Subscribe to The Main Street Minute and with it get your free e-guide 'Vegan, Vibrance & Vitality' !

Introducing the Main Street Vegan Academy coaches page

The first Main Street Vegan Academy was held in June 2012. Three years later there are nearly 150 certified Vegan Lifestyle Coaches & Educators working with individuals and communities interested in eating a plant-based diet and leading a vegan lifestyle.

main street vegan academy

You can now search for a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator, all of whom have the VLCE certification, based on geography and area of interest on the coaches page. These are experienced vegans who can help you go vegan or be more successful with your plant-based diet/lifestyle. In addition to seeing in-person clients, most also work via phone or Skype with people outside their local area. If you’re looking to consult with Main Street Vegan author and Main Street Vegan Academy founder/director Victoria Moran, she maintains a small practice and is listed under “New York, Manhattan.”

Would you like to join this diverse and dedicated group of coaches? Upcoming available course dates include:  [Read more…]

Building a Vegan Community on Facebook by Dean Iodice, VLCE

You have a passion for the vegan lifestyle, you eat a clean diet and live the true lifestyle. You walk the walk and talk the talk. At this point you might be thinking of helping the spread the message of your wonderful vegan life with others, be it a blog, podcast, or even training to become a certified vegan lifestyle coach. Whatever the case, you need to build a community in order to spread the word. Where do you start? First thing, you must have a website. Your website is your home base, the landing page for your business. It’s very important to have a destination that you control. In this article we are going to talk about building a community using Facebook, but you don’t want it to be your final destination. The same is true for Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. The reason is that without your own website as a permanent address, you lose control. If one of social networking sites sites decides to shut you down because they believe you violated their terms of service, your business is closed.

Your website needs to be the place you post your content and then share to social media. Online traffic is everything for building a community. There are many sources of traffic including all the social sites I listed above, and Google+. Today we are going to talk about building a strong following on Facebook, mainly because it’s the most popular social site. The first thing we want to do is create a Facebook business page. I see so many people creating their business site using their personal page and the reason I hear this is because they already have 100 followers. 100 is nothing. And understand that if Facebook finds you using a personal page for business, they will shut your page down. The second problem is that you cannot run ads for a personal page. So you must create a business page, either for a business or an organization. I set up my page — the Oh So Very Vegan Facebook page — to be an organization.

Once you have your Facebook page up and running, you need to customize the header with a graphic as well as the image icon. Next, start filling it with content from your blog, repost some news articles in the vegan space, or create some funny memes. The reason for all this is that you want to have a good amount of content on the page when you start sending over traffic.

Now that you have your Facebook page up and running it’s very important that you post to it once every day at the minimum; it would be better to post several times a day. You can schedule your posts to publish early for each time zone. After about a month you should have enough stats to see what hours of the day get the most interaction. Then change your posting times to coincide with these popular times. Always be testing, trying new times throughout the day. It’s also important to position your page as a resource for the lifestyle. In other words don’t just post your own stuff. Share other sources — you can find this info by searching “vegan” in Google news.

You can’t rely on organic traffic alone because Facebook does not show your posts to everyone unless they get traction. You’re going to need lots of likes to get lots of engagement. Running a “like campaign” is the way to do this. A Like Campaign is nothing more than a targeted ad you run on Facebook. The great thing about Facebook is that it allows you to truly target who you want to attract. You can get pretty granular in the vegan space. My ads personally attract vegans, animal activists, vegetarians, and people looking for vegan recipes. The ad you create has to be engaging and cannot have a lot of text, so a strong photo is very important. In the vegan space I find that an ad with a farm animal — cow, pig, chick — does very well. [Read more…]

The Chipotle Method: How To Prepare 40,320 Plant-Based Meals In 5 Minutes Or Less by Matt Jager

When I first went plant-based, I spent an embarrassing amount of time, energy, and money preparing meals.

Because I was transitioning from a standard diet, every meal had to be hearty, filling, and delicious in order for me to feel satisfied.

I would pour over recipe books, put together a shopping list, and head off to store to search out the ingredients, many of which I’d never heard of before.

Back home, it was at least another hour of washing and prepping veggies and then carefully working my way through the recipe to ensure that I hadn’t made a mistake.

When I finally sat down for my meal, more often than not I was exhausted!

And the worst part? Sometimes the meal turned out great, but usually the result was disappointing. More than a few times it wasn’t even edible!

Fast forward five years, and I spend a minimal amount of time and energy figuring out what and how I’m going to eat.

I eat healthy, am super satisfied, and get the right amount of variety. The best part? I prepare most of my meals in five minutes or less.

How do I do it? [Read more…]

A Look at Nutrition CHAMPS, by Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, from Victoria Moran

I post on the Main Street Vegan blog only once a month, and it’s rare that I devote a post to a book. I’m doing that this time, though, because the book is question is so valuable. It’s Nutrition CHAMPS, by the Veggie Queen, Jill Nussinow, MS, RD. Those letters mean that Jill is a nutrition professional, a registered dietitian at the Masters level. I love our vegan dietitians, people so dedicated to getting it right that they showed up for years of academic rigor, learning a lot and unlearning some of that on purpose, so when they recommend foods and diets to patients, clients, and readers, we can trust them.

There are many wonderful plant-based dietitians – Jack Norris, Marty Davey, Brenda Davis, Ginny Messina, Vesanto Melina, Mark Rifkin, and more – and a whole subgroup of within the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. Jill Nussinow is among this select community. She’s smart and knows her stuff. She’s also open-minded and respects other people’s input. And she’s put together an extraordinary book/cookbook, including recipes from her colleagues and friends.

Nutrition CHAMPS

CHAMPS is an acronym for six antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer food groups: crucifers (cabbage-family vegetables), herbs and spices, alliums (vegetables of the onion family), mushrooms, pulses (legumes), and seeds/nuts. The recipes in the book feature foods from these groups, meeting a need nearly everyone encounters when wanting to eat healthier: I know the foods I’m supposed to be eating, but I don’t know what to do with them.

Recipe contributors include Robin Asbell, Dreena Burton, Fran Costigan, JL Fields, Ellen Jaffe Jones, Chef AJ, Ellen Kanner, Linda Long, Mary McDougall, Karen Ranzi, Robin Robertson, Miyoko Schinner, Laura Theodore, Jason Wyrick, and me, with two recipes that first appeared in Main Street Vegan, “Shangri-La Soup” (a raw green soup for the crucifers chapter – King Kale is a cruciferous leafy green), and “Chickpea Curry” for the pulses section, reprinted here. May you be a vitality CHAMP-ion.

Chickpea Curry

Serves 4 – 6 [Read more…]

Veganism: The Way of the Whole Person by Ilse Singer, VLCE

What, people ask (and argue) does what we eat have to do with leading an inspired and authentic life? With being awake, integrated, and…whole? My answer: Everything.

As Rilke said “I do not want to stay folded anywhere, because where I am folded, there I am a lie”.

Each of us knows, under a multi-layered cloak of conditioning and denial and justification, that causing suffering, doing violence, oppressing, and taking life, is wrong. It goes against our innate sensibilities and the very value system by which we identify ourselves. We believe in protecting the innocent, acting with compassion, and the ideal of a just world.

Denying that knowing is to deny our true nature, our highest self, and so, a part of us remains folded.

Choosing to live as a vegan is choosing to become unfolded, to live in awareness, and to embody our highest truth. Where we are desensitized and in denial, or reaction, we are a lie. As we awaken and begin to live in greater congruence with our core truths and the essence of who we really are, veganism becomes a given. An obviousness. It is part of the path to becoming whole, realized, connected — to the higher self being made manifest.  [Read more…]

An Open Letter to President Clinton, the Once (& Future?) Vegan

Dear President Clinton:

I hold you as the greatest president to have served this country in my lifetime – not to mention being the coolest and the best musician. A great day for me was January 26, 2013, when a letter arrived on your official stationery and signed with your own pen (nice pen, by the way) regarding my book, Main Street Vegan. You wrote: “I’m delighted that you’re helping to make the vegan lifestyle more accessible and achievable for as many people as possible….”

You can imagine how dispirited I am that your recent appearance on Rachael Ray confirmed the rumors I’ve heard for months: you’ve given up on being vegan. Now, obviously, the way anyone eats is a personal choice, but I feel sad that you may never have been shown how this particular dietary choice is, well, way more than a diet. Sure, eating whole, plant-based foods is a profoundly healthful way for people to nourish themselves. It is the only practice – dietary or medical – proven, re-proven, and never disproven to reverse cardiovascular disease, the condition that got you looking at healthier eating to begin with. But it goes so much further, all the way to the essence of holistic health. How can we be genuinely healthy when we’re causing others to suffer?

There are plenty of ways to approach nutrition for general health and certainly for weight loss. Any of them is likely to be superior to the SAD (Standard American Diet), widely known for its soda and fried chicken, its pizza and Buffalo wings, and the 21st century “cup of coffee,” a 16-ounce caffeinated milkshake. But only in getting the animals off our plates are we eating for integrity as well as health. I know of no other dietary choice that puts compassion ahead of convenience.

In addition, only by moving away from animal agriculture can we stem the tide – if it’s not too late – of environmental disaster. I’m sure you’re as familiar as I am with the assessments of the UN and the World Bank that raising animals for food is the number one human-induced cause of climate change, not to mention water use and water pollution, topsoil erosion and rainforest loss.

Focusing on fish doesn’t solve the problem. Ninety percent of the fish that once swam our oceans have been fished away in the past century. The oceans are emptying so rapidly that the scientific consensus is that by 2048 there will be, for all practical purposes, no fish in the sea.

One of the statements you reportedly made on TV was: “It’s hard being a vegan to get enough good quality protein…”I know your current physician is of the low-carb school of thought. Dietary philosophies are largely that: philosophies. You’ve dealt with philosophies all your life, and with politicians clinging to one ideology or another, sometimes despite the facts, or when everybody had some piece of the truth and together might have had it all. Diets – and doctors – aren’t much different.

In this country, vegans get more than enough protein; non-vegans get way more than enough – and the excess may not be a good thing. Among the vegan athletes apparently getting protein of sufficient quality are MMA’s Mac Danzig, the NFL’s David Carter, strongman Patrik Baboumian who walked 10 meters (32.8 feet) with 550 kilograms (just over 1212 pounds) on his shoulders, and ultramarathoner Rich Roll who did five Ironman-style events in a week.

You also said, “I know a lot of fat vegans…” Come on, Bill: you know a lot of fat Democrats and you’re not leaving the party. When I went vegan back in the 80s, it seemed that everybody who did it lost weight – I’ve kept off sixty pounds since Reagan was in office. These days there are all kinds of vegan convenience and snack foods so vegans can choose to be as fat as other Americans. Democracy in action!

Those of us who want to be trim and fit limit the amount of processed foods we eat, and favor instead vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and some nuts and seeds. Grains? OMG, aren’t grains the carbo-devil? Well, they haven’t been for all the human populations they’ve kept alive for millennia, but you know what? They’re not required. Raw-food vegans rarely eat them, and those whose take on veganism is more eco-Atkins (higher protein and fat, lower carb) go easy on them too. There’s plenty of food left to eat.

It’s all so American: about choice. And self-determination. Forging your destiny. And statistically, plant-eaters are still the BMI champs. In the huge Adventist Health Study-2, looking at dietary patterns of omnivores, fishivores (pesco-vegetarian is a contradiction in terms), lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and vegans, only the last group came in under the mean for being overweight. [Read more…]

Starting and Growing a Meetup® Group By Christine Day, VLCE

Finding other vegans to support and befriend one another is an important part of growing a social network. But how do you find others who share your interests? Check out Meetup.com for a great way to not only find compatible people but to also organize and enjoy activities together.

If you haven’t done much with Meetup.com before, get to know this website that serves as a network of local groups allowing like-minded individuals to find each other and get together. Your free membership allows you to browse and join the various existing groups or, for a fee, start your own Meetup group. According to their website (www.meetup.com), there are over 9,000 groups to choose from. Looking for a hiking group? Just type it into the search box. Or how about stuff to do in Ottawa, Ontario, if you’re “silly” twentysomething? Join one of the other 499 “Silly People in their 20’s Who Like Doing Stuff”? There’s a Meetup group for everyone!

When I first joined my vegan Meetup group, it had only a few members. The original organizer stepped down from that role and asked for someone else to take over. Because I believed in what he’d started, I decided to step up and run it.

Since I’m never afraid to use the v-word, one of the first things I did was change the name from “Southern Tier of New York Plant Eaters” to “Triple Cities Vegans” which I felt was more succinct and easier to remember. It was also important to me that the group not be exclusive to vegans so I made sure the description encouraged vegetarians and omnivores to join. No sense preaching to the vegan choir if your goal is to spread veganism.

My second goal was to grow our membership. Meetup gives organizers tools to promote their groups so I took advantage of one which allowed me to print off customizable flyers with pull- off tags. I took these flyers to libraries, health food stores, naturopathic practices, yoga studios, and anywhere else with a community billboard. I also promoted the group on my personal and business Facebook pages and Tweeted upcoming events.

The result? We went from six members to 46 in just a few months and we continue to grow. At a recent Health and Wellness Expo I participated in, I had over 20 people enthusiastically take information on joining. [Read more…]

The Mobile Vegan – 5 Favorite Apps to Get Your Veganism On-the-Go by Carmella Lanni-Giardina, VLCE

As much as many of us would love to stay in our vegan bubbles, we need to be social and experience the world. In that world, we’re met with scenarios that may test our commitment to veganism. The monthly staff lunch, your friends’ wedding, planning a vacation or moving to a new town can bring up a bit of anxiety in some of us.

“WHAT AM I GOING TO EAT?!?!?!”

“WHERE CAN I FIND <fill in the blank>?”

To get the answers, a number of us go to our communities: peers, local area residents, social media, etc.

What if you could get the answer right at our fingertips? Well, if you have a Smartphone, you can!

mobile app 1

Here are 5 mobile apps to help get you on your way. Some are free. Some are paid. Decide what works for you!

mobile app 2VeganXpress (iOS) – Paid $1.99 – Invaluable! Vegan Xpress is a comprehensive guide to dining out or grocery shopping. Highly recommend the investment. Sorry, not yet available for Android devices.

VeganXpress lists vegan menu items at many of the popular restaurant and fast food chains in the country. It provides information on food items, which is great while grocery shopping. For those who have been yearning for a vegan drinks app, VeganXpress now has vegan wine, beer and liquor lists.

mobile app 3Is It Vegan? (Android / iOS) – Free w/ Paid Ad-Free Option – Can’t find “vegan” on the label? Don’t quite trust that brand? There’s an app to the rescue!

Is It Vegan? is a database of products and ingredients. Search by brand, product or ingredient and learn if that item can be considered vegan. It includes a bar scanner to make the search quicker.

It goes into detail showing why an item would be considered vegan. There’s a meter to show how “safe” an item is to be vegan. Added feature: You can set the app to consider sugar as a vegan ingredient. [Read more…]

4 Simple Steps for Transitioning to a Vegan Diet by Carol Morgan Cox, VLCE

I stood in my kitchen looking at my now almost-empty fridge and had no idea what I was going to eat or cook. It was the morning after I had watched the documentary Forks Over Knives and thrown away all of the meat, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and eggs in my refrigerator. This was a huge change for me, as I had been eating some kind of animal food at every meal.

I have to admit that the next few months were rocky, as I wandered the grocery store aisles searching for plant-based options and carefully reading ingredients, experimented with new foods, and struggled to find recipes that were easy to make. (Fortunately, my husband was very supportive, even on the nights when the meals did not turn out quite like I had hoped.)

vegan-transitions-lg

To help you on your transition to a vegan diet and lifestyle, here are four simple steps I learned during mine.

  1. Set your intention and be mindful of your choices.

Take a few minutes today and think about why you’ve decided to take this journey. You can write it down in a journal or create a note on your computer or phone.

Setting an intention and making a commitment to yourself early on can make the difference between continuing down the path versus stopping and turning around after only a few steps.

Change can be hard: there are new things to learn, old habits to break, unfamiliar patterns to establish. Be open to new ideas and new ways of looking at yourself and the world. If resistance comes up, sit with it and ask why it’s there. There are no right or wrong answers; this is your unique journey of discovery.

  1. Swap out common animal-based foods for plant-based options.

There are so many delicious alternatives nowadays, so on your next few trips to the grocery store pick up some of the following plant-based foods:

  • Milk = Rice, almond, soy, hemp, or flax milk
  • Butter = Earth Balance plant-based butter
  • Mayonnaise = Veganaise or Beyond Mayo
  • Cheeses, ice creams, and yogurts = Look for brands like Daiya, So Delicious, and Tofutti
  • Eggs = Ener-G egg replacer
  • Meat = Check out Beyond Meat’s chicken-like strips, sausages from Field Roast and Tofurky, and veggie burgers from Sunshine Burgers and Dr. Praeger’s
  1. Select trigger points.

[Read more…]

Vegan Pressure Cooking: 3 reasons to try it (plus a giveaway) by JL Fields, VLCE

I came to veganism later in life, the year I turned 45, and I needed some serious help. My husband did most of the cooking in our home during the first years of our marriage because he loved it and because I traveled so much. When I went vegetarian, he handled it with ease. He became a pro at pressing tofu and all things meatless. Eight years later – when I proclaimed, “I’m a vegan!” – well, he suggested I step up my game in the kitchen.

I was a little lost but found my way by reading vegan blogs and cookbooks. And then I discovered the pressure cooker. Game changer.

Here are three reasons to consider vegan pressure cooking:

  1. Fast food.

Beans and grains, two delicious and important foods in a vegan diet, can be made in a matter of minutes. Yes, minutes. Soak black beans, chickpeas or whole dry green peas overnight and those legumes will cook up in anywhere from seven to 15 minutes. Brown rice cooks up in 22 minutes and quinoa in just one minute.

Many fruits and vegetables cook in less than five minutes; potatoes in just six minutes means mashed potatoes in under 15 minutes!

One-pot meals like this Chik’n Lentil Noodle Soup, filled with vegetables, legumes, and soba noodles, can cook in as little as eight minutes.

Chik'n lentil noodle soup | JL Fields | Vegan Pressure Cooking

Photo: Kate Lewis

Chik’n Lentil Noodle Soup

This soup is a reader favorite on my blog, I suspect because it is reminiscent of a childhood favorite for many of us—and because it’s incredibly easy to prepare and delicious! The “chicken” flavoring is simply seasoning. I use Butler Chik-Style seasoning, though your favorite brand of dry seasoning will do just fine. This is rich in protein and packed with healthy vegetables.

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups (200 g) green beans (fresh or frozen), snapped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup (130 g) chopped carrots
  • 1 cup (120 g) chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons vegan chicken flavored seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 cup (200 g) dried brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 ounces (112 g) soba noodles
  • 4 cups (940 ml) vegetable broth
  • 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups (235 to 355 ml) water

In an uncovered pressure cooker, heat the oil on medium-high. Add the garlic, onions, green beans, carrots, and celery and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken-flavored seasoning, bay leaf, and sage and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the lentils, noodles, and vegetable both. Stir to combine. Cover and to bring to pressure. Cook at high pressure for 8 minutes. Use a quick release. Sample both the lentils and the noodles. If they are not cooked through, simmer on low in the uncovered pressure cooker until done. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Recipe Notes

  • You can find vegan chicken-style seasoning or Bouillon cubes at most grocery stores.
  • To deepen the flavor further, use vegan chicken broth instead of vegetable broth.

Recipe: Vegan Pressure Cooking: Beans, Grains, and One-Pot Meals in Minutes (Fair Winds Press, January 2015) by JL Fields

  1. Save money.

[Read more…]