Day on the town

January 31, 2011

I’ve been too busy to do much cooking lately, go figure. Most days it’s something quick and easily accessible, not it hasn’t been photo worthy. However, yesterday I was out all day and tried two new restaurants ( new to me anyhow) in the area. One was vegan, and one wasn’t.

For lunch I went with my parents to place in Hatboro called  Little Corner Kitchen and its name doesn’t lie. Tiny little blue dining room with a retro theme, cheerful waitresses and awesomely low prices. We went on a Sunday so they were only serving breakfast so I opted for their “eggy veggy” burrito sans eggs and cheese.  It definitely sounds rather counter productive but what I ended up with was a spinach wrap filled to the brim with roasted peppers, portabella mushrooms, onions, tomato and eggplant,  with a side of salsa and fresh fruits. They also  had oatmeal with several topping options that looked tasty. I will definitely be going back there soon!

The other place I went was Loving Hut. Now, I knew before I went that they were affiliated with a….I’ll go ahead and say it, cult. The head of the organization is dubbed “The Supreme Master” for crying out loud. The stuff on the television in there was just crazy! Don’t take my word on it though, just google “loving hut cult” and you’ll find plenty of information about it.  I had a tofu eggplant burger which was okay, but not great and definitely messy and certainly not worth the creepy cult vibes.

One success, and one miss. All in all  a nice day.  🙂

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Busy body

January 25, 2011

My schedule got completely rearranged and saturated by school work. It’s taken me about a week to reacclimate myself but I’m back now! Tomorrow I plan on posting my experiment with veganized spumoni but for now I will share an anecdote.

Seeing as I was completely exhausted from my new schedule I didn’t have time to do much in terms of socializing and I didn’t get to drive down to visit my parents this week like I usually do. To solve two problems at once my parents drove up with some of my text books and my mother and I went grocery shopping. After picking up Silk Coconut milk  (which I hadn’t tried yet but I have since found to be more to my liking than So Delicious coconut milk) and placing it into the cart she looked at me with surprise.  “Really, you’re getting coconut milk? How can you stand that stuff anymore?” I had no clue what she was talking about.

Apparently when I was a child and we were stationed on an island in the pacific  for  four years we never had milk or butter. It was all coconut milk and oil. I was definitely old enough at the time to remember this but I really don’t think I ever made the distinction.  In any case it seems sillier to go back to milk after such a long time without it than it does to get sick of the coconut.

Party time!

January 17, 2011

This past Saturday I attended a dance party hosted by some people within the vegan community that I have only very recently met.  I can safely say that fun as had by all and all of the various goodies were delicious! My contribution was a concoction using what I had lying around my kitchen, inspired by VeganDad’s chick pea tortilla cups.

Recipe:

For tortillas:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

8 tbs earth balance (softened)

2/3 cup water

cooking oil

Topping:

2 cans of black beans, drained

1/2 large onion, diced

2 tsp cumin

2tsp chipotle

3 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick.

Cooking oil

Daiya shreds.

Tortillas:

1. Mix flours and salt by hand. Knead in earth balance until mixture becomes crumbly. Slowly add in water until dough starts to hold together.

2. Take dough from bowl and knead on a floured surface for two or three minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it sit for 15-30 minutes.

3.  Pinch off tablespoon sized portions of the dough and roll out into four inch round (the term round being used very loosely here) disks.

4.  Place tortillas in an oiled pan on medium to medium high heat for 20-30 seconds on each side or until nice and speckled. (You really need to watch these to make sure they don’t burn!)

5.  After each tortilla is done place on a plate and cover with a kitchen towel until ready to use.

Topping:

1. In an oiled skillet on low-med to medium heat fry plantain slices on each side until reddish brown. Set aside.

2. Place beans into a food processor and pulse until it forms a paste. Combine with onion and spices.

Assembly:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place tortillas on an oiled cookie sheet. Spread a generous amount of black bean spread and top with two or three plantain slices. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

3.  Pull tray out and sprinkle daiya cheese on top. Bake for another 1-2 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Some heavy reading.

January 13, 2011

This year for my birthday I received a copy of The Food Revolution by John Robbins.  In the twelve days  I have owned it, I have finished it from cover to cover. There are a lot of things within it that I was already familiar with, a lot of the studies that he cites are really well known as well as the work of Dr. Ornish which seems to come up in every current healthful food based documentary.

There are a few things I’d like to follow up on but in general I didn’t learn too many new things from the book as far as hard evidence and statistics are concerned. What I did glean from it however, is a more positive attitude towards it all. His anecdotes were truly inspiring.

In what has become my natural fashion of doing things, I scoured the internet for articles that set out to debunk the ideals within the book.  I am not one to take all I read as gospel.

From what I can tell, many places cite our evolutionary propensity to eat meat. Now, I know many vegans believe that we are naturually vegetarian. I do not share this belief. We are omnivorous, just like chimpanzees, just like gorillas. For me, all that means is that we CAN eat it and thrive and even then its not very much. That does not mean that we HAVE to.

Other than that not much in terms of going against it except that it may not work out for everyone. Whether or not that is true is not really something I can speak to. I can say however that you never know until you try.

Snowy repast.

January 12, 2011

In order to make the coming snow storm more fun I volunteered to make dinner for my girlfriend. What I came up with was a hodge podge of several recipes I had found on the net, culminating in these:

Chickpea patties with garlic and cilantro (based on recipe on Post Punk) topped with avocado and a tahini soy yogurt sauce (based on the recipe posted on Fat Free Vegan) on a ciabatta bread. Personally I prefer whole wheat buns, but this meal was not just for me.  Later on I also made sweet potato fries with her help which I am currently munching on.  I managed to hit every food group with this one. Awesome!

Attempting balanced eating.

January 10, 2011

Today I’m tracking my food intake to make sure I’m getting enough ( or close to enough) protein, fiber, carbohydrates and fat every day.  It’s been a rather busy day so I haven’t had time to make much in terms of meals, but that will probably lead to a more accurate reading of how I am in my day to day habits.

Early Morning-

  • medium sized apple- 80 calories, 0g fat, 21g carbohydrates, 0g protein, 4g fiber
  • half an ounce of cashews- 80 calories, 6.5g fat, 4.5g carbohydrates, 2g protein, .5 g   fiber

Late morning-

  • two slices of bread (ezekiel 4:9) – 160 calories, 1g fat, 30g carbohydrates, 8g protein, 6g fiber
  • tablespoon of almond butter- 95 calories, 8.5 g fat, 3g carbohydrates, 4g protein, 1.5 g fiber
  • 1 3/4 cup broccoli- 95 calories, 1g fat, 19.5 g carbohydrates, 7g protein, 9g fiber

Early Afternoon-

  • soy yogurt (whole soy & co) 150 calories, 3 g fat, 28g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 2g fiber
  • blood orange- 70 calories,0 g fat, 16g carbohydrates,  1g protein, 3 grams fiber
  • one ounce of chestnuts (asian) 70 calories, .3 g fat, 13g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 0g fiber

Evening-

  • 1 1/2 c baked ziti made by my lovely girlfriend (pictured below) 350 calories, 8g fat, 39g carbohydrates, 16g protein, 7g fiber
  • 4 blocks of chocolate ( green and black hazlenut currant) 75 calories, 4.5g fat, 7g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 1g fiber

 

(daiya cheese makes everything better)

Totals:  1185 calories,  32.8 g fat, 181 g carbohydrates, 47g protein, 34 g fiber

What I’m supposed to have a day:

1325-1570 calories, 43-50g fat,  210-250g carbohydrates, 55-75g protein, 25g fiber

So far so good actually I need to eat at least  140 calories, 10g fat, 29 g carbohydrates, 8g of protein and I’m beyond done with fiber….looks like its late night snack time!

Breakthrough

January 10, 2011

Today was the first day I was able to get over my anxieties about asking for something vegan in an obviously non vegan restaurant.   Of course going to a place with obvious vegan options would have been my preference but I’m discovering that sometimes that isn’t possible. In this case I was invited to brunch by my parents who have accepted me as a vegetarian but still have a lot of hangups over veganism, and just plain refuse many of the healthier breakfast options.

 

We managed to settle on a place close by that was family owned. (at least that way we were supporting a small business) I meekly asked the waitress if there were any vegan options, figuring that this would be a better approach than pouring myself over the menu and doing a bunch of guesswork I’d have to clarify anyway. To my surprise the kitchen was more than happy to make me something off menu and did not charge an arm and a leg for it. Who knew? Certainly not me.

 

So what I ended up with here is kind of interesting.  Avocado, beets, hummus, salad, and a medley of pinto beans and roasted peppers.  Certainly not a combination that I would have thought to do but definitely well balanced nutritionally. A good amount of healthy fats, fiber, protein, and great color to the vegetables. Honestly the best part of the entire thing were the tomatoes in the salad which were extremely fresh and just the right amount of sweet.

It’s Official

January 10, 2011

Over the past six months I have researched the subject heavily, consulted a dietitian, and questioned many an individual in order to understand veganism in it’s entirety. Through this journey I have decided  to  become one myself.  I hope to be able to look back on these posts as a record of my progress in learning how to live a cleaner, healthier, more ethical lifestyle.

For future reference here are my stats and basic nutritional requirements-

Height: 5’2″

Weight: 117.6 lbs

Age: 22 years 0 months

Gender: Female

Basal Metabolic Rate*: 1350

My general eating plan:

2-3 servings of fruit

3-4 servings of non starchy vegetables

0-1 servings of starchy vegetables

2 servings of nuts

1 serving of  “dairy”

4-5 servings of grains

4-5 servings of protein  (additional nuts, legumes, etc)

*For those of you who want to know what your basal metabolic rate (your basic caloric needs for a day sans exercise or activity of any kind) you may use the formulas below.

English BMR Formula
Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in year )
Metric BMR Formula
Women: BMR = 655 + ( 9.6 x weight in kilos ) + ( 1.8 x height in cm ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 13.7 x weight in kilos ) + ( 5 x height in cm ) – ( 6.8 x age in years )