Why is there meat in everything?

campbells soupI knew that making the switch to a plant-based vegan diet would be hard; there are limited options when you want to eat out, and it seems like restaurants like to put meat in everything!  That being said, the last place I thought I would have a hard time eating is the Hospital!  To make a long story short, I found myself in the emergency room of the local hospital last week…  thankfully it turned out to be nothing too serious.  After laying on a stretcher, that can best be described as utilitarian, another nurse came by to take even more blood.  At this point I mentioned that I had been there for going on eight hours, and it would probably be a good idea if I had something to eat… being diabetic and all.  She agreed that would be a good idea, and that someone on the previous shift should have done something about that already.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love nurses… they are the backbone of any hospital.  They are the ones who have to do all the dirty work, and are fully under appreciated, and overworked.  I try not to cause too much trouble with them, because I know that they are likely working with another patient that is far worse off than I am, and the last thing they need is to get me something to eat.

The amazingly talented nurse said she would find something for me… evidently people don’t get fed in the ER.  I stopped her before she left, and with trepidation said “I know this is probably going to make it harder for you, but I’m vegan.”  A look of panic and concern came over her face, as if to say: I get where you’re coming from, but this place definitely doesn’t.   Her tireless search turned up a cheese sandwich on buttered bread (nope!) and an apple.  She was very apologetic, but it wasn’t her fault… she doesn’t make these choices.  Thankfully she knew that my wife would be coming shortly to check in on me (I had previously told my wife not to come until after work); she told me to give my wife a call so she could sneak in some food.  Success!  I reached my wife as she was heading out the door; I asked her to stop in at Subway (conveniently located in the Hospital lobby) and get me a veggie sub.

You would think that a hospital of all places would be able to accommodate dietary needs, but maybe it was the fact that I was there “after hours” or just in the ER.  Either way, it was a learning experience for me.  Because I like to consider myself solution-focused, I present my top five favourites for when I have to eat out on short notice!

5) Subway or Mr. Sub – Veggie sub on whole grain bread.  Make sure to tell them no cheese and may… they love putting it on everything!


4) Sushi – There are lots of great veggie options including: cucumber, avocado, yam, asparagus, and more.  Just tell them no mayo or roe.

3) Chinese Takeout – This varies by restaurant, but garlic broccoli and steamed rice is my favourite and is usually readily available.  Stay ways from fried rice as it often has chicken or chicken stock in it.

2) Falafel – There are tonnes of shawarma places around me, and every good shawarma place also has falafels.  I try not to go with this option too much, as they are deep-fried, but all the toppings are vegan and delicious – cabbage, hummus, pickled turnip, tabbouleh, and toum (garlic sauce).

1) Harvey’s – Veggie Burger on a whole grain bun.  They just recently revamped their offerings of veggie and sauce topping with more options; now I can change up the toppings for more variety.



Let them Eat Hummus!

hummus_horizWhen I started following a plant-based diet, I quickly learned that I needed a fall-back food.  Something I could always “fall back on” if there was nothing else in the fridge, or I really didn’t feel like cooking.  I have been eating hummus for as long as I can remember, but now it’s pretty much a daily staple for me.  Hummus is one of those foods that has a long history, and disputed origin; while the word “hummus” is Arabic in origin, many different regions around the world have their own versions of the tasty dip,  from North Africa, to the Middle East, along with Greece and Turkey.

Hummus is not only a great choice because of how healthy it is, (just go easy on the oil) but it’s also incredibly versatile so I don’t really get bored eating it every day.  It’s a great base to add all sorts of additional flavours to spice things up.  Some of my favourites include: roasted red peppers, roasted eggplant, beets, za’atar spices, and caramelized onions.

I have been experimenting with different recipes for years, but I have been using this one for a while now, and I seem to get pretty consistently good results.

Brad’s Famous Hummus

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon (about 1 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 pinch of kosher salt

Drain water from chickpeas into a bowl and set aside.  In a food processor, combine lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, and 3 tbsp of chickpea water.  Run on high until everything is well blended, and no chunks of garlic are visible.  Dump in chickpeas and run the food processor, stopping periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Keep running until everything is well combined, and is a smooth consistency.  If you want to add in any other flavours (i.e. roasted red peppers) do that now.

I’ve discovered that the key to getting a smooth texture is to combine all the ingredients before adding in the chickpeas… I don’t know why it works better, I just know that it does.

Please comment below if you have any great hummus recipes.