Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Vegan For A Day!

Hey y'all! It's been another busy month and tomorrow is Thanksgiving! I am immensely blessed and so thankful for everything that I have...even when I complain. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with the people you love!

Since I last posted, I've celebrated Halloween and been to a conference in New York. For Halloween, Ian and I made a last minute change. He went as Princess Leia and I went as Hans Solo...not exactly my cutest look but we had fun.

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of heading to Long Island, New York for the inaugural Sag Harbor Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference. It was there that I met a group of people from all different walks of life, all expressing their past and present on the page in different ways. To be honest, the criticism and praise I received in workshop was both helpful, confusing, terrifying and wonderful. Long Island is a beautiful area and I hope to get back there one day. By far, the most rewarding experience was getting to know the other writers at the conference. Everyone was so warm and supportive. I am so glad that I went.

Ever since I watched the documentary What the Health about the meat industry, I wanted to see what a day in the life of a vegan would look like. To give myself a warmup, I had a vegetarian lunch this week. I used a can of fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, onion, Greek Yogurt cream cheese, a little olive oil and jarred pesto. I threw it all in the blender and heated the mixture on the stove for a creamy tomato soup. I served that with a grilled cheese sandwich. The next day I had it for breakfast with eggs on top. I had no problems with not having meat in this meal because it was delicious. I also had cheese, which is my deepest addiction. This was a small preview for yesterday, when I went completely without meat and cheese.

For breakfast, I had biscuits and jelly. For the jelly, you have to find one that doesn't have gelatin. It needs to have fruit pectin instead. The biscuits are made just like normal biscuits but instead of butter, you use butter flavored Crisco and instead of milk, you use almond milk. I discovered that my taste for jelly is limited to the fake stuff you get in tiny packets, but the breakfast was delicious. The biscuits were fluffy and delicious. I didn't feel like I was lacking anything.

At lunch, I whipped up some mixed vegetables. I will say that being vegan for a day required much more preparation than I'm used to. Luckily, it's fall break so I had time to make homemade biscuits for breakfast and sautéed vegetables for lunch. If this were a long term diet, I'd have to figure out some grab and go lunches or do some food prep. I used a vegan approved wrap (Mission brand, spinach flavor) and topped it with hummus, lettuce, olives, cucumbers and the sautéed vegetables which included mushrooms, zucchini and onions. On the side, I had some Fritos. Yes! They are vegan. The lunch was filling for sure and pretty tasty. Looking back, I would probably add additional flavor. I seasoned the vegetables with salt, pepper, garlic, chili powder and smoked paprika but the entire time I kept thinking I wish the wrap had barbecue sauce or some kind of marinade. This was also the first moment I started to crave cheese. I mean, the veggie wrap was good but a good sprinkle of feta or parmesan would have been clutch.

For a snack, I had a few Oreos. I was happy, surprised and a little freaked out to discover that Oreos were vegan.

Dinner was an Asian pasta dish. Finding vegan pasta took several minutes. Since I'm not a pro, I looked at a lot of different brands to make sure it didn't have eggs/didn't come from a place with eggs. I finally found a good brand of thin spaghetti noodles, so I guess I'd eventually find a few "go to" brands. For this dish, I used tofu. I've had tofu several times in my life, but I think I've only cooked with it once and that was years ago. I had Ian prep the tofu for me because I was at the gym. That was probably a mistake because the process grossed him out. Essentially, you have to drain all the water off the tofu. I bought extra firm. Ian added several paper towels to a plate, placed the tofu on top, added more paper towels and then topped with a cast iron skillet. Then, he left it for about an hour and it worked like a charm! We sautéed the tofu with onions, seasoning, sesame oil and soy sauce. We also boiled the pasta (obviously) and mixed together a sauce to toss it all with. The sauce had peanut butter, soy sauce, red chili sauce and sesame oil. My first taste of the sauce about blew my head off with spice. So, we added more peanut butter and soy sauce to try and simmer it down. It helped a bit with the spice, but ended up making the pasta a bit gummy because of the added peanut butter. We tossed it all together and then topped with green onion and chopped peanuts. So, Ian HATED the tofu. He tried so hard to eat it. If I cook it again, I'll toast it instead because it was still a bit soft, but I actually didn't mind it. The pasta itself was really yummy but still a bit too spicy for my taste. I love Asian flavors that include spicy and peanut but I added a bit too much chili sauce. When Ian finally gave up on his vegan pasta, he went in the kitchen and heated a frozen cheeseburger and some macaroni and cheese. When he started eating it, my mouth flooded with water. I wanted to rip his face off for eating that in front of me. It was actually eye opening to realize how addicted I am to meat and cheese...specifically cheese.

My last snack was dessert and it was frozen lemonade. That I will eat again, especially since I bought a whole box of them, but it was yummy! I had the strawberry flavor. It was low in calories and pretty tasty.

I think that I want to be more conscious about eating meat. I don't know that I'm ready to make any kind of drastic change, but my dependence on meat and cheese is not good. Cheese would be more difficult to give up than meat I think. I'm so obsessed with it. It's a problem. I will say that I ate too much on vegan day. I was making sure that I didn't feel deprived so I ate a few junk items I normally wouldn't like Fritos and Oreos. My weight is about the same so I know I'll gain this week because of Thanksgiving and I plan to detox next week. I hope y'all have a great break!