59 episodes

Vegetarian and vegan information, tips, recipes, and more presented in a light, conversational, and nonjudgmental manner. We welcome input and feedback from our followers regarding issues you would like us to address as well as ways in which we can improve. Please don't hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can help. If you enjoy and find value in our podcast, we would very much appreciate a favorable review on iTunes. This would help us tremendously. Thanks, and we hope you enjoy Vegetarian Zen.

Vegetarian Zen Vickie Velasquez & Larissa Galenes

    • Nutrition
    • 4.9, 365 Ratings

Vegetarian and vegan information, tips, recipes, and more presented in a light, conversational, and nonjudgmental manner. We welcome input and feedback from our followers regarding issues you would like us to address as well as ways in which we can improve. Please don't hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can help. If you enjoy and find value in our podcast, we would very much appreciate a favorable review on iTunes. This would help us tremendously. Thanks, and we hope you enjoy Vegetarian Zen.

    Vegan for Everyone with Laura Theodore (aka The Jazzy Vegetarian) (VZ 359)

    Vegan for Everyone with Laura Theodore (aka The Jazzy Vegetarian) (VZ 359)

    In this episode of the Vegetarian Zen podcast, we are pleased to welcome Laura Theodore, a.k.a., The Jazzy Vegetarian. 

     

    We’re EXTRA excited about having Laura on the show because she was one of our inspirations for creating The Vegetarian Zen podcast.

     

    Many of you know that we started Vegetarian Zen as a place for people to feel comfortable asking questions and learning more about being plant-based without feeling bullied or pressured. We wanted to focus on the positive aspects of being vegan or vegetarian, and Laura certainly brings that vibe.

     

    Today we get to know Laura a little more and talk about her latest book, Vegan For Everyone. 

    Be sure to scroll down to find links to a few recipes Laura shared with us!

     

     

    Who Is Laura Theodore?

    Laura Theodore is a nationally recognized television personality, radio host, celebrity PBS vegan chef, and award-winning author of five plant-based cookbooks. Season Eight of the Jazzy Vegetarian television show airs nationally every Sunday at 9:30 am EST on the Create Channel (check local listings).

    Laura’s new podcast, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio airs live every Thursday on Unity Online Radio. Learn more at www.jazzyvegetarian.com.

     



     

    Vegan for Everyone By The Jazzy Vegetarian



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    Vegan for Everyone is the perfect book for anyone looking to add easy-to-prepare and delicious, plant-based food into their weekly menu plan. This innovative cookbook features more than 160 family-friendly recipes (135 are gluten-free friendly) and over 200 beautiful, full-color photos, including 100+ new recipes, along with updated versions of 60 fan-favorites, all created by award-winning vegan chef Laura Theodore (PBS’s Jazzy Vegetarian).

     

    This book includes an entire chapter of up-to-date nutritional information contributed by Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT (The Plant-Based Dietitian), making it a complete and fun way to make family meals kinder, healthier and—most of all—tastier.

     

    With classic recipes like No-Egg Tofu-Veggie Scramble, Crazy, Easy BBQ Portobello Burgers and Cauliflower Steaks with Sweet Pepper Sauce; kid-friendly recipes like Yummy Banana-Oat Pancakes, Rockin’ Peanut Butter-Banana Toast and Date n’ Rice Cereal Treats; and plant-based, gluten-free recipes like Peachy Date-Nut Oat Bars, Zucchini Fettuccine Alfredo, and Mad Mocha Marbled Mousse Pie, you’ll be able to delight your entire family and all of your guests with easy-to-prepare, four-star meals that are satisfying, nutritious and delicious!

     

    Vegan for Everyone includes:



    * Over 160 delectable vegan recipes, each with easy-to-follow instructions

    * Full-color photo with almost every recipe (over 200 photos in all)

    * Recipe ingredients that can be found at most local supermarkets

    * Handy icons to quickly identify over 135 gluten-free friendly recipes

    * Detailed lists of vegan essentials, including how to stock your plant-powered pantry and organize your spice rack and table of equivalent measures

    * Many quick and easy three-ingredient recipes

    * Festive recipes to serve for holidays, birthdays and any special occasion

    * Comprehensive plant-based nutrition chapter, contributed by Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT

    • 33 min
    Traveling and Supporting Local Businesses with Bree and Ben (VZ 358)

    Traveling and Supporting Local Businesses with Bree and Ben (VZ 358)

    Travel is very limited these days, but there are certainly still opportunities for us to support our local businesses.

     

    In this episode of the podcast, we welcome Benjamin Hagerty and Brianne Nemiroff of the blog It’s Bree and Ben; Live and Travel Kindly.

     

    Ben and Bree discuss their travels, which focus on learning about plant-based cuisine on the road, what it means to be a kind traveler, and how to support local businesses. The latter is especially important now, as we deal with a global pandemic. 

     

     

    Who Are Ben and Bree?

     



     

    Ben and Bree became a couple in 2009 and have always been passionate travelers.

     

    After getting married In 2017 they took a long trip to explore more of the US and Canada. It was during this time they decided that they wanted to enjoy a travel lifestyle full-time! 

     

    They began their trip in April 2017 by journeying into Canada, by way of the West Coast, and drove eastward from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

     

    After spending six months exploring eight Canadian provinces, they ventured southward to visit New England and other cities on the East Coast to experience the fall foliage before returning home for the holidays. In Spring 2018, Bree and Ben drove eastward once again to explore more of the United States, focusing on the Southwest and the Midwest for another five months. 

     

    During their travels, they enjoy checking out the local vegan scene and supporting small businesses along the way.

    Be sure to follow Ben and Bree on their website, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

     

    Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links.  That means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of our links. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves or that come from a trusted resource. Our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.

     

    A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:



    * The Golden Apple Roundtable (our Patrons) on Patreon!

    * Cheery Bird Vintage



     

    Further Reading:



    * 6 Ways You Can Be Kind During the Coronavirus Epidemic

    * Why You Should Shop Small and the Times It’s OK to Shop Big



     

    Also Mentioned:



    * Stage It





    Thanks for listening!

    Peace and Veggies,

    Vickie and Larissa

    • 39 min
    7 Things You Should Know About a Plant-Based Diet and Diabetes (VZ 357)

    7 Things You Should Know About a Plant-Based Diet and Diabetes (VZ 357)

    A plant-based diet can be a POWERFUL tool to help you manage your diabetes. But did you know that it can even help you reverse it?

     

    A few weeks ago, Larissa had a bit of a scare with her blood sugar levels shooting up. Because she can’t take any medicines such as Metformin to help her control her diabetes (she’s allergic), she needs to ensure she’s eating right and moving. This recent scare prompted us to go back and review some of the basics about controlling diabetes. 

     

    In this episode of the Vegetarian Zen podcast, we share 7 things you should know about being diabetic on a plant-based diet. Listen here…

     

     

    …or read on for a quick summary of what we discuss.

    Disclaimer: We aren’t medical professionals or licensed nutritionists. The information we share here is intended for you to use when consulting a professional. 

     



    *

    Don’t Hide Your Head in The Sand. Know Your Numbers!





    After some persistent nagging, Larissa finally decided to stop avoiding it and check her blood sugar levels. Needless to say, it wasn’t good. Her blood sugar had risen higher than it had ever been.

    Denying the truth will only make things worse! The sooner and more consistently you track your blood sugar levels, the sooner you can take control of the situation.

    You can learn more about the importance of monitoring your numbers from the CDC website.

     



     



    *

    Simply Avoiding Meat Isn’t a “Cure-All”





    Just avoiding meat isn’t a complete fix for controlling or reversing diabetes but it is important. Why? Animal products contain a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fat causes heart disease and insulin resistance. 

    Simply adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet doesn’t mean you’re adhering to a healthy diet. In fact, plenty of junk foods are vegan by accident, as we discussed in episode 286: Are Fritos Vegan?. 

    Giving up animal products is definitely a step in the right direction but just remember, there’s more to a healthy diet than just giving up meat.

     





    You Can Still Eat Fruit When You Have Diabetes





    Fresh, frozen, and even canned fruits (without any added sugars) are actually perfectly fine to eat while managing your diabetes. 

    Because they contain fructose (naturally occurring sugar) and are high in fiber, most fruits are low on the glycemic index (GI). 

    A nice, juicy piece of fresh fruit can help satisfy your sweet tooth while providing you a good source of fiber and nutrients! 

     





    You Can Still Have Carbohydrates…Just the Right Kind





    Not all carbs are created equal! The key is to eat carbs that contain plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 

    Carbs that come from processed foods don’t do this for you. Carbs that come from fruits and vegetables do. 

    While there has been a lot of emphasis on cutting carbs to lose weight, this alone hasn’t proven effective for the treatment of diabetes. 

    A study performed in 2003 by the National Institute of Health found that a plant-based diet helped control blood sugar about 3 times more than a diet that restricted carbs and calories. 

    In a rather short period of time, those who participated in the study lost weight and their A1C levels dropped. 

    In some cases, their diabetes was reversed completely! 

     





    Limit high-fat foods. 





    To oil or not to oil,

    • 20 min
    Why Being a Part-Time Vegan is Better Than Nothing with Siovonne Smith (VZ 356)

    Why Being a Part-Time Vegan is Better Than Nothing with Siovonne Smith (VZ 356)

    If you’ve struggled with the idea of going vegan because you can’t imagine life without some of your favorite foods, perhaps trying out part-time veganism is the thing for you!

     

    In this episode of the podcast, we interview Siovonne Smith, author of The 3-Day Vegan.

     

    In our interview, Siovonne discusses how an experiment to go vegan on a part-time basis eased her into eating vegan regularly.

     

     

    Who is Siovonne Smith?

     

    Siovonne Smith is a writer, photographer, explorer, and adventurer based in California.

     

    From an early age, she became interested in nutrition specifically, how what we eat impacts our health.



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    For more on 3 Day Vegan check out 3DayVegan.com.

     

    To check out some of her other writing and projects follow @TitleWordSmith or check out TitleWordSmith.com.

     

    Can I Really Eat Vegan on a Part-Time Basis?



     

    If it works for you, then YES! You absolutely can!

     

    When we first started podcasting in 2013, one of the things we discussed often was how having an “all-or-nothing” mentality can prevent people from even trying a plant-based diet in the first place.

     

    While some people can go completely plant-based overnight, others might take time to settle into this new lifestyle. We all have or own timelines and we should respect each other’s journeys.

     

    Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links.  That means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of our links. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves or that come from a trusted resource. Our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.

     

    A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:



    * Buddha Bowls: The Vegetarian Zen Way



     

    Thanks for listening!

    Peace and Veggies,

    Vickie and Larissa

    • 50 min
    The Best Sources for Vegan Probiotics (VZ 355)

    The Best Sources for Vegan Probiotics (VZ 355)

    As we deal with the global COVID-19 pandemic, staying healthy is essential. One of the ways to do this is to keep our digestive systems healthy. Enter probiotics; more specifically, VEGAN probiotics! 

     

    You can check out our discussion of vegan probiotics here…

    …or read on for a quick summary.

     

    The human digestive system contains a lot of bacteria, most of which are harmless. Collectively, these microorganisms are referred to as gut flora, and are found primarily in the colon and large intestine. They’re SUPER helpful to the body in a couple of ways; they help to control the digestive process and keep your immune system in check.  

     

    Gut flora, along with other organisms living in the body (such as viruses and fungi) make up your microbiome. Each person’s microbiome is TRULY unique, and is determined partly by genetics and partly by environment. 

     

    When harmful gut flora outnumber harmless gut flora, the body can get out of whack. 

    Possible health problems that can arise include:



    * heart disease

    * upset stomach (and/or chronic stomach issues)

    * obesity

    * cancer

    * diabetes

    * inflammation

    * skin issues (such as acne)



     

    What are Probiotics?

    Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help manage good gut bacteria, which results in a variety of health benefits.

     

    The most common types of probiotics are:



    L. acidophilus (Lactobacillus reuteri) — mostly found in dairy products; aids in digestion and helps reduce vaginal bacteria

    B. longum (Bifidobaterium longum) — helps your body break down carbs

    L. reuteri — Has been shown to help reduce bad bacteria in your mouth

    B. breve (Bifidobacterium breve) — has been used to fight infections; helps absorb nutrients and fiber

    B. animalis — found in some yogurt, such as Dannon’s Activia; has immune-boosting properties and helps with digestion

    B. lactis — derived from raw milk; helps digestion and immune functions



     

    What Do They Do for Your Body?

    An unhealthy gut can lead to all sorts of health issues. Probiotics can help your body balance the good gut flora in your body.  

     



     

    Antibiotics, for example, can cause gut flora to become imbalanced, which may lead to stomach upset and digestive issues such as diarrhea. 

     

    What Do They Do for Your Brain? 

    Probiotics may also have positive effects on mental health.

    Studies have shown that mood–and some mental disorders–can be impacted by the bacteria in our intestines. Certain strains of probiotics have been shown to have a positive impact on treating disorders such as OCD, depression, anxiety, and autism. 

    We don’t often realize how much of our overall health is dependent on the state of our intestines! 

     



     

    What’s the Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics? 

    Prebiotics are plant fibers that help stimulate the growth of healthy gut flora. They help create the ideal environment in which beneficial microorganisms can grow. 

     

    Prebiotics are found in fruits and vegetables that contain complex carbs and fiber including, but not limited to:



    Onions

    Garlic

    Leeks

    Asparagus 

    Bananas

    Apples

    Oats

    Tempeh



     

    Are There Any Risks of Taking Probiotics? 

    It seems like probiotics would be a great thing to add to one’s diet, and for most people, they are!

    Generally speaking, probiotics are safe,

    • 21 min
    10 Healthy Coping Mechanisms To Help You Through Uncertain Times (VZ 354)

    10 Healthy Coping Mechanisms To Help You Through Uncertain Times (VZ 354)

    These are definitely uncertain times.  As I write this, the world is dealing with a major pandemic which has left people feeling isolated, scared, angry, and anxious. Many are having trouble coping with this stress.

     

    In this episode of the podcast, we provide you with 10 healthy coping mechanisms for navigating difficult periods. You can listen here…

     

     

    …or read on for a quick summary of what we discuss.

    10 Healthy Coping Mechanisms

     





    Spend Some Time in Nature





    Spending time in nature can be as easy as stepping into your backyard and listening to the birds. We have a duck pond close to our home where we go to walk our dogs and enjoy some time outdoors. Try to find safe outside spaces where you can observe nature without any distractions (including your phone). If your face is buried in your phone while you’re outside, you’ll miss out on a lot! 

     



     





    Exercise





    Exercise not only has physical benefits but mental ones as well.  If you can’t get to a gym, there are PLENTY of things you can do from home (or during your outdoor time). 

    Since we both work from home, I’ll sometimes set a timer to help remind me to stand up and step away from my desk. Larissa and I will sometimes start our own impromptu 80s dance party just to get us up and moving. 

     



     





    Journal





    I like to journal, and have done so for years. It feels good to pour my thoughts out onto a page. I prefer longhand writing for journals because I do think your brain works differently when you write versus when you type. It slows you down just enough to allow you to process your thoughts differently. This is currently my favorite journal, but a plain notebook will work just as well. 

     



     





    Stay In Touch with Family and Friends





    My family and friends are truly my greatest treasures. They can be an immense source of comfort during difficult times. Don’t be embarrassed to tell those people close to you how you are feeling. They may be in a position to help you, or at least provide just the right amount of encouragement to help you through. 

     





    Aromatherapy





    Our sense of smell is a powerful tool to help relieve stress and achieve relaxation. Scented candles, soothing essential oils, and scented lotions can all help our minds and bodies relax. For more on the benefits of essential oils, check out episode 262 of our podcast, Essential Oils 101.

     



     





    Watch Something Funny





    Of ALL the items in this list of healthy coping mechanisms, this one (for me) works the fastest to turn a “meh” mood into a positive one!

    When I was in a job I didn’t really care for, I started incorporating “laughter” into my daily routine. Larissa and I would watch an episode of Arrested Development or Seinfeld while we ate breakfast before I left for work. More often than not,

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
365 Ratings

365 Ratings

Saltman52 ,

I love these women!

I love listening to Vickie and Larissa; it’s like having my close friends over. Such a warm nonjudgmental conversation! Having recently had a bruising experience with a very ethical vegan, I especially appreciate the gentle tone these two maintain. Thanks. And keep up the great podcasts!

Sara Marceline ,

Great Podcast-Easy to Listen to

Everyone says that this is the least judgemental and most inclusive vegetarian podcast they listen to, and I agree. My partner is a Pescatarian who heavily leans towards Vegan-no dairy, no eggs, no meat; she eats very limited amounts of fish. And I am veg curious, primarily omnivore. To my point, I feel accepted and welcome here. I don't feel guilty about being me, while learning lots about vegetarianism and veganism. Vicki and Larissa have really pleasant voices to listen to. The information is great, presented well and very useful. And they have lots of resources beyond the podcast. I definitely recommend this podcast (and go back to the early podcasts if you can) as a great place to begin your vegetarian journey.

Bhals ,

Fantastic and interesting

This podcast provides great info for anyone interested in food, particularly vegetables. :) I appreciate so many things, including the interesting topics, real discussion, relatability, and not to mention the quality of recording (you know how some podcasts are just too quiet or loud? not here). Loved the episode with the review of Game Changers - my husband just suggested we watched that and decided he’s finally ready to go vegetarian. Woohoo! Thanks for the show and the content, and for the great Facebook group for more support too!

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