Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ask a Vegan: Part 2

So our second feature is one of my long time best friends. Kristi means more to me than words can express! She lives in LA and we met in Texas. We get to see each other in less than a month when we pain Vegas Vegan. Woooottttttt!

Kristi T.


How long have you been vegetarian/vegan?
Three years.

What made you decide to take the plunge?
It’s been a long road for me. As a kid I never really liked meat, so I gave up eating pork and beef at age 10. When I was in college I experimented in vegetarianism, but unfortunately I was more a carbatarian (the one who ate a lot of bread and pasta instead of veggies). Finally three years ago when my younger son was 4 months old and I was starving (as nursing mothers tend to be) I drove through Mc Donald’s to get a chicken sandwich. I bit into it finding it to be completely raw and frozen on the inside. After that I knew I could never eat meat again. Going vegan was pretty easy. I and my sons are lactose intolerant, so dairy is pretty much a non issue. And then of course eggs have always creeped me out.

Do you have a personal philosophy?
You get back what you put in. When I was in college someone told me this I thought it was total crap (give me a break, I was 18). But it’s true in just about any aspect in life. If you want to be a good athlete/musician/parent/etc you have to spend time honing your skills. You will reap the rewards of the time that you have invested. ( I love this-truer words were never spoken!)

Do you have a blog you’d like to share?
While I am personally still working on getting my own blog up and running, I am a huge fan of Vegan Dad’s blog. He has a ton of amazing recipes that are kid friendly.

Favorite vegan website?

Favorite food?
Tough one. I think that if I had to narrow it down I would go with my crispy gnocchi with fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, and basil. One part spicy, one part fried gnocchi goodness, all parts amazing. Yuuuum!

Least favorite food?
Leeks. They look like a giant green onion so you would think they are stinky and savory, alas they are more on the sweet side. Yuck.

Favorite vegan junk food?
Oooohhh, vegan nachos all the way! I pile my nachos with beans, a vegan taco “meat”, a kick ass chipotle cheeze sauce, guacamole, tomatoes, and green onions. I could seriously eat this everyday if it wasn’t attrocious for my waistline.

What other stereotypical hippie thing do you do?
I don’t wear deodorant and haven’t for about 3-4 years now and I don’t stink (trust me, I have asked several people around me, lol). I also make a lot of my own beauty and cleaning products. For me being a vegan is all about being good to your body. You don’t eat crap why would you put crap on your body or in the air that you breathe?

Tell me something totally awesome about yourself:
I run a lot. I have run 10ks, half marathons, and full marathons on a vegan diet. So many athletes think that you need meat in order to compete but it’s simply not true. I run further and have posted more PR’s (personal records) on a vegan diet than I ever did as a meat eater. This is totally awesome! Your fitness has always been an inspiration! Kristi whipped my ass into shape before and during my second pregnancy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Vegan Valentine

Our Valentine's day this year was really awesome! I've been making an effort to use less and consume only what I have to. This means that my gift to hubby was a clean house and a man meal for lunch! One of meaty Dean's favorite meals was Philly cheese steak, so I threw together a mega easy lunch that was a huge hit. To make your own:

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich

  • Whole wheat bread or buns(Kaiser rolls would have been nice, but I didn't have any)
  • One package seitan (Seitan is a wheat gluten protein product that is firm and chewy and is a nice sub for beef. People can make their own, but mine have been gross so far. I've tried a few brands-the first one I liked has been Green Earth brand.) Sliced
  • One tbs olive oil
  • One small onion, cut into half moon slices
  • 1/2 green and red pepper, sliced
  • your favorite bbq sauce
  • Vegan mayo
  • Daiya mozzarella style cheese
Heat your oil pan on medium heat, saute sliced Seitan until it browns slightly. Add onions and peppers and saute until softish. (You might need a little bit of water to prevent sticking). Add enough bbq sauce so it's saucy but won't be sloppy. Cover and cook until peppers and onions are fully cooked. To assemble: toast your bread/buns, and apply mayo to taste. Use about 1/4 cup of your seitan mixture and top with Daiya. If you're me, stop to photograph. If you're anyone else-dig in and get ready for sandwich awesomeness!

So the other memorable thing about this Valentine's day is that Bean and I took our first road trip alone since having our kiddos. I don't know that we were totally ready-but I won a contest! The Toronto Vegetarian association had a contest in which you submitted a poem about vegetarianism and your valentine. Ummm....those two don't really go together in my world! Regardless, I've been known to write a little ditty and well-I'm a sucker for free stuff. The winner got dinner for two at the fabulous L.A.B in Toronto, so I gave it a go. Turns out, they thought it was better than I did ha! So, despite me feeling like a preteen baring my cheezy soul for all to read-here it is!

My Veggie Valentine

Passion. Strong, burning and free.

This is what your love and veganism are for me.

Both are so different, and yet the same,

A force of feelings that I can’t contain.

Both built on commitment and instinctual love,

And choosing someone else above;

A craving, convenience or what other people do.

This poem is a pledge of my devotion to you.

For both of my loves I profess my thoughts.

Animals, please don’t think of humanity’s have nots.

I’m sorry that one person can’t do more,

But please be patient-changes are in store!

We won’t eat you or wear you or laugh at your pain,

Speaking out and activism won’t be in vain.

My Valentine’s wish is for change to come fast,

Compassion to spread and our message to last.

Now this for my love of the human kind,

We have what others are trying to find.

It’s not best expressed with chocolates or clich├ęs,

But the kind acts you show in so many ways.

Roses mean love but loose petals one by one,

Our partnership is better expressed with laughter and fun.

Collective dreams, support and forgiveness,

Makes 10 years of a person much better to live with.

I love you, I love you, and one more for good measure,

Dreaming of both my loves and a lifetime together.

Ok, so there it is. Laaaaame. However, the meal was awesome! I got to try things that I normally would have been too intimidated by. The appetizer is not pictured, as we got lost in downtown Toronto and was so hungry I couldn't stop to smell the flowers. My Thai Tom Ka soup was lovely. Next up I had the Bimibibop. I know right?! What the hell is that. Even when it came, I was still asking "what the hell is that". But the taste, oh it was amazing! The only thing is that I'm a girl with a big appetite, and this was the kind of place where you get quality and mad cooking skillz over quantity. I could have eaten an entree two times the size!

My honey had the risotto, which was apparently really good and had all kinds of neat sauces on it. The photo quality is embarrassing, but the lighting was less than ideal for food photos!

Lastly, we had the apple cobbler-which was both weird and really tasty. It had paper thin dehydrated apple hats. It had sorbet that had all the flavor of a traditional crumble topping, but in an icey concoction. It had apple cider smear and fried oats. Weird, but so am I and people still love me. So, I hope your Valentine's was even close to as great as mine was!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ask a Vegan! First edition

So any time I meet a vegan out and about, the first thing I do is inundate them with questions! I love hearing about other's journeys and how they got there, and I hope you will too! I also hope that it will help people see that most vegans are just like regular people and not some freaks living on the fringe. Well, except my first featured guest. Total freak :) The wonders of the internet brought us together, and today is her birthday! Lets show her some love!

Name: Kim (Though I would appreciate if we called her by her internet moniker: Sassy Big Butt Beauty)

Age: 37

How long have you been vegetarian/vegan? 5 months as of today! (Happy birthday and veggieversary baby!)

What made you decide to take the plunge? I went vegetarian at first because I just couldn't stand the thought of eating flesh anymore. During those first weeks I joined lots of groups to make sure I was eating properly and to get support. I saw a lot of articles and videos about farming practices and realized that it wasn't just the meat but animal products in general. For me, eliminating one but eating things like eggs and cheese started to feel really hypocritical. So, after 2 weeks of being vegetarian, I went full vegan.

Do you have a personal philosophy? I have the word "yes" tattooed on the inside of my left wrist. It's to remind me that no matter what, life is worth saying yes to. That doesn't only include my life, either, but other living creatures.

Is there anything you struggle with as a vegan? My family is omni and my kids are still young enough that I can't just send them off to make their own meals. I do make them a lot of vegetarian fare but after 5 months of trying to get them to eat certain things I finally had to accept that they aren't ready to join me on this journey just yet.

Do you have a blog you’d like to share? I'm also gluten free and sometimes being GF and Vegan can be a tough combo. This website is more of a compilation of GF Vegan blogs and I've found value in all of them.

Favorite vegan website? I really like the Vegan Society.

Another one I like is Farm Sanctuary. It isn't advertised as a 'vegan' website, but they are and they do great work rescuing and caring for farm animals.

Favorite food? Sushi. Or Veggie fajitas. Or ice cream. Hmmm... I can't pick just one. I love food. ( Ha, is there anyone more obsessed with what they eat than vegans ? :)

Least favorite food? I'm really not a fan of Tempeh. (I'll make you a believer yet!)

Favorite vegan junk food? Coconut Bliss Cookie Dough Ice Cream

What other stereotypical hippie thing do you do? I cloth diaper :)

Tell me something totally awesome about yourself: Since it's my birthday today I'm reminded of my 16th birthday and what happened on that day. I was at church and a woman in the congregation had a heart attack. Long story short, there were only 2 of us that knew CPR; me, who didn't want to go on my birthday, and a respiratory therapist who hadn't been to church in over 10 years and randomly chose our church that morning. Miss Erlene lived that day and I always thank God for making sure I was where I needed to be at that moment. I always think of her on my birthday! (What an amazing story! Wow.)

Thanks so much for your wisdom and for being a great sport Kim-Love you!