More and more people are turning into vegetarians. By definition, vegetarianism is the practice of following a plant-based diet (which includes fruits and vegetables) while excluding meats such as seafood, poultry and red meat. Some vegetarians include dairy products to their diet while some excludes it.
People adapt vegetarianism for different reasons, although health improvement is one of the major reasons for it. Studies show that vegetarians have lower chances of developing heart problems. This is because a vegan diet is consists of food with low cholesterol. Bad cholesterol usually caused by red meats, along with saturated fats is one of the major causes of heart diseases.
It was also found out that people following a vegan diet have lower blood pressure compared to people who eat meat. Salt, which is used in cooking meats has been identified as the main cause of high blood pressure and hypertension. Since this is not much used in vegetarian dishes, a vegetarian is protected from this kind of health problem.
Processed food contains a lot of chemicals to prevent them from getting spoiled easily. These chemicals are mostly toxic, and are the main causes of cancer. Vegan foods are chemical-free, which means people following the diet don’t get to consume these cancer-causing chemicals.
While there are different techniques and methods for making vegan foods, having a food dehydrator will make your life a little more convenient. It will also allow you to make foods that are not possible without this machine.
A food dehydrator is a small home appliance used for drying foods. While it can be used for meats, it is also very effective for drying fruits, vegetables and herbs – perfect for a vegan diet!
TURNING FRUITS INTO FRUIT LEATHERS
Fruit leathers are sweet treats made out of fruits. It’s a healthy snack alternative to junk foods which some of us fondly feed our children.
To make fruit leathers, choose a ripe fruit. The best fruits to make into fruit leathers include strawberries, blueberries and apricots.
First, wash the fruit. Peel or remove the stem – depending on the fruit you’re using. If there are any bruised areas, remove it.
Puree the fruit using a blender; make sure that it’s smooth enough for easy pouring. Sweeten it according to your taste, although I suggest to slightly under-season it as the sweetness will intensify after drying. You can choose honey or concentrated fruit juice as sweeteners.
Spread the puree into the dehydrator trays. Set the temperature to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and for around 16 hours. The consistency of the finished product should be pliable and easy to roll.
MAKING VEGETABLE CHIPS
Vegetable chips are another great alternative to junk foods. It’s really easy to make, but the health benefits are out of this world.
To make vegetable chips, slice whatever vegetable you want to use. You can use anything from onions, tomatoes, eggplants and carrots. For thin slices, I recommend using a mandolin slicer.
After washing and slicing the vegetables, coat dark leafy vegetables lightly with olive oil and sea salt. You can also coat sweet potatoes, bananas and red peppers with lemon juice so they don’t turn black.
Arrange the slices on the dehydrator tray, making sure they don’t overlap each other. This way, they all dehydrate at the same time. Check your dehydrator manual for the best cooking time to make chips. In case you don’t have the manual anymore, turn temperature into the lowest of the highest setting and taste the chips as you go along. Expect around 12 hours for thin slices to turn crispy.
VEGETARIAN BURGER PATTY
If you check online, there are more than dozens of recipes for vegetarian burger patties, however, the Mediterranean burger from Rod Rontondi (author of Raw Food for Real People: Living Vegan Food Made Simple by the Chef and Founder of Leaf Organics) stands out because it’s cooked on a food dehydrator, making it healthier compared to that cooked on a grill or a stove. The main ingredients consist of walnuts, sunflower seeds, sprouted lentils, purple cabbage, celery, lemon, sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil. For the full recipe, I suggests going to thedailygreen.com.
THE BEST FOOD DEHYDRATOR FOR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
While there are a lot of food dehydrators that would fit a vegan’s lifestyle, we found out that the Nesco American Harvest FD-80 square-shaped dehydrator stands out. It’s air-circulation system ensures fast dehydrating plus there’s no need to rotate the trays like with other dehydrators. This means you can turn it on and just wait for the food to dry.
Since it’s square-shaped, it doesn’t take as much space as a circular machine does. You can also use every inch of space on the tray which is almost impossible with circle-shaped dehydrators.
For more information about the Nesco American Harvest FD-80 square-shaped dehydrator, I suggest following this link.