I would never think of consuming a dog or cat. But is there really any difference between our family pets and farmed animals that are raised for food?

In 2016 my eyes were opened to the horrors of factory farming, the inhumane treatment of animals, and the destructive effects on our environment as a result of raising animals for human consumption. For decades, I bought into the lies that consuming the flesh and fluid of animals was necessary to ensure proper nutrition and good health, and the enjoyment of holidays and special occasions. Struggling with lifelong obesity, high cholesterol, and chronic acid reflux, I made the switch to a plant-based diet for my own health, animal welfare, and concern for the environment. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Perhaps the greatest struggle I have faced in this journey is my inability to persuade those I love most to change lifelong habits and switch to a plant-based diet. Despite my weight loss, improved cholesterol numbers, and reversal of my digestive issues as proof of the benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet. I find it difficult to comprehend that so many of the people I know choose to eat meat and suffer chronic health issues that could be drastically improved by making the switch and leaving meat off their plates.

Two of the greatest blessings I have experienced on this journey are meeting other vegans and actively supporting the work of organizations like Smithfield Pig Save and Ziggy's Refuge Farm Sanctuary.  Smithfield Pig Save works tirelessly to raise awareness of the plight of farmed animals -- pigs, in particular -- and Ziggy's Refuge provides a happy ending and forever home to farm animals that have been abused, neglected, and rescued from slaughterhouses.

If you are straddling the fence, wondering if you can give up cheese or bacon in favor of fruits and veggies, visit a farm sanctuary and hug a pig or talk to a turkey. Once you meet and interact with these animals, you will be less inclined to eat them.

I am sure I will continue to experience ridicule and rejection for adopting a vegan lifestyle, but I will never apologize for my decision to educate others and fight for the animals who have no voice. They are worth the fight. So is our planet. So are you.

Pressing on for peace, health, and compassion,

Dee Dee


Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Be the Change

Life has been so busy lately that I haven't had much time to reflect on all that has been going on, nurture my dreams, or give myself to the causes that matter most to me. Like you, I feel each day passes more quickly than the one before and I am robbed of the opportunity to work for positive change. As much as I love to write I find it difficult to carve out the time necessary to do so. Between working, running a household, and squeezing in my daily quiet time and workout there isn't time to do much else.  Every now and then I find it necessary to permit myself to simply exist instead of pushing myself to do more.

But all is not lost. Even though we may feel stretched beyond our limits we can do more simply by living according to our convictions. For instance, although I might not have the time or resources to more fully participate in the vegan causes near and dear to my heart I can donate money and at least eat and live to promote a more compassionate and healthy lifestyle. On those days when I cannot find the time to exercise I can at least eat nutritiously. Though I cannot change the government's stance on climate change or the animal abuse and pollution rampant in factory farming I can do my part to effect positive change by sharing with others what I am learning about the impact of factory farming on our environment and by choosing to leave meat off my plate.

"Be the change you want to see" has become a motto to live by for many of us. Actions truly do speak louder than words, and how we choose to live has the power to change the world, for better or for worse.

The choice to abstain from eating animals has not won me any popularity contests. On the other hand it has caused animosity between me and members of my own family and some of my closest friends. My desire that they experience better health and greater happiness will never be enough to persuade them to trade in barbecue and fried chicken for broccoli and chickpeas, but I hope the positive changes they see in me as I continue this journey will eventually cause them to wonder if perhaps I am onto something.

The feeling that there is truly so little we can do in a world that is so wrong can be overwhelming at times. But it needn't be if we will simply remember to "be the change we want to see."


Copyright 2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Monday, June 19, 2017

Overwhelmed

All of a sudden I am feeling very depressed. It's been on my mind recently that the human species is pretty awful. We are destroying the planet, many of us have no respect for the animals we share our planet with, and we think we are above everything.

We're selfish, greedy, and conceited, to say the least.  Despite what some people may say, we still want to accumulate a lot of money and possessions. We have too much stuff, at least in America. Nothing can be the same, and we have more than enough variety! Often, we're probably more wasteful than we are grateful.

You know, nothing is simple anymore. Nothing is natural anymore. Our planet is full of chemicals, and harsh ones at that! Have we not progressed enough? Because I believe we have! Do we honestly need touch screen refrigerators? There are a ton of people in other countries who don't even have refrigerators!

In our society, everything has to be convenient. We can't even take the time to look up the weather on our smart phones. No, that would be too hard. Now we ask a device to do it for us; "Hey Alexa, what's the temperature outside?" Heaven forbid we step outside to see if it's hot or cold!

Let's talk about how our cars are becoming safer. Today's cars have sensors that let you know if you're about to hit someone. Did anyone ever think that we're actually going to create drivers that are going to be more lazy and pay less attention? I mean it's nice to have insurance in case something unexpected occurs, but we still need to pay very good attention while driving. Driving can be dangerous, and we don't need to rely on our "smart cars" to do everything for us.

Let's all admit it. We love technology. But do we ever really think about it? I honestly have no idea how the Internet works. Do you? We press buttons, type things on our screens, and are able to swipe through people's pictures on Instagram. But how? It's probably so complicated I don't even want to know. What are all the symbols, numbers, and letters for? Technology scares me sometimes, and if it doesn't scare you, it should.

We're over fishing our oceans, killing amazing animals like rhinos in Africa, and zoos are so normal now it's just like going to the movie theater. We care about all the money we make from commercial fishing so much that we don't give a second thought to all the animals we kill that aren't fish, and the huge impact commercial fishing has on the oceans. We go to the African savanna and kill amazing creatures like rhinos, lions, and giraffes because we think it's cool. It's not respect in any way, but cold blooded murder. And in no way is it helping the ecosystem. I am not a radical "anti-zoos" person, but when I think about it, zoos are a little messed up, not to mention unnatural. I realize some animals who end up in zoos are rescued or taken from a bad situation, but that is certainly not the case for all the animals who end up in zoos. I just really don't see how it's natural to take a wild animal out of its natural environment, where, mind you, God perfectly placed the animal, and take it to live in a confined area where it will spend the rest of its life. Oh well, there are water pools, toys, rocks, grass, and the safety of knowing they won't be eaten. It is not the same as if they were to live in the wild. Not even close. It's even more unnatural that they breed these animals that are in zoos. Sure it's cool to be able to see different species of animals, but then again that's why there are wildlife photographers. Wild animals are not meant to be in captivity. Hence the term "wild"!

I'm not a perfect person. I use plastic, binge watch "Lost"on Netflix, and sometimes do virtually nothing because I'm lazy. However, I realize that we are a somewhat sick species and we have MANY flaws. There are some good things we do, but there are also a lot of bad things we do.

The world today is complex and complicated enough. The last thing we need to do is be oblivious of what's going on in the world. We don't need to turn a blind eye, and we need to question things more.  We need to look at ourselves, and our species, and reflect.

“Learn from Yesterday, live for Today, hope for Tomorrow.” ~ Albert Einstein


                       ~Joy





Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Friday, May 26, 2017

Another Happy Ending

Recently Joy and I attended a volunteer day at Ziggy's Refuge Farm Sanctuary in Providence, NC.  This was our second visit to the refuge -- our first to their new location -- and we were eager to see some of the animals who had been rescued in recent months and check up on two very special piglets, Cruz and his sister Coral, who is recovering from a very complicated surgery.

Chris and Dee Dee at Ziggy's Refuge
Every animal at Ziggy's Refuge has a story.  Take Chris, for instance.  This precious baby jumped from a truck which was headed to a slaughter house.  He knew his only chance at survival was to jump from that truck, even if it resulted in his injury or death.  Luckily for him, refuge owners Kristin and Jay were quick to come to his rescue and give him the happily ever after he deserves.

Chris is just one of many success stories​ at the refuge.  Like the other farm animals living there Chris has a distinct personality and exhibits understanding and intelligence.  His affection is is irresistible and endearing.

Getting to know Chris, Ziggy, Sweetheart, Toby, Mr. Jingles, Elvis the cow, Max the donkey, and all the other residents of Ziggy's Refuge has given me all the reason I need to never again eat meat.  I am blessed to have made the connection.  Their happy endings have become my happy beginning...of a life filled with purpose, better health, and peace.  It is my prayer that others will make the connection and realize that animals are not mere commodities but rather sentient beings who just want to live and be loved.

Joy and Sweetheart

Dee Dee and Ziggy


Toby



Copyright 2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Thursday, May 18, 2017

One Year Vegananniversary!

On May 18th, 2016, I began a 30-Day Vegan Challenge and haven't looked back. I cannot even begin to describe what finding veganism has meant to me.

For the short period of time I have lived, I now no longer feel unaware of what's going on in the world. The blinders that society, and greedy corporations and people, had placed on me are now forever gone. It's so liberating and I feel FREE! I can only improve from here.

In a year, I haven't lost a ton of weight, my skin isn't 100% clear, I haven't made a lot of smoothies like I intended to do, and I don't eat a super clean whole food plant-based diet 100% of the time (I do eat plant-based 100% of the time, however.).  But at the end of the day, I feel more aware and in charge of my health. I feel healthier, and probably look a little lighter too. My conscience feels more clear and I'm happier.

I was unaware of the devastating impacts animal agriculture has on our planet, but I know now that I have the power to help eliminate some of that impact every time I sit down to eat. I was unaware of how horribly animals are treated in the meat and dairy industries, but now I am proud to say that I love animals and I don't want to eat them. I was unaware of the severe implications animals and their products have on our health, but now I choose to ignore the false advertising of industries who only care about money, and not the well being and health of people in our society.

One year later, I see the World through different eyes. While I may not do a lot, I think a lot more nowadays. I've told my mom before, it scares me to think of how I would be living and thinking if I didn't know what I know now. That sounds like an exaggeration but it's not. We live in a society full of greedy people and corporations who only care about money. And because they have a lot of money, they're able to sell you lies.

I don't miss meat or dairy anymore. Everything that I used to eat, I can get in a plant-based form. I know a plant-based diet and vegan lifestyle are best for me, the planet, and the animals. As far as I'm concerned, I will never turn back.

For everything,

                -Joy



























Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Holocaust for Animals

Nothing can ever compare to the horrors Jews and others faced during the Holocaust. Most of us can't begin to fathom the suffering and fear our fellow humans endured at the hands of evil men. Yet similar practices are being committed against animals today that were inflicted on  humans during one of the darkest times in our history.

On a recent drive through the picturesque farmland of Virginia,  I noticed several people standing around a chute in a livestock pen on one of these farms. It only took me seconds to realize that it was a branding chute. My heart just sank.  Now, I'm not aware that the Nazis branded any Jews during the Holocaust, but they did tattoo a large majority of them. The same is done to factory farmed animals today. I have actually met a pig that was supposed to be slaughtered, but was saved, and I saw up close that she had numbers tattooed on the back of one of her ears.

Most of us cannot imagine the horrors of the gas chambers. The fear those Jews and others felt as they were herded into a room, about to be overcome by toxic, suffocating fumes -- and the realization that humans could do such a thing to another being -- is incomprehensible.  Yet, the same practice still happens today on factory farms. Farm workers gas animals, usually baby chicks and other birds, stuffing these birds into a confined area until they suffocate. And it is not only birds who are gassed. As I saw in the documentary Earthlings, people have actually gassed dogs too.

There was something that I thought about on that drive through the Virginia countryside. I saw a lot of cows, many grazing on lush, grassy fields. However, as nice as roaming those grassy fields must have been for these sweet cows, I knew that the ones I saw would eventually be slaughtered.

The Jews lived pleasant, peaceful lives before the Nazis came storming in. They didn't expect to be ripped from their homes and loved ones. Yet they were, and then they were loaded on to cramped train cars for days. The places they arrived at were nothing similar to their homes. They saw different faces than they had ever seen before, but they were all there for one reason--to be exterminated.

Similarly, these cows will one day be forcefully loaded on transport trucks bound for slaughter. They will be taken from their homes and families, never to return. They don't know where they're going, or the horrors they will endure. Fear and sadness will surely overwhelm these animals, just as fear and sadness overwhelmed the Jews.

At the end of the day, animals are different from people. But not so different that they don't feel pain, suffering, sadness, etc. The Jews and factory farmed animals share some characteristics. Although innocent of any wrongdoing, Jews were then -- and animals are now -- persecuted, abused, and killed.

Most of us will never know all the pain and suffering Jews, gypsies, and others experienced during the Holocaust. However, we can get a small glimpse of some of the horrors they endured if we look into how factory farmed animals are raised today, and the suffering they endure to become our food, clothing, and other products.

"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke

We must never forget the atrocities our species inflicted on Jews, and others, during the Holocaust. And we must not turn a blind eye to the atrocities our species is committing today on other innocent beings.

           - Joy





Copyright 2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Seeing Things Differently

It has been nearly a year since Joy and I made the decision to go vegan and she would agree that it is one of the best decisions we have ever made.  Nothing gives us greater joy than sitting down to a healthy meal knowing that no animals were harmed to nourish our bodies and satisfy our appetites.

Before going vegan we really didn't give much thought to how our choices affected animals. Besides the obvious consumption of animal products at mealtime, I often wore their leather on my feet or enjoyed the comfort of their fur and wool on a cold winter's day.  I lived for zoo outings and circuses because of my love for and curiosity with animals, never considering the abuse they might suffer behind the scenes.  I just didn't know.  Neither of us did.

Walking through the pet department at Walmart recently I happened to glance at the fish tanks on the back wall and noticed the beautiful colors of the tropical fish in them. Before going vegan I wouldn't have given them a second thought, yet I found myself sad and thinking that they belong in the ocean, not in a sterile, man-made habitat with no vegetation or natural environmental stimulation. The odds that these fish will eventually find their way to an aquarium are slim. Most will die in their confinement or be disposed of because no one chose to take them home. How is that fair, humane, or right?

I remember the very first trip Joy and I made to Virginia. On her spring break we made the long drive from Tennessee to visit Steve, who had moved here a few months before the end of the school year. We stopped at a rest area that backed up to a beautiful cow pasture where several adult cows and their babies were grazing. Joy wanted to go pet the cows that were near the fence. Recently, on our way home from Tennessee we stopped at a similar rest area, only this time we saw the cows a little differently than before. Though they looked peaceful and happy we knew from their ear tags that they are being raised as commodities to be sold at auction and eventually be slaughtered. The wonder we had felt on that first trip to Virginia was replaced with sorrow that their lives don't really matter -- they were born to die and will eventually suffer the same horrific fate as any factory-farmed livestock.

For us, being vegan is not just about eating a whole food plant-based diet in order to maximize our health, though that certainly is a great benefit. It is about so much more.  It is about preserving our environment and fighting for the rights of animals by not consuming them or spending our money in support of activities that result in their harm.  It is about doing all we can to educate others and encourage a more compassionate lifestyle for the good of all -- our fellow humans, our planet, and the animals who inhabit it with us.

Most people think they could never make the switch to a plant-based diet, giving up cheese, eggs, and the meats they have eaten their entire lives.  I totally get that. After all, I was raised on the standard American diet (SAD) myself, living a lifetime on hamburgers, grilled meat, turkey at Thanksgiving, and ham at Easter -- oh, and bacon with everything!  Then I met some four-legged friends and some two-legged humans who became my heroes and inspiration.  Pictured below are just a few of them.

Sweetheart and Joy

Ziggy Hartness and Dee Dee

All the animals at Ziggy's Refuge and founders Kristin Hartness and Jay Yontz
Joy and I are doing what we can, in our own small way, to raise awareness and to encourage others to think and choose differently when it comes to the foods we eat, the products we consume, and the clothes we wear.  If we can encourage you or help you in any way, please let us know.

Peace and compassion for all,

Dee Dee





Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Sunday, April 16, 2017

An Easter Reflection

“He was oppressed and afflicted . . . led like a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7).

While reading my devotions this morning this verse jumped off the page as never before.  I've always known that Christ suffered horrific abuse and an even worse death when He was crucified for our sins. I've always heard Him identified as the Lamb of God.  But until this Easter, my first as a vegan, I've never quite caught the analogy of Him being "led like a lamb to the slaughter."

It has always been difficult for me to imagine how it must have felt, humanly-speaking, to be scourged, whipped, and beaten as Christ was. But having seen the abuse and atrocities that are heaped upon factory farmed animals before and during their slaughter to satisfy our fleshly cravings, it is not quite so hard to imagine the intense suffering of my Savior to pay the price for my sins.

No animal deserves to suffer and die for any man, yet the Son of God willingly went to the Cross, as a lamb to slaughter, to redeem all mankind from our sins.  This Easter I pray that we all will take into account the suffering and passion of our Savior and endeavor to live with compassion toward all His creatures, both human and non-human. I pray that those who have never received Christ's offer of salvation will open their hearts and enter into the most satisfying personal relationship they will ever know.

#helives #easter #beholdthelamb #compassionateliving #vegan

Copyright 2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Sunday, April 9, 2017

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Joy and I just took our first vegan vacation. Thought I'd reflect on a few of the differences between this year's vacation and our similar vacation last year.

In 2016 Joy and I traveled to the Memphis area and then to Arkansas to visit family and friends and eat our fill of all our favorite foods from back home -- Corky's barbecue, southern-fried catfish, and our favorite Chinese and Mexican cuisine.  At the time we traveled we were omnivores and I was twenty pounds heavier than I am today.  During that vacation we discussed coming home and making every effort to "eat clean" by eliminating processed foods and meat from our diet -- AFTER we ate all our favorite foods!  During the ten days we traveled I gained four pounds.  On April 6, the day after we returned, we became vegetarians and six weeks later adopted a fully vegan lifestyle.

Fast forward to our vacation to the same destinations this year, from which we have just returned. Slimmer and determined to stay true to our convictions, we packed our own breakfast knowing that the hotels in which we stayed would have little to offer us from their complimentary breakfast menus. We still ate in restaurants and grabbed fast food along the way -- mostly vegan Subway and Taco Bell options -- but we grocery shopped upon our arrival in Arkansas and cooked three easy vegan dinner meals for my sister and mother, neither of whom are vegan.  Despite ten days of having little or no exercise, I managed to come back weighing the same as the day we left, simply because we ate whole and minimally processed plant-based foods.  Instead of dining in the same restaurants we did last year, we sought out restaurants that catered to vegetarian and vegan diners and were delightfully surprised by the quality and variety of food available to us.  Who knew that a portabello mushroom burger could be so satisfying, or that the vegan-friendly options at Olive Garden include their famously delicious breadsticks?

As plant-eaters we found that the long days of travel, though tiring, were not nearly as taxing because we ate light and had more energy.  We consumed less caffeine and rested better at night -- except for the one night we were booked into a hotel with a bunch of noisy rodeo participants -- and we drank lots of water along the way.  Did we feel deprived?  Not really.  Did we miss our traditional barbecue meal?  Nope.  We enjoyed a vegan version of a barbecue sandwich that more than adequately satisfied or craving for Memphis barbecue!

I can't think of a better way to celebrate our first year of healthy living than by road testing our lifestyle and showing others that being vegan is not as difficult as they might think. While my family may never fully adopt a plant-based lifestyle, at least they were able to sample some of what we eat routinely and see for themselves that as vegans Joy and I really haven't changed  We still enjoy delicious food.  We're still the same kooky, fun-loving gals we've always been.  We're just a little thinner and a whole lot healthier and happier!

For better health,

Dee Dee




Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Attachment to Food

My mother and I are going home in just under a week, which I think is part of the reason why I’ve been feeling homesick. I’ve started to think about things I did in my hometown that I haven’t really thought of since moving to Virginia. Some of the memories involve food, so I can somewhat understand the relationship the human species has to food. 

When my dad moved to Virginia a few months before my mother and I, I remember how my mother and I would go to this frozen yogurt place, get some self-serve frozen yogurt, and then drive to a park that was nearby. Oftentimes, it would be sunset when we would go, and it was always so enjoyable. The park had a path that you could walk on, and my mother and I would often take a walk after we finished our frozen yogurt.

Across from the house I used to live in, there was a sweet Asian man that moved in. Whenever I would go outside he would always wave to me. He had a girlfriend who worked at local donut shop in town. I can’t even count how many times they would bring over boxes of leftover donuts. Blueberry, frosted, cake, fruit filled. You name it, my family and I ate it! There was one specific time when he brought over this HUGE bag filled to the brim with donut holes. He eventually moved before my family and I did, which was disappointing because he was such a good neighbor. 

My family and I would get crazy bread from Little Caesars many, many times to go with dinner. My dad would bring a bag home when he got off work, to go with spaghetti or another entrée. We ate a lot of their pizzas too. I would ride with one of my parents to pick up a pizza, and I remember the doorbell that used to chime when you went into the store. 

Every Saturday morning my dad used to get donuts. When there was a Schnuck’s in our town, he always used to get me a cinnamon twist donut; they were the best.

There was a Chinese buffet in Memphis that my family and I often visited. I remember the glasses for the drinks were huge. My mom and I would have lunch with my Dad who worked nearby, or we would, on occasion, have lunch with some relatives that came over from Arkansas. I used to always get banana and chocolate pudding for dessert. I knew the faces of the waiters that worked there, and there was one man in particular who freaked me out (when I was younger) who I called “Spikey Man.” 

I could share more memories like the donut place my mom, brother, and I used to go to after we went to the dentist. Or the cupcake place that we started going to instead. I could talk about how many times my family and I would go to CiCi’s Pizza Buffet and all the fun times we had, or the Mexican restaurant that my family always ate at, El Mezcal.

Clearly, for me at least, food is a big part of my life, as I’m sure it is for a lot of people. Our culture ties food in with a lot of things, and for me it’s tied in with some of my favorite memories. Today this same food isn't appealing because I know where it comes from, and how it affects my health, the planet, and the animals. But that doesn’t change the fact that at one time I did think the food was great and that I have very fond memories surrounding the food and the memories that go along with it. Trust me, I totally understand your attachment to food. However, if I can change, so can you. I don’t miss the foods I used to enjoy, but I do miss the events that I associate with them -- the places, the people, and the good times.

Yes, I am vegan, but at one time I was an omnivore just like you. Some of my greatest childhood memories involve food, which I think is normal for a lot of us. I just happen to think about food differently now.  For instance, when I was growing up I had no problem eating a Corky's BBQ sandwich. Now, about once a month, I stand on a corner with other activists in Smithfield, VA holding signs to raise awareness about what these pigs go through to become the BBQ sandwich I used to enjoy

At the end of the day I'm really no different than you. But I have learned that I can enjoy social gatherings and celebrations without taking the lives of innocent beings. 

                                                         Joy
 



Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How Not to Die (book review)

Learning about the benefits of a whole-food plant-based diet, and experiencing them firsthand, has been enlightening and life-changing--so much so that I am eager to share what I am learning with others so they too can enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Currently I am reading a book that has the potential to change lives.  I cannot recommend it highly enough!    How Not to Die by Michael Greger, M.D. is a thoroughly-researched and well-written book about the power of plants to prevent, and in some cases reverse, some of the chronic diseases plaguing our society.


Part I consists of individual chapters dealing with how not to die from the top fifteen killers:  heart disease, lung diseases, brain diseases, digestive cancers, infections, diabetes, high blood pressure, liver diseases, blood cancers, kidney disease, breast cancer, suicidal depression, prostate cancer, Parkinson's disease, and Iatrogenic causes.

Part II includes information on Dr. Greger's recommended Daily Dozen  (beans, berries, other fruits, cruciferous vegetables, greens, other vegetables, flaxseeds, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, whole grains, beverages, and exercise).

If you want to take control of your health, lose weight, prevent or reverse disease or help others find the path to better health, then buy and read this book!  Knowledge is power, and I believe that once you read this well-presented and easy-to-understand information you will find the motivation to positively change your health and quality of life.

For better health and a better life,

Dee Dee



Copyright 2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

They Deserved Better

In a recent 24-hour period I was saddened and sickened by the news of the senseless killing and euthanasia of animals that deserved better.

These kinds of senseless killings are becoming more and more commonplace. Add to them the slaughter of millions of farmed animals daily and one thing becomes clear:  humanity has failed the animals that share the planet with us, and our own greed and appetites have resulted in unnecessary killing and violence of these creatures.

When will we wake up and realize that:
  • animals don't want to die?
  • animals are intelligent, sentient beings with personalities, who enjoy social and family relationships with their kind just as we do with ours?
  • eating animals is not healthy for our bodies?
  • factory farming is destroying our environment?
There are many people who would argue that God gave us dominion over animals and use that as a convenient excuse for animal abuse and slaughter.  Somehow I don't think that this is what God had in mind.

Animals deserve better.  They deserve love.  They deserve freedom and life and happiness.

What if the tables were turned and animals had dominion over mankind?  In an ironic twist, maybe they do.  Perhaps the antibiotic-resistant super bugs that plague humanity are their revenge for all that we have done to decimate and desecrate our non-human fellow earthlings.

We have so many other choices -- better choices -- for nourishing and clothing our bodies and furnishing our homes.  We don't need meat, leather, fur, or ivory to be happy, healthy, or successful. In fact, in harming animals we are only hurting ourselves and destroying our planet.  

Animals deserve better, and so do we.  We can all live happy, healthy lives and improve our environment if we will rethink our choices and live with compassion toward ALL life.

For the animals, better health, and a cleaner planet --

Dee Dee




Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Friday, February 17, 2017

Let's Talk About Oatmeal! (#FeelingVeggieGoodFriday -- Recipe Inspiration)

Since going vegan, my love for oatmeal has exploded. I didn't realize there were so many different combinations you can create! Before going vegan I used to eat quick oats cooked in the microwave with water, served with white sugar, dairy butter, and dairy milk. I nearly always ate it with a slice of toast. Who knew you could add frozen fruit, dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, granola, seeds, and so much more?! With all the endless combinations you can create there's no reason why anyone should ever get tired of oatmeal. 

Oatmeal with raspberries, chia seeds and granola

Magenta colored oatmeal, anyone? This oatmeal was cooked with frozen raspberries, chia seeds, water, and some almond milk on the stove. I finished it off with some granola and a little maple syrup.

Oatmeal with blueberries, bananas, and coconut chia granola

Can't quite remember what all is in this bowl of oatmeal, but I'm sure there was some ripe banana cooked in with the oats. If you take ripe, spotty bananas and add them to your oatmeal while you cook - whether it be in the microwave or stove - it will add a very nice natural sweetness. I highly recommend trying it!

Oatmeal with bananas, mango, frozen pomegranate, and granola

This was my most recent creation and boy, was it good! I cooked some oats on the stove with water, milk, fresh mango, and a little maple syrup. I topped it off with some ripe banana, frozen pomegranate seeds, and the last little bit of granola from the pantry.

Oatmeal with mango, blueberries, strawberries and vanilla almond granola

I think this bowl of oatmeal pictured above had some blueberries and maybe some strawberries cooked with it. Then I topped it with some fresh mango and granola.

Apple Pie Oatmeal

This the least healthy one of all but it's so good. I call it Apple Pie Oatmeal. To make it I simply cook some chopped apple in the oatmeal with some cinnamon, and usually some maple syrup. Then I top with crushed graham crackers (Nabisco Original Grahams, they come in a red box). This bowl happened to have some ripe banana too.

I have not used butter or "sugar sugar" in my oatmeal since going vegan. Something I always add to my oatmeal is pure maple syrup. It's more natural, less processed, and adds a perfect sweetness! I also always like to cook either some frozen fruit, or fresh fruit in the oatmeal while it's cooking, and I like to use a combination of water and almond milk to cook the oatmeal with. I do like a little crunch with my oatmeal so I'll usually add some granola or cereal on top. But you could add nuts if you prefer. I only use old-fashioned 100% rolled oats. However, steel cut oats are good too if you prefer those.

There are so many things you can add to oatmeal. The combinations you can create are endless, so have some fun!

#FeelingVeggieGood,

             Joy





Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Butternut Squash & Cabbage Soup
(#FeelingVeggieGood Friday Recipe #4)

One of the things I enjoy most about being vegan is venturing into uncharted territory and trying foods and recipes that are new to me. After 55 years of eating the standard American diet (SAD) to my detriment, it is fun to find new foods that are healthy, satisfying, and easy-to-make.

A couple of weeks ago Joy and I bought a butternut squash.  Before we went vegan I was mainly a yellow squash and zucchini kind of girl, but we have come to appreciate the beauty, texture, and taste of this variety.  Since we had some red cabbage leftover from a previous recipe I decided to get creative and try my hand at making a butternut squash soup.  It turned out better than I could have hoped -- even my non-vegan husband liked it!

INGREDIENTS

1 butternut squash
1/2 head red cabbage (more or less)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 or 3 carrots, diced
vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste


STEPS

1.  Chop onions, dice carrots and cook in vegetable broth, until they begin to get tender.
HINT:  Beginning with step 1, cook everything in a large soup pot so you can keep adding yummy ingredients and minimize clean up!



2.  While onions and carrots are cooking, wash and chop purple cabbage. Add to the pot and cover so the cabbage can begin to steam.



3.  While the cabbage and other veggies are cooking, peel and cube your butternut squash, then add to the pot.  Add more vegetable broth during cooking, if needed, and cook until the vegetables are the desired consistency.  Season to taste with salt and pepper (or other spices of your choice).

Isn't the color lovely?  




Voila!  A nice, colorful, tasty soup that is oil-free, cruelty-free, and chock full of vitamins, fiber, and yummy goodness.  Enjoy! 









Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I Don't Understand

My apologizes for not posting a #FeelingVeggieGoodFriday blog this past Friday, but I had the desire to start a regular blog because I haven't written one in a while. My mom and I will be back with another #FeelingVeggieGoodFriday blog next week.

I'm taking U.S. History this year and as I've been reading my textbook, I'm starting to realize that the United States is a selfish nation. We always have been. Now, don't get me wrong -- we've come a long way over time and there are people and organizations in our country who are doing good things for people both in and out of the United States. But when I look at us today, and I read about how we were in the past, there are some things that haven't changed.

I look at the annexation of Hawaii and how we basically just took their nation. We really had no justifiable reason for taking their nation, we just did it because we wanted to. And I can't help but think about what we did to those poor Native Americans who were here on this land long before we were. I was curious about the population size of Native Americans in the United States today, so I Googled it. In a census in 2014, "The nation’s population of American Indians and Alaska Natives, including those of more than one race. They made up about 2 percent of the total population in 2014." -census.gov  I'm no math genius but two percent of the total population doesn't sound like a lot. I really don't think enough of us look at how destructive our nation has been in the past. And because it was in the past and we can't do anything about it, there's no reason to dwell on it, right?

I'm proud to be a Christian. I believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light. I have a respect for missionaries who travel to various places like Guatemala, Africa, etc. to spread the good news of the Gospel. So it makes me sad and disappointed to think that some people used Christianity as an excuse to take over other nations like the Philippines, Hawaii, etc. We used the excuse that the people of these nations were uncivilized and needed to convert to Christianity as justification to go into their nations and take over. It's like my mom said, you can't force anyone to go vegan just like you can't force anyone to become a Christian. All you can do is present information and lead by example. That's not exactly what these Christian missionaries were doing. I believe that it is ungodly, and morally wrong that we used Christianity in this way to justify taking over other nations. This is not to say that all of these missionaries were wrong, dishonest, rude, etc. I'm sure a lot of them probably did lead more by joyful example, rather than cramming Christianity down these peoples' throats. But I look at this photo in my history textbook and it's of three Chinese natives and a Christian missionary. The natives look so sad and uncomfortable and the missionary has this harsh, cold look on her face. This isn't how Christianity should have been back then. And while I know many Christians who are loving and joyful, we all still have room to improve.

I'm not going to pick sides and get all political, but I can't help but think about some of the things President Trump has said. "Make America great again." At the expense of what? At the expense of whom? I believe he's also said something along the lines of, "America is going to come first."  In Acts 20:35 the apostle Luke wrote, "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"   I understand that there are some things in America that need to be fixed, reworked, and changed. Our nation does need help, I fully agree with that. But why do we have to be so cocky, so full of ourselves, so selfish? We need to make the world great again. Or more accurately put, great for the first time. 

So why write this blog? Well, really, after reading in my history textbook I felt like I needed to write something because it just makes me sad and depressed sometimes to think about how we've acted in the past. But I also figured I could tie this in with veganism, of course 😉. Over the last few months I've learned a lot. I am fortunate to have been able to take off the blinders that the world and greedy, selfish corporations had put on me. There are so many things that people need to know, and there are so many things that people can know if they only choose to watch that one documentary, read that one article, or ask that one question for help or recommendation. Why won't you allow yourself to be open and willing to gain more information? What are you afraid of? What is holding you back? We need to wake up to so many things, not just a plant-based diet and vegan lifestyle. We must give ourselves permission to learn and grow and experience things that perhaps go against tradition, and that greedy and selfish corporations that don't want us discover. "Big Money" doesn't care about what is in our best interest.  "We the people" must dig our heels in and fight for what is right, even if it isn't popular. 

I am not against our nation. On the contrary I consider myself blessed to live in a country where there isn't war, or famine, and I get to practice Christianity openly and freely. But we have done some dark things in the past. We need to realize that and reflect on those things. It's only the first month of 2017, and we have eleven more months to learn, explore, grow, and effect positive change this year. It's time for us to wake up and see that there is more to this world -- to our lives -- than we've been led to believe.  No one is forcing you to change, but if you open yourselves to the possibilities by watching that one documentary, asking that one question, and reading that one book or article, you might just wonder what took you so long to discover a better and more fulfilling way to live. 


"Don't be afraid to be open minded. Your brain isn't going to fall out." -quoteaddicts.com
"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it isn't open." -living life unbound

This blog was like a journal entry. It is merely my thoughts that I needed to get out. Apologizes if it offended anyone.

I am in no way perfect, but I'm learning and I'm happy,

                                                            Joy





 Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Vegan Microwave Peanut Butter (and Chocolate) Mug Cake! (#FeelingVeggieGoodFriday Recipe -- Recipe #3)

It's the third recipe so I think it's time for some dessert! This cake is the easiest thing to make and is always so satisfying and wonderful.

*Disclaimer: This recipe does not belong to me or my mother and full credit for this recipe goes to kitchentreaty.com

All you need for this recipe is....

  • 2 tablespoons flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (I use almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter 
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (I always use 100% pure maple syrup. I don't use the artificial syrup that's loaded with additives and stuff.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Non-dairy chocolate chips for topping (I HIGHLY recommend Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips.)
 Grab a microwavable mug and let's get going!

  • First add the flour and baking powder to the mug. Give it a quick stir using a fork to mix.
  • Next, add the almond milk, peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. 
  • Microwave for on high for 1 minute. 
  • Pull out of the microwave and immediately top with chocolate chips. 
You're done! The chocolate chips will get nice and melted and you'll be in heaven, even if you aren't a vegan (which you should be).


Tag us in a photo if you recreate this recipe!

Happy eating,

           Joy 

P.S. You can buy Enjoy Life chocolate chips at Kroger, Whole Foods, Martin's, and Fresh Market.




Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Circle of Life?

Since going vegan in May 2016, I have watched many documentaries on the health benefits of a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet. In some of the films I have watched medical professionals have stated that they received little if any training in nutrition. Do you find that a little disturbing? What if instead of writing prescriptions for medications to treat our diseases, doctors actually wrote prescriptions for the kind of plant-based nutrition that could prevent and, in some cases, reverse our diseases and chronic conditions?

Scientific studies have shown that eating animal flesh and secretions (dairy, eggs) contributes to cancer, chronic illness, and inflammatory disease.  Yet there are many people who insist that animals were created for our consumption -- that this is the circle of life.  Really?  Evidence would suggest just the opposite. In an ironic twist, consuming animals has become our undoing, resulting in epidemic obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease, and cancer.

I have nothing against doctors and medical professionals. I don't believe they are in medicine merely for the money. But if it is true that they have not received adequate training in the health benefits of plant-based nutrition, why should you and I not take control of our health by changing what we put into our bodies by leaving meat off our plates and out of our diets? I would much rather spend my money enjoying the wide variety of delicious wholesome plant-based food readily available than on presription medications, hospitalization, and lost wages because of illness.

In the eight months that I have been vegan I have reaped great health benefits, lowering my cholesterol and shedding over twenty pounds. I am a believer! I have also discovered new foods I never knew existed, learned new recipes that have been real palate pleasers, and developed a true sense of happiness and well-being knowing that I am no longer responsible for harming other living beings just to satisfy myself.

Need more evidence that a WFPB diet can not only benefit your health, but also protect our environment and save the lives of billions of animals in the process? Then please check out some of the videos and books listed on our links & resources page, including Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, and Vegucated. Invest a little of your time to dig into these resources and decide for yourself whether the "circle of life" is all it's cracked up to be.

For better health and a better life,

Dee Dee


Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Vegan Veggie Chili
(#FeelingVeggieGoodFriday -- Recipe #2)

I've only made this recipe twice, but I absolutely love it. The recipe makes enough to yield yummy leftovers the next day. It's simple, easy, healthy, and delicious!

This is a recipe that you can easily customize to fit your tastes and preferences. I'll show you what I used, but you can use any vegetables or beans that you like.

I started by chopping up...

  • Two peeled zucchini
  • Half a red bell pepper
  • One whole, peeled carrot
  • About half of a sweet onion, maybe a little more 
  • A few cloves of fresh garlic (3-4)


I then drained and rinsed...

  • A can of chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans
  • A can of black beans 
  • A can of tri-blend beans (kidney beans, black beans, & pinto beans)
  • A cup of frozen corn



Rest of the ingredients...

  • Two cans of V8 juice (I used low-sodium)
  • Water, as needed
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper (1 teaspoon)
  • Cumin (1 1/2 teaspoon, or to taste)
  • Chili powder mix or regular chili powder (1 1/2 -2 teaspoons, or to taste)


The recipe is super easy to prepare!

  • Just start by sauteing the onion and garlic until their softened on medium-low heat.
  • Next, add a cup of frozen corn and let cook for a few minutes.
  • Following that, add the rest of the vegetables and water as needed. Let the vegetables cook for a few minutes.
  • Lastly add the beans, two cans of V8 juice, and spices. Add water if needed.

That's it! Just let the chili simmer on reduced heat for 20 - 30 minutes. Enjoy!




Prep Suggestions:  You could easily meal prep this meal by chopping up the veggies the night before and placing them in a container in the fridge to just throw into a pot. You could also drain and rinse the beans, throw them in a container, put them in the fridge, and just throw them straight into the pot the next day.

Serving Suggestions:  Bake some potatoes and load them up with the chili.  Serve with a side salad and whole wheat bread.  Be creative and have fun!

If you recreate this, post a photo and tag us so we can see!

Happy and healthy eating,

                           Joy






Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Friday, January 6, 2017

Quinoa Black Bean Burritos
(#FeelingVeggieGoodFriday -- Recipe #1)

Ah!  I am so excited about #FeelingVeggieGoodFriday!  Every Friday, my mother and I will be posting a new recipe we've tried that week. It could be a breakfast, lunch/dinner, or dessert recipe. Some recipes may be a little more complex than others, but they should all be fairly easy for everyone to make. Let's get started with this week's recipe!

Our first recipe is Quinoa Black Bean Burritos, an easy-to-prepare dish that is delicious and satisfying.  Even my non-vegan dad liked it!  It made more than enough to feed three hungry folks with enough leftover for today's lunch.

(Disclaimer:  This is not our recipe; the credit for this recipe belongs to tessbegg on YouTube.)

INGREDIENTS:

1 minced garlic
1 brown onion, diced*
4 T. tomato paste
2 t. cumin powder
2 t. chili powder
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 c. quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 c. vegetable broth
1 c. capsicum (bell pepper) -- we used red bell pepper
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

*NOTE:  We used a sweet yellow onion since we didn't have a brown onion.  In researching brown onions we determined that the yellow onion with which we are familiar is the American equivalent of the brown onion used in other countries.


STEPS:

1.  Measure out ingredients.



2.  Saute diced onion and garlic with a splash of water until translucent.

3.  Add in tomato paste and spices.  Stir until combined.

4.  Add in quinoa and veggie broth.  Stir until combined on medium heat and bring to gentle boil.  Cover, reduce temperature and simmer on low heat for 25 minutes or until the liquid has absorbed.

5.  In a separate pan, saute capsicum with some salt on high heat.

6.  Add in the black beans and capsicum.  Stir to combine.





SERVING SUGGESTION:

While quinoa and black beans are simmering, make guacamole by mashing an avocado and seasoning to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Serve quinoa and black bean mixture on wrap or tortilla of choice and garnish with lettuce, tomato, and guacamole.  Muy delicioso!




Let the fiesta begin!
        Joy




Copyright 2016-2017 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com