Food related thoughts are as follows:
It is difficult being vegan/soy free on the go! We stayed at my boyfriend's parents house over the weekend, his dad and sister are vegetarian and most of their food is natural/organic but I still stopped at the store to stock up on some things to have handy. I'd like to believe I can live on nothing but oatmeal and raw veggies for four days but unfortunately this is not the case. I spent the entire day of the wedding out, I should have packed a lunch. Nerves made eating anything difficult and being stuck in downtown Carlsbad significantly limited my options. I finally settled on Thai curry with vegetables and brown rice. There was probably fish oil in the curry but it was a weekend of was exceptions...
From this, I realized that I can't make exceptions, my body doesn't respond well to animal food stuffs. At the rehearsal dinner we were served Greek food which was very convenient for the crowd, half of my table ordered the vegetarian plate. I avoided any feta on the plate but ate up the cooked veggies despite the fact that I'm pretty sure they were cooked with butter. I didn't feel sick afterward but I didn't feel right. I'm not used to that much salt and... it's hard to describe. I find the flavor unsavory I suppose and my body feels as though it's housing something unsavory after eating it. I also ate a bite of the wedding cake-not only because it was celebratory but because it came from a bakery I worked at for nearly three years. I thought the flavor would be nostalgic and satisfying. Not so. I felt sick immediately after swallowing, the whipped cream and mousse tasted all wrong to me, thick, foamy... and again unsavory. This discovery was not at all disappointing but actually somewhat relieving to find out I'm not depriving myself of anything. Not only do I feel better cutting out animal products but they don't even taste good to me!
My soy-free rule... a rule I'm going to bend. Most of my diet choices are health related/what makes me feel best related as well as morally/environmentally conscious. My issues with soy include the fact that most tofu is processed with hexane http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexane, the isoflavone controversy-my body is very sensitive to any foreign substances and I don't need anything messing with my hormones, and the high level of soy crops grown which are genetically modified and heavily sprayed with pesticides. Another issue of mine, based more on opinion than fact, is the level of foods that contain soy products. Read ingredients before buying and consuming! Most pre-made foods both vegan and non vegan contain soy letchin, soy protein, or soybean oil (sometimes the dreaded partially hydrogenated soybean oil which I will not touch with a 39 1/2 foot pole!). I feel the overuse is going to cause serious allergen problems for future generations (similar to peanut allergies) along with all the other health risks.
But yes, I'm going to bend the rule. I will eat organic tofu on occasion. I love tofu, it's been the toughest thing for me to give up, and now it will be a rare treat. I also make some exceptions for soy products in vegan breads/desserts. I rarely eat processed foods and feel better about soy than I do about animal products. I'll still opt to buy foods that are soy free and avoid it while out but unlike dairy it's something I'm comfortable making minor exceptions for.
And now more adventures in food!
My boyfriend made crock pot chili with black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, garlic, onions, and spices. I mashed some red potatoes, topped them with flax seed oil, sea salt pepper, added some salad with Goddess dressing and sprinkled nutritional yeast over the whole things. Simple and yummy.
I had an odd sweet tooth the other night and decided to satisfy it by making chocolate almond butter balls. I didn't take measurements, I'm big on tasting as I go. I mixed almond butter with some ground flax seed, maple syrup, cocoa powder, and a little bit of almond milk to get the consistency right. They were very rich but exactly what I was craving in the moment.
I've decided to attempt to have friends over for a bi-monthly vegan food and B horror movie night. Last night I made a green bean casserole using the same recipe I used for the macaroni and cheese cutting the pasta with steamed green beans. I made garlic bread by spreading crushed garlic and olive oil over Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza crust. The taste was good but it ended up crunchier than I would have preferred.
I had also planned on making vegetable soup, but it was much too hot so I steamed the soup intended vegetables in some lemon juice and water, chilled them, and added them to a green salad.
4 Large Apples
approx. 4 Tbsp lemon juice (or juice from one lemon)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup almond meal
1/8 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp agave nectar
This only makes about five small servings, I would recommend doubling the recipe if intended for a crowd. I peeled the apples and cut them into bite sized slices. I mixed in the lemon juice, maple syrup, and 2 tbsp cinnamon. In a food processor I blended the oat bran, pecans, almond meal, salt, and 2 tbsp of cinnamon until only a few large pieces of pecans remained, mixed in the agave by hand and even distribute the crumbly mixture over the apples. I put the pan in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, good served hot or chilled!
2/3 cup raw cashews
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup agave nectar
Mix all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. This is in no way ends up being solid, but more of a thick sauce.
The more I explore with new foods, the more I realize how important simplicity and ease are to me.