Irish gal living the American dream in Austin, Texas y'all!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Don't mention the cheese

Don't talk to me about cheese please. It's day 17 of being a vegan (not that I'm counting or anything) and while i'd love to say, so far so good... we'll just say it's been interesting!

What do I miss the most? You've got one guess... cheese. You can put cheese on top of dog crap and it'd taste good (I'm imagining, haven't tried it myself.. input here anyone?).

So what else is off the menu for vegans? Animals and fish, obviously. Eggs, milk, yogurt. Most baked goods, honey, most chocolate. Anything with gelatin in it.

So alot then.

My month as a vegan began on Friday the 1st. Since I normally do my food shopping on a Sunday, I had nothing in the house except cheese, butter, eggs and yogurt. Seriously, it was like my sub-conscience (or the other half of my split personality) was playing a cruel joke on me. Having that little in the fridge is normally not a problem, since I pride myself on being able to make a meal out of very little.

I always have sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa and garlic around. Peas, corn and spinach are in the freezer, so throw some things together with eggs and you've got a tasty omelettey thingy. And of course, you have to grate some cheese on top. So I learned the hard way pretty fast that you can't just throw a meal together when vegan; some preparation and stocking of the fridge and cupboards with non-animal staples is in order. I acknowledge this would have been obvious to most people. Mr Man told me ''you better get used to being hungry for the month'' and I feared that was the case. 

The first week I made one tasty meal, with tempeh as the protein source and one awful meal, which left me eating protein bars (Larabars are vegan) for lunch most days that week.

Spaghetti squash alfredo with cauliflower sauce.. tasted worse than it looked, if you can believe it

Getting enough protein so that you feel full for a while is the hardest part of being vegan. We had a visiting professor that I had to go for lunch with too that week. Thai food was ordered in for the group of us, but with no labels on anything I had plain rice with some soy sauce. Yummy in my tummy.. I can hear your stomach rumbling from here ;) 

Parties are a bit awkward too. I was tempted by some vegetarian lasagna at a party last weekend, but I couldn't be bothering the host asking  about the list of ingredients, so I passed. Plus it was almost guaranteed to have ricotta in it.

Eating out can be an ordeal, and I definitely don't want to be a pain in the ass for people by insisting on a vegan-friendly place. Luckily I have some pretty cool friends who love to try new things and they have been the ones to suggest completely vegan places. I have been to Casa de Luz  twice. It's a really interesting place.. kinda has a commune, I-just-joined-a cult kinda feel to it but lovely otherwise.

hippy sanctuary

I told my friend Charles that if I start spending a lot of time there to stage an intervention ;) They are super vegan and don't even believe in soy products like tofu, it's all plants. Soy is bad apparently (I'm skeptical but here is an article on it. No coffee or alcohol either and it's a set menu. I know I'm probably not selling many people on it, but Austinites should go there once at least.

Ice cream is right up there with cheese; it's my fav treat. But sure when you know you can't have something there's no point in writing ''an ode to thy ice cream''. I tried coconut-based ice cream at Sweet Ritual and it got the thumbs down but So Delicious brand was almost as good as the real stuff. I'd recommend it even if you aren't vegan.

So, what are my resources for recipes and tips for survival in general?

  • You have to like to cook. I do.
  • Meal planning and shopping lists are essential. And I am now one of those that has to read labels of everything.
  • No meat athlete blog. There are so many vegan (and vegetarian) recipes on this blog and I made this tofu red Thai curry last week that was so good. I hadn't eaten tofu before this month, and I don't like it (and according to that article I'm a goner for eating it) but it's a great source of protein so the curry did a good job of disguising it. Thay blog is great for running tips too, FYI.
  • Pinterest. I don't know if many people use Pinterest, but I love it. It's especially great for finding and saving recipes. You can create boards, like a vegan board, and then if the people or companies you follow post something you like, then you pin the image, and you can look it up later. I often find a link to something i like and I dont have time (or care at the time) to look it up, so I save it there until I wanna decide what to cook. Anywho, I have used it to find tips for being vegan and recipes. (you can follow me here if u like.
  • Have a plan B (not the contraceptive). Carry almonds or a piece of fruit with ya. 

So, why am I doing this to myself again?

well because it's claimed to be a healthier way of living. Because I'm interested in having hands on experience with how different people live their lives. I normally don't use logic when signing up for something and often bite off more than I can chew (like moving to College Station by myself on a whim) but if you don't sometimes push yourself beyond your capabilities once in a while, you don't ever learn what you can do. Many people have said to me, ''I could never be vegan'', or ''I could never live without bacon/ cheese/'' But yea, I think you could and not be miserable. Once you push past the resistance, which I compare to getting passed 3 miles of running, then it ain't so bad.

I do need to do better though, since I am as tired as 25 tinkers (read: iron deficiency), so I better get some kale smoothies in me, or something. I haven't fully decided what I'll do beyond this month; watching the Thanksgiving dinner turkey feasting will be a good test. If I can't stick that then there's no way I can handle Christmas dinner.

I'll let y'all know how the month of yoga is going soon, but suffice to say it's the easier of the two experiments.

Have a great week y'all,


p.s. I think I fixed the commenting so that should be possible now 


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