Our culture unfortunately pairs meat with masculinity in a way that discourages many men from taking steps towards making their diet more healthy and ethical. This blog is geared toward the average man who did not grow up learning how to cook, has a need for sports nutrition, but also wants to take steps toward a healthy and cruelty-free lifestyle. Most of these RECIPES therefore are quick, cheap, protein dense, and delicious. You will also find "KNOWLEDGE DROPS" for vegan FAQs I commonly hear from men, and also vegan sports supplement reviews. There are also TRANSITION STORIES from real men for motivation and inspriation. Good luck to all: if I can do it, you can do it. Fear not my enculturated brethren! Of course, this blog is equal opportunity and people of all genders will hopefully enjoy these recipes!

New: Visit the Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vegan-Cooking-For-Men/387815251245671

 

Recipe of the week (4/13/14): Make your Own Hemp Tofu

This is a really cool idea, and since I still have been too lazy to blog my backlog of recipes, I’ll start getting things going again by posting someone else’s recipe. Check it out and let me know how it goes!

Recipe of the week (2/10/13): Vegan Egg Scramble Casserole aka “The Ultimate Vegan Breakfast” + how to make a tofu scramble

Whether you need a good brunch food for your guests who passed out on your couch the previous night, or you are feeling frisky and want some breakfast for dinner, this is the dish for you.  Once you make the ultimate casserole, you will never go back.  My mother supposedly invented this, so you know its good. Massive protein-carb-iron-delicious ratio for the muscle minded out there too. VCFM on facebook

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Serves 4, or if you are like my brother and me, 2

What you need:

  1. A baking trey you can layer everything on (such as the one pictured)
  2. 1 package firm tofu, drain and dredge
  3. 1 package vegan sausage (I use “Gimme lean” breakfast kind)
  4. Daiya Cheese (Mozzarella or Chedder)
  5. 1 package hash browns (enough to fill the bottom of your baking trey)
  6. Flour tortillas (optional - can make it a breakfast burrito)
  7. 1 small yellow onion, dice it up
  8. 1 tsp garlic, dice it up
  9. 1 small green bell pepper, chop it up
  10. 1 small jalepeno (optional), chop it up
  11. 1/4 ground tumeric
  12. 2 tsp soy sauce
  13. 1 tb nutritional yeast
  14. salt/pepper
  15. hot sauce
  16. squirt of lemon juice
  17. 2-3 tsp oil

 

What to do:


For the tofu scramble (this is one good way to make vegan scrambled eggs!):

  1. Heat oil and saute onion, garlic, green pepper, jalepeno until they are soft
  2. Add tofu: Crumble tofu with your hands so that its in little clumps similar to what scrambled eggs might look like in size
  3. cook until tofu gets light golden 
  4. add the nutritional yeast, tumeric, soy sauce and lemon juice
  5. mix it up nicely and make sure everything gets heated through

Now in a large pan fry the hash browns such that they are brown on both sides.

Then mince your sausage (add vegan bacon too if you’re feeling naughty) and fry it lightly in a small pan

Assemble the casserole in the baking dish:

  1. Spray dish with non stick spray
  2. lay down hash browns first
  3. put a thin layer of daiya cheese on top
  4. put the tofu scramble and sausage mixed together down so it covers all the hasbrowns
  5. put another layer of cheese on top
  6. Bake on 250 for about 15 minutes until cheese is melted
  7. when its done, put in burritos if you want to turn it in to breakfast burritos (but its awesome by itself too!)

Total prep + cook time: 40 minutes

Contains a lot of: Protein, Iron, Vitamin C, Calcium

This post is brought to you by Sammy the Wolf Cub. Sammy says, “Tell your friends why they should go vegan!”

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Recipe of the week (11/4/12): Spicy Vegan BBQ Chicken aka “King James Chik-N”

This recipe will first of all teach you how to make seitan from scratch which is going to save you tons of money and give you lots of protein for your meals.  It’s an old recipe I really like from Post Punk Kitchen. Most people use seitan as a meat/pork substitute but this particular recipe to me tastes more like chicken.  Also, I’ll give you my VCFM original spin on it to make stand out (Spicy BBQ style).

Makes enough for about 4 people.  As some of you know by now, VCFM is now on facebook.

Step 1: Make the Seitan

What you need (make sure to check step 2 below for sauce ingredients):

  1. 1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
  2. 3 TB nutritional yeast flakes
  3. 1/2 cup cold veggie broth
  4. 1/4 cup soy sauce
  5. 2 TB lemon juice
  6. 1 TB olive oil
  7. 2 cloves garlic pressed (or chopped finely)
And for the broth to simmer it in you’ll need:
  1. 4 cups veggie broth
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 1/4 cup soy sauce

What to do:
  1. Get a large pot and fill it with the simmering broth ingredients (veggie broth/water/soy sauce)
  2. Bring it to a boil
  3. While it is heating up to boil, you will make the seitan slabs
  4. Get large bowl and mix together the gluten and nutritional yeast
  5. Get another smaller bowl and mix the broth, soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic.
  6. Pour the wet stuff from the small bowl into the large bowl and mix it up with a big spoon so the gluten mix is absorbing all the liquid (can add a very small amount of water if it seems like a lot of the dry mix is left over, but it should also go away when you knead it next:)
  7. Then you will pick the new spongy formation and knead it with your hands for a few minutes (stretch it out and such like with pizza dough).
  8. Once you have a big ball of seitan, congrats you made seitan.  Now take a knife and cut it so you are left with 3 slabs.
  9. Once you cut the slabs knead them to stretch them out.
  10. You brother should be boiling by now unless you are a seitan wizard.  Throw the slabs into the broth, bring down heat to a simmer and cover it with a top.  
  11. Let simmer for 45 minutes. Then strain and you have your seitan slabs.

Now that you have homemade seitan, 

Step 2: make it spicy BBQ style

What you need:

  1. 3 TB olive oil
  2. 1 TB soy sauce
  3. 3  TB balsamic vinegar
  4. 4 TB your favorite bbq sauce (I recommend ”bone-sucking” brand)
  5. 2 TB water
  6. 1 jalapeno chopped finely (optional)
What to do:
  1. Cut two of your seitan slabs into bite sized pieces (save the other one for later!)
  2. Put them in a small/medium pot with olive oil and fry them on both sides for about 3-4 minutes on each side
  3. lower heat so its just warming
  4. throw in all sauce ingredients, mix it up well so all pieces get covered up in the sauce
  5. when its warm serve it!
Total cook + prep time: 1 hour

Contains a lot of: protein, iron, b vitamins (if your nutritional yeast is fortified).
This post is brought to you by King James in celebration of the NBA season starting.

Vegan Sports Nutrition

Here is a guest article I wrote for a sustainable food website.  Here’s the intro paragraph to entice you.  Check it out!

When thinking of making a transition to a healthier and cruelty-free vegan diet, one concern I often hear, particularly in men, is whether or not a vegan diet can support muscle building and athletic performance.

The concern is not from thin air – certainly the dominant view in popular body building and sports culture is that to maximize performance one needs a meat-packed diet in order to get the proper amount of protein, iron, etc. However, I am always surprised to see that a majority of information floating around in gyms, and even from legitimate coaches and athletes, is based on mere opinions and anecdotes but not any scientific data.

If you are one of the people who has concerns about a plant-based diet and sports nutrition, ask yourself where your concerns come from. Are they based on scientific articles you read, or are they based on a general knowledge or a “feeling” you have?

In this article I will attempt to wash away a few common misconceptions about vegan sports nutrition. I will illustrate that a vegan diet–done properly–provides no disadvantage from the perspective of sports nutrition and will also provide a few helpful suggestions for taking first steps towards a vegan diet with an athlete’s needs in mind. Importantly, this article will utilize actual scientific data to provide an objective assessment, rather than a partisan campaign.

Recipe of the week (12/31/11): Vegan Protein Shakes aka “Dwight Howard’s Shoulder Juice”

Here are two awesome post-workout shakes that are packed with protein, vitamins and calories.  Get healthy and get big at the same time.

Shake V1: the Chuck Berry

Ingredients:

(note: these measurements are approximate - I just eyeball it.  The goal is to make enough to fill one 8-12oz glass).

  1. 3/4 cup frozen berries (I use blend of black, blue, straw)
  2. 1/2 cup orange juice
  3. 1 banana broken into pieces
  4. 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored vegan protein (e.g. Spiru-tein, raw pea protein, raw brown rice protein)
  5. 2TB ground flax or flax oil
  6. 1 Tsp raw creatine (optional)

Directions:

  1. Blend finely, if too thick add more orange juice
  2. Drink

Shake V2: The Monster

Ingredients:

  1. 2 heaping TB peanut butter
  2. 3/4 cup almond milk
  3. 1/4 cup crushed ice
  4. 1 banana
  5. 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored vegan protein (e.g. Spiru-tein, raw pea protein, raw brown rice protein)
  6. 2TB ground flax or flax oil
  7. 1 Tsp raw creatine (optional)

Directions:

  1. Blend finely, if too thick add more almond milk or blend peanut butter more
  2. Drink

Contain a lot of: Protein, Vitamin C, Iron, omega-3/6, Fiber

Vegan Knowledge drop #2: Professional atheletes and veganism

There are few people in the world who are better athletes than NFL players.  Not only can NFL players push as much weights as many power lifters, but they are also fast as sprinters!  This news story about a vegan NFL fullback is just one of many awesome publicity pieces that have been coming out lately as more people come to their senses about the vegan diet.  An increasing number of athletes are going vegan, and the results are always the same.  Not only do they experience no losses in performance, but they experience increases in performance. 

If any man thinks he has a greater protein or sports-nutrient need than a 6’0, 242lb NFL fullback, he is living in a dream world.

Now a vegan, Fiammetta stronger than ever

For a broader overview of current professional atheletes who are vege/vegan check out a related article.  Very eye-opening for the doubters. 

Professional Athletes who choose not to eat meat

What people will eventually realize is that most professional athletes and weight-lifters eat meat because of arbitrary tradition, not because of confirmed science or experience that suggests that a vege/vegan diet can’t work.  I really don’t know how to stress this fact enough.  Next time you are in the gym or another context, ask someone why they need to eat meat.  First they will say, “I need the protein.”  If you press them as to why they think that they will say, “I just know you can’t get enough protein from plants”.  Then you refer them to my earlier post to show them this is incorrect.  Then they will say, “I need for meat increased performance, it just makes sense.”  Then you will refer them to this post.

Vegan knowledge drop #1: PROTEIN

Inevitably if you ask a man why he wouldn’t go vegetarian or vegan, the hands-down number one remark is “Well I couldn’t get enough protein”.  The purpose of this post is to show you why this is wildly false, and how to practically make sure you get the protein you need.

                        

Claim 1: A vegan can’t have a high protein diet.  False. There are so many plant-based sources of substantial protein that this commonly-held belief is hysterical.  Here is just a sample of good plant-based sources of protein

Tofu:                                    8g / 4oz
Seitan (wheat gluten):            20g / 4oz
Tempeh:                              20g / 4oz
TVP:                                    24g / 4oz
Lentils:                                12g / 4 oz
Black / Pinto Beans:               12g / 4oz
Brown Rice:                           5g / 4oz

Note that if you are like me, you will eat more like 6oz for a meal.  Note the new totals.  Now let’s compare this to the all-mighty meat sources.

Chicken:                               35g / 4oz
Beef:                                    28g / 4oz
Fish:                                     20g / 4oz

So now we see the comparison.  You can get a bit more protein per oz if you eat an animal.  But at what cost?  In doing so you also get a huge amount of cholesterol and fat if you’re eating any non-fish meat.  If you’re eating fish over time you’re getting enough mercury to kill a small child.  And of course, there is the ethical problem which to me is the most important.

But let’s go back to the original claim: you cannot get protein from plants.  While you may have to eat a few extra calories to get the same protein as a meat diet, it is clear that you CAN get just as much protein with a plant diet.  As it turns out, if your a weight lifting, you will want the extra calories in the first place (particularly if you are a hard-gainer like myself).

Claim 2: Fine.  You can get protein but its not the same quality.   You guessed it, also FALSE.  When you talk about “quality of protein” what you typically mean is amino acid profile.  The fact is however, any time you eat some type of rice and some type of bean together you are getting the elusive complete amino acid profile.  And by the way, tofu, tempeh and TVP all contain all the essential amino acids, which some might count as most important.  Seitan has them all except is low in lycine.  In terms of supplementing, I prefer taking raw pea and rice protein in tandem for a complete profile.  They are both cheaper than whey also.  You can check their labels and see combined they have the full profile.  Also check out Spiruteen which is a blend of pea, rice and soy.  It’s good stuff but also very expensive.  Sticking with the raw stuff does the job and saves your wallet.

Claim 3: Plant protein is not absorbed as well as meat protein.  This claim seems to be true, but unsubstantial.  The numbers I’ve seen in scientific studies range from around 10-30% less absorption.  What does this mean practically speaking?  Well, if we assume one absorbs all the protein in a 20g of protein slab of meat, and then another eats a 20g slab of seitan and absorbs 90-70% of it, they will get 18g - 14g.  So it doesn’t equate to much.  The people who would be most worried about this difference will be bodybuilders.  However, to counter-act a small reduction in absorption, the vegan only needs to consume some more calories.  Of course, if your bodybuilding, increasing calories is the name of the game.  So in the end the vegan ends up in a great position for muscle building.

In conclusion, protein intake just isn’t a problem for vegans.  *If* you are an advanced bodybuilder or power-lifter, any you are worried even though the numbers suggest you shouldn’t be, why not just try it?  My rule of thumb when I first started power-training as a vegan was: after a few weeks of a circuit, if  I wake up and my muscles feel like they haven’t recovered, then I need to eat more protein and calories.  If I increase protein and I still feel I haven’t recovered, I need to make sure I’m doing a good job mixing protein sources to achieve the complete profile.  I’ve never encountered the issue after over a year of lifting, and have witnessed the same gains I was making on a complete meat diet.  But I guarantee if you follow the rule you could get by even without supplementing.

Some knowledge drops to come later

  • testosterone
  • creatine
  • vitamins
  • supplements