Taking the Vegan Challenge


Are you up to the challenge?
Are you up to the challenge?

Starting this February 11th 2017, with a launch party at Happy Buddha, the Shanghai “21 day vegan challenge” begins! (see link at the end of the post.)  For anyone who has wanted to try a vegan diet, Happy Buddha, Saucepan, Veggie Lovers and Veggie Dorm have joined forces with VeganFiesta to create this great event!  If you are inclined to drool over a delicious cheese board or juicy steak, unsure of how you will find the willpower not to eat them, you are sure to find lots of support from fellow challenge members.  There are also activities every day from cooking classes to workouts.  Too tired to make your own vegan food?  Then order a vegan meal from one of the multiple partners at a discount or buy a week long meal plan from Better Bentos.  I will be trying this challenge; although I can’t promise I’ll make it through to the end!  I will be contributing to the challenge by giving a nutrition class at Hunter Gatherer on the evening of February 23rd.  The class will focus on healthy vegan eating patterns, to ensure those participating get all of their proper nutrients.
I have heard some debate over whether or not vegans can get all the nutrients they need.  They absolutely can if they eat the right plant sources.  B12 is an exception but it can be obtained through fortified foods or nutritional yeast, check out this great vegetarian resource here.  Vegetarians and vegans tend to have an overall lower cancer rate than the general population as well as a lower BMI.  Conversely, just because someone is vegan does not automatically mean they are eating healthy.  Sugars, oils and certain processed “junk foods” can be vegan.  So remember, no matter what diet you choose, a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is best for optimal health.
Until the next time, wishing you and your family good fortune in this New Year of the Rooster!

Eat Well Shanghai! – Jessica W.

Link to 21 Day Vegan Challenge

Cooks in the Kitchen

How many of you Shanghailanders out there cook a few nights a week? I don’t see too many hands. I was listening to a British program recently which featured a presumably famous British cook book author , Delia Smith. After years of writing cook books Ms.Smith stated she is now on a mission to teach people the lost art of cooking. *

Sadly I have to agree with Ms.Smith, as a generation we are not cooking as much as our mothers and grandmothers ( and in my case my grandfather). I frequently ( like every week) tell clients that they will improve their chances at weight loss, improve their blood sugar control, clear up their skin and improve their heart health by just cooking a few meals at home each week. Not mention saving some money as a bonus.

Fortunately we all live in Shanghai where very often if a need exists there is generally someone around who has the genius to fill it. Enter the folks at Saucepan (www.saucepan.co). These clever folks have stepped in to help you easily “cook” and eat healthy at home ( and also at the office).

Now I like to cook and as you can imagine I take time to do it often. But the idea of a “prepared” restaurant quality, healthy meal delivered to my home is intriguing and I figured it was my professional duty to give it a try.

The Saucepan website is easy to use  and the menu is varied, offering both dishes with meat and vegetarian and vegan choices. For my test run I chose one of each and a salad.

The two entrees and salad were delivered at the promised time and the ingredients were nicely separated in individual bags, which was helpful since someone in the house did not want “stuff” on their fish. It is a boil a bag process. Each entrée comes packed in a pouch, ready to drop into a pan of boiling water. Five minutes later you have dinner on the plate. I was a bit skeptical at first since boil -a-bag does not equal good taste in my memory banks but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

Both the vegetarian curry with Basmati rice and the lemon halibut emerged from the boiling water intact and flavorful. As a bonus they looked beautiful on the plate. The Moroccan couscous salad completed both dishes perfectly.

I spoke with the people at Saucepan and as much as they believe we are all capable of boiling water they are getting feedback that people would like an even faster route to healthy meals.  They are modifying their entrees a bit so you will have only to pop the bowls in the microwave for your next satisfying meal at the office or at home.

The Saucepan staff know we are all pressed for time and frequently don’t think about what we are having for the next meal until our stomach growls. Not to worry they have plans to be able to deliver you a fresh entrée, salad, drinks and dessert within 30-45 minutes of ordering.

While I  agree with Ms. Delia Smith that we would all be healthier if we cooked at home, Saucepan may be just the bridge to healthier eating that Shanghai needs. Besides, who can resist the personalized thank you note that comes along with your meal!

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun!