Does Vegan pet food have all the ingredients my animal needs? Guest blog post.

Vegan pet food – a winning solution for dogs, cats and the planet!

If you are a vegan yourself and are a guardian to a dog or a cat, you might have considered a plant-based pet diet for your companion animal. You may have looked it up online and found a lot of conflicting information, and are not sure where to go from here. Internet is full of stories of how cats and dogs get sick from eating lettuce and carrots, and these stories may have deterred you from giving vegan pet food a chance. Do not let these stories fool you: diet consisting of lettuce is a far cry from a well-balanced, complete vegan pet diet. Dogs and cats do benefit from a plant-based diet as much as humans do, as long as their food is properly balanced and nutritionally complete.

Does vegan pet food have all the ingredients my animal needs?

According to Dr. Armaiti May, a practicing veterinarian, animals have requirements for nutrients, but not necessarily ingredients. There is no reason why diets comprised entirely of plants, minerals, and synthetically-derived ingredients cannot meet the necessary palatability, bioavailability, and nutritional requirements of animals. Vegan pet food industry has come a long way to develop formulas that are healthy, balanced and meet the nutritional standards of the pet food industry. For example, our vegan products meet the required standard for protein (30%), sourced from peas, sunflower seeds, soy and maize.

If a required nutrient is not available from plant sources, laboratory created version is used instead of it. For example, you may have heard of ‘taurine’ – an essential amino-acid, necessary for proper cardiovascular function and eyesight in cats. Since taurine does not exist in plants, ‘vegan taurine’ was created in the lab — a synthesized version, which has exactly the same properties as taurine in meat. (Interestingly, most commercial meat-based formulas use the exact same synthetic taurine in their formulations, because the natural taurine is baked off during the production due to high temperature and pressure.) Our 100% vegan pet products contain all the nutrients, minerals and amino acids required by stringent nutritional standards for pet food.

What to expect during and after transitioning?

If you decide to transition your animal to a plant-based diet, the next step is to choose the right product. Sample packs are available to help you decide which product works best for your animal (and your wallet). Does your animal require hypoallergenic or non-GMO food? Would you like to cook meals at home or buy a manufactured kibble? Do you prefer wet or dry food? These are important questions to consider when choosing a vegan pet food product.

You have chosen a product, purchased a sample pack, and are now ready to start introducing the new food. Transitioning period takes about 2 weeks, during which the new vegan food is slowly introduced by mixing it with the old food. The proportion of the new food is slowly increased, until the animal is fed only vegan food. Gradual transition is very important to avoid stomach issues, and also to ensure that the animal has the time to get used to the new taste. While the vast majority of animals adopt a plant-based diet very smoothly, a small number will need extra time and help. If your dog or cat does not like the taste of the novel food right away, add some nutritional yeast to the new food, then gradually reduce the amount of added yeast to zero. Nutritional yeast makes the food taste like cheese, a flavor that animals used to the meat-based diet enjoy.

Once the transition process is complete, you will start seeing the benefits of a plant-based diet in your cat or dog. Our customers report relief from food allergies, less gasiness, improvement in skin coat and breath, and increase in the overall energy level. This is because meat products like chicken and beef are common allergens, causing a host of issues in animals. Not to mention that the ‘meat’ found in commercial pet foods contains byproducts like diseased animal parts, beaks, and bones – waste products deemed unfit for human consumption — and even euthanized and sick dogs and cats. Bacterial contamination is also a concern, as are degenerative diseases like cancer and arthritis. The healthy vegan diet you are feeding your animal now no longer has all this stuff, and you’ll know you have done the right thing for your pet and for the planet.

Thousands of people have successfully transitioned their cats and dogs to a vegan diet, and watch them thrive. Give it a try – you’ll be amazed how easy and good it is!

Here at Vecado Plant-Based Pet Foods we take nutrition of your pet and your concerns very seriously. We guide our customers all the way through the transition, and are here to support you any day of the week. We have lots of experience with transitions and know how to resolve common roadblocks. All of our products are 100% plant-based, sourced from all-vegan suppliers in the USA and Italy.

Exclusively for Sasha’s customers, Vecado is offering a starter pack for dogs and a starter pack for cats at a discounted rate. These packs contain samples of different products we carry, so your dog or cat can try all of them and choose the one he or she likes. To purchase a pack, please follow these links:

Starter pack for dogs

Starter pack for cats

– add your pack to the cart and apply discount SASHAWILLIAMS at checkout.

Our goal is to enable you to live your values, by providing your dog and cat with vegan pet food that is healthy and has no negative consequences on other animals or the planet.

Sincerely,

Vecado Plant-Based Pet Foods

Haricots Blanc & Jalapeño croquettes with fresh lime aioli

Make a bundle and have quick dinner on the go
Make a bundle and have quick dinner on the go

I love returning from a trip abroad to my food staples. Most recently, I was in Cuba – you’ll have to wait for my scathing review in the coming weeks – and you honestly cannot find very much fresh or tasty food. Without going into too much detail; beans and Veganaise tasted pretty damn good after eating the equivalent of prison food for 2 weeks.

This recipe is simple, quick and super tasty. I feel like anyone would like the flavours regardless of picky palettes. Feel freer to get creative with the spices too – if you don’t have Jalapeno’s look to your spice cabinet for something else that tickles your fancy. Maybe even curry?

By the way, these little gems freeze up well, so make a double batch and freeze them!

Ingredients: 

1 large can of white kidney beans

3 cloves garlic

1 jalapeno seeded and diced

1 egg or 1 eggs worth of egg replacer/flax seed

1/2  cup bread crumbs ( I like to process my own out of leftover homemade sourdough loaf..nom nom)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup cornmeal (optional but helps with burning)

1 cup fresh chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

Salt & Pepper to taste

Aioli

1/4 cup veganaise

6 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

Method: 

Combine rinsed  beans, jalapeno, garlic, parsley, egg, salt and pepper  and bread crumbs in food processor. Add bread crumbs slowly and make sure that you still see some bean pieces and haven’t created a pudding out of your mixture.

Roll into about 10-12 balls, coat lightly with cornmeal and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile mix veganaise and lime juice in small bowl.

Heat skillet to medium high. Place bean balls into pan and fry until golden brown. Push down on them lightly to flatten.

Remove from heat, drizzle with aioli and serve.

Serves 2-4 as dinner or works as an appy well if balls are rolled to a smaller size.

Client Spotlight – Couples Who Go Vegan – Norm & Michelle

I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle at a Bodybuilding competition in Vancouver, BC, Canada a few years ago. It was her first show and she was SO nervous…just a sweetheart. We bonded that day and have been long distance friends ever since. I was super honoured to have Michelle and her husband Norm join my Vegan in 60 program and I’m super delighted with their results in both body and mind.

If you’re curious about what going vegan looks like, these two have some sage words here for newbies…..any time is the right time to go whole food plant based.

Love you both & thanks again….P.S. – I love this snap of you two…you might hate me for it but your fur baby is there and you’re tubbin’ in the snow which is one of my favourite pastimes (before moving to Pittsburgh).

You both rose to the challenge of trying out converting to veganism over 10 weeks, what made you dive into this challenge as carni’s?

We dove into this vegan challenge because it was exactly that a challenge. To be honest it was not something either of us would have considered trying ….until You said challenge….who doesn’t like a Little challenge.

What have you learned about veganism that has struck you as the most impactful? Ie: it’s health benefits, cost, animal rights issues etc…

 What has stuck with us so far are the health benefits. We both had wondered how going vegan would impact our health. So far it’s been great i really notice a difference when I removed dairy products from my diet. Michelle says now she is very aware of where our food comes from now and eating this way is pretty cheap.

Do you find that your working together on this initiative has brought you closer or created more stress at home?

Well it definitely has not added any stress ….has had is working together in searching and planning out our meals …snacks and as team Thiessen we hold each other accountable.

How do you tackle the questions asked of you by family, friends & others who may want to know a bit more about your new nutritional goals?

Family and friends have been supportive.  They ask questions and we fill them in on what we have found out. Most are interested in trying to be more plant based …not going vegan but being more responsible. It would seem our friends will make healthier choices after hearing our choices when we are out for dinner or such . Also creates interesting conversations.

What is the hardest part of being a new vegan?

Stress of finding new things to eat ….find recipes…choosing the options…shopping for the food…preparing the meals ….being new to veganism we don’t have easy go to dishes …yet.  Of course its stressful Try ing to fill our protein macro and keeping down our carb macros.

What is the easiest part of being a new vegan?

Making a vegan dish usually has lots of left overs. You get to grab healthy foods .

Are there any changes (physically) that  you have experienced that are super amazing that you want to share?

Ok some changes I’ve noticed is the bowel movements…2 to 3 times a day . Waking up alert and ready not needing a coffee to clear the morning cobwebs. No bloating( once I’ve adjusted to the beans).

What is your favourite vegan food so far?

For taste Mexican is our favorite . Seitan for the protein. I like to slice up my seitan and fry it in hot sauce.  Mmm mmm.

 Do you think you will go back to eating animal products, if so, why?

Yes I believe we will be going back to eating animal products . Our meal will no longer revolve around the meat. Things like cheese and honey are greatly missed . BUT we will be very mindful where we are purchasing our animal products from …the farm to table idea. With all the new ideas and recipes we have learned it will be way easier to keep our plant based diet most of the time. As Michelle has mentioned some cooked meat has effected her negatively as she has cooked it . I’m pretty sure that meat will be removed lol. By doing this challenge our eyes have been opened to a lot of different aspects of veganism….some we agree with and support others not so much but that’s ok we have a great base of knowledge now and will be more aware moving forward .

Michelle may want to add more as our time goes on.
Norm and Michelle Thiessen

Not your Mee’s Bahn Mi

A beautiful thing
A beautiful thing

So excited I can’t even write an intro.

 Ingredients:

1 block firm ORGANIC tofu – pressed

(my press cheat is to place the block between two plates, wrapped in paper towel with a heavy bowl on top for about 20 minutes)

2 tbsp black sesame seeds

3/4 cup oats

1 cup diced fresh cilantro

1 diced/sliced tomato

3 large cloves garlic

1/4 cup sliced cucumber

4 Ciabatta buns – gluten free option is brown rice wraps which work really well, you’re welcome celiac friends.

2 tbsp tamari

1/2 tbsp Liquid smoke

1.5 tbsp vegan/vegetarian Worcestershire

1 large yellow onion

1/2 & a bit cups bread crumbs

2 seeded jalapenos

1/2 tbsp Ginger

1/2 tbsp Paprika

1 tbsp Cumin

1/2 tbsp Corriander

1/4 tbsp Cayenne

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 tbsp sesame oil

 

Method:

Get your tofu pressing if you haven’t already, this needs doing first. Next get on creating the Pickled Carrot/Daikon and Aioli before you start on the rest of the recipe.

Did you get pickling and aioli’d? If not, get back to those recipes, if yes, good. Let’s start.

Place all ingredients other than tomato, cilantro, cucumber and jalapeno’s in food processor. Blend until the mixture can be shaped into patties. Shape yourself some lovely little patties and hold on to your hats because your mouth is going to be revved up with food passion like you’ve never seen before.

 

A greater tofu patty was never created.
A greater tofu patty was never created.

 

Preheat a cast iron pan for 10 minutes to medium heat setting. Add 1 tbsp sesame oil and coat pan evenly. Fry up sliced onion and garlic for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Place patties in pan and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, careful not to allow for too much burning to occur on the outer edges. Add remainder of sesame oil if your pan dries up.

 

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NOW you’re going to spread your bread or wraps with that lovely aioli you made then stack on your patties, toppings and FINALLY your pickled carrot delight. You’re going to top this off with some salt and pepper and enjoy, thoroughly. I opted to cut mine in half because it was a little breakable.

This recipe serves 4 or 8 snack-sized 1/2 sammies. It’s a big one so don’t bother with any sides.

 

Raspberry vegan shake – Bodybuilder friendly

My life has never been boring. I attribute this entirely to the fact that I have ants in my pants and have since I can remember. My folks like to think that because they had me wrapped up in so much dance as a kid that I never knew how to do anything but plow full speed ahead – I think I tend to agree with this.

The latest passion I have developed is for bodybuilding. Not the stuff where you become Arnold Schwarzenegger over night, but the kind that gets you in about the most amazing shape of your life – AND it’s easy to maintain. As I have embarked on a new adventure I thought that I would share a recipe that worked for me and may help other people who are on the same path!

There is a lot of calorie/macro counting which is TOTALLY not my thing however, it’s interesting all the same so here I am, learning more!

Ingredients: 

150g Soyganic Tofu

1/2 1 navel orange

1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup Vega Vanilla protein

1/2 large banana

Method: 

Add water and blend baby blend!

Health Breakdown: 

285 Calories

40 Carbs

5g fat

22g Protein

136g Sodium

24 g sugar

Vegan Metis Bannock – Frybread

Tradition 2.0
Tradition 2.0

A long time ago…..but so good….read on!

Anastacia came home from school on Friday talking about what she learned that week. Part of her experiences were speaking and learning about First Nations people, apparently Bannock was either discussed or eaten.

Having Metis roots close at home meant that she had already experienced making and cooking Bannock over an open fire at home and she has also been exposed to a tidbit of the culture.

She asked if we could make Bannock. I accepted the challenge and added a twist – veganism.

If you like scones, you’ll love this recipe.

Ingredients: 

3 cups pre-mixed cake flour (includes baking soda/powder/salt)

3 tbsp granulated organic cane sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 block (lb) of vegan butter spread (or butter if you will)

1 cup almond milk

Jam/Honey/Agave nectar for topping

Method: 

Preheat oven to 425

Mix dry ingredients.

Add butter and mix by hand until crumbled.

Slowly add almond milk until dough forms but is not sticky/runny. (Add little bits of flour if your mixture is too wet).

Knead (folding) for 2 minutes.

Form into ball.

Spread in circular formation about 1/2 an inch thick on cookie sheet. I use a pizza sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes or until browned.

Serve warm drizzled with jam, honey or agave nectar.

 

 

CLIENT SPOTLIGHT – Training the Vegan Man – With Greg H.

 

CLIENT SPOTLIGHT – Training the Vegan Man – With Greg H.

Greg is a cheery, happy-go-lucky client I met a Vegan event here in Pittsburgh. He is tall, slim and looking to add some mass to his frame. While it’s a lot harder to make gains on a slender frame (naturally) than it is on a medium build, Greg gets to enjoy a lot of healthy, whole foods. I mean a lot, no big time calorie restriction for his body type.

Thanks Greg for participating in this interview!

After understanding a bit more about “generally” eating vegan and eating vegan with a goal (for gains)…what can you say about the differences to you personally where it comes to meal prepping at home?

I’ve been vegan for 7 years now, so eating vegan isn’t an issue for me. I have become more aware of how I spend my time since I have to put time into meal prepping and training on top of work, social matters, and leisure time. Meal prepping has helped with my time management and organizational skills, and has given me an excuse to get more creative in the kitchen.

How does going out to eat meals look now as compared to before your gains goals?

Well, I do not eat out as much since it is easier (and cheaper) to cook for myself. When I do go out with friends or family, I have grown accustomed to gauging portion sizes. It is becoming more and more like an odd super power.

As a vegan who eats mostly whole foods, do you find getting enough protein a challenge?

I do not! I know that there are still people who believe in the myth that vegans do not get enough protein, but that’s all it is: a myth. I have found myself having to cut back on how much protein I consume on a few occasions.

What is your favourite type of protein?

Seitan is my favorite, especially when I fry it up with Korean barbecue sauce and some mushrooms. I usually reward myself with some good seitan at the end of the week.

Do you feel challenged as a man when it comes to cooking/meal prepping?

As a man, I don’t. I love to cook, and meal prepping has made me more efficient in the kitchen.

What meal is your fave/least fave?

My favorite meal must be my protein shake! I use 1 and ½ scoops of chocolate mocha MRM Veggie Elite – Performance Protein, almond milk, flax seeds, a banana, and some peanut butter. It’s like drinking a milkshake, and it’s amazing.

My least favorite is a salad. I have never been a salad fan – they are too boring for me. I have to really stack it up with veggies, seeds, fruit, and a bit of dressing for me to enjoy it, but I am too lazy most of the time to go all out!

 How do you fit in your training with a full time job?

I get up early to train before work, but if I need to catch up on sleep, I will work out as soon as I get home from work.

 When do you do your meal prep?

I meal prep Sunday nights while I make dinner, and I also prep either Wednesday or Thursday night, depending on how much I prepped Sunday night.

 If you could make one thing happen in your life that would liberate you to pursue your fitness goals 100% what would that be?

Work from home! I would love to work out in the morning, get ready, and not have to rush to work. The time I spend driving to and from work is more than enough time to complete a full work out.

 Do you have any advice for Vegan men looking to make gains?

The biggest piece of advice I can give, is to be patient. Noticeable gains do not happen overnight, so you need to stay positive, dedicated, eat right, and bust your ass every day, and you will notice a difference soon enough.

There are people out there who will tell you that you cannot pack on muscle on a vegan diet, but don’t listen to them because you can, and you will!

 What is your meal prep tip for guys with no clue where to start?

Start small. Pick two or three meals that fit your meal plan that don’t use many ingredients. Make a list before you go grocery shopping, and on Sunday night, get everything cut up, portioned, and into containers.

To save more time, buy frozen vegetables when you can: they’re already cut up and ready to be cooked.

 

Last Minute Vegan Shepards Pie

Image may contain: food

After going back and forth between going out and making the cheaper & healthier decision to stay in, I brainstormed with what was left in the fridge and came up with this recipe. This is SUPER high in protein and great for those looking to keep carbs & fats down. Freezes well.

Definitely could feed 8 average eaters if you serve it with a salad!

Ingredients: 

3 cloves garlic diced

1 tsp onion powder

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrot

1 small potato cubed with skin

1 medium sweet potato/yam cubed with skin

3-4 cups “seasoned” riced cauliflower (2 small packs)

1 round Lightlife beef or any other beef type product

2 cups reconstituted TVP

1 can beans ( I used white kidneys)

3/4 cups frozen or fresh peas

1/2 – 3/4 cup veggie broth

Spray oil 0r oil IN a sprayer

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped

2 tbsp fresh thyme chopped

salt & pepper to taste

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop potato and yam (leave skins on) and bring to low boil for 15 mins on stovetop.

Meanwhile chop carrots, celery and finely diced garlic. In pan on medium heat add 1/2 tsp oil (or used greased cast iron as I do) add veggies & cook for 4-5 minutes then turn down to medium low.

In separate bowl add TVP and 1-2 cups of hot water to reconstitute. Chop fresh rosemary & thyme.

Add herbs, onion powder, light life beef crumbles, tvp & beans to veggies and cook for 10 more minutes on stovetop. Add salt & pepper to taste. At the very end add frozen or fresh peas.

Strain potato/yam and add back to pot with veggie stock, garlic powder & pepper. Blend with hand blender – add 2 packs of seasoned riced cauliflower slowly, blending in about 3/4 cup at a time until entire mixture is smooth.

Transfer contents of frying pan to baking dish and evenly spread throughout, use a spatula to remove potato/cauliflower mixture from pot and spread evenly. Spray top with coconut, olive or avocado oil lightly. Salt & pepper if desired.

Image may contain: dessert, food and indoor

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Switch to 425 broil & broil for approximately 5 minutes or until top browns to your liking.

Serve with a salad!

 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 294
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5 g 7 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 2 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 960 mg 40 %
Potassium 875 mg 25 %
Total Carbohydrate 35 g 12 %
Dietary Fiber 13 g 54 %
Sugars 10 g
Protein 26 g 53 %
Vitamin A 91 %
Vitamin C 59 %
Calcium 19 %
Iron 31 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

High Protein, Vegan Cookie Dough

Almonds & Maple Syrup ~ Always a good idea.

 

Not everyone is a friend of eating cookie dough straight out of the bowl…however, when you make it high protein, vegan and deeeeeeelish….everyone is a convert.

This one is in honour of my friends & clients who just kicked ass on the FML Fat Fry ~ two weeks of torture to shred & kick off a new affirmation for healthy food and fitness.

Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

1.5 cups chickpeas without skins (soak and then remove) pat dry

1/4 cup almond butter

2 tsp vanilla extract – try my homemade recipe HERE

2.5 tbsp maple syrup

1/3 cup carob chips or other chips that are vegan

1 scoop About Time Vanilla Vegan Protein

1/8 cup water if needed

Method: 

With hand blender, food processor OR a fork, combine chickpeas, almond butter, vanilla extract & agave nectar.

Next, add in protein powder and mix. Add a few drops of water as you go along/as needed to blend in the powder nicely.

Remove dough from blender (if blender was used) and hand mix in chocolate chips by mixing with a spoon or by hand.

Roll into balls to make portable OR place in a 1 quart container to eat like dough.

Stores in the fridge for up to a week. Freeze if you wish!

Nutritional Information: 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 2086
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 74 g 114 %
Saturated Fat 22 g 111 %
Monounsaturated Fat 5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 296 mg 12 %
Potassium 3194 mg 91 %
Total Carbohydrate 275 g 92 %
Dietary Fiber 61 g 243 %
Sugars 78 g
Protein 96 g 191 %
Vitamin A 0 %
Vitamin C 24 %
Calcium 63 %
Iron 136 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA

 

Vegan Meatless Meatballs – they’re not too hard to cook!

So I tried the recipe below and it worked pretty well, other than the fact that I could’ve made them a little smaller but there needed to be a bit more liquid. Try it, you can add it to “spaghetti and meatballs” or leave it crumbled and bake it for pasta sauces (my idea).

It’s great flavour and only took an hour total from scratch – plus you get to get your hands dirty, a little reminiscing of the good old days when you used to help mom in the kitchen – and you can feel satisfied that nothing had to be butchered to fill your belly. (Never mind all of the other horrors of meat production these days).

1 package firm tofu, drained and crumbled
2 vegan eggs / egg replacer equivalent
1 1/2 – 2 cups Italian bread crumbs or matzo ball mix
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 1/2 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp ketchup or barbecue sauce
1 tbsp spicy brown or Dijon mustard
1 tsp chipotle chili powder or smoked paprika (optional)
2 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil
3/4 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp rosemary
3/4 tsp thyme
Plenty of fresh ground pepper
1 handful of bacos
3/4 cup ground pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup grated vegan parm cheese
1/2 tsp ground sage

Save Recipe

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Mash all ingredients together with hands in a bowl. Form 3/4 inch balls and place on a well-oiled cookie sheet or casserole dish. Brush or spray with a coat of oil for best results. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, then carefully turn meatballs and recoat with oil as needed. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 10-15 minutes.