- Diet & Weight Loss
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.)
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.
Transition to a Vegetarian Lifestyle
- Vegetarian Mastery Program - A Step-By-Step Program For Mastering The Vegetarian Diet
Transition to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle the healthy way. Check out Vegetarian Health Institute and Trevor Justice's step-by-step program.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Fajitas and Such
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.