Posts that aren’t food-related, but still relate to a healthy/happy lifestyle.

Be My Vegan Valentine: Treats & Recipes for a Special Day

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In the interest of full disclosure: I received Dandies vegan marshmallows to sample, and this post contains affiliate links.

Hearts! Candy! Warm fuzzies! Oh my!

Major retail stores have been pushing Valentine’s Day merchandise practically since Christmas, but here at QV, I like to be a little more timely (or perhaps a bit fashionably late) about holidays. Therefore, I bring you a post just about a week before this highly commercialized, heart-filled celebration!

I know, I know. Most of you are looking for that perfect vegan wing recipe to chow down on during the Super Bowl, but there’s nothing wrong with rounding up a few sweet recipes to share on the 14th! Read on for tasty Valentine’s Day delights suitable for chocolate lovers, cookie monsters and anyone who likes food on sticks.

valentines cookies by Austin White public domain images vday post

Super Candy Sources

If you’re looking for decadent vegan candies to give as gifts, these companies have you covered. Be prepared to fall into a sugar coma! (And snap to later with a smoking credit card and the vague notion that you just procured enough chocolate to feed an army.)

  • Lagusta’s Luscious Valentine’s Day collection — Find them locally or shop online!
    • All chocolates are 100% vegan, organic and fair-trade
  • Sjaak’s 100% organic vegan chocolate
  • Natural Candy Store — Be sure to check shipping deadlines for your area to get vegan, allergen-free, junk free candy delivered in time for the holiday.
  • Dandies Vegan Marshmallows — Use them to make these Heart-Shaped Crispy Treat Sandwiches with strawberry filling.
    • From Chicago Vegan Foods, the makers of Dandies: “The first Non-GMO Project Verified marshmallows on the market, Dandies are made with all-natural ingredients and completely free of gelatin, artificial ingredients, and high fructose corn syrup. The products are produced in the company’s dedicated facility, which is free of dairy, eggs, peanuts, and tree-nuts. Dandies marshmallows are also free of wheat, gluten and corn, 100% vegan, and certified kosher by the Chicago Rabbinical Council.”
    • Find them in vanilla, mini vanilla and pumpkin varieties!

Make Your Own Vegan Valentine’s Treats!

valentines candy box by twinrexes freeimages


Put in a little effort to bake or confect (Is that a word? It is now!) something special for the person you love — or all the people who make your life amazing! Give these great vegan Valentine’s Day treats as gifts, serve them on a heart-shaped plate to cap off a romantic dinner or make them the focal point of an amazing spread of party desserts!

Cake Pops

Who doesn’t love cake on a stick? Deck out these cake pops with ribbons and use different toppings like sprinkles, cocoa powder, cinnamon or shredded coconut to create a unique presentation.


They say it’s the thought that counts when giving a gift, so why not make your loved one’s day with delicious homemade candy instead of store-bought?


heart cookies by nas freeimages


I couldn’t do a roundup of treats without including some cookies. They’re a classic for gift-giving and party platters!

With this list on hand, you’ll have no problem making Valentine’s Day sweet for your significant other, your family, your friends — or yourself. Enjoy!

Love these recipes? Get more like them — along with plant-based health and lifestyle tips — every month in my newsletter!

Header Photo By Austin White via


Quantum Vegan Chats About Plant-Based Diets with Focus on Albany

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Last week, I had the opportunity to appear on Focus on Albany, a locally based Internet radio show. I met host Cynthia Pooler in the co-op cafe one evening after work when her plant-based dinner caught my attention. We connected over a mutual concern over diet’s affect on health, and this episode grew from that conversation. I’m grateful to Cynthia for giving me a chance to spread the word about plant-based diets!

You can listen to the whole show right here:

In this episode, we talk about:

  • The difference between a vegetarian and a vegan
  • Some of the health benefits of a plant-based diet
  • Soup suggestions to warm up your winter
  • Vegans, B12 deficiency and the best options for supplementation

Stay tuned to Focus on Albany for more QV appearances in the coming months! Follow the show on:


A Day in the Life: Easy Vegan Meals from Breakfast to Dinner

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Whether I’m talking to prospective clients, teaching a class or just chatting with people about food, the question I get the most about adopting a plant-based diet is “What do I eat?”

Being vegan for any length of time makes the answer to this question seem so obvious that I’ve had to take a step back to get an objective view of where the confusion lies. It seems that, despite the growing popularity of the plant-based lifestyle, many people still think of “vegan” as synonymous with “the worst salad I’ve ever had, for every meal, every day, and no more cheeseburgers ever.” Couple that with the diet gurus giving people opposing advice from day to day and it’s no wonder everyone is confused!

When I first went vegan, discovering what to eat wasn’t as simple as hitting up Finding Vegan, checkout out Pinterest or searching #whatveganseat on Twitter. The vegan world has exploded with awesome since then, and now it’s easier than ever to find delicious dishes to make for every meal.

I’ll be shedding light on some of the possibilities on January 20th with Vegan for the New Year, a full food demo that looks at a “day in the life” of plant-based eating. My goal is to dispel the persistent myth that veganism is about deprivation and giving things up and to offer tips and tools to help people enjoy delicious, healthy food every day.

If you’re in the Albany, NY area, you can register online to attend! The class runs from 6:00pm-8:30pm at Different Drummer’s Kitchen in Stuyvesant Plaza.

For those of you who are further out or are looking for a way to share the wonders of a day of vegan food with veg-curious friends, I’ve put together a quick guide with some recipes to help you (or them) get started.

Going With the (Breakfast) Grain

vegan vanilla strawberry breakfast bowl closeupThanks to hardcore advertising by the food industry, breakfast has become synonymous with a glass of juice, a bowl of cereal and perhaps a piece of toast. If you’re in a hurry, it’s a microwavable breakfast sandwich or something picked up from a fast-food drive-thru on your way to work. Cooking your own whole grains, however, is just as simple and much healthier. Plus, it tastes better!

Some of my favorite combinations are oatmeal with medjool dates and apples, millet and oats with pears and dried apricots and oats and quinoa with berries. A little ground flax or whole chia seeds mixed in and some cinnamon sprinkled on top and ta-daa! A hearty, healthy breakfast. If you like your grains creamy, cook them in a little unsweetened nondairy milk.

A great savory alternative is chickpea scramble, which can be made by sauteing the veggies of your choice with a few of your favorite spices, tossing in some chickpeas and garnishing the whole thing with nutritional yeast. If you’re really in a hurry some days, try whipping up a batch of whole grain, oil-free muffins over the weekend to “grab and go” as you head out the door.

These recipes can help you start your day off right:

Another favorite breakfast of mine is to take about half a pound of whatever greens I have on hand and saute them with garlic, mushrooms, rice vinegar and edamame, sometimes with a sheet of nori or some bean sprouts thrown in at the end. I’ll admit it’s an acquired taste, but it’s pretty amazing when you’re looking for something different from sweet Western breakfast fare.

Super Lunches for Any Day

Healthy Greens by Wong Mei Teng full

Photo by Wong Mei Teng

My biggest suggestion for lunch is to have a salad as the main event and build up from there. Start with a base of 2-3 cups of your favorite leafy greens and add as many other veggies as you like. Toss on some beans or cubes of cooked tofu or tempeh, slices of avocado, steamed sweet potatoes, leftover grains or whatever else strikes your fancy, and finish it off with a drizzle of homemade oil-free dressing. My favorite? Mix 1/2 tablespoon of almond or sunflower butter with 1/2 teaspoon each of maple syrup and miso and enough water to create a creamy consistency.

If you’d rather have your salad as a side to something else, try cooking some grains and tossing in chopped veggies and about half a cup of beans toward the end of cooking time. Red beans, sweet potatoes and barley (or rice) is a particularly nice combination. All it needs before you dig in is a sprinkle of a salt-free spice blend such as Mrs. Dash or Trader Joe’s 21-Seasoning Salute. And, of course, you can never go wrong with a sandwich on whole-grain bread!

Some other tasty ways to get your lunch groove on:

If you’re a hardcore sandwich fan, you can try your hand at homemade sandwich rolls — they’re healthier and cheaper than store-bought! English muffins are also a fun change from bread, and they make a surprisingly good PB&J when you need something quick.

Daring (But Simple) Dinners

The concept of “the bowl,” best described as a grain, a bean and a green, is the easiest formula to follow when throwing together a plant-based dinner. Bowls can be made with whatever you have on hand and tailored to any type of cuisine. That makes for endless variety, but these are a few of my favorite creations:

vegan bean and mushroom chiliThen there are the “one pot” meals, anything that can essentially be dumped in a pan and allowed to cook while you take care of other things. Chili and soup are two popular options, with curry and stew also falling into this category. My favorite thing about “one pot” meals? Most of them are straight-up comfort food. Try these the next time you want something flavorful and warming:

Last but not least, dinner can be roasted, baked or wrapped! Roasting and baking share a similar convenience with one pot dishes in that they essentially cook themselves, and just about any veggie tastes even more amazing when it’s been roasted to caramelized perfection. Burritos, quesadillas and enchiladas take a bit more work, but you can’t beat them if you’re looking for something spicy that you can smother in salsa and vegan cheese sauce.

And, of course, there’s always whole grain pasta with tomato sauce. Stir in some greens for added nutrition and flavor! Quick-cooking red lentils are another healthy, hearty add-in that can simmer right along with your sauce.

Don’t Forget Dessert!

chocolate chip cookie closeup by kasey albano

Photo (c) Kasey Albano

One thing I’m surprised to discover that many people think they have to give up when going vegan is chocolate. Or desserts of any type. Fortunately for those of us with a sweet tooth, this is a complete myth. Once you discover the wonders of dairy-free dark chocolate and learn a few tricks about vegan baking substitutions, it’s easy to transform classic recipes for cookies, brownies, cakes and more into amazing plant-based treats. After all, if you can make a chicken and waffle donut vegan, you can make anything vegan.

If you need dessert right now and don’t want to bother with swapping out ingredients, satisfy your craving with one of these simple solutions:

Between-Meal Nibbles

Everyone needs a snack now and then! Snacking helps you spread calories out over the course of the day so that you don’t overeat during meals, and it’s especially important if you work out a lot and need to take in extra energy to meet your needs.

The best snacks, in my opinion, are the simplest: fresh or dried fruit and nuts (hello, trail mix!), homemade granola bars, edamame (steamed or roasted), healthy baked goods and veggies with hummus. In fact, hummus is so easy to make that you can have it on hand all the time. The most basic is just chickpeas, some garlic and a little tahini with some lemon juice and water, but there are so many varieties that I’m betting you could make a different kind every week and not repeat yourself for a long time. These recipes can help spice up your snack time:

Although most of these options are pretty “grab-and-go” friendly, I realize there are going to be times that you really don’t have time to whip anything up. I’m not a big fan of pre-packaged snacks since many contain sugar, oil, salt or unnatural ingredients. However, there are a few I’m comfortable recommending for those super-crazy days. Larabars are mostly fruit and nuts (with a few “treat” varieties thrown in), and GoRaw has some seriously tasty sprouted bars made using nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Two Moms in the Raw isn’t a bad option, either, although I find them to be a little on the sweet side.

The bottom line? Make your own snacks when you can, and when you can’t, look for minimally processed whole-food options without any added junk.

If you like the tips in this post or you’re just looking to add a little more variety to your vegan diet, join me for Vegan for the New Year! Space is limited, so reserve your spot now.


2015 Year in Review — Popular Recipes & Learning to Adapt

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“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” ~ Revelation 21:5a

Happy 2016 everyone! Can you believe another holiday season has come and gone?

It’s been a crazy whirlwind year here in QV land, with some things rolling right along and others seeming to be at a standstill. This year I moved into a new apartment, taught a raw apple pie class at the local co-op, learned to make authentic vegan cheese, got hempy with my friends at RAD Soap, spiced things up with Jamtastic and so much more.

While I was doing all of that, you, my amazing readers, were busy hitting up recipes and posts around the blog! It’s you who make this all so special — I love sharing my recipes, reviews of books and info about my favorite products with all of you. QV would truly be no fun — in fact, it wouldn’t even exist! — without you.

So as a big THANK YOU for being so awesome, I’ve rounded up the top 10 recipes and posts of 2015 to kick off the New Year!

2016 best posts recipes quantum vegan

This year, readers liked potato soup, jackfruit and Rich Roll the most, but a few old favorites snuck onto the list, too, mostly thanks to their popularity around the holidays:

  1. Veggie Potato Hash with Kale
  2. Lebanese White Bush Squash Pasta Bake
  3. Vegan Peanut Blossoms
  4. Italian Easter Cookies With Anise
  5. Movie Review: ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2’ Makes Healthy Habits Accessible, but Does it Go Far Enough?
  6. Breakfast Chickpea Scramble
  7. Traditional Italian Easter Bread (though personally I think the update is more authentic)
  8. BBQ Jackfruit Kale Saute with Upton’s Naturals Jackfruit
  9. Review: The PlantPower Way by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt
  10. Potato Leek Soup with Coconut Milk (which was also the most popular recipe last year!)

Runners up included Vegan Ricotta Pie, Oil-Free English Muffins and Black Bean Chili with Millet.

One post, though, beat out all the others, and it always amuses me to see this one at the top of the list when checking blog stats. Believe it or not, it’s my review of the Green Bean cafe in Northampton, MA, which I posted back in 2011. Why? It took me a while to figure it out, but the culprit is…


That’s right, apparently you all love Green Bean’s super-cool mug tree that lets in-house coffee drinkers choose their own cups. That picture has been pinned about a gazillion times, and I can’t say I’m surprised. I still stop and admire the mug tree every time I visit Green Bean (and have some coffee and a fruit bowl, of course)!

So there you have it, the best of 2015 here on the blog, made possible by your continued readership. <3 Remember you can also keep track of QV on:

What’s new for 2016? I’ll be teaching my very first cooking demos to showcase how easy and tasty it is to eat a plant-based diet, whipping up some “better baked goods” at the local community college and getting in touch with schools in the hopes of spreading the message of good health to the younger generation.

Of course, I’ll still be testing and posting new recipes and rounding up the “best of” for all the major holidays! Stay tuned — it’s going to be a fun ride.

May your 2016 be filled with exciting opportunities, new beginnings and delicious food. God bless.

Looking for some help starting out with — or staying on track with — a plant-based diet? Book a free 15-minute phone consultation to find out how Quantum Vegan’s wellness consulting services can help you!


A Beautifully RAD Gift for Christmas!

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If you’re like me, there are still a few people on your gift list that you haven’t finished shopping for. Or maybe you haven’t started shopping at all because you’re having trouble finding the perfect gift. In either case, the RAD Soap Co. can come to your rescue with their new American Beauty line.

rad soap american beauty gift set

Image courtesy of the RAD Soap Co.

American Beauty follows the formula of nearly all of RAD’s products*: vegan-friendly, non-GMO and 100 percent natural. You won’t find any junk in RAD’s products–just plant-based ingredients formulated to nourish and improve all skin types.

I’ve been a fan of RAD for a long time and recently had the pleasure of stopping by their Albany, NY facility for a visit. I’ve been there once before, and it’s an amazing little place! Soap and cream and Shuga-Bubs as far as the eye can see, and the lovely smell of freshly made soap hanging in the air–pretty much a little slice of heaven for a soap geek like me. Before I left, Sue (who, incidentally, is now a 100 percent plant-based eater!) gave me a sample of the then brand-new American Beauty bar. It was so new that it didn’t even have a wrapper yet! Talk about hot off the presses.

American Beauty contains Egyptian rose and Himalayan sea salt along with RAD’s standard blend of plant-based oils. The rose gives it an especially unique and powerful scent. In fact, for a few days it was doubling as an inadvertent air freshener in my bathroom. The bar itself has a creamy texture that translates into a foamy lather with a smell that’s quite a bit lighter and lingers just enough to be noticeable. I like it so much that I’ve used it to wash from head to toe, including my hair!

Not long after trying the soap, I was visiting the RAD table at the farmers market and noticed that the bar was now not only dressed in an attractive pink, rose-studded label, but it was also accompanied by a pot of cream with the same branding. Another line from RAD was born! And they were generous enough to allow me to take the cream home to try for a review.

Like the soap, the American Beauty cream has an initial rush of rose scent that diminishes to light floral overtones as you rub it in. RAD even puts a rose petal on top for an elegant touch when you open the jar, making it perfect for gifts! The cream is thick, silky and smooth, and it only takes a tiny dollop to start rejuvenating your skin.

american beauty cream petal closeup

This power in this rich cream comes from a blend of antioxidant oils, including red clover, hemp, rose hip, rice bran, grapeseed, borage, evening primrose and red raspberry seed. Along with witch hazel, this combination helps to:

  • Regenerate, tighten and refresh skin
  • Fight inflammation
  • Slows skin aging
  • Clear up conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
  • Protect against free radical damage
  • Improve skin texture
  • Replete important nutrients
  • Increase moisture content and strengthen the moisture barrier
  • Reduce lines, wrinkles and scales

Unlike a lot of skin care gimmicks that you see splashed all over TV and in magazines, American Beauty derives its benefits from the natural occurrence of vitamin C, vitamin E and essential fatty acids, including the often-elusive GLA, in the oils it contains. Thus, RAD bills it as a “youth preserving cream.”

I’m not one to hop on the skincare bandwagon and start using products just because I hit a certain age, but since I’ve never made moisturizing part of my facial care routine, I decided to test American Beauty out as a sort of “night cream.” After only a few days of using it, I noticed that the skin on my face was not only smoother but also tighter and more elastic. I hadn’t realized that it was loose in any way before, but I also tend to forget that I’m 30 years old and should be expecting at least a few age-related changes.

american beauty cream jarOne thing I do notice is that, when the weather gets cold and indoor heat gets dry, a band of dark skin develops underneath my lower lip. Having read that this could be caused by excessive dryness (which I definitely have around my lips in the winter!), I made sure to apply a generous amount of American Beauty to that area. Lo and behold, I’ve noticed the color beginning to lighten up, no weird chemicals required.

In my estimation, RAD really knocked it out of the park with this one. I always love trying their new products and have never been disappointed. So if you’re still stumped for gift ideas, I highly recommend sending a little bit of American Beauty to a few lucky recipients. I guarantee they’ll think it’s a very RAD product indeed!

Is everyone on your list already youthfully radiant? Have no fear; RAD has plenty of other amazing gift sets for Christmas or any time. My personal obsession at the moment is their brand-new caffeinated line, made in partnership with another local company, Death Wish Coffee. The soap, cream and scrub line has coffee in it, and it smells like chocolate brownies. How can you go wrong?

Keep up with RAD Soap on your favorite social media channels for all the latest news and new product launches!

*RAD’s lip balms do contain beeswax, but no products ever contain chemical additives or artificial anything!


Recipe Revamp: “Cheesy” Sriracha Cornbread Donuts, Veganized!

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I’ll admit it. I have a mild obsession with Sriracha sauce. (Enough that I finally learned that it’s SRIracha and not SIRacha…) The zippy taste, the afterburn that leaves your mouth tingling…I can’t resist. In fact, it’s the only hot sauce I happen to have on hand right now, and i don’t see a reason to buy anything else.

Given this devotion to such an epic source of spiciness, when I stumbled across this recipe for Cheddar Sriracha Cornbread Donuts, how could I not try it? I found it on a blog called Toaster Oven Love, probably while Googling around for something to have with chili that wasn’t the standard corn muffin I always make.

It’s a simple recipe very similar to corn bread, but given a cheesy twist and baked in a donut pan. To make these vegan, I replaced the the cheese with nutritional yeast, the egg with a flax egg and the buttermilk with almond milk and a splash of cider vinegar. The butter got swapped for applesauce. Using oat flour has the added bonus of making the donuts gluten free for those who can’t handle wheat.

The Sriracha, I left the same. Yes, that’s a full tablespoon of Sriracha.

A photo posted by Quantum Vegan (@quantumvegan) on

They’re great with stew (as pictured above in a recent Instagram shot), chili and as snacks if you’re into that kind of thing when you’re feeling peckish. Which, obviously, I am.

Making these reminded me of the morning at Vegetarian Summerfest when I arrived at the breakfast table to see one of my dining companions opening a bottle of, you guessed it, Sriracha.

“Is that what I think it is?” I asked. Excitement ensued, and several of us proceeded to douse our breakfast potatoes in the spicy sauce.

About halfway through the meal, I realized the friend sitting to my left was crying. I asked if he’d overdone the hot sauce, but he shook his head.

“No,” he replied, sniffing and dabbing at his eyes. “This is how I like it.”

If that’s how hot you like your food, feel free to go for more than a tablespoon of Sriracha for your donuts. But do so at your own risk–I found these to be plenty spicy enough as they are!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe Revamp: "Cheesy" Sriracha Cornbread Donuts, Veganized!
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Adapted from a recipe on Toaster Oven Love, these unassuming little donuts pack a spicy Sriracha punch!
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 6-8 donuts
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened plain nondairy milk
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3 Tbsp warm water
  • ½ cup oat flour (or ½ cup of oats, ground in a blender)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Have ready a nonstick donut pan.
  2. Combine the nondairy milk and apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup. Set aside to curdle into vegan "buttermilk."
  3. In a small cup or bowl, whisk together the flax seed and warm water. Set aside to thicken.
  4. In a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda and nutritional yeast.
  5. Add the "buttermilk," flax seed mixture, and Sriracha. Stir well to combine, but avoid over-mixing.
  6. Divide the batter evenly in the donut pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges of the donuts are golden.
  7. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack or serving with your favorite chili!
Are you a Sriracha fan? Share your most daring Sriracha exploits in the comments!

(Featured image by Ian Ransley via


Pumpkin Joy! Why More of this Squash Should Be On Your Plate

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Every October, hundreds and hundreds of pumpkins make their way from pumpkin patches and into the homes of families eager to cut off the tops, scoop out the innards and get creative with carving. At the same time, sugar pumpkins, which seem tiny in comparison to these giant squash creations, are transported from farmers markets to kitchens and used to make delicious fall dishes packed with powerful natural substances that have the potential to transform your health. Read on to discover the perks of pumpkin and how to use it for more than just pie.

Low Calories, Lots of Nutrients

pumpkins by pasiphae free images


One cup of cooked pumpkin contains about 49 calories and delivers a healthy dose of nutrients. Vitamins A, C and E are found in abundance along with many B vitamins. Minerals in pumpkin include copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous. Like all winter squashes, pumpkin also serves as a good source of fiber. Pure canned pumpkin can provide similar benefits when used in recipes.

Cartoenes Against Cancer

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods notes that the carotenes giving pumpkins their rich orange color wield antioxidant power once inside your body. In fact, pumpkins are “one of the best-known sources” of beta-carotene according to Medical News Today. Antioxidants serve to neutralize free radicals that can cause cell damage that leads to cancer and other serious conditions. Beta-carotene has been shown to be especially effective in reducing the risk of both prostate and lung cancer. The combination of vitamin C and antioxidants such as carotenes works to boost overall immunity, which may in and of itself help prevent cancer development.

A Healthier Heart

It’s no secret that most people consume far too much sodium every day. Most plant foods, including pumpkins, are low in sodium and also contain potassium in a ratio that helps balance out the two minerals in our bodies. Just one cup of cooked pumpkin gives you 564 milligrams of potassium. Working in combination with fiber and vitamin C, healthy potassium levels help balance blood pressure, thus lowering the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular damage. Phytosterols present in pumpkin seeds may help to lower LDL cholesterol and further promote heart health.

Blood Sugar Balance

Some properties of pumpkin may make it beneficial for people suffering from Type 2 diabetes. It appears that eating pumpkin can help to lower blood glucose levels, increase insulin production and improve glucose tolerance. This can translate to a more balanced glucose response and an increase in the body’s ability to respond to insulin.


Ready to start adding more pumpkin to your diet? It’s simple to prepare and can be used in everything from breakfast to dessert.

Cooking with Pumpkin

pumpkins by DimiTalen public domainTo prep and cook a pumpkin, treat it like any other winter squash. Knock on it to check for ripeness; it should sound hollow. Give it a good wash to get rid of any dirt, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. (You can save them to roast later if you like.) To roast, place the cut sides down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cook at 350F for 40-45 minutes. When it’s done, the skin should peel right off. If you need pieces of pumpkin for soup, stew or chili, peel the skin off the raw pumpkin and cut each half into chunks of the desired size.

If you fancy making your own pumpkin puree, both Oh She Glows and The Pioneer Woman have great tutorials on the process with photos from start to finish. I’ve never done this myself, but I’m betting it’s much tastier than the canned variety.

Vegan Pumpkin Recipes to Enjoy

Need a little inspiration to help you turn pumpkin in something (even more) delicious? Any of these recipes makes a good starting point.

This is just a small sampling of what you can do with this nutrient-packed winter squash. It just goes to show that this vibrant orange veggie can do so much more than light up your porch every October. Remember that the benefits of pumpkin come from eating the squash in its unprocessed form, not scarfing an entire pumpkin pie — but a pie made from fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin without additives is still far healthier than all the candy that tends to invade the house this time of year!

Do you cook or bake with fresh pumpkin? Share your favorite pumpkin preparations in the comments!

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