Vegan Mac n’ Cheeze + Queso Recipe:
Bring a medium- large pot 1/2 filled with water to a boil
Set to medium low and add
1 1/2 cups chopped red or yellow potatoes
1 c chopped carrots
3/4 c chopped onion
(Chopping is optional but will cook faster)
Cook until potatoes are tender
In a blender, while veggies cook, add
3 TBS nutritional yeast (more to taste once combined if you like)
1 TBS miso
1/2 c cashews (soaked overnight if no high- speed blender)
3 TBS lemon juice
1 garlic clove or 1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder or paprika
1 tsp salt(+more to taste)
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp mustard powder
Pinch of cayenne
Once veggies are cooked, add 1/4 c of the broth water to your blender, set aside another 1/4 c in case you like your cheeze a bit runnier.
Strain the veggies and add them to the blender.
Blend until creamy deliciousness!!! (You may need to stir a few times to get it going depending on what kind of blender you have)
I have recently discovered this cheeze pairs best with zoodles! Or zucchini noodles. But can be added with any noodle of your desire.
For zucchini noodles use a vegetable spiralizer, a julienne peeler or a potato peeler for fastest zoodles.
Peeling the skin off is optional.
And finally to make this cheeze into queso, blend in
1-2 TBS of your favorite hot sauce or salsa
For chunky queso add into your used pot
1 small-medium minced spicy pepper like jalapeño
1 small-medium tomato diced
2-4 TBS green Chiles or diced bell pepper
Dash of pepper
Simmer until it sizzles, then add your cheeze. Mix it all up and BAM! Best. Queso. Ever.
How and why the best you ask?
It is free from preservatives, dairy, guilt, and cruelty AND is loaded with good for you veggies and medicinal spices!
It is creamy, cheezy, spicy, tangy goodness.
Dip with chips, bake a sheet of tortilla chips with beans, onions, tomato, jalapeños, corn, and any nacho toppings you love to a crisp and add the queso on top for rockin’ nachos, or add to zoodles for mac n queso, pour on your tacos, taco salad, steamed broccoli, YOU NAME IT. This queso does it all.
Vegan Lifestyle- Q&A with Taylor
Me: How long have you been vegan now Taylor?
- Taylor: I decided to dive into this lifestyle September 2015, so almost a year and a half now. It seems almost impossible that it has been that small amount of time because it feels as if I have been this way my whole life. It aligns so perfectly! And after I shifted, it feels as if I’ve been rebirthed. So, it honestly feels like it’s been forever! It’s quite an interesting phenomenon.
Me: What is veganism? (What does it entail?)
- Taylor: Veganism to me put simply, is the consumption of no animal products. This includes no eating it, purchasing of it in retail, or buying anything that consists of animal products at all. Also cruelty-free, not tested on animals etc. But it’s so much more than that. Much much more. Go deeper and it’s the integration of a lifestyle with a heightened awareness and new perspectives. It often allows for many more realizations, perceptions on reality and life changes into health and wellness for all aspects of life. Including mental, physical, emotional and spiritual, that is if you choose and if that’s your desired journey. Basically, it can open up many beautiful doors for you. On this note, I would like to add that I typically like to call this diet “Plant-based” for several reasons. Some of them will be answered in further questions.
Me: What first inspired you to make the plunge and become vegan?
- Taylor: My story may be a little unique compared to an average story. I had been mostly a vegetarian for 9 years, and towards the tail end of that was what a dear friend of mine called “opportunitarian” where you don’t buy meat, but if it’s offered you might it eat, or if it’s about to be wasted then you definitely eat it. So along my journey of life, I suddenly was feeling unfulfilled. I had examined my career, traveled a lot, and still something was off. I began to try and self-reflect for answers on what I needed in my life. After months of coming up short, quitting my job, becoming lactose intolerant (or more so, becoming aware of my intolerance) I would spend my days sipping tea and reading books in my tiny house, having the whole day to do what I enjoy, only to have found myself miserable. So much so, I just cried out! Literally screaming out crying one evening to anyone who could hear me, even if it was just myself. Asking what in the flippin flyin jahobees should I do? Humor put aside, it was with much pain, confusion and desperation. And then with complete surrender, two words came to my mind and my heart. They were “Go vegan, Go vegan go vegan.” Over and over. It was then that I began my deepest research and discovery on the topic with many sub-topics that were brought to my attention. Where as a lot of people really discover things that motivate them to go vegan, and research before committing. For me, it was the other way around.
Me: Compared to your initial decision to become vegan, would you say there is a bigger/deeper reason why you are vegan now?
- Taylor: Yes!!! I would say it was always as deep as the great blue sea, but now I see why much more clearly. At first, it was mental and emotional, then environmental, then physical and medicinal and now spiritual. It has allowed me to cleanse my body and see my life with clarity, to hear clearly my inner guidance, to feel a deep sense of connection with all of existence, and to better understand my true self at the core. I could honestly go on forever.
Me: What is your personal motivation for sticking to the vegan diet?
- Taylor: This is another unique question pertaining to me because I don’t need motivation for the vegan diet, that is, the food choice is part of this lifestyle. It is such a part of me now. It is so natural. Like I said before, it is as if I have been reborn and this has been my way of life forever. Now, this did not come without trials and errors. Before the initial decision to shift to a plant-based diet, I definitely used to let the food addiction take over me. With cheese of course! Becoming utterly aware of my lactose intolerance, due to cutting out most other harmful food, after a few times of getting sick, on every level (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual) the time came for enough is enough. Just like if you drink too much alcohol and get blacked out every time, when is enough enough? You emotionally binge eat and feel horrible afterward multiple times a week. You lose yourself on social media instead of exercising or spending time with loved ones. You continue telling yourself hateful thoughts about yourself. Or an extreme example, addicted to a harsh drug. At some point, you have to make a choice and just decide to be done, and take the baby steps to get there. It’s the same for any addiction, any habit. When will you choose to change your life? When will you choose to become truly happy and conquer your unfavorable habits by replacing them with new ones that nourish every part of your being?
Me: What are the health benefits of being vegan?
- Taylor: There are SO many! And that is if you do it right! You see, Oreos are vegan. But we cannot live healthy, thriving lives by eating processed food, just because it doesn’t contain animal products. For starters, the biology and chemistry of plant foods is much more conducive to the human body than that of heavy animal products. Plants have the purest and most simple vitamins, minerals and amino acids that match to our bodies chemistry, DNA, and biology. Therefore, you get a much cleaner functioning body, more energy, more flexibility, more mental clarity, and are very less likely to get cancer. Whole food, plant-based diets have helped cure IBS, type 2 diabetes and more. Another health benefit is disease prevention, such as arthritis, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and cardiovascular disease, which is the number one cause of death in America, plus many more. Some more benefits are weight loss, healthy skin, almost no chance of a stroke or heart attack, having a longer life and helping or obliterating allergies. Dairy and meat have so many hormones and extra heavy compounds. I mean, milk from a cow is to make a calf grow around 400 lbs in 7 months for Pete’s sake! That’s 1400 pounds in 2 years, 700 pounds by one-year-old, and that’s small. That’s to say if a calf is drinking it’s own mother’s milk, which guess what, they don’t! Humans drink cow mother milk and baby cows get fed formula. Then, they get shipped off to be slaughtered for veal (baby cow meat), raised and fattened up for meat, or to become a dairy cow slave then butchered when she’s not qualified anymore. Oops sorry, truth tangent.
- Anyway, more benefits. There are so many more! As for me and mental/emotional health, I noticed a huge drop in depression, mood swings, irritability, anger, anxiety, fear and much more. I felt more energized, more at peace, connected to all of life. I felt so fulfilled knowing I was aligning with my heart’s truest desires. It has also been found by dozens of doctors that people on healthy plant-based diets have far better blood results than those on the typical American Standard Diet. It’s funny how animal product consumers worry about vegan’s nutrients and protein when in fact THEY are most likely not getting enough nutrients, and FAR too much protein themselves, which leads to clogged arteries, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and much more. This greater awareness gives the space to shift you into a holistic place that then naturally encourages you to stop eating processed foods, refined sugar, and just allows you to become more aware of your health and the health of the planet. Thus more health benefits!
Me: What are the environmental benefits?
- Taylor: Wow! Again, so many! To put an easy number on it, the average of resources you’re saving per day with a plant based diet is 1100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 Sq ft of forest, and 10 lbs of c02. There’s also the fact that 40% of the land on earth is used for agriculture. A huge part of that is to grow crops to feed to the animals that we are going to eat. We could feed near 800 million people with the crops we grow for animals in less than a year. And if those crops were exported, it would give the US trade balance an estimated boost of near 80 billion dollars.
Me: Overall do you feel like you have developed self-mastery being able to stick to a diet that is typically known as being a hard one to follow? -There must be a sense of pride knowing that you have such self-control over your body.
- Taylor: Not pride as much as humility and humbleness. This has been such a blessing for me. It has opened up the gateway to getting to know my true self and to begin to learn to fall in love with every part of me, even the shadows… especially the shadows! Opening up to compassion for all parts of life has opened me up to compassion for myself and practicing what self-love means for me. I’m still on my journey of self-mastery, as I think I always will forever be! But as far as what I put into my body, what products I buy, what companies I support, how I spend my time and my energy, and how I continue to practice self-love and self-care, which translates to love for all of life and vise versa, yes. I have integrated the level of awareness and knowledge for the planet, for all aspects of my body, my health, for the animals, and for humanity, to a level that it just makes sense. It all clicks. It’s absolutely a part of me and there’s no going back.
Me: I know how passionate you are about veganism, what is one thing you wish everyone would know?
- Taylor: I wish everyone would know it’s not hard! If you eat lots of raw fruits and vegetables, which you definitely SHOULD BE, then it’s easy peasy! Depending on how simple or not you like to be in the kitchen, this could mean fewer dishes, less prep time, etc. This also means more visually beautiful, vibrant, colorful foods on your plate! Physically, mentally and emotionally good for you and your body from the inside out, making you look and feel more beautiful and vibrant!
Me: Does it get easier as you go? What was the hardest part?
- Taylor: It definitely does! Just like any old habit, psychology research tells us that it takes about 14-21 days to reprogram our mind and bodies. You’re letting go of old deeply ingrained ways and replacing them with new ones. This can be quite difficult, depending on where you stand in line with yourself and with your life, as well as your other programming that has brought you to your current thought patterns, beliefs, and perceptions. However, getting through that difficulty will cause a ripple effect for transformation in all dimensions of your life. Once you cleanse away the impurities and the things you crave due to chemicals being released in the brain(for example the chemical that binds cheese has a very similar addictive effect on the brain as heroin)and you detox from these things, your taste buds change and you actually begin to crave natural whole foods and the things your body needs. You may find a miraculous sense of freedom from not being unconsciously controlled by unhealthy food choices and other unhealthy life choices.
- The hardest part of this journey for me was probably the opposition I faced at the beginning and the extreme passion I had to want to share this with everyone. Not everyone is ready to hear these things, and I learned that the hard way. But if you face that, it also gets easier fast. You just have to lead by example from a place of love and understanding. This mindset is infectious on conscious and subconscious levels. I learned is it’s just simply better for everyone that way. No one feels pressured, you’re not pushing anyone away, and you’re not getting constantly hurt or shot down. It’s a win-win.
Me: Isn’t it expensive? How do you manage to eat this way on a strict budget?
- Taylor: Well first off, let me ask you, how much does your health and happiness cost? And no way! It’s not expensive. Again, if you’re doing it right. If you’re buying fresh produce and not eating it, therefore letting it go bad and having to throw it out, then yes, you will waste money and it can then add up to be expensive. In fact, on average, eating a whole food plant-based diet can cut your grocery bill in half, depending on how you shop. But, it most certainly will not be more expensive than an animal foods diet. The cost for rich plant-based proteins such as beans and legumes is about 1.4 cents per gram of protein, whereas eggs are 2.5 cents per gram of protein. Beef 4.5. And that’s the internal cost! There’s also many external costs that you don’t see leave your wallet in that moment you’re checking out at the grocery store. This includes the cost of health care, doctor’s visits, and hospital bills! Eating a highly plant-based whole foods diet is preventive medicine. As Hippocrates said, “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.”
- Personally, I am living a life with very minimal work right now. I manage this minimal budget by volunteering on a farm once a week in exchange for way more produce than I can eat. I receive mostly vegetables, but for fruit, nuts, seeds and other plant foods, I buy what’s on sale and discounted at a wholesale market up the road. Buying these foods as well as beans, rice and legumes from bulk bins, adds up in savings. Buying locally and seasonally is cheaper, as well as buying in bulk for a discount from your local farmer or grocer. Also, deciding what products feel right to buy, not organic or organic can help the budget. I like to reuse my bags and containers, as well as use reusable cloth grocery bags, which also saves me money in the long run.
Me: Do you consider veganism to be the right path for everyone? For ex. I was instructed by a doctor to eat more red meat to help my thyroid. What would you do in this situation?
- Taylor: I would say the journey to full health IS for everyone. Everyone deserves to thrive and be happy. But everyone’s path is going to look different. Dietary changes and nutrition will/can be a huge catalyst for major transformations and other changes in your life. There are also other variables to be incorporated into having a fully happy, healthy, thriving life. For example, to decide to make a change in your life for the better and stick with it is to honor and love yourself, to have courage and support. These can also come in any linear order, encouraging the next to evolve like a domino effect depending on the person. For me, it was changing my job, nutrition, then friends, then hobbies. This will look different for everybody.
- As for the direct question is a plant based whole foods diet for everyone? My answer is yes! Plant based, which means a diet highly based in plant foods, is for everyone (with current extreme exceptions of course) But this can look so different for a variety of people. For example, right now my body wants super clean raw foods, with the occasional lightly cooked foods, and even more occasional cooked starches, and if any oil, then coconut. No gluten, no animal products, no beans, and low in fats unless highly physically active or on my menstrual cycle. Whereas my partner, right now his body wants healthy bread, lots of good fats, cooked starches, tons of raw fruits and vegetables, cooked vegetables, the occasional soy product, no animal products but a lot of rich protein. Any suggestions from a health practitioner I would say go within and seek your own answers. Research, or go to other doctors. One doctor only has the information they have ever learned. Some schools and teachings can be biased, or limited. So do your own studying, internally and externally.
- Again, that’s what this lifestyle is all about. Opening your eyes, making conscious decisions for yourself, what feels best for YOU. Find what works for you in each moment! Do what feels best in your heart because you are ever changing and constantly evolving, as well as your choices and ways of being. There are so many variables when it comes to living a conscious life. Such as, if one finds they actually need a type of meat or animal food for whatever reason in some part of their life, what’s the best action for that? It would seem easier to just buy meat from a local butcher, but wild meat from your area may actually be better for some people. It’s well worth finding someone you trust that may have hunted or fished humanely, or even raised the animal themselves. You see, when humans ate natural meat, that was naturally occurring because man domesticated farm animals as we know them for food. Yes, this was a part of our progression as humans but, even to that degree, practices were done with much more balance, more understanding of nature, and with much more respect.
To sum it all up…
This all may seem like SO much information, and difficult to live an aware life. It may feel like you just want to run back into the safe closet of what you know, your old habits. I am bearing my truest testimony when I say it’s NOT! It is just an illusion that it seems so difficult! This is due to the myriad of distractions, commercials, fast food, and junk cluttering our minds and lives. It’s completely worth your life to take the extra steps, to do what appears as some extra work, to make decisions that you fully feel good about in each moment. This is absolutely worth your time and energy to align with your heart, to feel deeply and live a life of meaning and compassion, of harmony and understanding. As the ball gets rolling, it becomes natural. Then you remember what it’s like to be human, an animal connected to all of Mother Nature, a very part of nature herself. And for this, it requires balance. Awareness will give you balance. Awareness inside and outside of self will set the path for you to take charge of your life, be empowered, create your happiness and to feel alive! You deserve it, beloveds!
For easy ways to raise your awareness, I would recommend watching some documentaries such as Food Choices, Earthlings, Cowspiracy, Food Matters, Forks over Knives, and other related films that you can find on Netflix.
Thak you Taylor for taking the time to educate and empower us all! I hope this paints a clearer picture and enlightens many. Everyone, take care of your body in the best possible way you know how.
Stay Wild, Moon Child