Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Very Hungry Vegan

Once upon a time, there was a vegan who went on a High Veggie / Low Processed Food diet with her husband. She started to look for some food.

On Monday, she ate through one Shiitake Bahn Mi Salad:
But she was still hungry.

On Tuesday, she ate through one bowl of Red Pepper and Carrot Soup:
But she was still hungry.

On Wednesday, she ate through one Summer Vegetable Rice Bowl:
But she was still hungry.

On Thursday, Native Foods was giving away free meals! The Very Hungry Vegan decided to celebrate her birthday a day early! So, she ate through...

One glass of Hibiscus Berry Iced Tea:

One Chocolate Cupcake:

Five Vegan Crab Cakes:

Many of her husband's Nachos:


One order of Potato Salad:
And two Deep Fried Pickles:

Now, she wasn't hungry anymore. She wasn't a little vegan anymore, either. She was a big, fat vegan!
She was so full that she decided it was never necessary for her to eat ever again!

Tomorrow is her birthday. The Very Hungry Vegan will eat through One Nice Red Maraschino Cherry, and after that, she will feel much better.

The End

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Of Parsley and Pasta, Of Radishes and Reubens

I have a few thoughts to get off my chest.

* It's been over 2 weeks that I have been on this Eating Light kick. Mainly, going without a normal amount of processed foods has been quite unusual! I realized that this is literally the longest period I have gone IN MY LIFE (after I began solid foods as a wee child, that is!) that I haven't had any pasta! I've eaten the stuff *minimum* once a week (but usually, at least 2 - 3 times a weeks) since 1974. This is a record that I never intended to set, nor do I ever plan to replicate!
These days, I wanna cry out of sheer longing to have a bowl of pasta ANYWHERE in my vicinity, including over my head!
* I don't think I have mentioned that there have been a couple of bizarre, stand out successes in this project so far. For one, radishes. I hated them! Even when I first ate them during this experiment, I hated them! But now, I love them! I've been making so many radish recipes (at least 1 or 2 per week), that my husband keeps exclaiming a bewildered, "More radishes?!?" each time I need to buy another bunch. Another strange success is Reuben Sandwiches. I am not kidding that ever since I had My Second Reuben about 2 1/2 weeks ago, I have thought about eating a Reuben at least 500 times a day. The good news is that we found out that Native Foods is giving away free meals on Thursday! So, I will be celebrating my birthday a day early with my long awaited Reuben!
All I do, the whole day through, is dream of you!

* At the very beginning of this project, I discovered that I had a bit of an issue with parsley... at least in large doses. I decided to re-visit that the other night, and I had A Study in Parsley for dinner... a Classic Israeli Salad and a Quinoa and Artichoke Salad with Parsley... both recipes which were heavy in parsley. And both which caused me no problem whatsoever.

* And finally..... I've been going at it with mineral water. I can finally say that I have conquered it! Took maybe 6 or 7 small bottles, but I have officially adapted to it's strange, mineral flavor. Now I will not be afraid of the mineral water if I ever dare to return to Germany again, since last time, they all thought it was funny to keep giving me mineral water, even though I kept asking for "still" water. Now, my only fear of Germany is those toilets with the shelves in them!!! ;-)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Paint it Blackened

As you all know by now, I've been on a steady diet of veggies and whole grains for the past 2 weeks. Suffice to say that the only meal I've eaten out during this time was at the raw restaurant last weekend. However, today, I wanted to take advantage of my Free Birthday Meal from Veggie Grill. Normally, when I eat a meal at Veggie Grill, it looks something like this:
I just had a Pavlovian Response to this photo!
But today, since I was trying to be, more or less, good (I confess I was in no mood to be good last night. Someone was buying my drinks in exchange for some work I've been helping him with, so let's just say the Manhattans were flowing! After that night of fun, I had to be a better girl today!), my meal looked like this:
Hey, a plate with quinoa, a green veggie, fruit and some form of protein! This is the recent story of my life!
However, there was another reason why I chose this meal option, aside from doing penance after my night of I'll Take Manhattan(s). Because this was the Blackened Chickin' Plate... and guess who doesn't like things that are prepared "blackened!"

You can imagine that, as a vegan, I don't often encounter blackened food. Its probably been 25 years since I've eaten anything blackened. Upon biting into my blackened chickin', I could see why I didn't like it. I mean, it does taste of charcoal. Let's be honest.... "blackened" really means "burnt... but burnt on purpose." But I figure if I can enjoy a smoky scotch, I am also sophisticated enough to appreciate a blackened piece of chickin'! And besides, I've been so hungry lately, I could probably bring myself to eat a blackened boot! ;-)

Anyway, I liked it just fine. I wouldn't say I prefer the flavor of blackened to something that is NOT burnt, but by the end of my meal, I was pretty much past my objections to my charcoal flavored lunch. And now that I have gone black, I will surely go back.... but the next time I try my hand at eating something blackened, my meal is gonna look a bit more like this:
I want bread, french fries, and creamy vegan sauce.
But until then.... Even Yet Still More Veggies!!!! :-/

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Climbing on the Turnip Truck

Well, I learned, yet again, that I apparently have a penchant for being prejudiced and rather stubborn. All my life, I was under the assumption that I didn't like turnips. Granted, I didn't encounter them often, but when faced with a turnip option, I would have shunned it, assuming that I didn't like them. And I am pretty sure that I never actually ate a turnip before I started this project! I had some near the very beginning of this, in some sort of Root Vegetable Mash. And I was not offended by them, but of course, they were mashed up with potatoes and sweet potatoes, things which I have always loved. So, I figured I needed to eat some turnips that weren't closely combined with two of my close friends, so I could weigh them on their own merit!

Hubby and I are still Eating Light. I feel pretty sure this is the longest I have ever gone in my life without eating a decent amount of processed foods. Granted, I've had tofu twice, and I indulged in a slice of a baguette while I was watching the Mad Men finale, but aside from that, it's been nothing but veggies, beans, veggies, whole grains, veggies, nuts, veggies, fruit and veggies for the past 10 days. And after a seemingly endless array of salads, I mixed things up last night and made a Spring Vegetable Minestrone... yes, I suppose I was one day late on Spring, but oh well! Anyway, this soup displayed turnips in all their glory. And there is nothing wrong with a turnip! They are totally fine! Nothing to fear! I liked that turnip in my soup! If only it were as easy to like cranberry juice or seaweed snacks as it was to realize that I have no real issue with turnips.
I have no idea. This appeared when I did an image search for turnips. Internet, what are you like?!?
Anyway, I'm really getting down to the nitty gritty here. There are only a handful of foods that I haven't conquered! I'm not sure that I'll be able to master anything more exciting than mineral water over the next week, but then, my birthday shall come... perhaps time for some more champagne?!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Grapefruit Expectations

As you know, my husband and I are in Eating Light mode. I just found myself in need of an afternoon snack, so of course I took that opportunity to spend a little time working on a grapefruit. And this was perhaps the grapefruit that broke the vegan's back. Because I really came to grips with the fact that, when it comes to grapefruit, I've gone about as fer as I can go!
Here I am realizing that I CAN, in fact, say No!
This is what happened to me. I decided that I was going to eat a plain old grapefruit. Which I started to do... and I could do it without much fuss, but I cain't say I enjoyed it! So, I went ahead and put just a tiny drizzle of agave on it... boy, did that little bit of agave make a huge difference! Honestly, I liked the grapefruit just fine. Not my favorite citrus fruit.... in fact, surely my least favorite... but I ate it without any trouble nor any complaints (except for the complaint I uttered when I accidently squirted myself in the eye with wayward grapefruit juice!). And that, I think is GOOD ENOUGH!

So what if I can't eat a plain grapefruit! Who on Earth actually does that, anyway?!? Doesn't everybody put a little sugar or honey on it?!? Why then should I hold myself to a higher standard than 99% of the human population?

The fact is, I have made HUGE progress with grapefruits. I went from not being able to deal with them at all, to being able to eat and drink them (without making a face!) in pretty much every normal context. I can eat them in a salad, I can eat them in a fruit cup, I can drink them in a cocktail, I can eat them right out of the peel, with my little grapefruit spoon. Remember, my main goal with grapefruit was to make sure I'm not ever the Biggest Pain in the Ass Vegan again, and that if a kindly old lady ever gives me a grapefruit for breakfast again, I shall be able to grapefully ;-) accept it, and not wince nor cry. And I have met that goal!

However, I *will* wince and cry if this is what I get on my upcoming birthday!!!
I really do live a life now in which I do not dread encountering grapefruit. I can accept it when it is given to me unexpectedly, and I can easily imagine willingly ordering a salad or a drink that contains my former foe. And far as I'm concerned, grapefruit, you are CONQUERED!

But I'm still very much afraid of those seaweed snacks....

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Rawed Awakening

Generally speaking, as soon as something is labeled as being "raw food" or "living food"' I automatically assume that it is a health (not healthY) food that doesn't taste good and is being marketed to White Weirdos With Money. And throughout the years, people have assumed that, since I am vegan, I am also one who embraces Raw Foods. Which I am NOT!

All of my experiences with Raw Foods had been negative ones. The first was about 13 years ago. For some reason, I acquired a copy of that Juliano's "Uncook Book." I made a total of 1 recipe from it, which was allegedly some kind of avocado soup. And in all of my years cooking, that was the ONLY meal I have ever made that I had to throw the whole thing away because it tasted so terrible! I don't know how Juliano managed to ruin something as perfect as an avocado (I seem to remember it had something to do with an abundance of lemon juice), but it was disgusting! I was outraged, not only by how bad it was, but by the fact I had wasted so many good (and rather expensive, I must add!) avocados on this drek, that for the next decade, I couldn't even drive past Juliano's stupid restaurant without thinking (or saying), "Fuck you, Juliano, you weirdo!"
Never gonna stop being mad at you, Juliano! You owe me $10 worth of avocados!!!

The next bad experience was 10 years ago. I thought I was going to a vegan restaurant in Chicago, but surprise, surprise, it was a RAW restaurant. :-( But I figured I would give it a chance. I ordered some kind of "burrito".... and what I received was a horrific sprouted mess of garbage, wrapped in a cabbage leaf. It was at this point I swore I would never again eat in a Raw restaurant.

Also, over the years, I tasted a small variety of Raw snacks, all given to me by my former roommate, who has both the most bizarre eating patterns AND the worst taste in food of anyone I have ever met (and if you are reading this, M.S., sorry, but you know it is true!!! ;-) ). Each one was more disgusting than the last.... dehydrated "crackers" that were like cardboard... and I'm still scarred from the chocolate pudding that was made by ruining more avocados by pureeing them with some cocoa powder.... *shudder* And I admit that it didn't make me think very highly of a Raw diet when my friend was eating Raw, and it made him get so pale and emaciated that he looked like an actual vampire. Clearly, this is a diet for neurotic people with some food issues! (Yes, I am aware that most people would say the exact same thing about vegans. :-p )

ANYWAY, I had my mind made up about Raw Foods, and was content to never eat them again. My husband kept insisting that he knew people, and not people who are even vegetarians or particularly healthy eaters, that ate at Raw places and insisted that they had a good meal. I was not convinced. But in the spirit of this project, I agree to give one a try.

I bought a Groupon to (get this) Euphoria Loves RAWvolution , and since there is nothing in a Raw Foods place that would be off limits to the little diet my husband and I are currently on, we went for dinner last night. So, first, I have to say that I am sure I am correct that only weirdos embrace Raw Foods, because literally everyone in that place was an Insane Lunatic! It was actually comical, like someone from central casting picked out a motley crew that one would except to find in a Raw restaurant in Santa Monica, CA! I'd like to imagine that my husband and I stuck out like a sore thumb amidst all of these weirdos!!! :-)

I ordered a Red Enchilada, which was romaine, cashew cheese and on my server's suggestion, some taco spiced "nut meat", which was wrapped in some kind of coconut thing. And you know what? It really wasn't bad! It was much better than the "burrito" I got in Chicago a decade ago... I can only assume there have been major advances in Raw Foods since then, just as there have been major advances in Vegan Food. The "nut meat" was very well seasoned. I managed to eat everything on my plate! Of course, this was also due to the fact I have been eating so light lately, that I was not only starving, but I was elated to eat ANYTHING that wasn't another plate of steamed veggies and a whole grain salad! :-)
And for once, the Raw Foodists didn't do anything to ruin an avocado! I enjoyed my gigantic pile of guacamole! But that strange, dehydrated "chip".... not so much.
Anyway, I am proud of myself that I was open minded about this, and gave it another try. I'm in no rush to ever eat at a Raw Restaurant again, but I suppose if I were stranded on a desert island and the only place to eat there was a Raw Restaurant, I guess I wouldn't turn up my nose at it, the way I would have before I started this project. ;-)

Epilogue: About an hour after eating my Raw dinner, I got sick. I felt very nauseated and had terrible stomach cramps. I felt better in about 2 hours. Now, I don't know for sure it was my dinner that disagreed with me... maybe the problem was just dumb old me... but all signs do point to the fact that my Raw Meal made me feel bad, which is the exact opposite of what a Raw Meal is supposed to do to you! So, I have yet another reason to avoid Raw places in the future.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Gal Who Ate Nothing

I finally have a moment to update my blog! As I mentioned, my work load has gone bananas lately. I was swamped before I went away last week, and immediately upon my return home, I was SWAMPED again!

However, once again, I'm back in Eating Light mode.... which seriously cramps my ability to Eat Everything Vegan! In solidarity with my husband, who wants to be in Tip Top Shape for a big work event next month, we're both doing the 'ol High in Fresh Produce & Whole Grains  / Low in Processed Foods, Sugar & Alcohol routine again. Meaning, this is not the month I'll be overcoming my fears of tiramisu, green tea flavored desserts or ginger beer. However, I have plenty of time to work on grapefruit and mineral water! :-/

Speaking of which, I did just eat half a grapefruit. And you know, it really wasn't that bad! I'm inching towards the finish line with those bad boys!

Also, I told you of my stunning success at my Special Vegan Three Course Dinner That I Had No Say In, but there was almost another major triumph from this project while I was away. I mentioned that my husband always believed that the single most important thing for me to like was Earl Grey Tea, since it is often the only black tea option at the pansy vegan places I often eat at. Well, on the day we flew to NJ, I hadn't had ANY tea... and it was about 7:30 PM EST (4:30 PM in my West Coast Body).... which is well into the Danger Zone! I asked the waiter at the pansy vegan restaurant we were at what kind of tea they had with caffeine in it. Sure enough, only Earl Grey! I could actually feel my husband thinking, "I told you so!" So, I proudly and confidently ordered an Earl Grey. Alas, it turned out they didn't have Earl Grey either, so I had to resort to black coffee... which explains why my husband was ready to crash and burn by 9 PM that night, whereas I was ready to boogie til dawn. ;-)
This is what my husband looked like when I tried to convince him to paint the town red with me that caffeinated night in NJ!
I'm sure I'll have something to report within the next several days. Until then, I'll be spending most of my time obsessing over the fact that there is now a Grilled Cheese Restaurant in LA that has VEGAN OPTIONS! Since I have heard about it, I have thought about nothing else.... a direct result of all of this healthy eating, I'm sure!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

An Unpicky Triumph

Tonight, I found myself in the exact situation that inspired me to start this project! And I was so proud of myself for being able to face my dinner without fear!

We went to eat with my parents and some family friends. The daughter of the friends recently opened an upscale Italian restaurant in our hometown, so we all ate there. I had perused the menu online, and while there was nothing stunning that was possibly vegan, there was a spinach salad I figured I could get, sans bacon and cheese, as well as your typical pasta with fresh tomato basil sauce. Well, the chef had been warned about the pansy vegan coming to dinner, but I was shocked at how ready he was for me! As I began to place my order, the owner interrupted me and said that the chef had prepared a vegan three course meal for me! So, I had no say in my dinner.... but now that I am The Unpicky Vegan, I also was also not afraid of being given something I don't like. The subject came up that I just had to say so if I was given something I don't like, and it sure was liberating to be able to emphatically say, "I like everything! As long as it's vegan, I'm cool with it!"

My dinner was great! It included several things that I would not have eaten 10 years ago (raw tomatoes, asparagus) and 1 thing I wouldn't have eaten before this project (pickled onions). I was SO GLAD I was able to completely clear my plates of all three courses. I mean, how shitty would it be after someone went through such a special effort to accommodate me, if I rejected anything I was given? Not only would that be annoying for everyone, but it is borderline rude! But mostly, it's just annoying to be That Picky Bitch. Tonight, I was NOT That Picky Bitch, and what a relief it was!

Guys, if there is an extremely common food that you refuse to eat, I highly recommend that you just get over yourself and learn to at least tolerate it. Friends don't let friends be Picky Bitches! ;-)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cool Jerk

It took 48 hours in NJ before I reached my Food Overload Point. This was after dinner last night. I made a vow that I was going to eat salad for lunch today. But when we reached our lunch destination, my salad plan went out the window. Because one of the lunch specials today was a veggie burger with a jerk flavored BBQ sauce. And, as I have mentioned, I was under the impression that I didn't like "jerk" flavored foods. I don't often encounter jerky foods, so I couldn't let this opportunity pass me by.

As I ate my burger, I realized that *I* am the jerk! I'm not sure why I had been living under the impressing that I don't like jerky foods. It was good! Maybe it was an atypical jerk, so I do want to try another jerk before I claim a victory, but I can't imagine that I will have an issue with it! In the meantime, I will mourn all of the jerks I could have known over the years, but that I never knew, because I stubbornly assumed that I wouldn't like a jerk!

Before I go, I want to tell you how much I enjoyed some of my new friends yesterday. I had a magnificent Everything Bagel for breakfast, to make up for all of those lost years that I refused them. My lunch included a lovely salad of arugula, avocados, and strawberries, but I never would have ordered it in the past, because it also included radishes. But I got to enjoy it because I have thoroughly embraced radishes! And then, I ate My Second Reuben. And it was fantastic! My life really has been improved by embracing my former enemies!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Gal Who Ate An Everything Bagel

Sorry for the lack of links and photos... it's hard to accomplish them on the iPad!

Anyway, as expected, my time in NJ has been filled with comfort food. I know it is a dance with the actual NJ Devil, since this very meal set me in motion towards becoming a big, fat, caterpillar on my last trip to NJ, but yet, I could not resist getting those damn vegan pierogies! And tonight, I made a pretty major discovery: a soul food restaurant, right in my hometown, that actually has a Vegan section on their menu! I have eaten vegan soul food in LA, Chicago, Atlanta, NYC, Oakland and Sacramento, but I NEVER expected to find such a thing at the Jersey Shore. So, this was exciting, but not exactly challenging.

However, the real reason I wanted to pop on here tonight was to tell of you the major event that happened this morning. Clearly, this is NJ, so there are always bagels for breakfast. And as I have mentioned, I only ever ate the plain ones. I'm not kidding. I never before deviated from a plain NJ bagel. Well, I remembered how I had successfully eaten those Everything Pretzel Slims a month or so ago, so I threw caution to the wind..... and got an Everything Bagel! And let me tell you... It was DELICIOUS! DeGodDamnLicious! Everything Bagel, where have you been all my life?!? Oh yeah, right in front of my face, but I always rejected you for your plain brother! What a fool I was! I sure am glad I got over myself and allowed myself to taste your beauty before (hopefully!) half of my very life is over!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Busy Beavers Don't Blog!

I'm sorry. Things have gone a bit bananas with my workload over the past week or so, and I've been quite the busy beaver! I didn't even have time to complete my one plan to eat something terrible this weekend, as it involved a drive to Santa Monica and back, and that wasn't happening today. I shall continue to be swamped until Wednesday, when I leave town.... then, I'll be running around like lunatic when I am away (and surely, eating nothing but comfort foods that I enjoy).... I've really gotten derailed with my eating and blogging project! I'll pop in if I have anything to report over the next week, but I may not, sadly!
Anyway, don't give up on me... I shall return! :-)