Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Reluctant Vegan, moving along

Today was the easiest yet, simplicity-wise. 
  • For breakfast, I tried chestnut butter on toast.  It didn't move me.  This is partly because a) I used rye bread.  Not sure what I was thinking, but it was leftover and I thought it would be ok.  It wasn't.  b) I prefer savory breakfasts to sweet.  How can I make for a savory breakfast that I can take with me to work?
  • I had another of my husband's great meals, which was a mystery until I opened the container. It was rice, tuna (I know, not strictly vegan), olives, roasted peppers, herbs and dressing.  It was awesome.  Again, so fulfilling, and reminding me that with a little effort, this is no problem.
  • I had to get a few groceries and stopped at a more upscale store than my usual.  They have lots of vegan treats, so I scored myself a very good brownie.  It was delicious, but tasted like...a vegan brownie.  It really did taste like something was missing.  But honestly, after a few bites, I didn't really notice.  And it was very filling, and I didn't even finish it.  I gave the rest to my son and he didn't seem to notice any difference, either. Anyway this brings up an interesting point, that I'm sure most people already know:  going vegan doesn't at ALL equate to losing weight.  The reason Bittman did it half-way was for overall healthy eating, and that's my reasoning too.  Paying more attention to what's in my food is the goal here.  Losing weight will be nice, and probably will come along for the ride.  But hey, giant bowls of spaghetti with olive oil or sauce is vegan.  Vegan brownies are vegan.  Peanut butter is vegan.  You could gain a lot of weight on this diet.  Variety is the key here.
  • For dinner we had pancakes and sausage.  The pancakes themselves were vegan, and the sausages were fresh and tasted better than ever.  I rushed out to a meeting, and here's the bad part: when I came home around 9, I stuffed down another sausage, cold from the fridge.  I knew I wouldn't be able to eat the leftovers tomorrow like I used to, and I just wanted to savor the taste of sausage a little more.  Who knew I was that attached to meat?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Reluctant Vegan, weekend edition

Ah, the weekend.  That lazy, cozy time when many people are up frying bacon and eggs.  Not I!  Partly because with three little kids, that lazy cozy time consists of rubbing your eyes while little hands are banging on your bedroom door at 6 a.m., telling you it's time to wake up.  I'd gladly give up the bacon anyway, for another hour's sleep.

Saturday the kids and I were going out to lunch, which posed a challenge.  I could take them where they wanted to go (always read: McDonalds) and either bring something to eat, or order an unfulfilling iceberg salad.  Eventually I decided on subway.  I had a nice veggie sandwich...and I think I actually felt physical pain when I said the words "no cheese."  I have to admit though, that I didn't miss it that much on the sandwich.  I already think cheetos are kind of gross so my kids' meals didn't tempt me all that much.  I DID dunk my crusty end into my son's meatball sauce, so technically I crossed the line.  So, bite me.  The sauce was pretty good.

Saturday was a cranky vegan day.  We were out of soy milk so I drank my coffee black, and that is NOT a good way to start the day.  Why didn't I just use regular milk?  Discipline, man.  It's a slippery slope. 

Sunday was a bit better.  As I type this, it's Sunday morning, and there are exactly 1.5 buttered blueberry waffles and .7 muffin left on the dining room table.  Had it been last Sunday I would have eaten them, though I'm not particularly hungry.  Do I need to go all the way to vegan to stop eating my kids' leftovers?  Perhaps.  But the dunking in meaty tomato sauce will never stop.  It's hard-wired, friends.  HARD-WIRED.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Reluctant Vegan, day 4

This day was a tricky one: I'm having a friend over for lunch.  I am fine with making exceptions for going out to lunch, but this friend comes weekly, and we eat leftovers from the night before for lunch.  I love planning meals for the night before her visit that will create yummy leftovers - it's a fun challenge.  And I don't want to be a poor hostess and eat something different than my guest.  So I wanted to plan a meal for last night's dinner that would make for vegan leftovers today.  Thus, the pumpkin pancakes.  Instead of the sausage I bought vegan sausages at the fancy grocery store yesterday.

Lunch was good except that the soy sausages a word...gross.  So gross that my friend and I dumped them into the compost bin with relish.  We agreed that if we truly couldn't eat any meat, and hadn't for a while, maybe they'd be good, but since we're still basically meat-eaters, there was no comparison.  Maybe there isn't supposed to be.  Either way, pass.

I also make cookies most of the time when my friend is here, so I attempted vegan cookies.  They were actually very good except that the carob tasted more unlike chocolate than ever before.  Maybe the eggs and butter mask its tepid flavor when I use it elsewhere.  Note to self: hunt for dairy-free chocolate.  Like shangri-la, I believe it exists but eludes me.

This brings up all kinds of issues of being a good host or friend by day, while sticking to a new regime.  Food is such a social, central part of our lives.  How do you walk this line?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Reluctant Vegan, Day 2

New day, same vegan.  Today I don't work.  This is easier in that I have my whole kitchen at my disposal, but harder in that I have kids to cook for.  They are not sharing my vegan experiment, and their leftovers constantly call my name.  I successfully navigate away from the frozen buttered waffles and mac and cheese, and search for other fare.

What I learned today:
  • Oatmeal for breakfast was tasty, but still didn't sustain me long.  Neither did my chunky salad at 10 a.m.  The only thing that held me over today was - surprise! - my husband's white beans.  He prepared them with garlic, tarragon, and a warm vinaigrette with a sweet vinegar, and they were awesome.  THIS is the right kind of eating.  It doesn't feel deprived in the least, and was completely satisfying.
  • It is still unwise to exercise on a full stomach, even if that stomach is full of vegan food.
  • I find myself successfully resisting cheese and cold cuts as snacks.  I turn instead to nuts and toast with peanut butter.
  • Always the student, I want to get more creative.  I order a few vegan cookbooks from the library.  I want to see what we can do without using soy-based meat mimics.  I think I can feel satisfied without the taste or texture of meat.  The possibilities are already almost endless.
  • For dinner we have pizza.  My homemade sauce is meat-based only in that the meatballs that cook in it give it flavor.  I find myself wondering whether I can make a good sauce without the meat.  Mushrooms are probably my best bet.  I'll look into it.
Today was better than yesterday.  Looking forward to the challenge ahead, which isn't that much of a challenge, because I am an equal opportunity eater.