Local Family Tells the Benefits of Going Vegan

Vegan Recipies You Can Make at Home

By Zack Newman

Former President Bill Clinton, TV personality Ellen DeGeneres, and former heavy-weight boxing champion Mike Tyson have all made the switch. Not to wearing a certain brand of clothing, or doing a particular dance, but to a vegan lifestyle.

And they are not alone. According to a recent Harris Interactive Study, the number of vegans in the U.S. has doubled since 2009 to 2.5 percent, a trend that, if it continues, will put 80 percent of America as vegans by 2021. And this change makes sense. A recent study conducted by the National Institute of Health reported that the  average vegan is 30 pounds lighter than their meat-eating counterparts, and will live almost a decade longer.

In order to become vegan, participants must cut out of their diet all animal by-products, from honey and eggs, to meat and butter.

Different people make the switch for different reasons, but for mother of four Bonnie Sorak, it was to keep her family as healthy as possible.

"Mostly it was health related at the beginning, it was to avoid having our children to have allergies, both my husband and I were allergic to dairy as children, so we wanted to avoid having our children be allergic as well," Bonnie said. "But, now that we have been Vegan for so long, we see the other benefits of this lifestyle choice… from environmental to ethical."

Because vegans can't have any animal byproducts, a common misconception is that they can't enjoy everyday foods. However, according to Bonnie, that couldn't be farther from the case.

"The key to it is finding substitutes for the foods that you mentioned, the dairy and the eggs," she said.  So for something as simple as garlic bread, where someone who wasn't vegan would have butter, we found a really great substitute, margarine, or I just use olive oil."

The family made the choice to become a vegan 17 years ago, a year after the Sorak's eldest son, Jacob, was born. 

Bonnie's husband, Arthur, has seen the benefits of being a vegan for himself. Arthur had painful eczema that caused painful splits in his fingers; he depended on powerful steroid creams to keep it under control.

"I eliminated all dairy from my diet, and after three months, my eczema was about 80 percent better, and maybe I wasn't convinced enough, but I went out and had some pizza, and the cheese caused it to all come back," Arthur said. "That was it, I never had dairy again."

After Arthur, who is ironically a son of a butcher, made the first step in removing dairy, he said that the rest was not that big of a deal and he no longer needs the creams.

"It can be an evolution for a person, you can start eliminating foods from your diet and find other things to substitute," Arthur said.

  Bonnie Sorak Vegan Recipies  Candle Cafe Soy Chocolate Mousse Pie 
 Keys:  Desserts Pies     
 Yield: 8 
 -----------------  PIE CRUST  ---------------- 
          1    cup  spelt flour 
                    (can be found at health food stores) 
        1/4    cup  cocoa powder 
        1/4    cup  organic sugar, such as Sucanat 
                    (can be found at health food stores) 
          1    tsp  baking powder 
          1    tsp  baking soda 
        1/2    cup  soy milk 
        1/2    cup  maple syrup 
        1/4    cup  safflower oil 
        1/2    cup  water 
        1/2    tsp  vanilla extract 
         1/4    tsp  almond extract 
           2    tbl  chocolate chips 
 -----------------  MOUSSE  ---------------- 
       2 1/4    cup  chocolate chips 
           1    cup  vanilla soy milk plus 
           2    tbl  vanilla soy milk divided 
         1/2    tsp  cocoa powder 
         1/2    tsp  kuzu root starch* or cornstarch 
                     (*can be found at health food stores) 
          20     oz  silken firm tofu 
         1/4    cup  maple syrup 
           2    tsp  vanilla extract 
           1    tsp  almond extract 

For the Pie Crust: Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl, combine the soy milk, maple syrup, oil, water, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add to the flour mixture and stir well.

Pour into a 9-inch-square baking pan; bake 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then refrigerate 1 hour. Crumble and press the crumbs into a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips.

For the Mousse: Place the chocolate chips, 1 cup of soy milk and cocoa powder in a bowl. Dissolve the kuzu in the remaining 2 tablespoons milk and add to the mixture. Place the mixture in a double boiler set over simmering water and melt, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool slightly.

Puree the tofu in a blender until smooth. Add the syrup and vanilla and almond extracts; blend again. Fold into the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Pour into the crust. Refrigerate overnight.

This recipe yields 8 servings



Ratatouille     Serves 6-8

2 1lb eggplants,

peeled and cut into 1" cubes (I don't peel)

3 small zucchini, sliced crosswise

¾ cup olive oil

2 red bell peppers, sliced lengthwise

2 green bell peppers "         "

1 yellow peppers      "         "

8 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (I used diced canned tomatoes)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons capers (I use much more)

1 T minced fresh basil leaves or 1 t dry

¾ tsp fresh thyme or ¼ t dry



In a large skillet heat 2 T oil over moderately high heat until it is hot and in it sauté the eggplant in 2 batches, adding 2 more T of oil for the second batch, until it is soft but not browned.  Transfer to it with a slotted spoon into a large stainless steel  or enameled casserole as it is sautéed.

In the skillet cook the zucchini in ¼ c oil over moderate heat until it is softened but not brown and transfer to casserole.

In skillet cook the peppers in 2 T of remaining oil until softened but not brown – transfer to casserole.

Saute onion until soft and golden and transfer to casserole

Add to the casserole tomatoes, garlic, capers, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Combine the mixture well and bake it in moderate over 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until tender.

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