Olivia Biermann is the creator of Liv B, a cooking channel for people who want to make delicious vegan and plant-based recipes that use readily available and budget-friendly ingredients.
Olivia does everything from coming up with the plant-based recipes to filming and also being on camera herself, and her audience is made of up both vegans and those who might call themselves “veg-curious.”
Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia, her first book, Liv B’s Vegan on a Budget, has quickly become a staple here at Wander. We spoke with Olivia about the challenge of going vegan and how to eat well on the road.
Can you share tips or tricks for eating plant-based (on a budget) while traveling?
If you can bring food with you, do it! Especially for road trips. Make some snacks or portable meals that don’t need refrigeration.
For travelling internationally, there is an app called Happy Cow that tells you all the vegan or vegan-friendly spots in whatever place you are in.
I also always try to find a grocery store wherever I go because you can pick up items like fruit, crackers, nuts, granola bars, etc. that are vegan. Also—just ask! If you are eating somewhere, ask the server or chef which items are or can be made vegan.
Sometimes you need to order a bunch of sides or make modifications to a meal, but nowadays people are very accommodating.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for people wanting to go vegan?
Not knowing what to eat/how to cook for themselves. This is where I come in! I love showing people how easy and delicious vegan food can be with simple, plant-based recipes.
What do people tell you are the biggest positive changes they feel or notice after going plant-based?
It depends—a lot of people notice they have more energy and don’t feel as heavy after meals. Some people lose extra weight, some people notice their skin clears up.
I also notice people saying they feel happier because they are eating in alignment with their values (for example, if they are animal lovers, they don’t feel underlying guilt about eating animals anymore).
Do you feel the East Coast of Canada has embraced plant-based eating?
Getting there! There are new vegan restaurants popping up all the time and more and more existing restaurants have vegan options or even a separate vegan menu.
Our Favourite Plant-Based Recipes from Vegan on a Budget
Edible Cookie Dough
Makes 1 1/4 cups
Time: 10 minutes
Like many kids, my favourite part of making cookies was sneaking some dough while my mom wasn’t looking. Although, thinking back, I’m sure she also sneaked in a taste of cookie dough while I wasn’t looking! This version is safe to eat raw since it doesn’t contain eggs or wheat flour. Serve by itself or on top of pancakes, ice cream or graham crackers.
1 3/4 cups oat flour (see My Tip)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup softened vegan butter
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
1. Whisk together the oat flour and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Cream together the vegan butter and brown sugar in a separate medium bowl, until smooth and combined. Add the nondairy milk and vanilla; stir to combine.
3. Add the flour mixture to the brown sugar mixture; stir until a dough forms. Stir in the chocolate chips. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or the freezer for up to 1 month.
If you can’t find oat flour, don’t worry! You can easily make your own by processing 1 3/4 cups large-flake
(old-fashioned) or quick-cooking rolled oats in a blender or food processor until it has a fine, flour-like consistency. Use a fine-mesh sieve to sift the result, as any pieces of oat hull will need to be removed to achieve a smooth cookie dough consistency.
Takeout Thai Curry Coconut Soup
Time: 30 minutes
Making takeout recipes at home is something I love doing on my YouTube channel. They are super popular because it’s an easy way to save money and eat a little bit healthier. Thai is on my regular rotation and this recipe was inspired by yellow curry, which I always order.
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 medium carrot, chopped
3 tbsp Thai yellow curry paste (see My Tip)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 can full-fat
3 tbsp brown sugar
4 oz rice vermicelli noodles
1. Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add the coconut oil and heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and green onions and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the garlic is just beginning to brown. Add the bell pepper, broccoli and carrot; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened slightly.
2. Add the curry paste, ginger, vegetable broth, water, coconut milk and brown sugar; stir until combined and the curry paste is completely dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened slightly.
3. Meanwhile, cook the noodles in a separate medium pot according to the package directions. Drain.
4. Add the noodles to the curry mixture and stir to combine. Divide evenly among 4 bowls. Serve.
Be sure to read the ingredients list on your curry paste, as some brands contain seafood.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
Time: 5 minutes
What’s better than guacamole? Guacamole that takes only five minutes to make!
2 large ripe avocados, halved
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1. Scoop the avocado into a medium bowl. Mash with a fork until mostly smooth, with a few lumps remaining. Add the lime juice, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Serve.
Give the guac some extra oomph by adding 1/4 cup minced red onion and 1/2 cup diced fresh tomato for a chunky, flavorful dip.
Courtesy of Liv B’s Vegan on a Budget by Olivia Biermann
© 2019 www.robertrose.ca
Reprinted with permission. Available where books are sold.