Vegan Carob Brownies

Vegan Carob Brownies 3

Made with whole grains & healthy fats!

I’ve seriously been craving chocolate recently, but with my caffeine sensitivity it’s just not a practical choice. Chocolate gives me major jitters, bad skin, & messes with my sleep. Luckily, I really love baking with carob. It doesn’t replace the taste of chocolate, but it has a lovely roasted/sweet/nutty flavor that is unique, delicious, & really satisfies chocolate cravings!

Ingredients: 

2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour (I used King Arthur)

3/4 cup Roasted Carob Powder (I use Australian Carob Company)

1 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 cup Extra Virgin Avocado Oil

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 cups Cane Sugar

1 cup water

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°

In a large bowl, beat together your oil, sugar, vanilla extract, & water with a hand mixer

In a second large bowl, stir together your whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, and carob powder

Pour the bowl of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients

Use the hand mixer to combine until there are no lumps left

Pour the batter into a 9×13 baking pan and evenly smooth

Bake for around 22 minutes (I like mine fudgy in the center, but keep an eye on them and bake to your doneness preference!)

Let them sit for a few hours before enjoying for their consistency to be ideal

Enjoy on their own or with a scoop of ice cream!

Nut-Free Pesto

Nut-Free Pesto Screenshot

It can easily be made vegan as well!

I absolutely love pesto. However, as someone with nut allergies, 9 times out of 10, I’m not able to eat it. Most restaurants & grocery brands make their pesto with pine nuts. This pesto is 100% nut-free, & can easily be made vegan if you leave out the parmesan.

Ingredients:

3 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)

4 cloves garlic

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

sea salt & black pepper

3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Wash and prep the basil leaves.

Combine basil leaves & garlic in a food processor, & then slowly add in the oil to make it easier to blend until all of the oil has been added.

Add in sea salt & black pepper to taste & mix again.

Pour the pesto into a bowl & stir in the cheese (can be skipped, or subbed with a vegan alternative).

Add extra sea salt & black pepper if desired, but do a taste test first on your pasta or meal of choice & see what you prefer.

Enjoy!

Why I’m Not Currently Vegan

Our bodies are constantly evolving. What works for us at any one stage of our lives does not determine what will be best for them down the line. I say this because I’d like to think that maybe one day I’ll be able to go vegan for the environment and for the treatment of animals.

I will note that most days, I do in fact eat 80-90% vegan. Over the years, I have made the attempt to go full vegan time and time again. Yet, at age 29, these are my 4 biggest reasons that a vegan diet has never worked for me:

My Hormones

There are countless people out there who swear by cutting out animal products to correct their hormone imbalances. Unfortunately, every time I have gone vegan my hormones become incredibly unhappy. I get cystic pimples (minor example below), my insulin and cortisol go a little nutty, and when I got a blood test done, my testosterone levels were off the charts too high. Reintroducing animal products corrected these issues almost instantly.

Why I'm Not Currently Vegan 3

My Digestive System

Again, there are many vegans out there who swear by their diet as a cure-all for digestive issues. However, when I adapted a vegan diet, the bloating, cramping, and flare-ups of IBS were out of control. I felt absolutely miserable every day. Reintroducing animal products brought back my normal problem-free digestion.

My Supplement Intolerances

When you go vegan, there are a number of supplements that are recommended, including B12 which can only be found in animal foods, and oftentimes other vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D and Calcium (depending on your specific deficiencies or diet shortcomings). Unfortunately, my body is very sensitive when it comes to supplements. Believe me, I have tried them ALL, even the most straightforward options with minimal ingredients. They always lead to either severe nausea/stomach cramps or overpoweringly intense headaches. Therefore, I need to rely on getting my vitamins from my food sources alone.

Food Allergies & Sensitivities

Allergies

I have had a large number of food allergies since I was born. Many of these foods are unfortunately big vegan staples. A couple of main examples are:
-Soy
-Tree Nuts (Almonds, Cashews, Pecans, Walnuts, Pine Nuts, Etc.)

Sensitivities

There are many other vegan foods that I am sensitive to, such as several seeds and various types of produce. A couple of examples are:
-Flax seeds (they negatively aggravate my hormones due to the high content of phytoestrogens)
-All citrus foods such as tomatoes, lemons, limes, etc. (they can give me agonizing acid reflux)

Therefore, if I am in a position where the only options are packaged or takeout vegan food, 9 times out of 10 it includes one of those ingredients.

I’ll admit, I often feel very guilty that I am not a vegan. With the environment in need of all of our assistance and the inhumane ways that so many animals are treated, I have tried to do my part in this way. Needless to say I try my best to only purchase the most humane animal products such as eggs from the pasture, etc., though I know it is still not ideal.

However, I do feel that if my own health is suffering, it just doesn’t make sense to deliberately sabotage myself. I wish I could eat vegan. I really do. To me, my diet experiments further the evidence that every human body is incredibly different. Only you know what works for you, and I urge you to follow your own health journey outside of the influence of what diets are trendy right now.

I think it’s wonderful that veganism works for so many, because it can have great impacts on this planet and for certain people’s health journeys. I know that there are many vegans who follow me, and to all of you I say: well done. I hope you can understand the other side of the coin.

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Granola

cinnamon-brown-sugar-granola

Here I go with the cinnamon again!

This granola base is unbelievably easy to throw together, and is very customizable.  From this base feel free to add whatever mix-ins you love like dried fruit or nuts.

The brown sugar and the cinnamon bake into little sweet clusters, which I love.  However, if your preference is to make some larger clusters with the oats, I would substitute some of the brown sugar for either honey or maple syrup as a stronger binder.

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats

4 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons saigon cinnamon

a couple sprinkles of sea salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 heaping teaspoon vanilla extract

any additional mix-ins (dried fruit, nuts, etc.)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees

Mix together oats, sugar, cinnamon, & salt in a large bowl

Mix oil & vanilla (as well as a liquid sweetener if you’re replacing some of the sugar with that) into a smaller bowl, then mix into the dry ingredients

Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet, & bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from over, stir, then bake for an additional 10 minutes

Remove from the oven, and continue to stir every few minutes until it has cooled completely

Toss in your optional mix-ins (dried fruit, nuts, etc.), and transfer into an airtight container.

Optional – Sift granola through a mesh strainer to remove excess sugar that did not adhere

Enjoy!