Plant-Based Diet 101 with Nicole Vranjican of NikkiVegan

July 31, 2019
by Lily Comba for Thrive Market
Plant-Based Diet 101 with Nicole Vranjican of NikkiVegan

Nicole Vranjican’s philosophy when it comes to a plant-based or vegan diet is “practical, doable, simple, and delicious.” Since going vegan in 2016, she has amassed an extensive following on YouTube, where she shares her advice and creative recipes that are perfect for any occasion.

Vranjican is getting back into gear this fall by stocking her pantry with clean, plant-based essentials. She’s sharing her tips so you can do the same—plus a quick vegan snack recipe you’ll love.

What does getting "back in session" mean to you?

I always start by cleaning my space and organizing my kitchen—the freezer, the pantry, the tupperware drawer. I inventory the dry goods, snacks, and condiments I have on hand and then create a list of essentials to stock up on to make cooking healthy meals easy. I find that I’m much more likely to get into a healthy routine when my space is clean and well-stocked.

What are your favorite daily routines?

I don’t do this every morning, but I love listening to Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s guided meditations. They’re not very long and they make me feel very calm. I find that if I get out of bed, head straight to the couch, wrap myself up in a cozy blanket, and take 15 minutes to listen to these meditations, my day will start with a sense of calm and peace. And the messages in the meditations give me perspective and something to think about throughout the day. It’s not an every-morning thing, but when I do this most mornings, I feel really great.

What are the daily routines you want to get better about (or maybe try) in the fall?

I need to stop hitting snooze! I think it makes me feel groggy, and it also makes me feel kind of on edge in the morning, which is no way to start the day. Gotta kick that habit for sure!

How does Thrive Market make it easy to stick to a new routine?

It makes it easy and affordable to have a well-stocked kitchen, which is key—because you can have every intention to have a healthy routine, but if it’s not convenient or affordable, it just won’t stick. Being prepared with your most used essentials is super important when embarking on a new healthy routine. One essential that I swear by? Nuts. They’re high in protein and a great source of healthy fats—but the key is really to get them raw. Go Raw is a brand that I’ve used for years and I trust. I absolutely love their sprouted pumpkin seeds.

What’s your favorite recipe for a quick after-school or after-work snack?

My Tropical Sunshine Bites! I know a lot of date ball-type snacks all seem the same, but these are anything but! They’re super flavorful and bursting with bright, tropical flavors. I love having one or two as a dessert after lunch or a portable mid-day snack.

Tropical Sunshine Bites
6 large or 8 regular medjool dates, pitted
12 dried apricots
1/2 cup dried mango
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 orange
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup of freeze-dried raspberries

Add cashews to a small bowl or container and cover with water. Let soak overnight; if you're in a rush, pour boiling water over the cashews and let rest for 15 minutes.

Drain the water and add soaked cashews to a blender along with dates, apricots, mango, and cinnamon. Add the juice from one orange and blend until well combined.

Roll into 12 balls. Tip: Refrigerate the mixture before rolling if it gets too soft. Also, roll with wet hands to prevent sticking.

Crush the dried raspberries into “sprinkles" and coat each ball with the mixture. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Watch the recipe video here.

For someone who wants to incorporate more meatless or plant-based recipes into their diet, what’s the best way to start?

Watch my YouTube videos! My channel is called NikkiVegan and I have hundreds of easy plant-based recipes. My recipes are mostly healthy, with a few treats thrown in there. I have a little something for everyone, and I really focus on making simple meals that are practical for your busy, everyday lives.

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This article is related to: Plant-Based, Vegan, Vegan Recipes

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