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Plant-Based Thanksgiving Playbook

Plant-Based Thanksgiving Playbook

Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian, these plant-based Thanksgiving plays will keep you happy, healthy and full – as you should be!

Here at Savor, we think of Thanksgiving as an end and a beginning. The close of summer and its warm, lazy days. The start of fall, full of the wind’s energy and transformation. The end of vacation and the start of the school year… and a busy stretch at work.

Our favourite way to mark this time of change is – of course – to eat! We take every opportunity to get together with family and friends, grateful for the opportunity to connect and celebrate our many blessings together. You won’t be surprised that we love mixing up our holiday menus with plant-based options that are as delicious as they are satisfying. This is how we do it:

  • Go global! Who says Thanksgiving menus are limited to traditional North American foods? How about some chipotle-roasted baby carrots and jicama, orange and watercress salad? Or sautéed parsnips with dates and harissa-spiced coconut yoghurt? Why not curry-roasted butternut squash and chickpeas? We’re getting hungry just thinking about it!
  • Give thanks! Ask your guests to come prepared to share something they are grateful for – big or small. Start the meal with a go-around share, and close your sharing with a song or prayer like the non-denominational one below. Food, family and friends are so much sweeter with a heaping side of gratitude.
Welcome, welcome
Welcome to our table
Welcome, welcome
We all join hands together.
Earth who gives us this food.
Sun who makes it ripe and good.
Sun above and earth below,
Our loving thanks to you we show.
Blessings on our meal.
  • Recreate Thanksgiving classics! Lucky for us, we’re living at a time where Torfurkeys are as easy to find as turkeys, and there are tons of plant-based center of the plate protein alternatives on the market that’ll deliver great taste and texture to your meal. Or you can mix things up a little: how about butternut squash “steaks” rubbed with Montreal Steak Spice? Or Pumpkin Spiced black bean brownies? Or cauliflower cutlets topped with cranberry sauce and stuffing.
  • Take your time! Few of us have the luxury of being able to spend entire days in the kitchen preparing for a feast. Pace yourself and start preparing in the days ahead. Make a dish or two each night, enjoy the process of cooking… and enjoy your guests that much more on Thanksgiving day.
  • Get help! Let’s face it: preparing your home for guests can be more than enough stress. If you don’t have the time or energy to cook, plant-based prepared foods can be a lifesaver. Order our Harvest Balls with a side of our super tasty vegan gravy. The Harvest Balls are flash frozen and vacuum sealed in packages of 6, ready to pop in the oven for the vegan, vegetarians and flexitarians sitting at your Thanksgiving table. Pick up Oct. 3rd, 4th or 5th. Our Harvest Balls & Gravy combo pack are available for delivery with your regular order on Tuesday, October 3rd or available to Pickup in-store Oct. 3rd or 4th, anytime between 10 am & 4 pm. 

 Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

Lance Codner's Tips on being a Plant-Based Athlete

Lance Codner's Tips on being a Plant-Based Athlete

You may be telling yourself that being a plant-based athlete or becoming one isn't possible. How can one get all the nutrients to develop muscle strength without animal products? You might be surprised to hear that following a plant-based diet is a very effective way to be successful with training and recovery! We asked Registered Kinesiologist and Training Coach Lance Codner for a few tips on how he finds success.

One of the biggest concerns many athletes have is getting enough protein in their diet. Lance states, “I try to explain to my clients that our bodies do not need as much protein as we are lead to believe... it’s very easy to get adequate amounts with a Vegan diet.” People often over consume protein with an animal-based diet as we’ve been told it should be the main component to every meal. Lance also mentions “The benefit from getting protein from plant foods, is that along with all the protein, your body is getting important vitamins and minerals, but avoiding saturated fat and cholesterol."

The next common concern is if the athlete is eating enough calories. Plant-foods such as grains, legumes, and nuts, are nutrient and caloric dense, meaning they will fill you up and give you long-lasting energy. We asked Lance what a typical meal would look like for him, he says “My favourite meal is lentil curry with rice and vegetables, and for breakfast, I usually have a bowl of oatmeal with apple, blueberries, peanut butter, a banana, and sometimes a protein shake.” Plant foods are very high in fibre meaning they will keep you full for longer, which is ideal for athletes.

Finally, people are often worried about running out of energy too quickly. We asked Lance what the most noticeable change was for him when he transitioned to a plant-based diet 2 years ago, “The first change was an increase in energy and feeling less ‘sluggish’. I feel a steady energy level now.” Since plant-foods are so nutrient-dense, your body is able to supply the needed vitamins and minerals to recover much quicker.

Lance also mentioned it was so much easier to lose body fat since he was naturally eating less fat and cholesterol. He didn’t feel like he had to starve himself or eat less to be thinner.

Being a plant-based athlete is becoming more common as we’re starting to learn the amazing health benefits from eating this way. More and more athletes are converting as they see the results and enjoy the overall benefits. The important thing to remember is to eat a balanced meal with grains, vegetables, and legumes, and don’t be afraid to eat a lot!

Lance is a Professional Training Coach at NOVA Health Club in Oakville. NOVA would like to offer all of Savor's clients a FREE initial consultation and training session. To take advantage of this generous offer, you can email info@novahealthclub.com and someone will get back to you ASAP. 

 

Veg Food Fest

Veg Food Fest

Veg Food Fest took over the Harbourfront Centre this weekend for three days filled with plant-based brands, speakers, educators, music and (of course!) amazing food. As someone with a massive sweet tooth, I was super pleased with the HUGE array of vegan baked goods this year’s festival had to offer.

Many (probably too many) sweets were consumed, and… while it was tough to narrow down my favourites, I managed to pick my top three treats.

#1: Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookie from Julia’s Joyful Kitchen

This cookie. Oh man. It looked like it was going to be a bit on the crunchy side, but I was so pleasantly surprised when I bit into a soft, “buttery” cookie. It was very crumbly, in that wonderfully shortbread kind of way. There was also an unexpected saltiness to it, which made my tastebuds sing (otherwise known as drooling). The “buttery” aftertaste knocked this cookie out of the park, and I now have unreasonably high standards for vegan chocolate chip cookies of any kind.

You can order from Julia’s Joyful Kitchen online, and she caters too!

Website: www.juliasjoyfulkitchen.com

To order/cater: juliasjoyfulkitchen@gmail.com

*the cookies are in the glass display case right behind the card, yum!*

#2: Cookies & Cream Donut from Apiecalypse Now!

A juggernaut of the Toronto vegan scene, Apiecalypse Now! makes a mean treat. It was a tough call between the Simpson’s and the Cookies & Cream donut, but I can’t say no to anything topped with Oreos (which are already vegan!). This donut is extreme. It was so large that I couldn’t get my mouth around it, so dense that it took the place of my lunch, and it took two of us to finish it off! I’d recommend this donut if you’re looking for a challenge of the tastiest kind.

Website: www.apiecalypsenow.com

Location: 735 Bloor Street West @ Christie Pits, Toronto, ON

*I should have taken a photo of the donut next to something to show the scale, it was a monster*

#3: Brownie from the Bald Baker

Everything in the Bald Baker’s display looked really tasty, but then Dan (the Bald Baker himself) told me that the brownie was being sold for only $1 as a festival special… naturally that made my decision for me. This was the cheapest treat I indulged in this weekend, and it held its ground next to the more expensive options! One of the things about Bald Baker that piqued my interest was that they’ve branded their products as “sugar conscious desserts”. They don’t use any refined sugars (or maple syrup, agave, or rice syrup!) and they make their treats with nut and chickpea flours to keep them grain-free and to lessen their glycemic impact.

The Bald Baker has a KickStarter campaign going to help turn their online business into a bricks-and-mortar shop, but if you can’t wait until then, you can order their goodies online.

Website: www.baldbaker.ca

*The brownies are the beauties on the bottom shelf*

With my waistband significantly tighter, I’d say it was a successful weekend. Thanks for the treats and the fun times, Veg Food Fest… See you next year!