Thursday, January 31, 2013

Packed lunches

I'm soliciting ideas with this post. What's a good packed lunch that's vegan?

Normally I make a sandwich and take some kind of side like chips or pretzels, plus a piece of fruit if I have any at home. Then I'll buy a drink at school. I could recreate that as a vegan meal -- a sandwich with Smart Deli slices (which I already use), veganaise instead of mayo, and no cheese -- but part of this experiment is to be creative, so I'd like to figure out something more interesting.

Hummus with veggie sticks or pretzels for dipping, would be a good option. But I'm having a hard time coming up with much else. Enlighten me!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I still maintain meat landed me in the hosptial

For a few years following the end of college, I went back to eating meat. This came about because I took a trip to China my senior year with marching band, and the vegetarian meals they served were, for the most part, lacking in edibility and balance. So while I was there I gradually added in a few things, and then when I got home I couldn't stop. It was sort of like an addiction.

A year or two into this, we had moved to NYC and went to my brother's apartment for the 4th of July. We ate hot dogs. The amount wasn't really any more than normal, but it was more meat-heavy than my meals usually were. It seemed fine at the time.

Then later that night I started a stomach ache. It was so bad I could barely move, and I was doubled over in pain. Thinking it was my appendix, I had my father take me to the ER.

After laying there all night, hooked up to IVs, drinking that weird-tasting solution and getting all the tests, it was not appendicitis. The only logical explanation was that it was really severe indigestion.

It didn't strike me until a long while later that it was likely a terrible reaction to the meaty dinner I'd eaten. Sure, it could be a coincidence, but to me it's a sign that after so many years as a vegetarian, my body can't handle that kind of thing.

If you're one of those people who thinks it's funny to sneak animal products into the meals of someone who has chosen a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, think about this. You are potentially making them very sick. If you do that, you're simply not a good person.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Betty Crocker Project

When I get into this vegan experiment I really want to test out some of the recipes from The Betty Crocker Project. What's that? Great question.

This self-described "armchair chef" was inspired by Julie & Julia to take the Betty Crocker cookbook and veganize the recipes. There are so many that look good, but I'm just going to list five that I'd like to try.

Spicy Thai Wings

Beer and Cheese Soup

Orange Teriyaki Beef with Noodles 

Pad Thai

Huevos Rancheros with Tofu Scramble

(All photos credited to The Betty Crocker Project)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Not fat-shamey vegan resources?

I am assuming that somewhere on the vast stretches of the Internet there exist some fat-positive vegan resources. I am aware of the F-Yeah Fat Vegans blog, which has some excellent recipes, but I'm always on the lookout for more.

The unfortunate truth is that there is a lot of fat-shaming in pro-veganism spaces. I've been struck by it even in just the days since I decided to do my experiment. PETA (who I dislike for many reasons in addition to this) had their "save the whales" ad campaign a while back, conflating a meatless diet with weight loss (and conflating fat with being unhealthy/unattractive).

So I'm looking for positive things. Recipes that don't talk about weight loss, blogs that don't focus on thinness, guides that don't talk about "obesity" as something to be avoided at all costs. I just want to know about the food.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Still Ovo-Lacto Feelings

Last night I had a minor emotional breakdown over something stupid. How stupid? I was leaving a play with my family (side note: I'm only moderately biased as my brother was the lighting designer, but A Crucible was awesome) from a theater that is roughly midway between two subway stops. I suggested one, my brother suggested the other, and as is normally the case in my family, everyone listened to him instead of me.

I'm not saying this has anything to do with my diet. It has more to do with the fact that I'm the baby of the family and still seen as literally such.

But maybe my brain doesn't react as well to things because it's not being nourished properly? Perhaps if I were eating a little better the already-royally-screwed up chemicals in my brain (depression, yay!) wouldn't betray me so frequently.

So I'm going to try and be more keenly aware of my mood in addition to my physical health during this experiment.

Yesterday: seemingly fine. Good dinner and good play. I thought I was happy for the evening, then one misstep sent me over the edge. I kept fighting tears back, despite the fact that I am nowhere near shark week. Physically alright, though the cold makes my knees ache.

Today: headache. Possibly from getting upset. Could also be from last night's dessert and/or beer. Emotionally better.

I'm also considering taking a ginkgo supplement to help with my focus and concentration. I have a pretty hard time paying attention to my readings for school, and I'm going to have even more this semester than last, it seems. So maybe it's something I should try. I considered taking something for energy, too, but I'm hoping the change in diet helps with that.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Impending Veganism

I made a decision. For one month, starting February 1, I am going to eat completely vegan.

It probably won't be that hard, since I am already a vegetarian. But there will be some key things I need to watch out for:

1. Breakfast. I frequently eat eggs in the morning, and I put butter on my toast. Since I like to have a protein-heavy meal to hold me longer, I will probably have to rely on things like tofu scrambles or tempeh bacon to provide that.

2. Coffee. I am going to try Wildwood's soy creamer to see if I like it, since I am a half-and-half user.

3. Cheese. I admit, I am kind of a cheese junkie. This one will be the hardest to figure out, probably. But there are vegan facsimiles out there that will work for things like pizza and other dishes. Plus I have my nooch.

4. Sneaky ingredients. I'll have to learn what to avoid that has hidden dairy or egg products in it.

I think I can do this, though. I'm looking forward to it. This will probably force me to eat more healthfully in general, plus I know I feel better physically when I eat plant-based meals.

It might end up being helpful for me to blog about the transition here, so look out for more posts.