Meatless Monday: Vegan Lutein Recipes for Healthy Eyes

Image credit mamchenkov
August is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month and Children’s Vision and Learning Month. Two out of every three kids will go back to school without a proper eye exam, say the Centers for Disease Control. “Many learning difficulties can be attributed to vision problems that are not detected during typical school vision screenings,” warns the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

In addition to prioritizing professional eye checkups, you’ll also want to make sure the kids in your life are getting lutein from the best source - food. Dr. Mary Rose Teodoro-Chang, a pediatric ophthalmologist, recommends lutein as a defense against damage from ultraviolet rays, blue light and free radicals. When you think about it, how many kids wear sunglasses during:
·        recess
·        physical education
·        fire drills
·        outdoor pool time
·        ballgames, and
·        yard time at home?
That’s a lot of sunlight exposure for young eyes, and sunglasses aren’t always practical. Vegan lutein recipes are an easy way to help protect your children’s vision both for school and for life.

Eye Vitamins
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), research has shown that lutein (LOO-teen) and zeaxanthin (zee-ah-ZAN-thin), vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial nutrients in preventive eye health.

Most Prenatal Vitamins Lack Lutein
In an interview on SuperKidsNutrition, Bridget Swinney, MS, RD suggests that both parents take children’s nutritional needs into account prior to conception, as well as during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Swinney states, “Lutein is rarely found in prenatal vitamins, therefore, a lutein-rich diet is important while pregnant and breastfeeding.

Lutein-Rich Foods
Eating for your eyes goes beyond carrots and leafy greens. A study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology found that corn was the best vegetable source for lutein, while orange pepper had the highest quantity of zeaxanthin. Kiwi, grapes, orange juice, spinach, zucchini and other varieties of squash also showed significant amounts of the two compounds. Ultimately, the team recommends a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables to make sure your family gets enough lutein.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Healthy Eyes
For my part, I looove carrots! My grandmother and mom taught me the old school line about eating carrots for healthy eyes. I literally had a 2-pound bag-a-day raw carrot noshing habit one summer, even dreamt I went out to check my rural mailbox and found it full of carrots. The next morning I looked in the mirror while washing up and my eyes looked fantastic, my nose wasn’t twitching, I hadn’t sprouted a cotton tail, but my undereye skin was YELLOW! Concealer and foundation were no help. Nor was my partner at the time - also a health nut - who found my predicament absolutely hilarious and got a belly-laughing, knee-slapping charge out of it the whole day long. Not to worry. Fewer carrots, plenty of water, a little walking, and some green juice shots did the trick in about 24 hours. Miraculously, my partner lived to see my clear skin the next day.

Lutein Fun Song
I’ve taken the liberty of slightly rewriting the immortal words of Hank Williams, Sr. to make things a bit more fun for the kids helping in the kitchen. Use those colorful fruits and veggies and kitchen utensils as microphones and instruments, then make up your own little dance to go with it.

“Heyyy, good lookin’!
Whaaatcha got cookin’?
Howsabout cookin’ lutein up with meee?”

So now, I present to you for your cooking and dining pleasure, vegan lutein recipes, in order of lutein and zeaxanthin content (almost), as stated by the study above: corn; orange pepper and squash; kiwi; grapes; orange juice; zucchini and spinach.

Raw Vegan Zesty Lime Corn Salad (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Hell Yeah, It’s Vegan!)
Spaghetti Squash with Chunky Veggie Sauce (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Jordan’s Onion)
Raw Blueberry and Kiwi Tart (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Blissful Basil)
Roasted Butternut Squash with Grapes (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Stacey Snacks)
Blood Orange Juice (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Reboot with Joe)
Zucchini Rolls with Sunflower Seeds Pate’, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Spinach (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Chris Anca/Raw Food Recipes)

Buzz on over to my vegan vegetarian cookbook and our Recipe Index for more kid-friendly vegan recipes.


Meatless Monday: Vegan Chicken Recipes & FREE COOKBOOK

Image credit Andrea Parrish Geyer
Have I got some vegan chicken recipes for you, chers amies! Go vegan and one of the first things you’ll likely miss is chicken in all its variety of form. Nuggets, wings, breast, fried, popcorn, we’re addicted to chicken. Well, I’m happy to say you can indulge that love affair without the loss of another fine feathered hen from this earth. Whether you want something to go with your waffles or kid-friendly finger food that also works in more sophisticated settings, you’ve got options. Take your pick from the selection of six vegan chicken recipes below to style your next sans meat soiree.

NOTE: Five of the recipes below are not gluten free and one is not sugar free. Only the Raw Vegan Chicken Nuggets are free of gluten and added sugar. Read the codes carefully and have your substitutions handy.

Chicken Stylee (sic) Seitan (DF, SF, K, V, VG) (Post Punk Kitchen)
(DF, GF, SF, K, RV, V, VG) (Side Saddle Kitchen)
Spicy Vegan Buffalo Chicken Wings (DF, SF, K, V, VG) (Beyond Meat)
Vegan Basil Chicken (DF, GF, K, V, VG) (PBS Food)
Vegan Chicken Parmesan (DF, SF, K, V, VG) (ABC News/GMA Recipes)
Vegan Fried Chicken (DF, SF, K, V, VG) (Hell Yeah It’s Vegan)
Vegan Popcorn Chicken (DF, SF, K, V, VG) (Je Suis Alimentageuse)

Bookmark our Recipe Index for more vegan recipes. We even have a special section filled with Chocolate recipes.

My vegetarian cookbook with vegan options, Confessions of a Red Hot Veggie Lover 2, is FREE today only.


Savory Vegan Tofu Recipes

Image credit Mike Linksvayer
From back-to-school lunch boxes to tailgating parties, we all need some go-to savory tofu recipes for fall menus. For a lunch boxes and easy weeknight dinners, or if you’re new to tofu and want a simple starter recipe, bake up some Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips. They come with a side of Sweet Potato Fries.

In the mood for Italian? Pan-Seared Tofu with Apples and Champagne Vinaigrette makes a nice Mediterranean salad. Serve Spinach Tofu Calzones for your main course. 

Spice up your family’s Asian nights with Orange Ginger Tofu Triangles and Tofu Pad Thai Noodles. Grill a few pans of Garlic Chili Tofu Burgers for exciting gridiron weekends. When you start the menu with savory tofu entrees, everybody’s a winner.

Tofu Nutrition Facts

According to the USDA and Self Magazine, ½ cup (4 oz. or 126g) of firm tofu contains 88 calories, half of them from fat. Not to worry. There are only 5g of total fat and a mere 1g of that is saturated fat.

With zero cholesterol, zero trans fats, low carbs, low sodium, high calcium and high protein, tofu is practically a sin-free food. The only people who need to be concerned about their tofu intake are menopausal women. Some are soy-sensitive, some are not. Those who can handle soy will benefit from its natural hormone balancing properties, primarily brain function.

Do you like tofu Asian, Italian or American style?

NOTE: The calzone and pad thai recipes are not sugar free. Have your substitutes handy.

Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Oh She Glows)
Garlic Chili Tofu Burger (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Chef in You)
Orange Ginger Tofu Triangles (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (All Recipes)
Pan-Seared Tofu w Apples & Champagne Vinaigrette (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG)(Herbivoracious)
Spinach Tofu Calzones (DF, GF, K, V, VG) (Savvy Vegetarian)
Tofu Pad Thai Noodles (DF, GF, K, V, VG) (Nitha’s Kitchen)

Dive into our Recipe Index for more vegan recipes.


Kosher Vegan Falafel Recipes

Image credit Rubyran

One of my favorite Mediterranean dishes is falafel, a savory blend of soaked beans, onions or garlic and seasonings like cumin, coriander and curry. Unfortunately, the nearest restaurant that serves falafel is over two hours away. Falafel being so popular the world over as an appetizer and fast food, I searched the blogosphere and found these yummy Kosher vegan falafel recipes to share with you. Falafel is typically fried, for texture and crunch, but is healthier when grilled or baked. You can make them in ball or patty form, serve them in pita bread or hamburger buns, alongside or as part of a salad. Baba ganoush (eggplant dip), pickles, chutney, tahini and hummus are usually offered as condiments.

According to the USDA, one 2.25-inch falafel patty has only 57 calories, which is 3% of the Recommended Daily Intake. 48% of this is fat, 38% carbs and 14% protein.

You can experiment and make falafel your own, by varying the beans, seasonings, cooking and serving methods and condiments. Think barbeque, Mexican, Italian or smothered Southern-style with okra, tomatoes and onions. Use your bread tube and cookie cutter collection on the falafel mixture before cooking. So go ahead, dig into the delicious world of Kosher vegan falafel recipes!

NOTE: Not all recipes below are gluten-free. Watch for GF in the codes and otherwise, have substitutions on hand.

Baked Falafel (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (The Little Honey Bee)
Best Easiest Homemade Falafels (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Pure Ella)
Chickpea Falafel (DF, SF, K, V, VG) (Veg Recipes of India)
Falafels (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (The Gluten Free Vegan)
Vegan Falafel (DF, SF, K, V, VG) (The Laidback Vegan)

Find more mouth-watering Kosher vegan recipes in our Recipe Index. How do you prefer your falafel?


Dairy Free Vegan Ice Cream Recipes

Image credit littledebbie11
It’s Fourth of July weekend and you need dairy-free vegan ice cream recipes, right? Well, fear not, dieters, vegans, vegetarians, lactose intolerants and those taking medications whose beneficial effects (like absorbing nutrition from the food you eat) would be wiped out by consuming dairy products. I’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find a buffet of six delicious and nutritious dairy free vegan ice cream recipes that will brighten up your table with no sweat on your part.

There’s a little something for everyone, from the classic chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors of Neapolitan to the simple decadence of Vanilla, Brownie Chocolate and Butter Pecan. If you’re feeling like a nut, go for the Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip for that Almond Joy effect. Personally, I live in Louisiana, where we love our fig trees and blackberry canes in the backyard, so the Fig, Coconut & Blackberry recipe thrills me to pieces. Y’all have fun and let me know how your Fourth of July turns out.

NOTE: Not all of these are gluten free or sugar free, so check the codes for GF and SF to be sure. Also, A+ means that a recipe has alcohol.

(DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG ) (The Kitchn)

(DF, K, V, VG) (Vegan Baking)

(DF, GF, K, V, VG) (Minimalist Baker)

(A+, DF, GF, K, V, VG) (The Everyday Veggie)

(DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Green Kitchen Stories via Buzzfeed)

(DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (ecosalon)

For more Dairy Free Vegan Recipes, visit Sugar Free Vegan Sorbet Recipes and our Recipe Index.


Sugar Free Vegan Sorbet Recipes

Image credit Joy

Get ready for frosty bliss with these fabulous sugar free vegan sorbet recipes. Prep is quick and easy in most cases and the flavor variety is endless. Sorbets make the most of whatever fruit is in season. In summer, that means plenty of citrus and melons down at your local farmer’s market. You can even satisfy your chocolate cravings with a creamy sorbet, without milk or sugar. So grab your chocolate, fruit, freezer and blender and fall madly in love with your spoon over the sugar free vegan sorbet recipes below.

Blueberry Sorbet (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Spark People)
Cherry Sorbet (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Good Food Channel)
Chocolate Sorbet (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Heal With Food)
Cranberry Sorbet (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Fat Free Vegan)
Mango Sorbet (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Sugar Free Mom)
Watermelon Sorbet (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Easy Sugar Free Recipes)

Need more sugar free vegan recipes? Our Recipe Index is loaded with them.

Be sure to check out my sustainable food poem at D.W. Metz’s unknown poetry blog.


Gluten Free Tuesday: Vegan Carrot Salad Recipes

Image credit Judith Doyle

My dad enjoyed carrot raisin salad. I remember watching Mom preparing her not quite vegan Carrot Salad Recipe: peeling the carrots by hand at the sink; plumping the raisins and draining them; adding in the salad dressing and stirring it all together. Besides snacking on raw carrots and a box of raisins, one of my favorite things as a child was playing waitress and serving his bowl of orange sunshine to him at his orange recliner. Not only was it the 70s, he probably had gotten a good deal on orange Naugahyde. As I was mulling about what recipes you might enjoy today, that memory of Dad came up, thus our menu du jour is Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Salad Recipes.

Carrot Nutrition Facts
According to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, “there are about 6 to 8 medium carrots in 1 pound. One medium carrot is about ½ cup of chopped carrots. For a 2,000-calorie diet, the daily recommendation is about 2 ½ cups of vegetables. ½ cup of carrots provides more than one day’s worth of vitamin A.” The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that “vitamin A is involved in immune function, vision, reproduction and cellular communication. Vitamin A also plays a critical role in the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs.” So there you have it. Our bodies heart carrots. Bon appetit!

Vietnamese Noodle Salad w Chickpeas and Rainbow Carrots (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Vegetarian Times)
Black Bean Quinoa Salad w Carrots & Cilantro (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (One Hundred Dollars a Month)
Beetroot, Carrot and Apple Salad (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Grown to Cook)
Cumin-Roasted Carrot Avocado Salad (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Camille Styles)
Fall Detox Salad (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Oh She Glows)
Raw Kelp Noodle Chili Salad (DF, GF, SF, K, V, VG) (Eating Vibrantly)

Visit our Recipe Index for more mouth-watering Gluten Free Vegan Recipes.