GUEST POST: A maniacal guide to GUILT-FREE Vegan, AND Gluten Free snacking With CATSNACKSVEGAN.

Hey there! My name is Cat and I started my food and nutrition blog about a year ago via Instagram! In 2012, I was tested for Celiac Disease after my mother figured out that her thyroid problem was aggravated by the allergy. For those of you who don’t know, Celiac Disease is a fancy way of saying that you’re extremely allergic to wheat and wheat by-products, so much so that it can lead to other autoimmune diseases. I also grew up lactose-intolerant, which played an important role in my transition into Veganism. Vegan AND gluten free products used to be non-existent in 2012, but even now in 2020, a good 70% of vegan products are still NOT gluten free. Food allergies should never mean that you have to miss out on the good stuff, and that’s my MO

I went Vegan 2 years ago in 2018. I made the decision to go Vegan based on my health at that time. After years of being a Pescatarian (a fish only diet) it was truly catching up to me! I had no energy, I felt sluggish all the time, my digestion was slowing, along with my metabolism. I had really bad acne, and I had a really unhealthy way of snacking and feeding myself in between. I needed change, and with that change I wanted to make my carbon footprint smaller and my global footprint larger. So, I began experimenting and creating snacks, entrees, desserts, sauces, even drinks and tinctures that can help with everyday ailments, save the planet, and help to feed your mind, body, and soul all at once!

Being new to the Vegan world was SO overwhelming at first. I was finding out new ways of preparing things like nuts into sauces (?!?), replacing meat with FAKE meat (which scared me the most..), and figuring out how to make homemade products instead of buying groceries that would break my bank! But with a little extra knowledge, everything comes naturally!

I have come to learn that whatever you crave, whether it’s a dessert, drink, or a full blown dinner, you can make it 10x healthier than before AND 10x more delicious than you can imagine! There are resources all around us for tastier, more nutritious foods that are completely plant-based and have been around for centuries. My new best friends are spices, herbs, dried fruits, regular fruits, veggies, legumes, and gluten-free grains like quinoa, buckwheat, oats, millet, rice, etc. Creating substitution meals compared to your average, non-vegan meal that tastes similar is so achievable! That’s my favorite part; I can make a better “chicken alfredo” than the average. Would you have ever imagined?!

Recently my most intense craving was for FUDGE. The last time I had fudge was back in middle school when my friend fed me the classic, dairy condensed milk and sugar fudge..Of course it was amazing, but I was on a venture to make my own recipe that not only tasted more DREAMY but still made me feel good after eating it!

Here’s a little recipe to satisfy an intense chocolate craving!

CAT’S Almond Butter Marshmallow Pretzel Fudge

In a bowl whisk together 1 cup almond butter, ⅓ cup melted coconut oil, ¼ cup cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ coconut sugar (or sub monkfruit for sugar free), 1 handful of vegan marshmallows, 1 handful of cashew bits, and 1 handful of crushed gluten free pretzels (I found mine at Trader Joes!). Pour your mixture into a brownie tin, top with more marshmallows and pretzels, and freeze for 2 hours. Serve cold!

That’s all there is to it! This is a super easy snack to make and a way better choice than your average dessert! It’s filled with the necessary and healthy fats that keep your body running by releasing plant-based energy that doesn’t fade! Eating clean like this is a necessary way of surviving a plant based diet. When you indulge in a dessert, that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your health and nutrition to eat something that’s melt in your mouth good. And, it doesn’t stop here! There is a substitution for everything in the world, from sushi to burgers. These substitutions could not only revitalize your energy and way of living, but they can also save our planet!

Make sure to check out my Instagram @catsnacksvegan and my soon to be website, catsnacksvegan.com! 

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