This year for my birthday, I asked my brother to make me a completely vegan birthday dinner. He’s a bomb cook and I am officially going vegan (at least for the month of January. We’ll see how it goes.)
So what got me on this kick in the first place? I made the mistake of watching a documentary on Netflix called “What The Health?” Since then, I haven’t really eaten a ton of meat and found myself questioning dairy. Okay so this documentary is a tad far-fetched with some of their statistics but the overall message about the health benefits of a vegan diet is the key piece. A much better documentary to watch, or so I hear, is Game Changers. It’s on my list to watch soon.
Back to my birthday meal. I LOVE macaroni and cheese. It’s my weakness (after donuts). I normally resort to Annie’s Mac when I don’t know what to make for dinner but it’s obviously not vegan-friendly. Homemade mac is always the way to go when you have the time. I questioned if vegan mac could truly replace this in my life. After making this recipe, the answer was quickly yes. Yes it could.
One of my favorite desserts has always been cheesecake, which is obviously loaded with dairy. We found a vegan recipe online, tweaked it a little, and I was very impressed with the end result. I am soy-intolerant so all the ingredients we used were soy-free (no tofu).
If you haven’t tried vegan butter or cream cheese before…YUM. My favorite brand right now is Miyoko’s. Their cream cheese is to die for. Apparently Veganuary is actually a thing because when I went to the store on December 31st to prep, the shelves were wiped of all Miyoko’s products. So crazy.
I always thought people who ate vegan were nuts. There are actually so many health benefits to eating a plant-based, whole foods diet. Here are just a few. Make sure to read the full article for more detailed information on the research studies completed.
- Richer in certain nutrients – make sure you’re still getting all the nutrients your body needs, like B12.
- Can help you lose excess weight – vegan diets tend to naturally reduce caloric intake.
- May lower blood sugar levels and improve kidney function.
- May protect against certain cancers – about 1/3 of all cancers can be prevented by factors within your control, including diet
- Lower risk of heart disease.
- May reduce pain from arthritis – in a study, those on a vegan diet reported higher energy levels and better general functioning
Disclaimer: we did not create these recipes on our own, we’re not that skilled…yet. We found the macaroni recipe from Loving It Vegan and it did not disappoint. She has a TON of mouthwatering recipes on her blog that I can’t wait to try out.
You can find the recipe here. We didn’t tweak a thing for this recipe, which is rare for us. When you’re experimenting with something new, stick with the recipe and tweak it the second time. I’ve learned this the hard way.
Everyone LOVED this recipe. We ended up making a couple changes to this one due to missing ingredients and it still turned out great.
This isn’t the exact recipe we used but it’s almost identical. We bought the wrong cream cheese (thinking Lox flavored would not have gone over well) so we had to make our own. I couldn’t even tell you how we did that so save yourself some time and just go with the pre-made cream cheese from Miyoko’s.
For the crust, we kept it super simple and just used Annie’s honey grahams and melted coconut oil. For the topping, we just cooked some strawberries with honey and lemon juice in a pan for a few minutes and drizzled it on top once the cheesecake was cooled.
So there you have it. My first vegan meal and the start of my veganuary. We’ll see where this journey takes me. Maybe it’ll stick after January is over. Maybe not. If anything, it’ll be good for my health so there’s nothing to lose.
Also accepting any and all tips from my fellow plant-based friends! Please and thank you!
Happy new year!