Monday, March 26, 2012

2012, checking in.

My diet has been evolving, but it's definitely not vegan. As people love to tell me. I'm still struggling with similar things that I detailed in my post "It's Not Easy" at the end of last year. I still get asked all the time how being vegan is going, or if I'm a vegetarian...

For people who are truly interested, I usually say something like: "I'm 90% vegan, and 100% at home because it's easy." And I usually follow that by saying I'll still eat meat occasionally, even steak, a burger here and there. Often I hear this: "You're not a vegan!!!" Ok, this is true. Technically. But, I'm vegan an overwhelming majority of the time. This type of surprise doesn't happen in analogous situations. Example: People often say they don't drink. Then, they follow it up by saying they have a glass of wine occasionally, at special events, celebrations. I've never heard someone exclaim "You drink!!!" It's understood it's a lifestyle choice to basically not drink. Same thing with smoking. I mean, c'mon. To be vegan most of the time is pretty crazily different than the average person. How about some props fictional example person!!!

I'm thinking it might be a good idea to lay out what I've been doing for the past 3 months, and what my goals are for the future.

At Home:
Pretty much 100% vegan. I've figured out all the substitute foods and have enough experience that I pretty much get along fine cooking for myself. Occasionally I may have some bread that's not vegan maybe...

90% vegan. Here's my quick math. 3 meals/day is 90 meals/month. roughly 9 non-vegan meals brings it down by 10%. That sounds about right, if anything I eat meat less than that. Maybe more like once a week. I had a turkey burger yesterday for lunch.

At Home:
Keep doing what I'm doing.

I'd like to cut down to once or twice a month to have non-vegan meals. I think to get there I'll start by making a conscious effort to only have a non-vegan meal once a week. Once I have that figured out, it should be easier to cut that in half.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Apps for Vegans

I've put together a list of a few apps I find handy. I assume many of them are available on the Android Market, but I've only linked them up to the Apple iTunes store here. All of them are free as well.

Vegan Steven
This app is pretty cool, and I imagine it works pretty well in most major cities. It uses your current location to find local restaurants that have veggie/vegan options. It also has user reviews and star ratings all inside the app. Great for traveling or if you just wanna try something new.

Vegan YumYum
I love this cookbook, and amazingly she has all her recipes on the app as well. Plus, each recipe has an interactive checklist for shopping, and of course, the beautiful step-by-step photography.

This app makes it SUPER easy to take action for various causes. Open it up, select a cause you want to help out with, it automatically populates and email with your info and a pre-written letter and you just hit send! Easy as that.

In case you ever want to prove to anyone the horrific conditions that exist in factory farming and puppy mills, etc., this app aggregates all of the great work the Humane Society has done.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Veggie Grill

In case anyone is sleeping on the fast growing chain called Veggie Grill, you have to try it! It's not really advertised as vegan, but all their food is 100% plant-based and vegan. And most of all, yummy! They have great sides like kale salad, mac and cheese, chili and slaw. The chili is my current favorite. And my favorite sandwich? The Bali Bliss with blackened tempeh. For me, the blackened option is key. Here's what it looks like:

Check out their site for a location near you!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gary Yourofsky's Speech

I finally got around to watching this video. Well, let me be clear. I finally brought myself to watch this video. Lisa's Days was kind enough to leave me an inspirational comment in a previous post, and she said this video turned her from veggie to vegan. I was scared to watch it. I didn't know what to expect. Horrific slaughterhouse scenes? Screaming animals? I've seen so many videos like that, but finally I clicked the link.

It's about an hour long, and i watched the entire thing in one sitting as soon as I clicked it. It's basically a college lecture by an animal rights activist. And I stress the term "activist" because he's actually done things like breaking into labs and freeing animals. But, his rationale on being a vegan, our collective lack of compassion towards animals, and the nutritional realities of veganism are very compelling. It's impossible to argue with his points.

Towards the end of the video, he shows the students some graphic slaughterhouse and factory farm footage, about 3 minutes worth. Since seeing that, I think I've eaten meat or dairy twice. Every time I crave it or think about ordering it those images appear in my mind and I can't go through with it. He reminded me of my own compassion which I lost recently, apparently.

So, I highly recommend watching this if you're on the fence, or are looking for good talking points when discussing veganism with others. Here it is:

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's not easy.

Generally, I try to be fairly positive. But, today, I have to voice a pet peeve of mine. A loud chorus from the vegetarian/vegan community states how "easy" it is to go veg, or vegan. I understand the motivation in saying this - they want to overcome the barrier most people have in changing their diets. Or they're trying to hype themselves up - also understandable. But, the truth is, it's not so easy. It's really not easy. It's actually very difficult. And framing it otherwise does the community a disservice.

In order to get proper nutrition with a vegan diet, I have to be super-on-top-of-it. We're talking daily fortified smoothies, constantly eating snacks like fruits and nuts and seeds, and trying to find things on menus when in a rush or at less-than-friendly restaurants. This is not easy. And if it's not done properly, it results in weakness or fatigue or malnutrition. Plus, regular meat eaters/lovers crave meat. This is a huge barrier to overcome. Overcoming, culture, access to vegan food, and personal discipline are all huge factors.

So, what do I suggest? Truth. If you truly believe it's super easy than by all means keep saying it. But, I say it would help to have empathy for those who struggle (like myself). For example, say someone decides to try and be vegan and they find they're having constant cravings, or difficulty with their families. If they only see and hear from the community how easy it is, it's going to make people feel like failures. That's not cool. I guess that's why I started this blog - to prove it could be done, easy or not.

I still hope it will inspire others to try this vegan thing, even though I'm still struggling.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Eco Chef" Bryan Au - Raw Star Recipes

Bryan Au was nice enough to send me a copy of his new raw cookbook entitled "Raw Star Recipes" and I must say it's great. And, he's cool enough that he wrote me personal emails to support and guide my return to veganism. It's the initiative of people like him that make me feel part of a community and inspire me to do better. So, first of all, thanks for that Bryan.

What I like about this cookbook is even though I haven't actually made any of the recipes yet, I've gotten a lot out of it. He spends the first 20 pages or so discussing his reasons for eating raw and vegan, and explaining what his staples are. For example, he cites research that eating miso instead of salty soy products can actually counter the toxins produced in the body that result from radiation (cell phones, etc.)

Now on to the food. I love cookbooks with lots of full color pictures and this one is not lacking there. He's got everything from donuts to pho, salad dressings to gravy, sloppy joe's to sushi, and everything in between. I'm amazed that all of it is RAW!

Bryan dedicates the book to "...everyone and the entire planet because I love you all...".
Thanks for your support.

You can learn more about Bryan's book and how to get a copy here:

Friday, July 8, 2011


So I can't say I'm vegan yet, not really vegetarian either. I'm at about twice a week for meat at this point. For example, I just ate a turkey sandwich for lunch. But, it was on whole wheat, had fresh avocado, no mayo, just mustard, and lettuce. At least it was dairy-free. I'm really getting much better about drinking my green smoothies everyday, and that helps a lot.

I have a new plan though, and it will hopefully ease my anxiety about cutting out meat entirely. What's this plan you ask? Eating slop. I made my first batch o' slop yesterday, and it is surprisingly tasty.  

Here's the theory: Meat is the only way to get the complete protein chain besides quinoa. So, in order to get quinoa in my diet daily, I'll always have a slop concoction in the fridge, and I'll have a scoop or 2 every day, just like I drink a daily green smoothie.

The best part is it's super-easy to make. I throw a bunch of stuff in the crockpot, and 4 hours later it's done! My first slop contained: Quinoa, a little rice, a potato, kidney beans, diced roma tomatoes, canned stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and spices. It's a chili-inspired slop. But, who knows, next time it might be a squash slop. Or a mixed veggie noodle slop. The possibilities are endless!

Wish me luck...