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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's my anniversary.

So I've been a vegan one full week. So far, so good. I don't even miss cheese... yet. I did get a whiff of the Famiglia Pizza on 111th today when I was walking past, though, and that caused a small pang of desire. However, it was easily overcome with my uber yummy tofu stir-fry I'd made the night before.

Well, only a week into this relationship and I've already proved to be a liar. I said I'd post about my shopping trip yesterday and I did not. However, that's ok as I think I'm the only one who reads this blog.

As for the grocery trip, it was gooooood. I went to Fairway in Harlem. Love that market. Basically everything you could want. I hate that all the refrigerated goods are in a huge refrigerated room, though. I was in there for so long checking out all the tofu goodies that I nearly became hypothermic. Who knew so much could be made from tofu? I got Tofutti cream cheese. It's delish. I also got a whole lot of different varieties of straight-up tofu. They sound like the belong in a sex shop, not a grocery store... Silken, soft, firm, extra firm...

Last night I made a stir-fry with my extra firm tofu. I just sautéed the tofu with fresh garlic, peppers, squash, carrots, onions and snap peas and threw in red pepper flakes for spice. I combined that with four servings of brown rice and then added soy sauce to taste. So yum. That's a recipe I used to make all the time with chicken, and I honestly think I liked it better with tofu. It's true what they say. The tofu does just suck up all the flavor around it. Look at my yummy photo. So pretty.

At the store I also found these super delicious vegan-friendly cookies by Newman's Own. They honestly taste better than Oreos. I have a feeling they will be my savior as keep up my battle against dairy. Screw you cream. Paul Newman's got my back.

At the grocery store, I also decided to buy brussels sprouts. I have a small obsession with random veggies like brussles sprouts and turnips. However, they are very intimidating so I usually give them a wide berth at the grocery stores and only confront them at restaurants. But I decided with my new vegan diet should come a new vegan confidence, so I bought a bag. I decided I'd steam them without bothering to look up how to actually cook the sprouts. After steaming for a half hour, they were still too hard to spear with a fork, so I finally broke down and looked up on how to cook brussels sprouts. First, I should have soaked them for ten minutes in lukewarm (or tepid for those of you with a bigger vocabulary) water to get all the little buggies out that might be hiding in the leaves. As soon as I read that, I knew I would not be eating my brussels sprouts. I don't do bugs. THEN, after soaking, I could have steamed them if I liked. Or boiled. Or microwaved. Whatever I very well pleased.  However, the possibility that those little buggies were just waiting to hop into my GI tract meant this batch of brussels sprouts was toast. I still have half my bag left, so I'll let you know if the next time goes any better. They are so pretty and cute though, aren't they??

So as part of my Yoda-esque vegan ways, I've also been trying to give up caffeine. So far, not so good. I'm exhausted all the time and crave it more than cheeeeese. For that reason, I must be off to bed.

So until next time, leave the cutie pie animals alone. That means you.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I had an epiphany one night. No really, I did.

As of April 21, 2010 at 10:01 pm, I am a vegan. So weird, I know. I loooove cheese. And ice cream. And chicken. How can I be a vegan??

So on that fateful night, American Idol sucked (boo Idol Gives Back, although giving to charity is great, let's just do it without Idol) so Duncan (the huz) actually got to pick what we watched for once. Food, Inc. just so happened to be on PBS that night (and commercial free!) so we decided to watch for a bit. I was engrossed after minutes. We hear about all the crap that goes into our food nowadays, but nobody really seems to care as long as it tastes good. I used to make fun of my one college roommate for wasting all her money on organic food. God, did I have it wrong...

Even though all the hormones, chemicals and pesticides that do end up in our food is totally filthy, what really got me about Food, Inc. was the mistreatment of the animals... I am an animal lover to the core (I try to get a new pet weekly and am always shut down by the evil huz) and the images in the film really got me. How could I eat that meat when all the cute animals had been so abused just for my cheeseburger? I spent most of those two hours with my hand over my mouth in shock and trying to fight back the tears. The second the movie ended, I knew I could never eat meat again...

(If you haven't seen Food, Inc. you really need to. It's worth it just to know what you're actually consuming. We eat a minimum of three times a day. Don't you actually want to know where what you're putting in your body came from??)

So, I decided I'd become a pretend vegan. Pretend because I didn't want to eat meat and I wasn't supposed to have any dairy. I've had crazy weird health problems (read: nasty, disgusting hives) for almost two years now and we believe (although really these effing doctors have no clue) that I can't tolerate/am allergic to dairy. Sooo since I'm supposed to avoid it anyway (although I really never did), I would be a pretend vegan who still enjoyed the occasional (i.e. daily) ice cream cone and scrambled eggs every morning.

A day or two after watching the film, I went to a Barnes and Noble in the city and started browsing the vegan cookbook section. I bought two cookbooks along with The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. I knew she was a vegan and she looked normal to me and being the weight-obsessed girl I am, I liked that she called it a diet. I read the whole thing through by Saturday morning and was thoroughly convinced that I'd made the right choice in becoming a vegan and that I would be a real one, not just pretend. The way we get most of our dairy products and eggs involves horrendous ammounts of animal cruelty as well. Most chickens have their beaks ground off so that they can't hurt one another. After that all that's left for them to do is be force fed hormones and pop out eggs for us. Have you ever really thought of that?? When we eat eggs, we're eating a hen's reproductive organ. Um, why do we think that's yummy or a good idea? So nast. (And yes, I meant to type nast, not nasty.)

I was very proud of my decision and wanted to tell everyone (as I usually do with everything, don't tell me secrets). However, my friends' reactions were definitely not what I expected. I got a lot of skeptical "Seriously?" with raised eyebrows and "Haha, ok... Let's see how long this lasts." Boo supportive friends. Although, I do totally understand where they're coming from. I'm not exactly known for picking something and sticking with it. I think my current career plan has changed four times just this month...

But that's ok. It made me that much more serious about being a vegan. Now I have to prove to them and myself that I can do it and make it work. I have to do it for the cutiepie animals that we're slaughtering for no good reason. I have to do it for the environment that's being destroyed by all the methane produced by the livestock industry in the US (more than all transportation combined!!!).

One hiccup in my path to veganism, though, was when one friend asked me if I was going to be a real vegan and stop wearing/buying leather, wool, silk, etc. Woah, upsetting. I love my shoes and purses. I definitely see where my future difficulties with being vegan will lie...

So anywho, I'm a vegan, believe it or not. I started this to keep you up to date, find some support and let others know that there are plenty of us out there trying to figure out what's right for us, animals, the environment and the world. The huz told me to start this blog since I'm probably not your typical vegan. The first thing he said when he saw my vegan cookbook (How it all Vegan!) was, "You're not allowed to look like them now that you're a vegan, ok?" Apparently he has a vendetta against tattoos. But he thinks there will be "other preppy, suburban, white girls" who will want to hear my side. He may have a point, but I think I'll still punish him for the comments...

So peace-out for now. I had my first vegan grocery shopping trip today. I'll post about it tomorrow.