All my life I was taught that you are what you eat. As a vegan, this has become central to my passion for baking and cooking. Here I share my lessons in how to practice a vegan diet, and eat gluten-free.
Be green – as in eating your vegetables. I am an advocate for plant-based healthy eating and healthy living. Vegans should think of themselves more as herbivores. If it grows from the ground and it’s still intact – go for it! If it somehow ends up in a box with lots of words that need special decoding – step away from it.
In the plant kingdom, kale, broccoli, darker lettuces, spinach, chard, collard greens, mustard greens, arugula, and green beans are vegetable royalty. Eat as much of these as you can, every day, and even several times a day. Snack on the other colours in the rainbow – orange, red and yellow veggies like carrots, red bell peppers, squash, tomatoes, pumpkin and sweet potatoes, along with all kinds of mushrooms, onions, garlic, and cauliflower pump up the vitamins in you and add some kick to your meals. Enjoy them as a crunchy snack!
Protein is actually quite easy to get on a vegan diet. Kale has a huge amount of protein. Hemp Seeds are a PERFECT protein. Think beans – black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, pinto beans, lentils, and Non-GMO soy beans like edamame, tempeh and tofu can all pack a powerful protein punch in a vegan diet. Nuts like almonds and walnuts not only provide protein but healthy Omega-3s. Add seeds such as flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds to salads or oatmeal, or simply snack on them.
Got a sweet tooth? Reach for berries like strawberries, blueberries and raspberries and get your antioxidant fix, too! There are so many amazing healthy benefits to fruits. Want a fat that is fine for you? Just go for the ones found in coconuts, nuts of all kinds, avocados, ground flaxseeds, olive and canola oil.
Avoid gluten and you’ll feel much better for it. Avoid white flours, and in fact most flour can be minimized. If you’re going to eat bread, try flourless sprouted gluten-free grain breads.
One of the most studied antioxidants is resveratrol which is found in red grape skins and seeds. Drink teas, especially in the morning, and lots of water (6 to 8 glasses a day), and consume green juices and smoothies every day.
Special notes for full vegans: Vegan diets need vitamin B12 supplementation. You can get this through a vegan supplement or through fortified foods like almond milk or fortified nutritional yeast. Iron (Beets), calcium (found in green veggies) and vitamin D (best from Sunlight) are other things to look out for.
More information is available at http://www.kellychilds.com.
Through the years, Kelly’s love of food has taken her all across the continent. As her palate progressed, the one thing that always remained constant was her desire to eat well, use good ingredients and keep her health in mind.
Being taught that you are what you eat resounded deeply in Kelly and has become a big part of her passion for baking and cooking. After years of recipe creation, using only the best, most natural and healthy ingredients, her food aficionado husband finally said, “it’s time to share these with everyone”.
Within months, Kelly opened her very first Gluten-free Vegan Bakery and Café, named Kindfood (now called Lettuce Love Cafe). Kind to your body, kind to the planet, and kind to animals, Kelly now had a place that she could share her passion and love of healthy food with everyone, including her daughter Erinn, who now runs the restaurant and bake shoppe with Kelly.
After two years of winning over customers and winning numerous awards, Kelly had to expand the bakery to a new, much bigger location just a block away. Her Vegan Gluten-free bakery Kelly’s XO Bake Shoppe holds the No. 2 spot in Restaurants on TripAdvisor in the Burlington area, while also having the honour of being voted Best Vegan Bakery in Toronto twice. The Lettuce Love Cafe holds the No. 1 spot on TripAdvisor.