Going Vegan on Valentine’s Day

Going Vegan on Valentine’s Day

By: CONNIE K. HO

From comedian Ellen DeGeneres to actress Lea Michele, veganism is a popular lifestyle choice. Besides espoused by celebrities, it has been embraced by animal lovers, health enthusiasts, and people from all walks of life. Get Fit Get Life challenges you to learn more about veganism and to go Vegan on Valentine’s Day.

Vegan Action, a non-profit that works to educate the public about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and vegan food options, describes a vegan as someone who avoids “using or consuming animal products.” This includes removing dairy and eggs from daily consumption. Going vegan can have advantages as well. In the Position on Vegetarian Diets, the American Dietetic Association reported in that a vegan/vegetarian diet contributes to a decreased risk of health conditions.

Diana Huang, a student at the University of California, Riverside, understands the positive benefits of veganism. Every year, Huang practices veganism for one month to help her become more aware and conscious of her food intake.

“After the first month, I realized that my body felt cleaner and lighter. A whole month without processed food, meats and, dairy products made my body leaner and my skin clearer. My stomach also felt lighter and not as bloated,” says Huang. “Doing it for thirty days a year gives me tons of health benefits.”

For those interested in giving veganism a go, there’s no better day to start than Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day may be a holiday for chocolates and flowers, but it’s also a great day to try out vegan dessert recipes that are healthy and delicious. Spork Foods, a Los Angeles-based gourmet vegan food company owned and operated by sisters Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg, has offered a simple dessert recipe of chocolate mint truffles. According to Spork Foods, the mint is not only refreshing but also works to soothe your stomach as a powerful digestive aid.

In promoting the vegan lifestyle, Spork Foods offer live cooking classes in Los Angeles at Spork Foods, online vegan cooking classes at sporkonline.com, one-on-one in-home healthy pantry makeovers, and recipe development/trainings for chefs, food companies and colleges. They recently released a new vegan cookbook Spork-Fed that includes a foreword by fellow fans and sisters, Emily and Zooey Deschanel.

“We support compassionate cooking,” says Goldberg. “We are not only vegan for the animals and the environment, but also for political and health reasons. It’s a better way for us to live.”

Chocolate Mint Truffles (Courtesy of Spork Foods)

The recipe requires advanced preparation and yields 13 to 15 truffles.

Ingredients
11⁄2 cups vegan dark chocolate chips
1⁄2 cup regular coconut milk
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
6 leaves fresh mint, finely chopped
Dash sea salt
2 tablespoons organic cocoa powder, plus 1⁄4 cup for rolling

Directions

  • Fill a small (2-quart) pot with about 2 inches of water, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place a glass or metal bowl on top of pot to create a double boiler.
  • Add chocolate chips and melt, about 3-4 minutes. Add coconut milk, peppermint extract, mint, sea salt and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, and incorporate until uniform.
  • Transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight. Remove from refrigerator and leave bowl on counter for 5-10 minutes to soften mixture before rolling truffles.
  • To roll truffles: Place remaining cocoa powder in a shallow bowl or plate. Use a melon baller or spoon to scoop a gumball-size dollop of the chocolate mixture. Roll into balls between palms and immediately coat in cocoa powder, or other toppings of choice.

Note 1: Try using mint varieties like chocolate mint, peppermint or spearmint for a different flavor in these truffles, and choose organic when possible, because conventionally grown mint is sprayed with a bunch of pesticides!

Note 2: Double check your chocolate chip ingredients if you are gluten-free, to be sure barley is not in the list.

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One Comment on “Going Vegan on Valentine’s Day”

  1. February 14, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    Great article! I am a vegetarian but I have often considered becoming a vegan. Maybe I should try out a few days or weeks and see how I like it. Thanks for the info!

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