Monday, June 25, 2012

My Kitchen is a Mess!

Yep, a huge freaking mess.  Why?  Because vegan cooking requires fresh food and, seemingly, most of this fresh food goes in a food processor, and a pot, and requires every measuring spoon and cup I own.  My new cookbooks are spattered and stained and my counters and walls need a wash or two daily.

But I'm not complaining; really, I'm not.  The food I've made has been some of the tastiest I have eaten.  Take this morning's breakfast, for instance - quinoa and berry cereal - warm and tasty and lovely.  And tonight's supper - creamy onion soup with kale - yummy and nourishing.  Or yesterday's snack of baked zucchini with spicy queso dip.  Even kale chips make a mess but are worth it for the crunchy-salty factor.

So, instead of popping a frozen dinner in the microwave or munching on a bag of chips or some other processed foods, I have taken up the gauntlet of healthy eating.  Kitchen mess be damned!

PS - image is NOT my kitchen and was posted for illustrative purposes only

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm Learning as I Go

Every day I try to look up something on the Internet related to being vegan - vegan diets, vegan lifestyles, vegan recipes.  I was surprised to learn there are a lot of vegan haters out there (but also a lot of supporters).

I've found a lot of yummy recipes, some helpful tips on how to cook veggies so they keep most of their nutrients, and many articles on how great vegans feel mentally and physically.

Most rewarding to me, though, are the articles I find touting the health benefits of a non-meat, non-dairy diet.  Did you know dementia is linked to obesity and eating red meat?  Did you know getting calcium from pills increases your risk of heart disease?  Did you know a handful of almonds provides more calcium than an equal amount of milk?  Did you know that some chocolate milk, shredded cheese, and salad dressings contain cellulose (wood pulp)? 

Knowing that I am keeping my mind and body as clear and as clean as I can makes me feel good.  Scratch that - it makes me happy.  And what more can we ask for than to be healthy AND happy?

If you want to read some of the articles I have found you can check them out on my Facebook page here:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

It Was a Loooooong Two Hours

So, off I went to my mother's to wish her a Happy Mother's Day.  And herein begins my rant.  When I asked what was for supper (and before you all go off on me and say I should have cooked my mother's supper, let me just say she was taken out by another of her children to a lovely non-vegan restaurant for brunch and she was only preparing supper because that's what she likes to do on a Sunday - invites people over and cooks for them.  She's a lovely woman, really.)  Supper, I was told, was going to consist of cold plates:  chicken, ham, pasta salad, potato salad, etc.

Apparently, I was supposed to eat the salads because they didn't contain meat.  I'm trying very hard to eat a vegan diet (i.e. foods that won't kill me) and salads made with mayonnaise and cheese and other un-vegan-like foods are not very appealing to me at the moment.  Sadly, no one seemed to understand that.  There were remarks such as "You'll have to bring your own food from now on",  "You must eat a very regimented diet", and "You can't expect us to change".  See that picture of me to the right?  Now picture that head beating itself off a wall.

I don't expect anyone to change for me.  Not a soul.  But, seriously, I could do without the comments.  I have brought my own supper to my mother's before and, with the exception of my fifteen-year-old niece, no one has tried the food I brought.  But they do supply comments to the point where my plate of food becomes the centre of attention (and when there's a minimum of ten people at supper, that's a lot of talking and pointing and negativity).  Can't we just eat and talk like before and not discuss my eating habits?

For the record, it's not that hard to make a regular dish a vegan dish - where the recipe says butter, use vegan butter; for milk, use soy or almond milk; for cheese, use vegan cheese; there's even several varieties of unmeat out there that one would be hard pressed to tell from the real thing.  I haven't strayed that far from my usual diet, I just "healthied" it up.

Okay, rant over.  (I still love you, family.)  :-)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Okay, I lied...

I am about to review a book (yes, I see the irony).  In my defence, I figure if I'm reading books to learn about becoming vegan I should share this information.

Forks Over Knives:  The Plant-Based Way to Health (by Gene Stone, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr.).  The hook:  What if one simple change could save you from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer?  

Some highlights:
  • A plant-based, oil-free diet will not just prevent heart disease but can even reverse it.
  • For every three additional servings of fruits and vegetables you eat per day, your risk of stroke is reduced by 22 percent.
  • Patients put on a low-fat, plant-based diet experience greater improvement in their diabetic condition than those placed on a traditional diabetes-management diet, which continues to allow meat and dairy products.
  • Plant-based foods are filled with nutrients that can fight cancer; eating these foods can help your body repair mutated cells, or cause death of the cells, reducing the risk of developing cancer.
  • Cooking spray is 100 percent fat no matter what the label says.
  • A single hamburger may contain meat from hundreds of animals.
  • A meat-centric diet is responsible for the emission of more than seven times as much greenhouse gas as a plant-based diet.
  • The meat industry causes more water pollution in the US than all other industries combined.
Besides endorsing the health benefits of a plant-based diet, the book looks at the tolls of factory farming, fisheries depletion, soil erosion, and other animal-related and environmental topics. 

I didn't realise when I ordered the book that there were recipes included (approximately 70 percent of the book) and tips for transitioning.  I particularly liked this section as it acknowledged the fact that "changing your diet - whether that means starting on a new path of plant-based eating, simply cutting back on meat and dairy and adding more plant-based foods, or perhaps refining your habits to eliminate processed oils - takes commitment and dedication".  Many of us need to take baby steps before we can take a giant leap forward.

I learned a lot from this book.  I have no idea if all the facts and figures are reasonable or not, but I'll keep reading and investigating in an attempt to provide myself with a better lifestyle.

To view the Kindle edition of the book click here.

A Brand New Me?

For those of you who know me, like the title says, this is Not a Book Review Blog!! A few months ago I decided to try to improve my health and eat a vegan diet.  It's been an interesting challenge. Hence, this blog (not to be confused with my Gobshites and Eejits book review blog or the sadly neglected Dear Aunt Nancis blog - yes, this is shameless self-promotion!).

I'll be posting about my health changes, my lifestyle changes, and how those around me have reacted to these changes. 

PS - You can also find this blog and various vegan postings at the Facebook page I created of the same name. Go ahead and "like" me!