Category Archives: Products and Ingredients

30-Day Vegan Challenge: A Complete Tool for the Curious


Dear readers,

We know many of you are not vegan.  Maybe you are interested in trying out plant-based recipes every now and then, you may practice abstention from animal products during a religious fast, or you may be trying to eat healthier foods.  Do you think you could try a vegan diet for 30 days?

Our dear friend, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, has just released her new book, the 30-Day Vegan Challenge.  
After so many years of being vegan, using available materials to help support a plant-based diet, I can say I have never seen a more comprehensive book for people interested in making the transition.  The 30-Day Vegan Challenge covers every aspect of the vegan experience.  Any question you may have is addressed here.  (If you have ever thought you couldn’t be vegan because you’d miss cheese, there’s a chapter for you!)

Not only does Colleen cover these issues, she also provides essential information about nutrition (reviewed by dietitians), menus for the entire 30-Days, and recipes that are tried and true.  We know because we’ve been using these recipes for years now!!!

Colleen starts out by encouraging you to do a bit of preparation – get a buddy (this is important!), take some measurements (some of the changes you will experience can be measured!), and take a 3-Day food diary before you start (to see what you really normally eat).  Then, each of the 30-Days has a chapter full of specific, detailed, researched information about an issue surrounding veganism.  Some of these include: Eating healthfully and affordably (Day 2), Eating out and speaking up (Day 8), Discovering that there is life after cheese (Day 12), Putting to rest the great protein myth (Day 15), Celebrating the holidays (Day 25), Achieving and sustaining weight loss (Day 28)…..

Colleen ends with the menus, full of favorite recipes from her cookbooks and ideas for easy, simple meals.

This book is now available electronically – yes even in Egypt.  You can purchase it through Amazon and read it on a Kindle reader (either on your computer, your iPhone, iPad, etc.).  For more about this, read this post. (***Not all publishers allow their books to be downloaded in Egypt, but the 30-Day Vegan Challenge is available, so click away!)

If you are interested in checking out other works by Colleen we would suggest her podcast, Vegetarian Food for Thought (it’s free!!! and can be downloaded to your computer or any other mobile device).  Of course, you might also find her other books useful:

Basic Bulgur


Well, dear readers, it’s finally here!  After several requests, we are finally sharing our secret and magical way of making bulgur (just kidding – it’s really VERY SIMPLE!)

As far as we know, this recipe will work for fine or coarse bulgur.  So YOU get to choose!

You can serve this just like you would rice, noodles, or any other grain. We have it a lot since it is less calorie-dense than rice, higher in protein and a very good source of fiber!!

So, here is the recipe: Click here for printer-friendly version.

Serves 4
Ingredients:
1 cup bulgur
1 vegetable bouillon cube
2 cups water

Instructions:
1.  Combine the bulgur, bouillon cube and water in a small saucepan.
2.  On medium heat, bring the mix to a rapid boil, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.


3.  Fluff with a fork and serve.
Nutritional Information:  1 of 4 servings (about 154 grams)
124 Calories; 1 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 27 g Carbohydrates; 6 g Fiber; 4 g Protein
Here are some recipes we eat with bulgur:
And as you can see in this article, bulgur actually contains more protein than white or brown rice:
What’s your favorite way to get your protein?
So, eat up and Alf Hana!!!

Looking for vegetarian and vegan goodies in Egypt? Try Health Harvest.


We are always happy to find places to buy vegetarian and vegan goodies in Egypt. Don’t misunderstand:  You can find vegetarian and vegan goodies at ANY shop!!! If you make the focus of your diet whole foods it won’t be hard for you to find treasures in every grocery shop, small market and even vegetable vendor.  😉

However, there are certain ingredients that are just not readily available.  While we may not use them often and they may not be absolutely necessary for our survival, some of these ingredients make it possible for us to have compassionate versions of familiar treats,  add nutrition and flavor to our soups and dishes or just try new things.

We discovered a new shop in Egypt, Health Harvest, that carries some of these rare ingredients!  – Okay, it’s not new – it’s been here for about six years or so, but it’s new to us!!!!  With three locations across Egypt, Health Harvest carries a number of products you might be interested in.  Among the items we found are:

These seeds will be great on salads!!!

Sunflower Seeds

Miso adds wonderful flavor to soups and sauces.  It’s basically fermented soy beans.  We have not found miso anywhere else in Egypt.

Miso

Agar agar flakes are made from sea plants.  You can also buy them in powder form (we did not see them at Health Harvest, though).  They serve as a vegetarian gelatin and are wonderful for making puddings or CHEESE (recipe coming soon)!!

Agar agar flakes

We don’t really buy mixes usually.  We love to cook everything from scratch because it’s cheaper and we can be absolutely certain what ingredients are included in the mix.  However, we found a number of gluten-free mixes available and decided to try them out.  They have a variety including:

There were MANY kinds of beans available for sale – even black soy beans!!!  But we bought these little lima beans.  Aren’t they cute?  They’ll be really tasty in a minestrone (recipe here!).

There are even some safer, compassionate beauty products on sale including this deodorant that is free from aluminum!!!

If you are interested in visiting Health Harvest here’s their contact information:

  • 00237483851- Mohadessen
  • 0126007879- Nasr City
  • 002035231001 ext: 1085- Alexandria
  • General Manager-0020145253777
  • healthharvest[at]hotmail.com
  • Find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Health-Harvest/173199636066856?sk=info
  • Their website: http://kushicenter.com/index.php
Do you know of other shops specializing in specific vegetarian or vegan products?  Tell us about them!!!
Alf Hana!!!

5 Easy to find, Nutritious, Quick, Vegan Snacks in Cairo, Egypt


How’s that for a post title?!  This post was actually inspired by a recent post on One green planet about vegan snacks that are available on the market.  But, unfortunately, none of them can be found in Egypt!!!  So, we humbly present the first in a series of posts about vegan snacks that you can find in Egypt.

Later we’ll write about snacks that you can make at home, but for now, these are snacks available in shops or from street vendors.  We have tried to choose snacks that are as close to their whole state, retaining as much of their nutrition as possible.

1.  SEEDS (or ‘lib’)

Brown Egyptian seeds (watermelon seeds)

These beautiful babies can be found in almost any nut vendor’s shop in Cairo.  Egyptians love to eat them by cracking the shell open with their teeth and pulling the seed itself out with their tongue.  It’s kind of a complicated technique and you might have to be a real Egyptian to eat them properly 🙂 .   There are two common varieties : larger white seeds (what my research says are pumpkin seeds), and smaller brown seeds (which are watermelon seeds).  Both are easy to find, relatively inexpensive, fun to eat, and full of nutrients.

White Egyptian seeds (pumpkin seeds)

For the watermelon seeds, 1 cup of seeds will give you a whopping 602 calories – so go SLOW!!!!  But, it also provides 31 g of protein, 44 % of your daily recommended intake of iron, and is a good source of phosphorous, zinc, manganese, and magnesium!

As for the pumpkin seeds, they are only 285 calories for a whole cup.  With 12 g of protein, a cup of these cuties provides 12 % of your daily intake of iron, and a good helping of magnesium and zinc.

For the record, I love the white ones most – I guess because they’re larger and easier to manipulate!!!  But, if you’re in the mood for a challenge, try the brown ones!!!  Oh, and if you’re watching your weight, just take no more than two tablespoons because these are high in fat! [images from http://www.taw9eel.com/]

2.  Termis

Termis, also known as lupin or lupin beans, is another type of seed very common in Egypt.  You can buy them in their dried state in any small grocery.  Find the already-prepared version (soaked, cooked, seasoned with salt, lemon, red pepper!!!) in larger markets.  It is especially popular in the spring during the Sham El Nessim holiday, but you can find the prepared version year-round.   Eat the yellow lupin seed with the skin, if you like, but I like to bite about half-way down and remove the skin before I eat it.

And here’s the nutritional info on the yellow lupin:

Yellow lupin seeds

1 cup will provide you will only 193 calories and – hold on to your hats! – 26 grams of protein!!!  That’s right, folks – here’s a high protein, low-calorie food you can snack on without a guilty conscience!  But wait, you also get 5 g of fiber and 8% of your daily recommended intake of calcium from these plump yellow cuties.  In fact, our source for this nutrient information, nutritiondata.com lists them as being a good snack if you want to lose weight!  So dig in!!! [image from el-baraka.net]

3. Dried Figs

A favorite especially around Ramadan, these nutritious and naturally sweet goodies are also easy to find.  In small groceries or larger supermarkets, they are commonly sold in 250 gram packets or in air-tight circular packages.  Their very sweet taste will satisfy even the most troublesome sweet tooth – while you get some nutritional value!  Eat them right out of the bag – or soak them in some water for a softer treat!

As for their nutritional punch, here’s the low-down:

For 1 cup, you get 371 calories, 15 g of fiber (!), and 5 g of protein.  Not to mention 24% of your daily recommended intake of calcium and 17 % of your need for iron!!! [image from all-creatures.org]

4.  Grilled Corn on the Cob (especially in the summer!)

Can you smell it?  Yes, the man with the cart on the corner has a grill and is smoking up some corn!!!  MMMMMMM!!!  Usually grilled in its husk, it can obtain a smoky taste, but if you like corn, you’ll love this!

This snack is quite nutritious, with one large ear providing 123 calories, 4 g of fiber, and 5 grams of protein!  With 16% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C covered, you’ll be protecting yourself from illness with just one ear!  It’s also a good source of thiamin, folate, magnesium, and phosphorous.  [image from wikitravel.org]

5.  And now, the best for last: Dried dates stuffed with nuts

We actually already wrote about this in a post during the Vegan MoFo last November. You can find these in most small groceries and larger supermarkets.  In fact, you can even find them organic!  Try Isis Sekem.  I love these little jewels. They are the perfect combination of sweet and savory.  You can find many variations – including dates stuffed with almonds, peanuts, and I have even seen cashews!

Our dried dates with peanuts are not too bad on the nutritional scale.  For one ounce (about 28 grams) – which I’m thinking would be around 3 of these babies – you get about 140 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and about 4 % of your daily need for calcium.  Not bad!

What other vegan snacks do you readily find in Cairo?  Please share!

Alf Hana!!!

Vegan Cheeses in Egypt and We’re back!


Hi everybody! We missed you all!
We took a much-needed break, but are back and are looking forward to sharing lots of new recipes and goodies!

Recently, a reader asked about vegan cheese.  Cheese was one of the hardest animal products for us to stop eating – and I suppose that is true for most vegans.  But, in reality, it is just the fat and the salt we are enjoying.  So, can we find fatty, salty plant-based, compassionate alternatives in Egypt?  Well, yes, but….

None of the available options are solid, can be shredded, or melt. So, no – they won’t be good on a pizza, or work in a grilled cheese sandwich. However, there are some creamy, spreadable options that are tasty. In fact, there are several brand names available in the market (and a few more show up during the Christian fasting periods…)

Here are the versions we have bought, tried, and liked. We find them at Royal House, Alfa Market, Metro, and even some small groceries in neighborhoods have some!!!

The “white cheese” from Greenland:

“White Cheese” from Ahef – there are other flavors, too, including cheddar and blue cheese.

Prima’s olive-flavored cheese in a tub: (other flavors include pasterma and chili!)

Mobi’s “Smoked Cheese”:

Several of these cheeses use coconut oil or palm oil as a base.  Be careful!  These can be high in that “bad” kind of fat :).  Use them sparingly…

There are options for making homemade vegan cheeses, too.  However, some of the necessary ingredients are not directly available in Egypt. (We like to use nutritional yeast with cashews and agar powder…, none of which are available here : ( ! ) Once we find suitable recipes that will satisfy your CHEESY cravings with ingredients readily available in Egypt, we will share immediately!

Have you ever tried any of these products?  What’s your favorite?

Have you ever tried making homemade vegan cheese? What ingredients did you use?

Are you a chocolate lover, a vegan and in Cairo?


Well, you probably have been looking EVERYWHERE for chocolate chips, right?  I know we always were!  In fact, for many years, I had to chop up bars of vegan chocolate so we could have chocolate chunks for our cookies….

BUT…no need for YOU to spend so much time chopping!  You can find chocolate chips now!!!!   Royal House has them in abundance.  They come in small, 200 gram bags. As you can see from the image, they are not very expensive so stock up!

Here is the contact information for Royal House, just in case you don’t know:

Royal House: Heliopolis, Roxy, in front of Merryland, behind Othman Ahmed Othman buildings

24514446 / 24514445 and for home delivery: 24514447 / 24514448 / 24514449

Now, enjoy your chocolate, chocolate lovers!

Getting Vegan Resources in Egypt


While many of the resources available for vegans and vegetarians these days are FREE, sometimes they’re not.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t get them in Egypt!

First, for some FREE resources, we have shared a set of invaluable resources for new vegans and vegetarians recently.  Also, you can find more resources on our resource page.

Now, there are some amazing cookbooks and other books about vegan issues that are all the rage in the vegan community, but just aren’t available on the shelves of local bookshops.  I am a little embarrassed to say that for years, we used to order from bookstores in the States, have them delivered there and then shipped to us here.  Boy, what a process!!!  Now, thanks to technology, we don’t have to do that anymore!

Reading Devices

iPad / Kindle / iPod / iPhone:  You can now order books from amazon.com or the Apple Store in digital format that can be downloaded directly to one of these reading devices.  Find a plethora of popular vegan cookbooks / or other books for sale!  But, wait – don’t have one of these devices? Don’t worry – if you have a computer, you can still order and read books….

Use these FREE downloadable applications to read on your computer.  Then, all you need do is set up an account with amazon, order whatever books suit your pleasure and enjoy!!!!  Of course, we would recommend you start with one of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s amazing books.  But, there are tons of  vegan cookbooks out there to choose from. Have a blast!

In the meantime, we will be starting something new to help you choose…  and we’ll be writing about it very soon!

Alf Hana!!!