Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It’s Not As Hard As You Think

Over the months as this journey to a plant based diet (from carnivore to vegetarian to vegan) has unfolded, lots of questions come up as to the different ‘types’ of eating regimens.  Today on FaceBook, someone asked what the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan is.

The basics…at least the way Wikipedia and, therefore I, understand them. 

A vegetarian is someone who does not eat red meat/pork, fish/shellfish or fowl.  Variations on this theme include folks who eat only fish (pescatarians), who only eat chicken (pollotarians), who will eat chicken and fish (pollo-pescatarians) but eschew beef and pork. The newer title to enter the fray is the flexitarian—someone who eats primarily a vegetarian diet but on occasion will consume meat. There is also a designation for vegetarians who eat eggs and consume dairy products (ovo-lacto).

A vegan is someone who abstains from eating any animal products and may reflect the philosophy that rejects the status of animals as a commodity and views them as sentient beings. Continuing with the Wikipedia description of vegan, there are two broad categories of vegans.  One is called Dietary vegans (or strict vegetarians) who refrain from consuming all products derived from animals (including animal dairy milks, cheese, eggs and, for strict vegans, honey).  A second type of vegan is the ethical vegan. Ethical vegans (also known as environmental vegans, not only subscribe to a vegan diet but also oppose the use of animals or animal products for any purpose.  This includes a belief that industrial (factory) farming is harmful to the environment in addition to practices of housing large numbers of animals in conditions that do not allow movement (e.g., gestation crates in which sows are contained in a ‘cage like’ box with no room to move or stand up).

It is a personal decision to be ANY of the above.  I am a vegan who chooses not to eat animal products based on my ethical beliefs.  But, I was a vegetarian prior to that and ate eggs and cheese. I invite you who are thinking of any level of plant-based diet to do your homework and utilize the vast amount of information accessible for learning what would best fit your lifestyle and allow you to make the changes you may want to make.  There seem to be as many variations on these themes as we can dream up. And, there are always going to be folks who take things to an extreme or chastise or condescend because you don’t embrace THEIR way of thinking. It’s YOUR journey to get you from where you are to where you want to be.


Pre-plant based
After!! 7/4/14
Many of you have seen these pre/post veg pictures…I can tell you that this began almost 4 years ago and has been an experience of a lifetime. Challenges, decisions, educating myself, testing food, throwing epic fails away, trying to talk myself in to ‘just one wing’, and on and on…  And truth be told, nothing happened overnight. It took time, patience, perseverance and a toddy or two to keep me on the path.

AND, it’s not JUST the food. You have to move around, exercise, do SOMETHING to get your heart pumping and metabolism revved up. For me, it’s treadmills/walking and yoga. For you, it could be a walk around the block that turns into a walk around two blocks and then 4 and then a half mile and so on. If you mess up, forgive yourself and jump right back on that ‘wheel’ of success…you will get there.
Let’s see, what have we done fun this week in the kitchen? We’ve gone crazy over pumpernickel bread, so I’ve made some loaves and keep one on the freezer at all times. I calculated the calories so know just how much to slice for a reasonable taste treat that is within our boundaries.

Vegan Risotto

We went to Anjou Restaurant for dinner with a friend and they prepared a magnificent vegan risotto that paired nicely with a pinot grigio.

For the Fourth of July, I made desserts for a annual gathering at our BFFs. Thanks to Vegan Richa's terrific site, we had the Chocolate Silk Pie and the TO DIE FOR Salted Caramel/Chocolate Mousse Pie (the name is longer but you get the picture).
Salted Caramel/Chocolate Mousse Pie

Chocolate Silk Pie

I took some vegan sausages (Andouille and Brats) along with Delight Soy Nuggets (you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT TELL THEM FROM CHICKEN) that were smothered in BBQ sauce. While the others were feasting on RIBS, I was chowing down on my sausages and BBQ Nuggets. 
Sausages and Nuggets!!

Aloo Beans
Heirloom Tomato Salad

The CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box last week contained a huge portion of long beans. Having never cooked with them before, we made an Indian dish called Aloo Beans which was delicious, even though I did not have one of the spices (mango powder, I mean really—how could I NOT have mango powder).  There was also a great supply of heirloom tomatoes and lemon cucumbers, so we made a salad with those. Ate on that almost 3 days…quite tasty, low in fat and calories but very very healthy and delicious. There was also a terrific helping of red okra which was roasted in the oven for a snacky treat. If you’ve never tried roasted okra, here’s the link to Susan Voisin’s very excellent and simple recipe…on her terrific blog called Fat Free Vegan. We have no picture of the okra as it was consumed immediately. 

So another week has come and gone and we have been having so much fun with this little page. We hope you will share it with your friends and that sometimes the journey has meaning for you. See you next Wednesday. 

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