I suspect that winter is doing a number on me psychologically. My body is no longer content with a mostly raw diet, so it’s now clawing at the fridge seeing what can be fried up or boiled on the stove. Heat! It seems such a luxury to be warm, even if one is layered in bundles sitting in front of a heater all afternoon and evening long. We did choose our place, however, based on the fact that it was under a big oak and was all nice and shady/sinister, which suits our reclusive personalities. The downside is, of course, that South African homes aren’t insulated for the cold, and we’ve got a policy of keeping the door open during the day for Gastby, who is spoilt and spends most of his time indoors anyway.
Point being, warmth! Most of the time I steam food these days just to scald my hands holding them over the container, so I figured I could combine that with the glow of the 3-in-1 waffle/snackwich/griller machine I got Man-thing for his birthday. Oh yes, we are that desperate for heat! Also, I finally wanted to try out the griller part of the machine, which is the reason I actually secretly got the 3-in-1 (Man-thing just happens to benefit, but a lot of his presents are things I’d buy for myself – bad wife!).
Quesadillas are usually in a pan or what not, but Oh My Veggies made a clear-cut case for grilling/panini pressing them, but since I can’t ever find vegan wraps that aren’t white flour or unhealthy, I made these buckwheat wraps to use instead. I’ve made that recipe a few times now, and they are just a delight – the bestest fake pancakes ever – I say fake because I don’t use them as pancakes should be used – for sweet splashes of cinnamon and sugar or whatever. I’ve had the most fun smearing a beetroot-fig-olive hummus inside them for a quick gulp when life has gotten a bit time-constrained, or luxuriated in a sprout sensation with tofu and other glamourous ingredients when the clock slowed down.
Because the grilled quesadilla isn’t the most show-stopping number ever (I was too lazy even to make the easiest cheese in the world after yesterday’s baked pear delight), I decided to do a What I Ate Yesterday post. I couldn’t wait another day to post the pear pastries but I figure with the time difference anyway between me and the rest of the world I’m usually late for WIAW anyway, :p
Breakfast: oatmeal with pumpkin seeds, goji berries, and NuNaturals NuStevia vanilla drops + soy milk. 1 cup papaya cubes for glorious indulgence to boot. Coffee + Green tea obligatory! There was a 1/2 cup of soy milk on the side whilst I was baking away in the kitchen.
Snack-time: veggie salad and half a baked pistachio choc pear pastry.
Lunch: grilled buckwheat quesadilla (pumpkin, broccoli and lentil stuffing) and a mushroom + broccoli salad.
Tea-time: spirulina, papaya, + cucumber smoothie + 1 cup of steamed veggies with 2 rye crackers + black bean sauce
Dinner: zucchini lentil soup and a spinach + pepper salad.
Dessert: some soy milk with NuNaturals Oat Fibre (oh man, get in my belly!) and NuStevia vanilla drops.
Snacks: 3 carrots and some cucumber slices
There seems to be a salad theme here (hidden amongst the unusual amount of carbs/flours!), and no wonder. When I was still a vegetarian I once landed up in hospital because of my poor eating decisions (and got so sick that I stopped smoking, hurrah!). One of the very disgruntled doctors raged a bit at me about vegetarians who don’t eat properly/eat the wrong food, and said I must start by eating salads for lunch. My internal reaction was a bit of a “yeah right, seriously” attitude, and I thought the doctor was being super unhelpful by suggesting such a ridiculous thing, because salad? C’mon. Of course, no-one who is unhealthy or has unhealthy habits wants to hear that 1/2 a six-pack of Woolworths muffins isn’t a fine, well-balanced meal, but that was the kick in the pants I needed to reconsider what it meant to be “healthy”, since just being vegetarian in itself wasn’t cutting it. Pizzas may be vegetarian but they aren’t a great idea every day, and neither is an entire slab of cheese. The same thing applies to vegans – there are many, many tasty foods that I see which I can eat but which I won’t, or at least not regularly, because it will defeat my body, even if it doesn’t go against my ethical framework.
I was watching a youtube video of Oprah and her staff going vegan for a week yesterday, because I make a point of not watching more hardcore videos such as Earthlings around Man-thing, and asked him if he was ok with it in the background whilst he browsed around on the internet. The vegan expert they had with them at some point took a staff member shopping for food to buy all the vegan “replacement” meals for animal products, such as sausages, yoghurt, butter, chick’n…you name it. I was very weirded out because, as much as I understand giving people “transitional” comfort foods, it can’t make up the majority of a new vegan’s diet, surely.
When Man-thing first tried out vegetarianism to impress me before we were dating he stocked up like a beast on Fry’s vegetarian frozen foods, and pretty much ate that in large quantities, so it’s no wonder that he thought going back to meat was “tastier” and all that – I would also be pretty uninspired to be eating processed foods day and night! It’s great as a treat when you are in lazy land and want nothing more than a burger on the spot and can heat one up in a few minutes, but if I ate like that every day I would end up reconsidering my dietary options pretty quickly. So it makes sense for someone to point out those options in the supermarket (how I WISH we had vegan ice-cream in South Africa!), but it would have made more sense to say, “but let’s see what we can do with this bag of lentils instead” and then rock some home-made falafels and burgers, or make a delightful nut “meat” to put into tacos and onto pita pizzas. I don’t like nagging but whole foods really is the way to go, especially if it’s for lifestyle purposes and not just a diet.
What really impressed me, however, was not the show itself but Man-thing’s reaction to it all. I had a towel around my head from showering so I couldn’t use my headphones (hence why he got a glimpse into my documentary fetish), and all the way through he was turning around to look at the show and give commentary on it. When they went inside a beef factory he piped up about how surely that’s the better example of what happens, and that he suspects that conditions in most meat processing plants are not nearly as humane and clean as what we saw on the show. Sure, that may have been an example of what constitutes a “humane” factory (although I don’t think such a thing exists), but I was really moved that he actually thought about those things, even if he is an omni outside the house. It’s difficult to keep myself in control and not go on a spree of information about birds and fish, because I don’t like lecturing about those things unless I know someone actually wants to hear about it, but it does make me deeply sad when people talk about “just fish” or “just a bit of chicken”, because there really is no such thing as “just” taking a life.
Anyway, that got a bit more depressing than I actually intended! What I’m actually getting at is that vegans aren’t perfect and shouldn’t claim to be, and that veganism can be very bland, unhealthy, gross, and sickening, just like non-vegan diets and lifestyles. If everyone worked a bit harder (myself included) to make really delicious, satisfying, healthy and affordable plant-based meals maybe it wouldn’t be so scary, and it wouldn’t seem like the most hellish effort ever in the long run. Man-thing stopped being a committed vegetarian I suspect because he felt like he was running out of ideas for what to eat other than packaged frozen food and vegetables, but now as a vegan-at-home and omni outside he’s slowly starting to experiment and (hopefully!) enjoy vegan food. I mean, he ate three vegan pies I made yesterday – not the healthiest thing but miles better than a store-bought pie for sure! So, not perfect, but loved and done with love!
Veganism isn’t about the negative for me – it’s a celebration of the life we have and wish to preserve, and all that starts with small steps. That’s why I’m psyched to participate in WIAW/Y for the next month or so when I have a day off a week, because I want to showcase that I don’t “eat like a bird” or don’t secretly go home and hook up to an IV to replenish all my nutritional deficiencies, because I don’t have any! Whoop 🙂