It happens all of the time. I inform a new friend that I am a vegan and am met with a bewildered “Really?!” Which is usually followed by some kind of incredulous remark about me “looking so healthy” and how I am (apparently surprisingly) not stick thin. Instead of rolling my eyes at them, I try to accept their assessment as a compliment and gently remind them about the virtues of vegetables and how they are abundant with protein, nutrients, and healthy fats.
If they are new to the concept of veganism, they will invariably ask me: “So what do you eat?!” It can be a hard question to answer because I eat so many different kinds of foods and my tastes are constantly in flux. I try to give them an adequate list of examples even though the truth might really be “I’ve only eaten refried beans out of a can for the last three days.” Ok, you’re right, I’d never do that. But I’m certainly not above it!
“Sh*t People Say to Vegans” – Please watch this hilarious youtube video for conversation examples and a hearty laugh VIDEO
SO. What’s so confusing about eating vegetables?
I recorded my eating habits for one week in a food diary to help demystify the oft befuddling vegan diet. Now y’all can get real life examples of what the hell vegans eat! Or at least what the hell I eat. I will do my best to leave nothing out and if I prepare it, I will include a recipe so you can make it too! Have questions? E-mail me or something.
I have also included an attempt to succinctly explain the cultural phenomenon of vegetable hatred/phobia at the bottom of this post* for your reading pleasure.
Day 1 Monday
- Leftover Tofu Stir Fry and Veggie Spring Rolls from Sawadtee St. Paul (a veritable breakfast of champions)
- Thai food is MY food! Spicy, salty, and decadent! Most Thai restaurants will be able to make you a delicious vegan-something. However, be sure to ask for no fish sauce.
- Tempeh Sandwich with Carrots (Recipe Here)
- I make this all of the time because I love sandwiches and excuses to eat vegan mayo.
- Miso Soup with Shiitakes, Kale, Carrots, and Shirataki noodles.
- You can find a miso soup recipe anywhere. On the back of your tub of miso, namely. I like to jazz mine up with some extra vegetables (listed above). Shirataki noodles are made from tofu and have a great texture. They are also low in carbs and high in protein which is all the rage these days, right? Here’s what they look like LINK
- Bowl of Maple Pecan Crunch Cereal with So Delicious Coconut milk
- Somehow I forgot all about cereal and its many virtues and now I eat it when I’m hungry and lazy.
- Tortilla Chips and Hummus
- Miso Soup Leftovers
- 1 Handful Pecans (stolen from workplace…)
Day 3 Wednesday
- Lunch date at Hanabi!
- I ordered the lunch special that includes choice of soup or salad (I chose soup) and two sushi rolls for $8. Their options for veggie rolls for this special is limited to avocado and asparagus so I opted for two avocado rolls and it was delicious!
- Tempeh with Roasted Root Vegetables with Food Babe’s Tahini Sauce (Recipe Here)
- I simply prepared the tempeh like I did in the tempeh sandwich recipe (Recipe Here) and roasted some beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, and turnips in the oven. I placed the root vegetables and tempeh over a big pile of salad greens and doused it with the tahini sauce. So good.
- So Delicious brand Salted Caramel Cluster Cashew Ice Cream
Day 4 Thursday
- Apple and peanut butter
- Eazy Vegan Mac n Cheeze with Broccoli. Cheezey Sauce (Recipe Here)
- This Cheezey Sauce rules and makes the best Mac n Cheeze. I cooked some noodles, steamed some broccoli, and covered it all with Cheezey Sauce. Voila!
- Leftover Tempeh with Roasted Root Vegetable and Tahini Sauce
- Late Night Spring Rolls from Red Herring Lounge 😉
Day 5 Friday
- Chickpea Noodle Soup
- I made this for blunch (breakfast&lunch) and ate around 3 servings…. (Recipe Here) The recipe is from the Veganomicon cookbook and is most excellent.
- Red Herring Lounge hummus with pita chips, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, and spiced nuts ( a nice light dinner after gorging myself during blunchtime)
Day 6 Saturday
- Red Curry Tofu wrap from the Whole Foods Co-op Deli (HOT TIP: The Red Curry Tofu rules. It is availabe in a wrap or from the deli counter. I like to buy it and put it in salads or snarf it on the go. It’s so damn good.)
- Cup of Vegan Chili also from the Whole Foods Co-op deli (HOT TIP: The Co-op deli is great for the hustling vegan as they usually have vegan hot bar tempeh/tofu, soups, sandwiches at the deli counter, and plenty of options in the grab-n-go refrigerated case.
- Bowl of Leftover Chickpea Noodle Soup
Day 7 Sunday
- Pizza Luce Brunch! My favorite! I like to reward myself after a long weekend of slinging drinks by going to brunch at Pizza Luce. They have plenty of vegan options and a bloody mary bar which is the real reason I go there 😉 On this visit I had the “Buckaroo” -the vegan version of their breakfast burrito– with extra hash browns -because I am a glutton- It was dank.
- “Creative Salad” and Chickpea Noodle Soup (starting to get tired of this soup now…)
- I like to do this thing called “Creative Salad” where I take all of the vegetables in my fridge that need eating, chop them up, and cover them in flax oil and dressing. I’ve recently become addicted to the Wildbrine brand sriracha kimchee fermented hot sauce (info here) and find it to be an excellent addition to any food item; especially a Creative Salad. Go ahead, make a Creative Salad yourself! You can put anything in it. Try greens, nuts, vegetables, beans, sauerkraut, kimchee, leftover lasagna, sprouts, leftover potato salad, roasted vegetables, etc. The opportunities are endless folks.
- HOT TIP: Mixing flax oil and something tangy like the aforementioned hot sauce, vinegar, or fermented foods makes an ultra dank salad dressing real quicklike.
After examining my weekly diet, we can see a few patterns emerge that are integral to a successful vegan diet.
- A balanced mix of home cooking and eating out. It’s nice to switch it up and be cooked for every now and then. It is also important to enjoy social and celebratory meals with friends and family which often involve restaurants. However, I try to restrict my dining out as it is expensive and usually not very healthy.
- HOT TIP: Get more bang for your buck by not snarfing the entire meal in one sitting and saving some for your next meal or a late night drunken snack.
- Leftovers. You can see that I eat a lot of leftovers. I find that making large meals and enjoying the leftovers throughout the week is cost and time effective. It can be a tricky balance as after the third meal of Chickpea Noodle Soup I was ready to move on.
- HOT TIP: Try freezing unwanted leftovers for a rainy (or lazy) day or make your coworkers love you by gifting them the leftovers you’ve become bored with.
- Sauce. It is smart to prepare a few versatile sauces for quick meal preparation. This week I relied heavily on the Food Babe Tahini sauce (I make it about every other week because it is good on everything), Cheezey Sauce, and the Wildbrine Kimchee fermented hot sauce.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR MORE HOT TIPS ON BEING A SUPER COOL VEGAN PLEASE BUY MY E-BOOK “VEGAN BY VAAGEN” BY CLICKING HERE.
Thank you and love you forever,
*Why Americans Hate Vegetables and Don’t Understand Veganism – A Brief Synopsis
- The post-WWII shift from small family-run farms to the industrialization of agriculture and the mechanization of food preparation created a large accumulation of wealth for those who put themselves in charge of food production and distribution.
- This changed the types of foods Americans eat and they way they prepare meals. Food production shifted from family farms to large, single crop mega farms that require more pesticides, fertilizers, and irrigation than their smaller counterparts. Industrialized agriculture also entails less biodiversity as they focus on single “cash crops” (wheat, corn, and soy) which are often genetically modified and inefficiently used as animal feed.
- Food preparation shifted from the home to the factory placing more value on convenience than nutrition. People stopped growing their own food and took jobs unrelated to their own sustenance to make money to buy food from corporations.
- Our “food pyramid” was created by the (lobbyist funded) FDA to place more emphasis on simple carbohydrate based on bleached wheat flour, meat, and dairy.
- Over consumption (culturally encouraged) of these sugary, fatty, and addictive foods leads to health problems (diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dental problems, thyroid issues, etc.)
- Many people make money off of this by: farming it, producing pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, shipping it around the world, processing it into junk food, advertising the junk food to you, selling you insurance for your impending health problems, producing drugs to mask your unhealthiness, advertising the drugs, telling your doctor to sell you the drugs, producing coffins etc.
Thus, we have been cut off from the world that feeds us and gives us life only to have money hungry, morally bankrupt, middle-man corporations stand in between. When you eat lousy food a lot of people make money. Monsanto, Cargill, Pharmaceutical companies, Politicians, Insurance companies, Hospitals, Doctors, Dentists, Ophthalmologists, etc. You get the point. There is a vested interest in Americans remaining ill and therefore the powers that be continue to purport the vilification of veganism as something weird, unsatisfying, and only for weak, sensitive people. Vegetables are portrayed as foul tasting, boring, and something you’re forced to eat as a child.
People are also threatened by vegans because they are afraid to look at the ugly and cruel practices involved in animal slaughter that they know exist but have been hidden from them.
To sum up: If Americans are healthy, the corporations don’t make as much money. It’s that simple. The less processed food people buy and the more vegetables they eat, the less money there is to be made by the aforementioned industries. Keep this in mind next time you see a food advertisement on TV. What are they actually suggesting?
For more information on this rather depressing subject (and to back up my statements as I was feeling too lazy to cite sources) I suggest you watch the following documentaries:
- “What the Health”
- “Forks over Knives”
- “Eating You Alive”
Thanks for reading! Love you Forever!!!!!