Saturday, February 12, 2011

Week one in a (protein-rich) nut shell: Week End

I had made it to the weekend!!

This was pretty cool...I had set a goal (granted, one with low expectations, but a goal nonetheless) and was close to seeing it through. When your goal is to "dabble" in something it makes it pretty easy to follow through.

And dabble in the vegan world I did. Or flirted, if you will. During the last week of January, 2011, I made the effort to make healthier and kinder lifestyle choices.

I ate meat once over the course of the week, as opposed to daily.

I consciously avoided dairy and white sugar, though I know of a couple of times when I slipped up on the dairy thing.

I tackled a few recipes in The Kind Diet, and had been really, really impressed.

So impressed, in fact, that I thought this vegan thing might be all right to continue trying out for a little while longer.

So impressed, in fact, that I went to Ikea and bought a bunch of jars to house the grains and beans and seeds and oats and spices and other things that would likely be recurring characters in our kitchen endeavors.

So pretty :)

Rob the husband was so impressed that he offered to make a vegan meal for breakfast Saturday morning, one I could take to go since I had play practice that day.

Saturday 1.0: Cherry Almond Smoothies

These were great. Rob found the recipe at Whole Foods the night before and was totally excited to try it out. He made it twice over the course of the day. The first batch had a little too much almond butter for his taste, since he's a fruity guy and really wanted the cherries to stand out more. So the second time around he used more cherries and less almond butter and it was indeed better. He tried these again with raspberries the following week, which wasn't as good...a bit too sour. The cherries really went better with the nutty almond flavour in the smoothie. Awww, my husband prepared a vegan breakfast.

Saturday 1.0 cont...Thin Mushroom "Pizzas" (p. 220)

We were going to a birthday party on Saturday night (a Transformers themed birthday party, awesome) so we made the pizzas for a late lunch. These were a bit pricey, as the dried mushrooms were probably one of the more expensive items we purchased during the epic Whole Foods grocery buy, but well worth it. I love mushrooms and olives (Amy's mushroom and olive pizza is one of my faves), so I was eager to try out Alicia's vegan version.

We had a bit of a hiccup when I realized that the Ezekiel tortillas I had bought not even a week earlier had gone moldy. Boo. I suppose I should have known enough to keep them in the fridge as I got them from the refrigerated section at Whole Foods, but I didn't, so Rob offered to save the day and did a quick run to IGA.

If you're a mushroom fan like me you will love these.

The tofu cream makes a unique pizza sauce, although the amount of tofu cream that came out of the recipe was way more than I ended up needing...we threw a lot of it out the following week :(  In the future I'll just plan for another recipe that uses the tofu cream to make within a few days of the pizzas, or try halfing the recipe. We paired these up with some arugula with a simple balsamic vinaigrette and we were good to go.

Alicia actually featured her mushroom pizza on her Kind Life website last is most definitely worth trying. I'm totally going to give this less superhero version a try too.

Later that night at the Transformers birthday party it was pretty tough avoiding temptation with soooo many yummy foods around....especially cupcakes!! I made sure to load up on the fruits and veggies, scored some delicious crackers (didn't get to check to package to see if they were vegan but whatever), and ate some noodles even though I'm pretty sure they weren't vegan either.

But the effort was there! And I didn't touch the meat (but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to). It's a lot easier to avoid meat when out and about than it is to avoid dairy, because you pretty much know for sure whether something has meat in it or not, but the dairy factor is always a bit uncertain.

And just like that we entered the final day of our maiden vegan week.

Sunday 1.0 was pretty lax...Rob continued his cooking streak with veggie dogs for lunch...

After my first Japadog experience a couple of years ago I started putting wasabi mayo on my hotdogs (soooo goooood), and I was kinda choked that I couldn't have wasabi mayo on my veggie dog if I was going to keep it vegan. Unless they make a wasabi vegenaise?? There's an idea. One can always dream...

OK...I seriously JUST realized after writing the above lamentation that all I need to do is add some wasabi to vegenaise and I have wasabi vegenaise. Problem solved. I actually feel a bit dumb right now and am contemplating just deleting the whole thing about the wasabi mayo, but then again, maybe I'd rather not.

We headed out Sunday evening for dinner at Earls with some friends and their adorable little daughter. This was our first restaurant outing since starting the vegan experience. Alicia offers lots of tips in her book about how to handle eating out at non-vegan or vegetarian restaurants, and it turned out not too bad. I ordered my favourite Rocket Salad minus the chicken, parmesan chips and goat cheese coulis.

The only thing I really missed was the goat cheese coulis...that stuff is crazy delicious. But I still enjoyed my dinner, and by the end of it wasn't really missing the goat cheese as much. Rob went a little less vegan...he had the Mediterranean Linguini, minus the chicken (yay!) but kept the parmesan cheese and feta (meh). Baby steps, baby steps. They were still baby steps in the right direction. And I did have a few bites of his pasta (which was delicious), so I suppose I wasn't totally innocent. We have some Earls gift cards to use up in the near future, and I think that Mediterranean Linguini will be my next choice...I'm really curious about what it will taste like minus the cheese.

Overall, by the end of the first week I was feeling content. There were no real feelings of deprivation...only a little temptation here and there when delicious things stared me in the face (like on Monday 1.0 when I bought cupcakes for a friend's birthday from Cupcakes of all places, and I had to avoid the samples...that was actually pretty brutal, not gonna lie). But at home, grabbing snap peas out of the fridge to gorge on when I came home from work instead of a box of Purdys was not too bad. Because the Kind Diet meals were so tasty, I felt completely satisfied after eating, and because the desserts were so incredible, this actually felt doable for a longer stretch. Rob was totally on board, making this SO MUCH EASIER than I imagine it would be if he wasn't (I have a seriously awesome husband...I really do).  Making the time to cook was going to be an issue, but Motivation didn't seem like he was going anywhere, and I figured that as long as he decided to stick around, I'd take advantage of his presence.

And if Motivation stuck around long enough, maybe I'd start noticing some of the benefits Kind Lifers mention...weight loss, more energy, clear skin, an overall feeling of well being and centeredness, a clear head and a clear heart...ok...getting a little Kumbaya for my own good, I know. Gonna stop there now before I feel compelled to pull out the tambourine.

I guess it's only fitting to end my Week One Vegan Experience Summary with something super awesome, and I don't trust myself to come up with something awesome enough. So instead I offer up Wil Wheaton's latest Stupid Cel Phone Video to wrap up what was truly an unexpected and encouraging week.

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