New Vegan Ruben Studdard Eats Vegan Soul Food and Southern Comfort Foods

Duke Diet and Fitness Center

Ruben Studdard, winner of the second season of American Idol, revealed in interviews that he is now a vegan. The Velvet Teddy Bear, about 350 lbs in 2003 when he competed on Idol, gained 100 lbs a year and a half after his win. Studdard entered a 4 week program in North Carolina at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in 2006. He lost 40 lbs, and became a vegetarian early 2008. He subsequently became a vegan, and logged a 100 lb weight loss. (Subsequent to this, he regained most of his weight, and was on The Biggest Loser.)

Ruben Studdard
Ruben Studdard | Source

American Idol Performance, Flying without Wings

 

Studdard was born in 1978 in Frankfurt Germany when his father was stationed in the Army there, but he grew up in Birmingham, Alabama.  Studdard was dubbed the Velvet Teddy Bear by Idol guest judge, Gladys Knight.  He has his own website and has released 4 CDs since his Idol win.  He toured in the classic show, Ain’t Misbehavin’.  Studdard is a new husband and step father. 


On the Wendy Williams show in March 2010, Studdard revealed that he embraced first vegetarianism, then veganism, which he said was much easier than he expected. Studdard insists he has not given up Soul Food, or Southern comfort foods. He has vegan Soul Food cookbooks, and favorite Vegan Soul restaurants, especially in Atlanta.

 

Vegan diets exclude not only meat and fish, but eggs, cheese, milk and all dairy products, and honey.  Other restrictions are related to animal products in the processing of otherwise “vegetarian” foods. 


In another interview, Studdard noted one of his favorite foods was Tofu Lettuce Wraps from PF Chang’s The Buddha’s Feast. He also enjoys Burger King’s Veggie Burger, which he says is better than McDonald’s, who has tested veggie burgers, but not yet made them a standard menu item. He learned to cook with things like vegetable bouillon cubes, and meat substitutes. He loves all Morningstar Farms products. Morningstar markets hamburger, chicken and other meat substitute products. This might explain his love of the 420 calorie Burger King Veggie Burger, which uses the Morningstar patty. While the patty lists 280 mg of sodium the BK Veggie Burger has 16 grams of fat and 1100 mg of sodium.

Getting Protein

 

Since Studdard listed minimizing health risks as a primary reason for losing weight, let’s hope he is not risking his health in other ways.  Obviously 1100 mg of sodium is a lot.  Many experts fear the vegan diet is deficient in Vitamin B12.  Of course proponents are adamant that there are many avenues to get adequate B12 in the vegan diet, such as dietary yeast used in many recipes. 

CNN Report Going Vegan

 

There are many famous vegetarians and vegans.  If you are interested, you can check them out at Famous Veggie.  Many approach a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle due to concerns of the unethical treatment of animals.  Others are interested in decreasing their carbon footprint.  Some strongly believe meat and animal products are not good for health.  Most do not cite weight loss as a reason for embracing a vegan diet, and indeed a vegan diet is no guarantee for weight loss.  There are definitely fat vegans

 

Ruben definitely captured my interest in vegan eating.  I do not foresee making a permanent eating change, but am considering it as a tool to try some of the principles of food combining.  I have fewer reflux symptoms when I do not eat meat and starch in the same meal. 


Being from the South, I was particularly interested in Soul Food and traditional Southern comfort foods. Most vegan meat dishes are accomplished with products that are soy derivatives. Tofu is of Chinese origin, and is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the curds into blocks to form. Tempeh originated in Indonesia, and is partially cooked, fermented soybeans. TVP, texturized vegetable protein is made from defatted soy flour. Seitan is a protein rich wheat gluten product.

I have researched a sampling of vegan Soul Food and Southern classics and other comfort food-inspired recipes. See what you think! I have listed key ingredients on each item, just to give you an idea of the dish.  For the actual recipes, just follow the links. 

Vegan Soul Food Combo Plate

Soul Food Plate.  Counterclockwise:  potato salad, collard greens, blackeyed peas, yams, BBQ tofu, cornbread, Southern fried tofu.
Soul Food Plate. Counterclockwise: potato salad, collard greens, blackeyed peas, yams, BBQ tofu, cornbread, Southern fried tofu. | Source

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Classic Side Dishes

Macaroni and Cheese (From VegWeb.com. I had to remove the link, which triggered HP filters, but does not trigger my Norton or Kaspersky.) The listed name of the dish is actually "Best Vegan Mac & Cheese in the entire world...seriously". Made with macaroni, soy milk, nutritional yeast, tofu, vegetable oil, soy sauce, paprika, garlic powder.

Quick Cornbread Cornmeal, unbleached all purpose flour, baking powder, canola oil, maple syrup, soy milk, apple cider vinegar, salt.

Collard Greens Those of you that are not from the South might think, greens are already vegetarian, or vegan. Not in the South. We cook greens with ham hock, fat back, bacon grease or smoked turkey leg. This recipe contains collard greens, onion, garlic, vegetable stock, salt, smoked sweet paprika, apple cider vinegar, and hot sauce.


Bobby Flay at Vegan BBQ

Good Ole Barbeque

Barbeque Tofu Firm or extra firm tofu, BBQ sauce.

Vegan Barbecue Ribs Water, soy butter, peanut butter, wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, whole wheat flour, BBQ sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika.

Baked Barbequed Tempeh Tempeh, onion, green pepper, red pepper, olive oil, tamari, Kentucky Blues BBQ sauce (recipe also on the website).

Barbequed Seitan Strips Vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic and onion powder, Sweet and Spicy BBQ sauce (recipe on same website).

Southern Fried Tofu

Pressed tofu coated in spices and nutritional yeast and fried
Pressed tofu coated in spices and nutritional yeast and fried | Source

Southern Fried Classics

Southern Fried Tofu Firm tofu, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic and onion granules, paprika, dill, basil, curry, rosemary, chipotle pepper, brown rice flour, oil. Dipping sauce: non-dairy milk, lemon juice.

Country Fried Tempeh Steak Pkg of 4 tempeh steaks, potatoes, soy milk, tofu, vegetable stock, garlic, seasoned flour, oil.

Tofu Fried Fish (From VegWeb.com. I had to remove the link, which triggered HP filters, but does not trigger my Norton or Kaspersky.) Tofu, tamari, nori sheets, tempura batter, oil for deep frying.

Fried Chicken Tofu and Gravy Tofu, sesame seeds, tamari, nutritional yeast. Soy milk and yeast for gravy.

Meatless Meatloaf

Meatloaf

Tempeh Loaf (From VegWeb.com. I had to remove the link, which triggered HP filters, but does not trigger my Norton or Kaspersky.) Tempeh, bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, vegan egg substitute, mushrooms, carrots, onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, soy.

Mama’s Mock Meatloaf Adapted from Russell Simmons. TVP, onion, peppers, olive oil, oatmeal, bread, natural ketchup, garlic salt.

Shepherd Pie Lentils, barley, onion, carrots, walnuts, potatoes.

Blue Plate Diner Veggie Burger

Blue Plate Diner Veggie Burger made with garbanzo beans, black beans, celery, and onions
Blue Plate Diner Veggie Burger made with garbanzo beans, black beans, celery, and onions | Source
Lentil Veggie Burger
Lentil Veggie Burger | Source
Mike's Chickpea Mock Tuna Salad
Mike's Chickpea Mock Tuna Salad | Source

"Tuna" Salad

Burgers and Philly

Lentil Burger (From VegWeb.com. I had to remove the link, which triggered HP filters, but does not trigger my Norton or Kaspersky.) "I can't believe it's not real meat!" burgers. Dry lentils, onion, garlic, whole wheat flour, chili powder, tamari, liquid smoke.


Carrot Rice Nut Burgers Brown rice, cashews, sunflower seeds, sweet onion, carrots, olive oil.


Ancient Grain and Vegetable Patties Millet, quinoa, vegetable stock, spices, raw almonds and sunflower seeds, red onion, baby bellas, carrots, celery, red pepper, garlic, spinach, quinoa or brown rice flour, tamari, parsley, balsamic vinegar, cornmeal.


Blue Plate Diner Vegan Burger. Food Network video with Guy Fieri on this Diner burger with pureed beans, oatmeal, celery, onion and carrots, and plenty of spices.


Cheesesteak Sandwiches Seitan, onion, green pepper, vegan cheese, hoagie rolls.


"Tuna" Salad Sandwiches. See YouTube video of recipe using mashed beans, pickles, onions, vegannaise, mustard, flax for binding.



Vegan Chili

5 Bean Vegan Chili
5 Bean Vegan Chili | Source

Chili and Such

Really Good Vegan Chili (From VegWeb.com) veggie burgers crumbled, kidney beans, pinto beans, pink beans, blackeyed peas, black beans, tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, molasses.

Bold Vegan Chili Vegetable burger crumbles, kidney beans, onion, celery, peppers, chili powder, molasses, cilantro, flour.

Jazzman Jambalaya Tempeh, creole seasoning, onion, celery, peppers, basamati rice, vegetable stock, tomatoes, red beans.

Vegetarian Spaghetti & Meatballs
Vegetarian Spaghetti & Meatballs | Source

Spaghetti

TVP Spaghetti Sauce  Diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste, TVP, favorite spices.

Lentil Spaghetti  Lentils, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, cayenne, olive oil, green onion, sesame seeds. 

Vegetable Fajita

Vegetable fajita with squash, peppers, onions, tomatos
Vegetable fajita with squash, peppers, onions, tomatos | Source

Fajitas and Such

Seitan Fajitas  Seitan, red pepper, onion, garlic, chili powder, paprika, cumin, soy sauce, olive oil. 

Vegan Fajitas Yellow and zucchini squash, red and green peppers, corn, black beans.

Vegan Tempeh Teriyaki  Tempeh, snow peas, onion, shitake mushrooms, teriyaki sauce, basmati rice. 

Vegan Brownie
Vegan Brownie | Source

Sweets

Sweet Potato Pie Sweet potatoes, oil, soy milk, vanilla extract, nutmeg, egg replacer, fructose, sea salt, vegan pie crust.

Brownies Flour, sugar, cocoa, oil.

Cheesecake Vegan cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, tofu.

Talk to Your Doctor

 

Consult your physician before embracing a major change in your diet.  It may even be a good idea to ask your doctor for a consultation with a nutritionist. 

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21 comments

jhaggenmiller profile image

jhaggenmiller 4 years ago from Syracuse, NY via Jersey City, NJ

And, I should also say, it's amazingly well researched. You give us readers, tons of links to pour thruogh. Thanks again.


jhaggenmiller profile image

jhaggenmiller 4 years ago from Syracuse, NY via Jersey City, NJ

Really great Hub, I'm a new vegan myself and will boost some of these ideas/recipes. Thanks for posting it!


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 5 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Wow vegannewcomer. That's quite a compliment as I am not even vegetarian, just someone trying to decrease my cosumption of animal protein. Thanks for reading.


vegannewcomer profile image

vegannewcomer 5 years ago

I am from Arizona and have been a vegetarian for 7 years and trying to go vegan. I have deleted milk and eggs and yogurt, (drinking almond milk, eating soy yogurt) but giving up cheese has been difficult! I stumbled upon your aritcles tonight which led me to this hub, and I have joined! Your articles have given me so much information on veganism and I am so inspired!

Thank you!


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks Sylvia! I added the book to my Amazon capsule.


Sylvia 6 years ago

There's a new vegan dessert cookbook called ** Are You Sure That's Vegan ** ... the title, as the story goes, is coined by the phrase used most often at tasting the desserts out of the book.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

That sounds great livelonger. San Antonio is not much of a vegetarian town. I had a few things at the favored vegetarian place in Austin. It was pretty good, but they seemed to rely on hot spicey too much.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 6 years ago from San Francisco

What an awesome hub. I'm not familiar with Ruben Studdard, but I am a vegetarian, and at the Oakland (California) farmer's market every Saturday morning, there is a stand selling vegan soul food. IT IS DELICIOUS! They serve plates very, very similar to the one in your photograph above. No wonder Mr Studdard says the switch to veganism wasn't that hard.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks Paradise. I was definitely trying to find "burger" and "meatloaf" recipes that I would be inclined to try. Not so sure about the tofu and seitan texture though. Seems like the meat substitues have fewer additives and questionable ingredients than when I checked a few years ago.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks for the visit Cassidy. I would definitely urge others to visit your hubs for gluten free, kid-friendly recipes. I avoided gluten for a while about 14 years ago after (too many courses of) antibiotics. I think it definitely helped.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Very good hub. The vegan thing even looks doable, with these recipes.


CassidyS profile image

CassidyS 6 years ago from OK

Thanks for the hub, I'm going to try the vegan cheesecake with my gluten-free crust.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Great to see you back ethel!

Thanks for your visits Sandy and gen.


genrp profile image

genrp 6 years ago from North Hollywood, CA, USA

this made me hungry! great hub! but I hate you for making me hungry..hahaha..

--gen--


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Thanks for the recipes to this lifestyle.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Pamela if you notice, he broke even. He gained 100 lbs after Idol.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Some tasty info that sounds healthy also


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks susan and peace. I'm ready to try out some of these recipes!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Interesting hub. I liked Reuben when he was on American Idol but I didn't know he changed his diet and lost all that weight. That's terrific. Good hub.


peacenhim 6 years ago

Thanks for this info! Interesting article with some fascinating recipes.


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

Mmm, this one made me hungry. Care to come over and cook at my place? ;)

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