Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Vegan Project- Day 12

Dear Vegan,

Please know that for the rest of my life I will hold you in the utmost respect- for I now know what it is like to be you. I understand what it's like to go to a party and see that the only thing I can eat is the raw carrots. I understand that the consumption of tofu and other soy products is essential to your existence- even if they are processed and not that healthy. I understand why you got so irate and yelled at me when I worked at a bakery and we ran out of vegan cookies. I understand why you, and people like you, are the leading artists in writing emotional songs and painting sad pictures.

Yours is a path not easily followed. I respect your ability to cook beans 500 different ways in order to feel like you are eating a good variety of food. While you may find peace and serenity in your diet, I have come to discover that my family and I cannot eat this way and remain healthy and balanced- both physically and mentally. But this is why we did this experiment, dear vegan- so now we know for sure.

Another benefit of this project is that I will always have empathy toward you and your kind when I come across you in this non-vegan world. I will no longer roll my eyes when I hear you pleadingly beseech the waiter, "Isn't there anything vegan on the menu?" I will try to help you find something to eat.

With much respect,


Thursday, January 28, 2010


Yes, that's right, I cheated big time. But I must explain myself, beginning with the fact that I am a severe "type B" personality, and I believe that rules work well...until they don't work anymore. Today, it just didn't work for me.

I have mentioned in my past few blogs that I have been sick and unable to kick my ailments. I've been taking hot baths every night, drinking tea nonstop, eating my vegetables without a doubt, taking cough drops, zinc lozenges, and all kinds of herbs I can't pronounce. Yet still nothing can take away this dry sore throat that feels like I am constantly inhaling in dusty, dirty air. It gets worse at night, so I'm not sleeping well either. Instead, I'm waking up every hour with coughing fits.

I also said that I have absolutely no idea whether or not this vegan experiment has had anything to do with how I'm feeling. For all I know, it could have saved me from an even worse sickness. Either way, tonight I decided enough was enough. Today I went home from work early, and for dinner I had home made chicken noodle soup with the HOTTEST green chilies that I could get my hands on. Sure enough, within minutes my chills went away and my throat felt a little better- I think this is more due to the chilies than the chicken, but I don't care. I just want to feel normal.

My throat still hurts, but I will be back on task tomorrow. I am not throwing my project out completely, lest the entire last week would be in vain. Tonight I am going to make some ginger tea with honey and go to bed early. Hopefully I can sleep.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thank you, Pop Tarts!

Did you ever think that I would have a title like that? I love this commercial:

At this moment, you're probably all thinking "Whaaaaa?" Why would I, a self proclaimed healthy food snob ever enjoy a commercial for processed, low quality, edible food like substances? Well, first of all, I'll admit I have a soft spot for Pop Tarts since I ate them a lot as a kid. I have, to this very day, been known to still enjoy an "organic toaster pastry" every now and then. But how can I show a commercial like this, and not only live with myself, but actually like it? The answer, my friends, is what this commercial doesn't do.

I love this ad because it does not make any health claims whatsoever. It does not say that Pop Tarts "start your day right" or "are a part of a balanced breakfast." It does not say that Pop Tarts may "lower your cholesterol" or "give you a serving of fruits and vegetables." No, this commercial is insanely honest. In fact, it doesn't even say that Pop Tarts are food at all! The only assertion it actually makes is that Pop Tarts are "made for fun." Fun...I can dig that.

Hey, why not? If you want to have a Pop Tart every now and then for "fun," then go right ahead! If it makes your kid smile, let them have one. Kelloggs all but admitted that they should be used as a treat and not a part of your daily diet, so let's take their word on it, and if you want to enjoy a bit of nostalgia, you have my seal of approval.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Vegan Project- week 2 (Day 8) check point

Money spent on groceries so far: $300. Ya, you'd think since I'm not buying meat and cheese that this would be cheaper. I think the price is coming from the sheer quantity of food I have been buying in order to keep us full.

Times cheated so far: That depends on if you count each time or each day. We went to a party on Saturday night, and what was I going to do? I didn't do any meat, but the cheese cubes were so cute and bite sized, and the spanikopita so golden....

Times I've cursed this experiment so far: Usually snack times. Oh, and when I so badly wanted to eat that cake.

This week I'm making: This Vegetarian Cassoulet. Um ...yum! Tonight is "every vegetable that is about to go bad in our fridge" lentil stew. I'm sure it will be fine. I hope.

Dinner out: We'll probably go to Cafe Flora this week (a pretty well known vegetarian place), but only do the vegan options.

How I am feeling: As I said the other day, I have been tired and got a bit of a cough this week. Also, Raj's and my skin have both been very dry. It's really hard to tell, though, if that's related to our change in diet or the horrid weather this time of year.
Two weeks to go!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sweet Rewards!!!!

I will be rewarding myself with a dozen Trophy cupcakes when I am finished with this project. You should, too!

"Get a Dozen Classic Trophy Cupcakes for Just $15!


Best way to start off your week? Toasted marshmallow frosting! Today we announce a winner of a deal: 55% off Trophy Cupcakes! Pay just $15 (normally $33!) and get a dozen gourmet cupcakes. Everyone from Martha Stewart to Seattle Magazine loves these delectable treats. Our fave flavors are Snickerdoodle (cinnamon and sugar swirled butter cake with cinnamon buttercream) and Hummingbird (a tweeterific banana pineapple coconut cake), but take your pick for your assortment of fun...and oh-so-worth-it calories! Use your deal at any of the three Trophy Cupcake locations. Convenience, best cupcakes in the city, awesome bargain: This deal takes the cake, er, first-place trophy. Mmm..."

Click here for the link!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Vegan Project- day 6

Tonight we had people over for dinner, and I rocked! My goal was for no one to know that anything was missing from the meal (namely, meat). It took a little more work, but when you think about it I cooked for 8 people and it only took be about an hour and a half total. Clean up was not too bad, either.

I made:

~Farfalle pasta with 3 kinds of mushrooms (portabella, button, and shitake) and vegan pesto sauce.

~This butternut squash soup recipe with a few alterations. I skipped the butter, replaced chicken stock with vegetable stock, and for my own kicks threw in a shot of amaretto and little bit of maple syrup. Win! (BTW, thanks for the tip, Christie!)

~Steamed broccoli and a sliced baguette on the side just to make sure everyone was nice and full.

No one was the wiser, and all in all the dinner was....good! I would do it again even if I didn't have to.

Now in other news, I have to say I got sick this week and Raj has been super tired all weekend. I have no idea whether or not this is a connection to our change in diet. At a time of year when it's 40 degrees and raining every day and the sun goes down before 5:00, it's hard to tell why your body is pissed off. I do have concern about our lack of fat and protein, though.

One more thing I discovered: toast with hummus and sliced marinated olives. It rocks!

ps. Sorry to those who left legitimate comments in the past few days. I have been getting a ridiculous amount of spam comments, most of which are written in asian characters. It's getting really irritating and I don't know how to make it stop. I was so in the habit of deleting lame feedback that I accidently rejected three or four real ones. Do comment again!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The vegan project- day 4

My thoughts are scattered and I'm constantly hungry. How many days are left?

Yesterday I remembered black bean burgers. I have made them in the past, and I actually like them a lot. I had to do a bit of internet research and tweaking of the recipe so that it would work without eggs to bind the patties together. In the end, I decided on a recipe that uses hummus. Once I try it out, I may share it with you.

I bought a few more groceries. Poor Raj is barely sustaining himself, so I picked up a few pre-made vegan meals. I kinda broke my "no faux food" rule, because I noticed one of the ingredients in a breakfast burrito is "soysage"....whatever....I kind of feel, though, like I had no choice.

Thank heavens tonight is restaurant night. We are going to eat at Plum Bistro, which is an exclusively vegan restaurant. I have eaten there before and found it quite enjoyable (more on that later). I think I mentioned before, Seattle is probably one of the most accommodating cities in the world to be a vegan in. In face, at the grocery store last night I might venture to say that the checker was nicer to me when she noticed the vegan food I was buying. Maybe she pitied me and my poor hungry stomach.

What a strange little world I've wandered into....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Vegan Project day 3

I once baked with a vegan, and I always wondered how she managed to not eat anything we made. I suppose it's easier to pass on meat and dairy when a person is making what they feel is a moral choice rather than a self imposed, torturous experiment like I am doing. Today I made a chocolate birthday cake- my favorite chocolate cake- and I didn't eat any of it. I was quite impressed with my will power. I have to say, I think it's the only time in my memory that I have ever not eaten cake when I wanted to eat cake. And you know what? I didn't die! Shocking, I know. Even less shocking is that later I proceeded to devour a vegan chocolate donut in about three bites.

Tonight I ate dinner at someone else's house, so my meal was basically a normal dinner but without the meat dish. Needless to say, I am hungry still. I also had to deal with a lot of heckling as to why I am trying out this little stunt, but I am sticking to it!

I am feeling tired from the lack of protein and fat, I think. In general, I think I am eating significantly less calories, which is not necessarily a good thing for me. I put hummus and olives on my grocery list in hopes that it will help.

The Vegan Project day 1

I've planned out my dinners, mapped out my lunches....and I have no idea what to eat for breakfast!!! I am an egg person through and through. I have one almost every morning, and I'm feeling a little lost now. I refuse to make something odd like a tofu scramble, so now I am stuck. I thought about oatmeal, and I probably will give it a go eventually, but the thought of it without any butter, cream, or milk is not enticing me at the moment. As of now, I'm looking at toast with jam, a piece of fruit, and some tea. I guess that's not too bad.

Hey, vegans out there- what do you eat for breakfast? I'm fascinated by this topic now. Do you even eat breakfast foods, or do you just eat your dinner leftovers? I did find this resource here. I can't say that I have craved sweet potatoes for breakfast ever. I think I am going to try that "banana boat" idea for a snack, though.

Ok...deep breath....focus on what I can eat, not what I can't. Peanut butter, fruit, smoothies, potato hash. I did buy soy milk so that I could make vegan pancakes. I must get on with it, though. Eating vegan is time consuming!

ps. I just realized that photo I posted is an add for an anti-nausea drug for pregnancy morning sickness. Scary...

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Vegan Project day 0

Tomorrow I will officially be a vegan for three weeks (save for a dinner party here and there). I have decided, by the way, to go the whole nine yards and forgo honey as well. I've wanted to see what I thought of agave nectar anyway.

Today I went grocery shopping. It was surprisingly easy. I didn't find myself pining away at the cheese section like I thought I would. I did, however, realize that I am going to sorely miss yogurt, which I have for a snack quite often. I was going to hold to the "no faux foods" rule, and not by any imitation items, such as tofurky, soy cheese, etc...but I picked up a soy yogurt just to see what I thought.

For dinner, I made the butternut squash enchiladas, since we will be eating the leftovers this week. I nailed it, people! They were time consuming, but ended up oh so delicious and wanting in nothing. I can't begin to give you a recipe, because it was so many recipes spliced and edited and then put together with my own tastes as well. But I can tell you, the ingredients were: butternut squash (duh), red potatoes, quinoa, black beans, onion, green bell pepper, green chili, cashew paste, cilantro, and green enchilada sauce. Oh, and corn tortillas. Drink with kombucha, and end with coconut ice cream, and I've got one encouraging start to my adventure!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I am still here

I bet you've been wondering where I've been, after I last gave you that nail biting of an introduction to my little experiment. The truth is I have been biding my time until I feel ready.

I have spent some of this time trying to consume all of the dairy and meat products that we have lying about (because I'm sure most vegans will agree that even worse than taking from an animal is taking and then wasting it). This includes the four dozen eggs that we have somehow ended up with in our refrigerator.

If I'm honest, I am also building up the gumption to go on with my project. I am not sure why it's so intimidating to me, but it is. I have gathered (in my head only, so far) a list of recipes that I will want to make. Things that I have made in the past, but never noticed that they were vegan- butternut squash enchiladas, kale and white bean soup, a lot of curries and Indian food. Also, I've noted things I want to try, like squash stew.

And now that also I remembered that dark chocolate and applesauce are both vegan, I am ready to begin. I think I am going to start on Tuesday...check back!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Well, why not?

I just heard the other day about a project called "The 21 day vegan challenge." It is pretty self-explanatory. Eat vegan for 3 weeks and see how you feel after. So I thought, well, why not? I am always up for experiments, and anything to make the time pass in hands down the crappiest time of the entire year (after the holidays, before the weather gets warmer). Also, it gives me a way to expand my own culinary world, and gives me something to share with you.

Here is where I stand currently: I am not a vegan or vegetarian, nor do I put any other restrictions on my diet whatsoever. I have trained myself to have (mostly) healthy habits, so generally I can let myself eat whatever I feel like. I do recognize that the meat and dairy industries in this country are often disgusting, unsanitary, inhumane, and also that meat takes up a much larger part of the American diet than it should. Most dinners I cook have some sort of meat in them, but not all, because I don't want to depend upon it. Lastly, I could always use a few more veggies, and cutting out meat and dairy will inevitably make me eat more.

My concerns are as follows:

1. Keeping full- especially my 6'8 husband who is doing this with me. I've heard beans are the answer to this problem.

2. Time- Since I am not used to cooking this way, I am going to have to do a lot of planning. Not to mention I can't just come home from a long day's work and quickly grill a fish.

3. I am afraid that I am just going to spend 3 weeks eating bread.

4. I can take meat or leave it, but the things I am going to miss the most are dairy. I consume my fair share of eggs, butter, cheese, and yogurt, and I have never found a milk replacement that I liked- especially for my tea.

I read a little bit of advice about eating vegan, and one thing I am going to try to do is focus on what I can eat rather than what will be eliminated. Things such as: oatmeal, bread, peanut butter, pasta, various random grains, and of course fruits and vegetables.

My rules will be flexible. None of this "don't eat it if it's ever been within a half mile of an animal" nonsense that some people go by. I may even eat honey, but I haven't decided yet. And since Seattle is a vegan paradise, we will be going out to sample vegan restaurants once a week.

I'll let you know when I get started!