Happy Fathers Day to all of you fathers out there who are dedicated, caring and engaged in your children’s lives. Whether you are a biological father, a step father, or a father figure, stepping up to the role of caring for the children in your life, your influence is immensely consequential to every facet of their lives.
Since World War II and the increasing number of women in the workplace, family roles have changed. The number of two-parent households decreases with the rising rates of divorce. It is key, nonetheless, to allow children to be influenced by their fathers or father figures who care about them.
While the role of the mother in her young children’s lives is unquestionably important, numerous studies show that the role of the father is tantamount to children’s growth, development and well being.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 44% of children in single mother households were living in poverty, compared to only 12% of children living in a household headed by a married couple
  • The U.S. department of health conducted a similar study that found children of mother-only households to be four times as likely to live in poverty compared to those of married-couple families
  • The U.S. department of Education found that children raised in fatherless households were twice as likely to repeat a grade as children with fathers in the home. The children with fathers who were involved in their academics were also 43% more likely to receive A’s
  • The Department of Justice surveyed jail inmates to find that 39% of them were raised in single-mother households, whereas among female inmates, this was true for more than half of them
  • Research by the University of Pennsylvania concluded that children who “feel a closeness and warmth with their father” are twice as likely to enter college, 75 percent less likely to have a child in their teen years, 80 percent less likely to be incarcerated and half as likely to show various signs of depression
Even the way fathers play with their small children has effects on their personalities. For example some studies indicate that roughhousing, which is often experienced with the father rather than the mother, helps make kids more resilient, smart, moral and socially adept.
Some studies have shown that while mothers will often play the role of protecting their children, fathers will be the ones to encourage them to take risks such as talking to strangers, taking on challenges and thinking for themselves.
According to Focus on the Family, fathers’ parenting styles complement mothers’ parenting style in a way that makes each of them indispensable:
“Fathers encourage competition, engendering independence. Mothers promote equity, creating a sense of security. Dads emphasize conceptual communication, which helps kids expand their vocabulary and intellectual capacities. Moms major in sympathy, care and help, thus demonstrating the importance of relationships. Dads tend to see their child in relation to the world. Moms tend to see the rest of the world in relation to their child. Neither style of parenting is adequate in and of itself. Taken together, they balance each other out and equip the up-and-coming generation with a healthy, well-rounded approach to life.”
We are sure lucky to have our father! Happy Fathers Day to all of the Dads out there!!!

Here at ValMar Health, we teach our philosophy that eating healthy is easy, delicious and fun. I’ve been a vegan my whole life, long before its rising popularity in recent years, and I’ve seen the abundance of resources that have become available to make adopting a vegan lifestyle easier than ever.

My promise to my followers is that no matter what it is you are craving or feel like cooking, I can show you a vegan version of it! This is because I know that for every animal product on the market, there is a non-animal version that tastes and functions just as well, if not better, as a stand in to complete any recipe.

If you’re new to cooking vegan, you’ll want to store some of these vegan replacements to memory. As you continue your vegan journey, you’ll start to realize that swapping out animal products for plant based alternatives becomes more intuitive over time.

The exception to the title of this blog is Milk, because everyone knows there are no shortage of milk alternatives, which you can find in most major grocery stores .

In my previous blog about milk alternatives < https://www.valmarhealth.com/youll-gobananas-over-these-milk-alternatives/- > I highlight some of the differences between several non-dairy milk alternatives. Whereas almond and hazelnut milks contain rich nutty flavors, oat milk is thick and sweet, coconut milk is fleshy and thick, rice milk tends to be light and thin and is most similar to skim milk.

Though bananas have a thicker consistency than eggs, they make a great binding agent to replace eggs in certain baked goods.

Some more versatile egg replacements include applesauce, puréed soft tofu and flax egg (made by blending 1 Tbsp flax seeds with 3 Tbsp water). All three interact with other ingredients similarly to the way eggs do. They both bind them together and add volume.

Chickpeas can be used in the form of flour to make omelettes, or in the form of brine, which can be stirred into aquafaba to mimic the texture of egg whites in foods such as mousse, meringue or even mayo.

For heartier dishes you can swap eggs for a combination of oat or soy flour, rolled oats, cooked oatmeal or bread crumbs mixed together with nut butters, tomato paste or corn starch.

If you’re looking for the savory and satisfying taste of meat, there are great ways to achieve that without consuming animal meat. If you want to have a plant based burger that tastes like the real thing, I highly recommend the brand Beyond Meat. I use the Beyond Meat Beyond Beef Crumbles Beefy, and you can’t even tell it’s plant based!

However, some recipes call for meat because it absorbs flavor better than the other non-meat ingredients. Tofu, tempeh and seitan all have the same absorbent quality, making them great substitutes for animal meat. Tofu and tempeh are soy based, while seitan is made from wheat gluten and works well as a replacement for chicken. All three ingredients are just as flexible, spongy and functional as any meat product.

Beans are not only a great way to get protein into your diet, they offer a ton of flavor, and are just as filling and savory. Beans make a great replacement for meat in Latin dishes like tacos, enchiladas and savory casseroles.

Eggplant and mushrooms are an excellent plant-based alternative to meat. Not only are they as porous and versatile, but they will digest a lot easier than meat and they are so much healthier! Mushrooms are naturally savory and can be sautéed with vegetables to bring out their naturally satisfying flavor.

Eggplant has a neutral flavor and a thick texture which makes it great for absorbing the flavor of anything you cook it with. You can season them, sauté, slow cook or bake them with your favorite vegetables, breadcrumbs or sauces, and they will fill you up with their naturally fibrous texture.

There are a few different types of ingredients which can be blended to mimic the taste and texture of cheese. One of my go-to recipes is cashew cheese, which comes out in the form of a smooth paste that you can use in dishes like Mac N Cheese, spaghetti and various other types of pastas and stews. To make cashew cheese, simply soak cashews in water until they become flexible enough to blend into a paste. Add a little nutritional yeast and some herbs, and you have a delicious non-dairy alternative to cheese!

You can also simply add nutritional yeast to any dish in place of cheese, as it contains a naturally cheesy flavor when combined with other ingredients.

Tofu cheese can be a little bland, but if you experiment with different flavors, such spices, herbs and sauces, you can really make it work for you.

I also highly recommend Dayia cheese and Miyokos Cheese

Like cheese, the vegan alternatives to butter that you can find at the grocery store taste better and better these days! Earth Balance is my go-to brand. However plant based fats such as coconut oil, olive oil and vegetable oil make great stand ins for butter in most recipes that call for it.

I’ve been vegan my entire life, so I’ve never tasted fish and chips before, but if you’re one who has and could never imagine going the rest of your life without indulging in the beach pier diner classic, I have hope for you if you are or want to go vegan.

Just because a person is vegan doesn’t mean they won’t crave a plate of golden crispy fried fish atop a bed of crunchy fries, sprinkled with savory lemon juice and dipped in creamy tartar sauce, so I found and made a vegan fish and chips recipe. I made it for some friends and they tell me it tastes very close to real fish and chips, minus the fishy flavor.

The recipe calls for banana blossoms in place of fish, which are tear-shaped purple flower blossoms hanging at the end of banana clusters, and they’re commonly used in South-East Asian cuisine. They are often used in soups, salads, curries and stews, but I couldn’t find them so I improvised with canned artichoke hearts and hearts of palm since they have a texture very similar to artichoke.

I had so much fun making these as I realized you have to take the “filet” out of the fryer within a second of placing them in, because they fry very quickly, so there was batter all over my kitchen at the end of making them!

I made them along with a fresh homemade remoulade featuring dill and lemon juice, along with a zesty vegan tartar sauce. The “filets” came out so warm and crispy, and tasted great when you dipped them into the tartar sauce.

Vegan Fish + Chips
Prep Time 1 Hour
Cook Time 15 Mins
Serves 2-3

1(18 oz 510g) can Banana Blossoms (can be substituted for artichoke hearts and hearts of plam as I found)
Frozen French fries
Oil for frying

2 Cups Water
1 Tbsp kelp powder
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tsp chopped dill

1 Cup flour (chilled)
1 Tsp celery salt
1 Tsp paprika
3/4 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp pepper
Pinch garlic powder
1 Cup ice cold beer

Vegan Tartar Sauce
1/4 Cup vegan mayo
1 Tbsp minced cornichons (small pickles)
2 Tsp caper, roughly chopped
1 Tsp white vinegar
1/4 Tsp Dijon
1 Tsp fresh dill, chopped
Pinch salt and pepper