Combine 3/4 cup lukewarm water, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl (or mixer). Sprinkle your active dry yeast on the top and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Make sure your yeast is starting to foam/bubble slightly. If it isn't foaming or bubbling at all, you'll want to start this step again with new ingredients, and make sure your water wasn't too hot.
Add your flour, garlic powder, and 1 ounce (about 1 tablespoon) of melted Earth Balance (or other vegan) margarine to your yeast mixture. Knead all ingredients together in a mixer or by hand for about 5 minutes. Your dough should be soft, not too sticky, and it should cling to itself. I had to add another few teaspoons of water to reach this consistency. If you need to do that, make sure you add your water (or flour) 1 teaspoon at a time.
Brush a bowl with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, and place your dough in it, covering it with a towel or plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm place without drafts. I like to turn my oven on 200 degrees F for just a few minutes, then turn it off and place my bowl of dough inside the oven to rise. Let dough rise for about 45 minutes, or until dough has roughly doubled in size.
Bring 10 cups water (and 2/3 cup baking soda, if you are using that) to boil in a good sized pot on the stove.
Divide your dough into about 4 equal parts. Roll each part into a long rope (about 22 inches long), and braid into pretzels.
Prepare a baking sheet with either a non-stick liner or oil. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
Boil your pretzels one by one for about 30 seconds each. Remove pretzels with a large slotted spatula, and place on your prepared baking sheet.
Melt another 1 ounce of vegan margarine and mix it with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and a sprinkle of salt. Brush this mixture on top of your pretzels. Then sprinkle them with some course sea salt (or pretzel salt) and Italian seasoning.
Bake your pretzels at 450 degrees F for about 11 minutes, or until they are a nice golden brown on top.
Allow your pretzels to cool off just for a minute or two. Just before you serve, brush them with a little bit more melted margarine with garlic powder and salt (optional). Serve hot!