Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Whip up a half batch (for 6 galettes) of Basic Vegan Pie Crust. While the dough is hangin' out in the fridge, throw together the amusingly simple fillings. First, the fruit:
Combine the following in a bowl and set aside.
3-4 nectarines, sliced
1 tbs sugar (optional)
1 tbs cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Now, for the delicious creamy pudding. In a saucepan, whisk together:
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbs cornstarch
1 1/2 cup soymilk (almond milk would be amazing too)
Bring mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Lower to a simmer and whisk until thickened, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add:
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs Earth Balance Butter
Pour into a bowl and smash some plastic wrap down directly onto the surface. Put the bowl in the fridge to cool.
Now, assembling time! Remove the pie crust from the fridge and cut it into 6 equal-ish pieces. Roll out each piece out to 6 inches in diameter, then place a blob of cooled pudding into the center and top with a few nicely-arranged pieces of nectarine. Push up the sides of the disc towards the center (they don't have to meet) and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Once you have all 6 prepared, let the entire tray hang out in the fridge for 30 minutes (this will help prevent your pie crust from flopping over and letting out all the gooey goodness).
Finally, bake them at 375 for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is browned. Serve alone or with a giant wad of soy ice cream!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Letting go of dairy isn't as hard as you think! It's all about replacing those old nasties in favor of delicious goodies that'll make your tush feel firmer with every pus-free sip! And PLUS, you get to begin by replacing milk, which is usually the easiest one to start with (we'll get to butter, ice cream, and cheese later on).
I'm sure that you, just like me, have had gross experiences with soy milk and other milk substitutes. Some taste horrifically like chalk, while others have a distinctively beany twang or a sickly sweet aftertaste...ish. Just like with all your other foods, you just need to find the ones you like best! Experimentation is the way to go, so look beyond the classic Silk or entirely away from soy...you're bound to find something you dig.
HERE'S HOW I ROLL WITH SOY MILK:
So Nice Original is my classic standby. Not too sweet, no weird beany taste. You can use it wherever you might use milk, including as a dipping tool for Oreos.
Silk is always a good place to start, since it's widely available and cheap cheap cheap. I like the Original for cooking but find it to be a bit too thick for cookie dippage (you gotta have priorities). The Vanilla is where lots of people begin their soymilk journey, though many tend to move away once they've adapted since it's too sweet for cooking. The Very Vanilla is chock FULL of sugar...stay away.
8th Continent is on the sweet end and is a bit thinner. It's not produced sustainably but can be a good place to go if Silk isn't doin' it for ya.
Organic Valley Soy is one of the beany-er brands, but the chocolate is TO DIE FOR.
Delicious and WAY nutritious, nut milk may be your bag.
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze is sooooo incredibly sweet...it's like a dessert all by itself. It's not sustainably produced, and you'll need to steer clear of the vanilla (unless you want a sugar headache...I couldn't even get through the carton when I tried it).
Pacific Natural Foods makes a huge variety of nut and grain milks, including almond (in vanilla and a sumptuously delicious plain flavor), oat, rice, and hazelnut milk (AMAZING).
A bit of an acquired taste, but wonderful for adding not-sweet body to your sauces and smoothies.
Rice Dream is the ol' rice milk standby. It's been around forever and remains my rice fave. Original and Vanilla are equally delish. (Dream also makes Soy and Almond milks that are shelf-stable and quite a bit cheaper than the kind you put in the fridge. Many say they taste better, too.)
Living Harvest Tempt Hemp Milk sounds weird but is super delicious, especially the Chocolate.
Eden Soy makes a bad-ass soy/rice blend.
COCONUT MILK BEVERAGE:
Though I find it tastes pretty funky for use in savory cooking, coconut milk beverage is baller for desserts. (Take note: this stuff is way different than the kind you find in the can, which is a stand-alone essential for any vegan kitchen).
Turtle Mountain makes the best one. Period.
Friday, June 25, 2010
1. GET A GOOD-SIZED POT I always always always cook pasta in my giant stockpot, even if it's only enough for one serving. Using a little saucepan will either cause a boil-over or a major sticky mess (or both).
2. USE LOTS OF WATER It's a question of space. The noodles need lots of lots of room to jive around in there so they don't stick together!
3. GET A FULL BOIL BEFORE YOU ADD THE NOODLES This seems to be one very common mistake: putting noodles in cold water and then turning on the heat. But it's bad news, man. By the time the water comes to the right temp, the noodles are already soaked in their own starches and have begun the process of breaking down. This process needs to happen quickly, not slowly, in order to avoid gummy gooey cafeteria noodles. Only add the pasta after a full, rolling boil is achieved (one that doesn't go away when you stir it).
4. USE SALT Once you've got a nice boil, add up to a handful of salt...then add the pasta. This is the way the Italians do it, and one of the main reasons their pasta tastes so f-ing amazing.
5. STIR Right after you add the pasta and every 2 minutes after that.
6. TASTETEST Okay. So your noodles are rockin' but when do you know when they're done? Ahhh, the big question. Well for starters, check the package for suggested cooking times. Beyond that, the only way you know is by tastetesting. Fish out a noodle and give it a try. If it's too hard, tastes like starch or is white in the center, more time is needed. If it's soft while it's still in the pot, it'll be overdone by the time you've drained it. You want to aim for chewy on the outside, firm on the inside. Once you've gotten it to this point, you need to get it out of the water as quickly as possible, so...
7. USE A STRAINER Don't fuck around with holding the lid while you drain and fumble with your potholders...this will inevitably lead to overdone noodles. Put your strainer in the sink and dump out the water. Solved.
Now's the time to experiment, baby! You won't always get it right, but practice makes perfect. And perfectly-done noodles are super delicious.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Anyway, on this most auspicious day, I wandered over to the Buddhist section to see what interesting things might turn up. I'd visited this section a few times before, finding little gems like these wonderful things...
...And of course, this...
...but TODAY, I found Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life and about jumped out of my skin!!!!
Thich Nhat Hahn is a Zen monk in France who's writing I've heard lots about. But to see that he's written about mindful eating? Hurray!!!!! I immediately checked it out and ran home to scout over its table of contents and illustrations. It seems like a beginner's approach to actually thinking about how you're treating yourself and your body, your most glorious tool. Slowing down is heavily emphasized (yes!) along with making sure you're taking time out of every day to feather the mindful love-nest. I'm loving it.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
This is for all those people in my life who've asked, "So you're vegan, but what do you eat when you're like, ravenous?" Well, I EAT LOTS, of course! Contrary to popular belief, vegans don't subsist on grapefruit and iceberg lettuce. Duh.
This date-night dinner, Rustic Pasta with AJ's Awesome Garlic Bread, is a perfect example of the unexpected bounty of a vegan diet. It's simple! It's delicious! It's freakin' easy! It's the bomb, baby!
Get a big pot o' water boiling and cook some nice whole-wheat linguine till it's perfectly done (you really really really want to avoid having noodles that are too soft for this one). While it's boiling, prepare:
2 ripe tomatoes, seeds scooped out, sliced prettily
2 good handfuls of fresh basil
3-19 gloves minced garlic (I told you I love garlic!)
Take a moment to savor the visual abundance in front of you. Look at all those colors and textures! And smell that friggin' garlic! Om nom! Set aside these ingredients and put together the garlic bread while you're cooking the noodles (perfectly). You'll need:
4 slices of yummy baguette
Earth Balance Butter Spread
Your previously-minced garlic
dried oregano, basil, and thyme
Turn your on your oven to it's broil setting. Schmear a liberal amount of Earth Balance on each slice, sprinkle on the garlic, and follow up with a dash of oregano, basil, and thyme (feel free to experiment with different herbs). Place the prepared slices on a sheet tray and broil for about 4 minutes, keeping a super duper close eye. You want browned bread, not blackened.
When the noodles are PERFECTLY cooked, drain them and put them directly back into the pot. Add a good dash of yummy olive oil, your prettily cut tomatoes and basil, and a solid pinch of sea salt. Toss it all together gently, and serve with your amazing garlic bread and a lovely glass o' red.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I'm sure you've seen these Got Milk? Ads, and I'm also sure you've seen this one (which is, ironically enough, far more accurate). Over 200 million dollars were spent on this ad campaign, touting claims from across the board: Milk helps girls grow into women, milk helps you score soccer goals, milk helps you compose music (hah!), milk helps you be a quintessential busy-body supermom. Take a close look at these ads and promptly bitchslap yourself for ever having believed what they're actually promoting is MILK. Um, not. We don't see milk here, we see SEX. BATMOBILE. IDYLLIC MOMMY STROKING BESSIE WITH KITTIES AT HER RIDICULOUSLY-CLAD FEET. (Seriously? They even put a ribbon and a bell around that cow's neck?)
Use your head, guys. Since 1915 The National Dairy Council has been pushing milk as a source of good things, and they've spent a mountain of money to be successful at it. Think about what you "know" about milk:
PROTECTION AGAINST OSTEOPOROSIS? Not true. Milk has one of the lowest absorption rates of all calcium sources. (Watkins, "Dealing With Dairy Allergies in Your Nursling," vegetarianbaby.com) From the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, check out the calcium absorption rates of the following foods: brussels sprouts (63.8%), broccoli (52.6%), kale (50%), cow's milk (2%).
A WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT? SO not true, and yes, you already knew that. The hourglass-shaped milk ad that suggests the connection between dairy and weightloss stemmed from a study performed by...you guessed it...The National Dairy Council. And you know what? The weightloss results came about only in conjunction with good ol' calorie reduction (Silverstone, The Kind Diet). Of the calories in dairy, 60-80% of them come from fat. And fat free milk? No thanks. Milk's designed to fatten up a baby cow. Period. As the Skinny Bitches say, do you really think it can be altered into a fat free, natural, healthy product? They go on to say, and I think it really sums it up: GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS.
The Dairy Industry has worked really really really hard and spent lots and lots and lots of money to get you to believe these insane claims, and they've used images they know will affect you. Who wouldn't want to be a bad-ass babe like Lara Croft? Who wouldn't want to have all the power, money, and general sexiness of Bruce Wayne aka Batman? And well, Heidi Klum's life doesn't seem half-bad either. But these idols and their attributes didn't come around as a result of dairy consumption. You know this. The Dairy Industry is in it for money, just like Pepsi and McDonald's, and they're really hoping you don't wake up and smell the pus and blood because it would mean a major downturn in their profits.
So, um, wake up. Dairy is bad for you. It makes you fat. Say, "Fuck you, Dairy Council!" and start usin' your noodle.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Grab a bunch of collards from the store, allowing yourself an inward smirk at how cheap they are. When you're ready to get cookin', take a knife and slice the central rib out from each stem (these can be cooked, but they'll take a bit longer). Wash the leaves well, leaving them a bit wet, then cut or tear them into chunks.
In a large skillet, heat up 2 tbs of olive oil and add:
1 bunch damp collards
3-10 cloves garlic, minced (I freakin' LOVE garlic!)
Stir everything together, cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Then, add:
1/2 raisins or other dried fruit
1/2 toasted walnuts, pine nuts, or pumpkin seeds (or all 3!)
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Stir, cover, and cook for about 3-4 minutes longer. You want the leaves to maintain some crunchiness without being tough, but you definitely don't want mush! Keep a close watch.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Now, we'll get to the whole calcium thing in a bit...so hang on with that one. But what about these others? Milk...does a body good? Really? Men who drink milk are at a 30-60% greater risk for prostate cancer than men who avoid dairy (Barnard, "Nutrition and Prostate Health" cancerproject.org). Yummy!
Personally, I think the biggest WTF, head-scratching, how-can-this-be-legal moment comes when we talk about Bovine Growth Hormone, or rBGH. 50 years ago, the average rate of production for one cow was 2,000 pounds of milk per year...now it's 50,000 (Kradjian, vegsource.com). 50,000! One average cow at our nation's top milk producers gives out 50,000 pounds of milk EVERY YEAR! Holy shit, right? This is possible because of rBGH, which is essentially like giving the mother of your child a pill that makes her produce 25 times more milk than she would naturally. Super. Duper. Fucked. Up. Milk that's been treated with rBGH is banned in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, the entire European Union, and every other industrialized nation on the planet...all except for the USA. Red flag, anyone?
Oh! And the other thing! The other REALLY nasty thing! Forget that wonderful image we have of a homely little farmer sitting on a homely little stool, gingerly milking the cow he lovingly calls Bessie, patting her side and chewing on wheat. It's so NOT the case. Cows are milked with a machine that keeps on a suckin' even if the milk's gone dry. The udder becomes sore and infected...which means pus. Lots and lots of pus. And that pus goes straight into the milk, along with blood and scar tissue. But you think, "We boil it, right? We pasteurize the shit out of it!" Well, we'd have to. However, and this is super disgusting, the USA allows for the highest upper limit of pus concentration in the world...almost double the international standard (Kradjian, vegsource.com).
Pus and chemicals=sick. Milk and dairy=pus and chemicals=SICK.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Think about what you would do if you saw an adult walk up to their own mother and start breastfeeding. Hmm...what a lovely picture. What would you think? Yay? Nay? Don't answer that, because we all know what we'd think/say:
"WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON THERE?"
Ok. Let's make this fantasy even nicer. What would you do if you saw a grown man or woman, say your boss just for masochistic funsies, go up to your dog and start breastfeeding. Yay? Nay?
I'll just leave that one alone.
1. MILK IS FOR INFANTS Here's how it goes: Female mammals have mammary glands (in case you didn't notice, they're around all the time...even when they're not full of milk). Female mammal becomes pregnant and gives birth. Female mammal's breasts/udder become engorged with milk, from which the new young is breastfed. Baby grows, eventually outgrowing the need for milk. Female mammal weans baby from breast. Female mammal loses milk. Boobies go back to normal (supposedly). Grown-ups don't need milk. At all.
2. HUMANS (BABIES) ONLY NEED HUMAN MILK Why have we decided that drinking the milk of another species is cool? Good, even? And why cow's milk? What about giraffe milk? Or fruit bat milk? Armadillo milk? Hey, what about sperm whale milk? If you think, "Well, drinking the milk of a zebra is just ludicrous," ask yourself why the milk of a cow has become acceptable. Monkeys don't drink deer milk and chipmunks don't drink manatee milk. Drinking the milk of a cow is ludicrous.
3. MILK MAKES YOU FAT The milk a cow-mother feeds to her cow-baby supports major growth...in fact, it allows the baby to double it's weight in the first 47 days of life, eventually turning it from a 90 pound calf into a 2,000 pound cow. (Harvey Diamond, Fit for Life II) It's really really really really fattening.
4. GOT MUCUS? You know that nasty-ass ball of phlegm that collects in the back of your throat after you've had ice cream? Or how 'bout that bubbly farty feeling in your tummy after you drink a glass of milk...Know it? Chances are, you do. Between the ages of 18 months and 4 years, we lose 90-95% of the enzyme we need to digest dairy (Freedman and Barnouin, Skinny Bitch), and that bodily response is actually an allergic reaction to the dairy invasion. Nice. And real nice to your sexy body, hm? Those few people that can digest dairy without any nasty outcomes are VERY few and far between, and are thought to have a genetic mutation...a really weird one.
Now's the time you get to say, "Well Shelley, I've heard all that stuff already and anyways, I don't drink milk because __________________." (Many reasons tend to include simply not liking it...I'm with ya there). Unfortunately, I'm here to ruin your day. Here's the bad news: Milk is dairy. Dairy is milk. All of these bad milky attributes still exist in your favorite ice cream, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, and all that disgusting half-and-half that makes it's way into your otherwise-perfect cup of coffee. So, I'm giving you the bad news that, yes, consuming cheese makes no more sense than consuming milk. Sorry. But don't worry! I promise that you can look at it from a new angle and not even hate me in the process!
Keep reading to learn how hilariously idiotic dairy consumption is. More to come.
Friday, June 18, 2010
So simple, so versatile. And yet, so many people avoid making pie crust! Why? It's incredibly easy and can be kept in the fridge for days. Roll it out for a fruit pie, fill it full of vegetables and wheat berries, or use it to make cute little mini-treats full of pudding or dates. Whatever you want, baby! Pie crust is the bomb.
This recipe (adapted from this) makes enough dough for 2 single-crust pies or one double-crust (like if you want to get fancy and do a lattice top). The key, as with any pie crust, is to not overmix. You just need the dough to stick together, so don't knead it too much ok? Otherwise your crust will be tough and dry....eeewww. Here's how to rock it:
In a large bowl, combine:
2 1/2 cups flour (now's not the time for whole wheat)
1 tsp sugar
2 sticks Earth Balance Butter, cold
Dash o' salt
With your hands, smoosh the cold butter into the flour until the mixture has a mealy texture. No pieces of butter bigger than a pea are allowed! Get it nice and crumbly, then add JUST enough cold water to bring a dough together (usually somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 cup). The dough should hold together but not be sticky. Here's where you're in danger of overmixing, guys! DON'T DO IT! It's totally fine to see blobs of butter.
Divide the dough in 2 equal portions, wrap them in plastic wrap, and let them hang in the fridge for about an hour before you use them.
Wanna see what I did with pie crust yesterday? Eh? Wanna? Keep readin'.
Oh no I didn't!
Sometimes I just feel like making something crazy. Finding cantaloupe on sale for 50 cents a pound...well, that's enough to make me nuts! I went immediately went home and invented these marvelous little gems of goodness. It was a good day.
First things first, whip yourself up a half-batch of Vegan Pie Crust dough. While it's chillin', whisk the following together in a small saucepan:
1/3 cup sugar (one of the rare times I use it)
2 tbs cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups soy milk
Bring the mixture to boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 7 minutes. Pour the mixture into a bowl, slap a square of plastic wrap directly onto the surface, and put it in the fridge to cool. Meanwhile, combine in a large bowl:
2 cups cantaloupe, cut into small pieces
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon (more if you want)
1-2 tsp water (just enough to get the fruit coated)
Mix together and set aside. Now to assemble!
Remove the pie crust from the fridge and cut into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece out to 6 inches in diameter, then spoon a blob of cream and some of the cantaloupe mixture onto one half of each crust, being sure to leave about ½ inch for an edge. Fold the crust over the filling and smash with your fingers. Seal each crust by crimping the edges with a fork, then use the same fork to poke vents into each pie.
Bake at 375 for 22-25 minutes, or until the pies are slightly browned. Let them cool entirely. Or eat them straight out of the oven and burn your friggin' mouth off.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
While I'm putting together my very lengthy posts about dairy and all it's revolting grossness, I thought I'd quickly turn to a subject that can make or break your awesome vegan hotness. Here it is...the most amazing, life-changing, thought-provoking, does-your-body-good recipe for mindful eaters everywhere:
COOK FOR YOURSELF!
There's nothing better than creating a beautiful nourishing meal at home, even if you plan on eating it alone (sometimes especially if you're eating it alone...cooking a dinner for one is a rare and wonderful pleasure). Here's why:
1. IT GIVES YOU ULTIMATE CONTROL Mindfulness abounds in your own kitchen. You're responsible for the introduction of every single ingredient, and you have the power to use them as you see fit. Don't like nutmeg? You get to leave it out. Go bonkers for paprika? Feel free to add an extra dash or five. Cooking at home allows you maximum freedom for experimentation and lets you create your own self-determined version of deliciousness. Fanfreakin'tastic.
2. MAKING GOOD CHOICES IS EASY Being vegan can be challenging in a "let's go out to eat" situation (although it's not as hard as you think...more on that later). But when you're at home, you can plan for other amazing flavors to kiss your tastebuds and won't be tempted by dead carcasses on a plate. You'll consume far fewer calories and will feel more satisfied if you think about what you're going to make at home, plan for it, and execute with passion, baby.
3. IT SAVES CASH...BIGTIME I'm sure you know this. 30 dollars spent on one meal? Um, bad.
4. YOUR SENSES LOVE IT Think about the amazing smells that waft through your house when you're cooking. Look around at all the colors and textures your eyes are feasting on while the ingredients are spread across the counter, or the sound of that first sizzle when you drop the onions into the pan. By the time you've finished preparing and are ready to eat, your senses have been priming themselves to be rewarded for absorbing all those delights....that first bite will be heaven. Ecstasy. Rapture. Bliss.
Don't make any sorry excuses like, "I don't know how to cook" or "I don't have time to cook" (what dismal justification that is). LEARN to cook. MAKE TIME to cook. Just do it. You have the tools, now you just have to actually do it.
OH! And one more thing....I think one of the reasons we all love to rely on restaurants is because of the ambiance of the place, the feeling of the atmosphere. One "ah-HA!" moment I've had during my journey towards veganism is realizing how important it is to create a nice eating environment at home. Making a lovely meal in your own kitchen doesn't sound appealing if you know you'll be eating it on the floor, under florescent lights in a filthy room. So, take a moment to make an eating space that will support, with shining glory, all of the work and forethought you've put into creating the meal! That'll mean different things for all of us but for me, it means having lovely lighting, a clean space, and little to no noise. Feel free to experiment with different factors in your own world.
COOK FOR YOURSELF! It's the best thing you can do. (That, and wearing sunscreen.)
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Hearty lentil soup is probably one of my favorite things in the world. My personal recipe ebbs and flows through lots of changes according to what I have on hand, but always ends up tasting freakin' amazing. It's simple and wonderful, nourishing and kind to your sexy bod.
Heat some oil in a large, deep pot (a stockpot is best). Add:
1 big onion, diced
1 tbs paprika (I tend to add a good deal more...I love paprika)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne pepper (If you want)
Cook the onion and spices on high for about 2 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften. Stir in:
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
8 cups liquid*
2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups dry lentils (any kind)
salt and pepper to taste
Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the soup is boil, turn down the stove, cover, and simmer for around 40 minutes or until the lentils and sweet potatoes are soft. Grab a glass of wine and a few slices of vegan cornbread, then go sit outside for an amazing summer supper.
Gotta love lentil soup! Adapting your own version is a cinch, too. My wonderful friend Stephanie shares my lentil adoration and has done lots of experimenting. Here's her amazing concoction.
*You've got a few options as far as liquids go. Use whatever you've got or a combination of two or three of them, just making sure you get 8 cups of liquid in total:
- Vegetable Broth
- Water with 2-3 vegan bouillon cubes
- Plain Water (you may need to up the spices)
- Red Wine (my fave option...great for when you're feeling decadent!)
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
...and proceeded to freak the fudge out as I laid eyes on a VEGGIE PATTIE!!! Holy crap!!!! I enthusiastically ordered one without cheese and bounced up and down with excitement at the prospect of sinking my teeth into a Mark's In and Out creation...
OH MY FREAKIN' GOD it was amazing. And vegan. And totally worth the indulgence. And solid proof that veganism is possible anywhere, even in my tiny hometown of Livingston, MT. Who'd've thunk it?
Sunday, June 13, 2010
During the growing period between nasty bloody flesh and the glory that is the plant kingdom, you should eat heartily. Real heartily. Seriously, chow down on yams and kale till you're blue in the face. Got whole grains? Eat 'em up. For the first week of your transition, I give you permission to go crazy with healthy food, enjoying every last bite and feeling amazing after every meal.
To that end, and as promised, I present my super easy black bean burgers (you even get to use canned beans)! Make a big batch of these to throw in a pan with a bit of oil, toss on the grill, or put in the freezer for later. With some chips and a glass of cold beer, I'm on cloud nine.
In a large bowl, combine:
1 15 oz. can black beans (preferably organic)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
With a potato masher or a big fork, smoosh up the beans till they're smooth. Then add:
1 cup chopped onion (about half a big onion)
1/2 cup corn
1 cup bread crumbs
1 handful cilantro (if you want)
1 egg yolk*
Mix well to combine, then shape your patties for cooking. They don't take long on the grill or in the pan, so keep an eye out! You want them to be golden brown, not burned little discs. When they're done, put them on a nice big toasted whole-wheat bun with whatever burger stuff you like (but don't forget the greens). I enjoy the classic combo: lots of mustard, ketchup, tomatoes, waaaaay too much onion, and a giant pile of spinach. Oh yeah.
*AHHH! An egg yolk in a vegan recipe! Is she crazy? Look, going totally vegan with this is a cinch (just replace the egg with 1-2 tbs canola oil or a big dollop of silken tofu...you simply need to get the patties to stick together), but I wanted it to be accessible for those of you who are trying to kick meat out for good. No need to make too many changes at once, right? You'll LOVE this recipe either way!
Friday, June 11, 2010
Slowing down is a big deal, and a HUGE step towards being mindful and healthful in your eating habits. In fact, of all the things I've posted on in the last 2 weeks, this topic has come back to me the most often in daily life. It's really worth elaborating on, so I've come up with a list of questions to ask yourself while you're eating or thinking about eating:
"DO I ALREADY KNOW WHAT THIS TASTES LIKE?" Since many of us return to the same vices over and over again, the answer to this question is most likely a big YES. Putting that Oreo into your mouth isn't going to be an earth-shattering thing...you know exactly the taste and texture you'll experience if you do. Well where's the fun in that? If you're looking to indulge, do it with something new and exciting!
"DOES THIS EVEN TASTE GOOD?" Three bites into your meal, ask yourself if you're truly enjoying what you're eating. And I mean it. For real. It shocks me how often I'll hear, "Well, it's not the best, but I'll eat it anyway." WHY? Cause you paid for it? Is it worth the feelings you'll have later? And if you're so hungry that you don't care what it tastes like, than you've committed the cardinal sin of letting your fuel tank get too close to E. (See "Getting SUPER Hungry is a SUPER Bad Idea") Don't eat it if it's not delicious.
"DO I HAVE TIME TO EAT THIS WELL?" If you don't have time to sit down and allow yourself to experience the meal, wait until you do. If you're so hungry that this is impossible, you've fudged up. (See "Getting SUPER Hungry is a SUPER Bad Idea")
"CAN I PUT THIS DOWN?" Putting your food down every couple bites does amazing things for your mind and body, which is something you already know. But, if putting it down is impossible you're in danger of stepping into scarfing territory. Avoid things that fall apart without your hand wrapped around it: overstuffed tortillas, giant burgers, ice cream cones, and big fat sandwiches are common ones. Now I'm not saying I don't enjoy a huge homemade black bean burger with all the trimmings, but I do have to take extra special care to keep my eating slow and mindful.
"AM I USING AN APPROPRIATELY-SIZED BOWL/PLATE?" You laugh, but go with me on this. Putting a decent amount of food onto a plate that's way too big leaves a lot of empty space. What do you want to do then? Fill up the space with more food, of course. Use a smaller plate and your brain will get a visual cue that yes, that's enough food. And no matter what you're eating, be sure you're actually using a plate or bowl. Never never never eat out of plastic or some other sad container. These are meant to speed up the eating process and are fucking pathetic when you think about it.
"WILL MY MOMMY GIVE ME A REWARD FOR CLEANING MY PLATE?" Nope. So if you're full, stop.
Eat slowly. Pay attention. Feel awesome. Be thankful for all this bounty.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
The point of getting rid of meat is NOT to replace it, but to learn to live without it entirely. That being said, there are a few awesome products that can help make things easier while you're transitioning. They're a temporary fix though, ok? They can solve the immediate problem but will not help the larger endeavor if you use them all the time! As the Amazing AJ says, "Use them as a bridge, not a crutch." Even after you've wean yourself off of them, they can still be an awesome vegan treat to have once in a while.
Lots of different meat replacer brands and products are out there, but some of them totally suck. So, in an effort to save you the leg-work and the cash, here are some of the best:
Yves...If You Please! makes an awesome faux-ground beef that comes in plain and taco flavorings (the taco is one of my faves...soooo good rolled up with salsa, onions, tomatoes, spinach, beans, and fake sour cream in a tortilla). Their deli slices aren't half bad either.
GardenBurger has a seemingly endless line of veggie patties including Black Bean, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Portabella Burgers. Be mindful though, not all of them are vegan. These patties cook up really fast and make huge, filling meals (of course, the ones you'll eventually learn to make at home will be far superior).
Morningstar Farms makes a ton of stuff, including amazing faux breakfast sausage patties that cook up in the oven. Since their products aren't created sustainably or with organic ingredients, use them sparingly.
Quorn makes a fake chicken patty that's so good you'll fall off your chair.
Lightlife is my source for all things tempeh, including Fakin' Bacon that makes one bad-ass BLT. (If you don't exactly know what tempeh is, don't worry. There's more info a-comin'.)
Lots of people say, "I've tried to go vegetarian a few times, but my body craves meat." Seriously? Since when are cravings a reliable indicator of what your body actually needs? As the Skinny Bitches say, smokers crave cigarettes, alcoholics crave alcohol, drug addicts crave drugs, and junk food eaters crave junk. Succumbing to cravings is never good, and will inevitably cause you to succumb over and over again to your vice, whatever it may be (we all have 'em). So STOP THAT!
I know that kicking meat out of your diet can be a huge challenge. Craving the unique texture, taste, and density of flesh is a really common occurrence for those who are experimenting with vegetarianism. However, I promise you that once you start being mindful of your body's responses, both to healthy and unhealthy foods, these cravings will naturally leave you. You'll eventually notice the nasty smell that raw chicken leaves behind on your cutting board. You'll feel disgusted when you pull that little maxipad thing off your pound of ground beef, soaked in blood and smelling like death. You'll look at picture like the one below and think, "Ugh. That's fucking disgusting."I mean seriously, really look at that. Bones and blood and fat and gristle. Ask yourself, "Is that really what my body needs?"
For starters, and just to give you an organized way to approach this, give yourself 5 days to try it out. Starting on Monday, or on whatever day you enter a string of relatively structured days, make the decision to leave meat alone. Don't tell yourself that you're "giving up" meat, but rather that you're making an educated, controlled choice about what you're putting into your body, your temple (how's THAT for an intrinsic motivator?). Start paying attention to how you feel when you eat something unhealthy. How do you feel while you're eating it? Right after? An hour later? Does it affect how you sleep? How you feel the next day? I guarantee that making good choices will yield good things, just like Mother Goose said.
Give it a shot and don't be a drama queen. Come day 3, if you feel like giving up, give yourself a bitchslap and tell your addiction to take a hike for a bit....go all the way through 5 days, and feel good about making such a big step! How do you feel now? Could you go longer? Even though you could return to your old vices, do you really want to? Think about it. I know it's a challenge, but I promise you...It's totally 100% worth it. You'll stop being fat, start getting buff, and your general sexiness will increase tenfold.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Okay, guys. Before we go into the nasty-ass disaster that is dairy and the dairy industry, I thought now would be a good time to visit the egg world. First of all, I'd like to get this out of the way: When you think about what an egg truly is, it can become pretty difficult not to vomit your lunch all over the livingroom. An egg is the reproductive cell of a hen...what it ovulates. It's actually part of the menstrual cycle of that chicken. G-R-O-S-S.
But despite it's obvious nastiness (which becomes even more obvious when you separate the yolk away from the white and that stringy, gluey albumen is hangin' on for dear life with the little hard blob pulling apart) the egg is really freakin' useful, especially in baking. Eggs make your goodies stick together, thanks to the binding power of that yolk, and also assist in leavening. Getting around eggs is probably the most difficult task a vegan baker has in inventing recipes, but fear not...there are ways. That's for another post, though.
Yeah, yeah. I know they're awesome for breakfast, too. And with the combined power of all our brains and experience we could probably come up with 100 ways to cook them, some of which are grosser than others (I saw Ina Garten, who I usually can look to for inspiration, add heavy cream to 4 raw eggs and cook them for less than 3 minutes...she literally poured them onto a plate). But the thing is, eggs are just as chock full of antibiotics and freaky growth hormones as the flesh of the poor animal. Pregnant women avoid alcohol because it affects the fetus, right? The same concept applies here. All that disgusting shit the chickens are forced to imbibe goes straight into the eggs and straight into your temple.
Look, I'll be honest with you. If I'm going to fall off the vegan wagon once in a while, it's never going to be for meat or ice cream, milk or butter, not even cheese...but eggs. Because sometimes (especially after a long long run), a poached egg with dill over toast is the most amazing thing ever. However, my tummy is not a fan and will repay my indulgence with cramping and stinkiness. These are realities I'm willing to accept if I choose to eat an egg, and 99% of the time will quickly push the thought of eggs away from the "Oh my god...this tastes so good" side of my brain, to the "Oh my god...don't you see how revolting this is?" side.
If you do decide to keep eating eggs, be sure that it's only once in a great while. Eggs are crazy high in cholesterol (as high as 200mg per egg!) and have absolutely no fiber for your belly to munch on (hence the inevitable stinkiness), so they're definitely not for daily consumption. Also, be absolutely certain that your eggs come from an antibiotic-free farm with cage-free, vegetarian-fed hens (you do NOT want to see what they feed to the poor non-vegetarian chickens...it's enough to make you want to die). Cook them up nicely, add some extra touches, sit down, and enjoy your indulgence. Be prepared to pay attention to how your body responds.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
So many people are kind of intimidated by yeast, but don't be! It's so super easy to work with and will rarely let you down (be sure your yeast packets aren't out of date, as that tends to be the reason yeasty things fail). This recipe itself was a bit of an experiment, but I think it turned out pretty well! The whole wheat flour can make the bread pretty dense if you're not careful, so if you're feeling rebellious go ahead and use all-purpose flour (but don't blame me if you can't poop for 3 days after you snarf it down). Earth Balance Butter is what makes this bread so freakin' good...
In a large bowl, combine:
1 cup warm water
1 tbs honey
1 packet active dry yeast
Bloom the yeast for about 5 minutes or until it's nice and foamy, then add:
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tbs canola oil
Stir until a sticky mass comes together, then add:
2 more cups whole wheat flour
1-2 tsp salt (you may need a bit more to suit your taste)
Stir with the spoon, but switch to your hands when the dough comes together. Turn the whole thing out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Return the dough to a greased bowl, cover with a wet paper towel, and let it rise undisturbed in a warm place until it doubles in size (mine took about 75 minutes).
When the dough has risen, turn it out and knead for about 1 minute just to soften it up. Shape the dough into a loaf by rolling it out a little and tucking in the ends. Place the blob into a greased loaf pan. Cover again with the paper towel and let the dough rise until it doubles once more, about 50 minutes.
Bake a 375 for about 25 minutes, or until the loaf is browned and sounds hollow when tapped with a spoon. And HERE's where it gets amazing: When there's about 5 minutes of baking time left, pull the loaf out and schmear the top with Earth Balance Butter (See? Told ya you'd use it!) Watch it melt down into the pan. Om nom nom. Put it back into the oven for the remaining time, or feel free to wait a few minutes and repeat the butter-schmear trick...you won't regret it.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Perfect as an afternoon snack or fiber-full breakfast, these muffins are so good your pubes will fall out. Hot from the oven with a schmear of Earth Balance butter...AMAZING. Plus, they're sweetened with maple syrup, molasses, and bananas...not sugar! EVEN MORE AMAZING.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine:
1 cup soy milk
1/2 cup canola oil (My friend Breanna says applesauce is a great oil replacer. Give it a shot!)
2 tbs molasses
2 tbs maple syrup (The real stuff is best of course, but expensive. Use what you have.)
2 smooshed bananas
Mix by hand until combined, then add:
1 cup cooked wheat berries
1 cup oats
1 1/4 cup wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
Stir just until combined, being careful not to overmix (unless you want cute little hockey pucks). The batter will be quite thick. Spoon it into a greased muffin tin, filling each almost to the top. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
And just for funsies, here are some awesome variations...some more decadent than others:
- Add stuff. Nuts, dates, raisins, dried cherries or apricots, coconut, chocolate chips, or any combination of various yummies
- Top with icing. Stir together 1 cup powdered sugar and 1-2 tsp maple syrup for a quick frosting to drizzle over the top. Burn off your sugar high by dancing around the kitchen.
Once I discovered wheat berries, they quickly became one of my favorite things! They are a true whole grain, loaded with protein and iron, and chock FULL of fiber. Grinding raw wheat berries is what makes flour (which the more industrious of us can do at home), but you can also cook them up much like rice to make all kinds of delicious things. They've got an awesome chewy texture and will keep you full forever!
When I bring a bag home from the store, I dump the whole thing into a bowl and soak them in water overnight in the fridge. Cooking them is a cinch: you put them in a giant pot, cover the grains with about 2 inches of water, put the lid on, set it to boil, and walk away. They'll take a long long time to cook all the way, usually between 45 and 90 minutes, and may need a few more minutes to sit (covered) and absorb the extra liquid. But, they require almost zero attention and are really hard to overcook. Easy peezy lemon squeezy.
Once you get them cooked they can hang out in the fridge for a good long while, allowing you to experiment with all kinds of wheat berry goodness. The classic way to eat them is in a salad. Here's my crazy simple mexican version:
In a big bowl, place:
2 cups cooked wheat berries
1 cup corn (if the berries are still hot you can use frozen)
1 cup black beans
1/2 cup awesome salsa
1 giant handful of fresh cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste
There are a million different possible ways to make wheat berry salad, so start diggin' in your cupboards for inspiration. Here's a recipe from FoodNetwork that looks pretty good and Barefoot Contessa's adaptation would be yummy too, although neither call for soaking the berries overnight (hello farty pants). You can also put them in your oatmeal with peanut butter and bananas, toss them into a green salad, or eat them for dessert (put some in a bowl with almonds, cinnamon, soy milk, and honey). Aren't they amazing?
Sunday, June 6, 2010
20% of calories from protein
80% of calories from fat
$5-$10/lb (1 serving)
25% of calories from protein
5% of calories from fat
High in Fiber
Keeps You Regular (SO important!)
$2-$4/lb (4 servings)
1. When you're starting with dry beans (as well you should), it's very important to soak them overnight to help break down the farty sugars. In the morning, or whenever you decide to boil them, dump the soaking water down the drain and start with fresh.
2. Throw a bay leaf into the boiling pot to break the beans down even further. Yummy smells will abound.
3. During the first 10 minutes or so of the cooking process, you'll notice a big head of foam show up on the surface of the water. Foam=farts. Skim it off.
If I had a dollar for everytime someone said something along the lines of, "You'll develop a protein deficiency if you don't eat meat," I'd be filthy fuckin' rich. The notion that we, as a civilized people, have to focus on getting protein or that we even need to seek it out consciously is a load of hooey. The truth is, you're waaaaaaay more likely to overdo protein than you are to develop a deficiency.
First of all, have you ever in your entire life heard of someone in a developed nation with a protein deficiency? Hell, no. The clinical term for this problem is call "kwashiorkor." Ever heard of that? Me neither. And neither has Microsoft Word, as that little squiggly red line is telling me. How's that for obvious?
We all need protein. It allows for proper growth and repair of ALL your body tissues (not just muscle...so forget about eating protein to bulk up), contributes to red blood cell production, and helps support the formation of hemoglobin and antibodies. It's a super awesome enzyme that we can't live without! But you know what's even more cool? The world of plants supplies us with more protein than we could ever need! HURRAH! Beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole-grain breads and pastas, bulgur, millet, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, oats, rice, potatoes, yams, broccoli, kale, asparagus, avocados, soy, tofu, tempeh, mushrooms.....I could go on and on. Protein is everywhere!
So here comes the next thing you might want to argue about: "Well Shelley, that's all well and good. But I know that MEAT is the only true complete protein. I'd have to eat a hell of a lot of beans and buckwheat to get the same amount I would in my fantastically healthy bucket o' chicken." Sorry, Charlie. No sale. Eating meat for protein is like eating monkey poop for vegetables...you're getting it secondhand. The muscles of an animal, the one you're eating, contain the proteins that the animal couldn't use themselves...namely, protein waste. Plants are a much better source, are way the hell and gone cheaper to buy, and are far better for you (something you already know).
Forget about the Atkins diet (oh, that'll be a fun post) or any notion you have that protein makes your body stronger or your muscles bigger, or that it gives you any excuse to keep eating meat at all. You have PLENTY of protein already from the bounty of planet Earth, and are now completely out of reasons to put dead rotting flesh into your mouth ever again.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Do not allow yourself to reach this point, no matter what. Of course, this is not free license to binge in order to keep the monster at bay. But it IS another way to put your mind into the process of feeding and nurturing yourself. Eating, since you do it so often, is the most important thing you do all day. Spend time thinking about what needs to happen where, and you won't end up looking like this:
Or feeling like this:
Thursday, June 3, 2010
...you can't call yourself an environmentalist, a treehugger, a lover of mother earth or whatever, if you eat meat. We are expending HUGE amounts of natural resources on 20 billion head of livestock across the planet, and despite our efforts to recycle, save energy, and reduce consumption, they won't do much if we don't stop or reduce our meat-eating habits. In fact, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recently said," In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about major reductions in a short period of time, reducing meat consumption clearly is the most attractive opportunity." (Jowit, "UN Says Eat Less Meat to Curb Global Warming" The Observer). Here's how this shit-storm shakes out:
1. TOXIC SHIT, LITERALLY Even though we have really strict laws about how we dispose of our own waste, the rules don't translate well to animal populations and can be easily side-stepped. And according to Worldwatch Institute, livestock in the USA produces 130 times more waste than we do, much of which ends up in our water tables, lakes, and rivers. In fact, the Mississippi River has brought so much filth and garbage to the Gulf of Mexico that it's created an 8,000 square mile dead zone, where there is no oxygen and therefore, no life. So, those fisherman have to go waaaaay the hell and gone out into the sea to find a decent catch (all of which is subsidized by our federal tax dollars).
2. BYE BYE FRESH WATER Dr. Georg Borgstrom from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State determined that 2,500 gallons of water is used to produce one pound of beef. Seem like that estimate is off? The Cattleman's Association says it's somewhere around 1,000. Hmm... Well, I guess we're not sure, but we do know this: One 16-oz steak uses the amount of water you would need for 6 months worth of showers (Robbins, The Food Revolution).
3. ANIMALS EAT A BOATLOAD O' FOOD 50 percent of the corn grown in the USA is eaten by animals (National Corn Grower's Association "US Corn Growers: Producing Food and Fuel"). Imagine how many hungry people could be fed in the world if we weren't busy fattening up the animals? In his book Animal Liberation, Peter Singer claims that a mere 10% reduction in meat consumption would feed 60 million people in a year. 60 million people.
Look, I hate all this crap too. And again, to be brutally honest, this stand-alone reason probably wouldn't be enough to make you stop meat all together (It wouldn't be enough for me). It's really easy to ignore all this when you have a plate of Chicken Fettuccine staring back at you, or the smell of bacon wafting down the hallway. But, I hope you're starting to get the picture.
In a deep microwave safe cereal bowl, place:
1/2 cup Oats
1 cup water
Microwave high for about 1 1/2 minutes, although your microwave may need more or less time. Be sure you stand watch for the first few times...an overflow may be imminent if you're not careful! Then, add whatever vegan goodies you want, aiming for at least one fruit, one protein (nuts or seeds), and some way to add a little moisture (soy milk, almond milk, soy yogurt). My fave combination tends to include a banana or two, a handful of almonds, and a dash of plain soy milk. So. F-ing. Amazing.
Oats, being a whole grain, are best when they're minimally processed...so steer clear of "rolled" oats (which are coated in low-nutrient constipation-inducing white flour) and go straight for "steel cut." You may need to add more or less water for different varieties, but you'll quickly figure it out.
Enjoy your oatmeal, and enjoy pooping like a champ! (More on that very important subject later.) Your body totally jives on oatmeal and will push it through your system very quickly, so feel free to add big piles of berries and nuts to help get you all the way to lunchtime. Delish.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine:
1 1/2 cups flour (try whole wheat...soooo good)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 sticks Earth Balance Vegan Butter at room temp (This stuff is amazing. Get to know it.)
Smoosh the butter and the dry ingredients together until loose crumbs form. It'll take a minute or two. Reserve about 1 cup of the mixture for later, then press the rest into an even layer in a greased square cake pan. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Leave the oven on, and let the crust cool for 5-7 minutes. Then, grab:
1 cup raspberry jam, a good kind (you can change up the flavor too...blackberry is awesome!)
Spread the jam over the warm crust with a big spoon. Crumble the remaining crust mixture over the top and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the filling starts to bubble around the edges. Cool completely, cut into squares, and prepare to have an orgasm in your mouth.
It's at this point in the discussion that I must address those of you waiting in the wings, sitting on your hands, trying desperately not to shout that big word, that huge myth, that giant reason that we've been duped into believing meat is good. "PROTEIN," you want to shout. "Where do you get your PROTEIN?!??!" Fear not, I'm ready for ya. But before I walk down that road, there are a few other things we must address.
Now, I know what happens when you hear the silly news people say, "______ (table salt, chlorine, plastic, carpet cleaner, etc.) has now been liked to _______(different types of horrible diseases)." If you're anything like me, you don't pay attention. Why would you? These are things you might have to deal with, waaaaay off sometime in an unforeseeable future. And won't there be cures for all these things once I get to be that old? And well (this is my personal favorite and apparently also the favorite of many unfortunate members of our generation), "I know I'm only going to live till 50, so I won't worry about it." Okay, that's cool. I won't worry about it either. I won't bore you with all kinds of stats and shit, because I know we all have better things to do. I will however, briefly say that colon and rectal cancer (which I'm sure is a wonderful disease) is 67 times more likely to develop in meat-eaters ("Meat Again Linked to Colorectal Cancer" pcrm.org). It's thought that, because of the bumpy texture of our destined-for-plants intestines, rotten meat particles settle in the cracks and sit for years, causing all kinds of nasty problems for the colon, kidneys, and intestines themselves. Yummy. Some people...people with the means to pay of course, deal with this problem by getting colonics which real carnivores never have to do. Silly stats mean nothing to us, but I suppose the experience of passing a cheeseburger you ate in 1995 might.
The other thing, and this is a BIG thing, is that the animals we eat are kept in the most wretched environment you can think of. Though we should feel sorry for them, we all need a palpable reason to stop subscribing to the world of meat...a reason that can be felt, that's visceral and real. Pity for the animals probably won't, in all brutal honesty, be enough. Let's see...hmmm...how 'bout the wonderful world of antibiotics? Anyone?
Chickens and hens are kept inside, stacked from floor-to-ceiling in cages that are too small to allow them to spread their wings, so their feet actually grow into the wire mesh. It's loud and cramped, and the chickens become so stressed out that they'll start pecking eachother to death, the wounds of which fester and get infected. They live their entire lives in their own shit, puke, pee, and pus. Isn't that sweet? In order for an animal to stay alive in these conditions, they have to be dosed with antibiotics...literally doused with them, inside and out. In fact, of the 50 million pounds of antibiotics made in the USA each year, 70 PERCENT of them are given to farm animals!!!! (Gelles, "Why Antibiotics in Meat Should Give You Pause," Philadelphia Inquirer). Remember how overuse of antibiotics causes our immune systems to resist them? Yeah, so do I. I'd say that's a visceral reason.
Nasty. Antibiotics, hormones, pesticides...gross gross gross. It's just another brick in the wall, baby. Eating meat is bad for us. And for all you "PROTEIN" shouters out there...don't worry. It's comin'.
1. SPEED AND AGILITY Go ahead. Go catch that gazelle over there. Even cheetahs have a hard time with it.
2. STRENGTH Wolves don't generally chase down their prey. Instead, they wait in the shadows until their dinner gets distracted, upon which time the wolf bounds to life, wrestles it to the ground, and rips out its throat. You'd get your ass kicked if you tried that.
3. TEETH Use your tongue and feel around at the back of your mouth. Those cute little flat molars are great for grinding down grain and fibrous materials, but they don't hold a candle to a lion's mouthfull of knife-sharp instant death. Our teeth are blunt, flat, and closely-spaced like those of a deer. Other carnivores have much larger gaps between their teeth in order to ensure that meat doesn't get stuck between them, not to mention a serious set of flesh-ripping canine daggers on both sides. I know people who struggle with hot dogs. We suck at chewing meat and can barely fathom tearing at it.
4. SALIVA Hydrochloric acid, the enzyme needed to break down flesh, isn't adequately available to our destined-for-plants stomachs. Other carnivores have 10 times the amount we do. Even still, digesting meat is taxing, which is why you'll see most carnivores napping away all afternoon after eating in the morning.
5. INTESTINES The intestines of a carnivore are short (usually between 6 and 10 feet long) and relatively straight and smooth, which allows for quick and easy digestion of raw flesh that rots quickly. Our intestines range between 23 and 28 feet long (crazy!) and are coiled, puckered, and move in three different directions (ascending, traversing, descending). It can take 3 days to get meat pushed all the way through our system, and at 98.6 degrees too! So by the time you see it again...you guessed it, it's fucking rotten. Ewww. If you'd like to see the same effect, go buy a steak on some steamy summer day, put it out on the porch, and leave it there for 3 days. Behold the sight and smell of putrefied flesh.
6. CLAWS You have none.
7. FAMILY RESEMBLANCE Look at our nearest kin, the chimp. They split from human evolution only about 6 million years ago, a mere blink in the history of time, and bear amazing resemblance to us. (Really, it's kinda freaky). They breed like us, use tools like us, and may even be able to communicate like us. And guess what? They have a plant-based diet. They don't eat giant slabs of raw meat, but instead feast on fruit, leaves, and sometimes termites (a far cry from that BigMac). When times are tough they can band together and hunt down another monkey for dinner, but this is only done when the chimps are desperate. Same as us, bitches. Our ability to use meat as food was helpful during times of hunger, but it wreaked havoc on our systems. We only ate meat when we had to, when it was a choice between deer or death. And sometimes it was a toss, because the amount of energy we had to consume to chase down and kill the animal would sometimes be enough to cause death. (Imagine trying to run down a wild pig when you haven't eaten in 10 days....um, yeah.)
You are not a carnivore. An omnivore, yes. BUT WAIT! I hear it now...you're saying, "Well Shelley, I guess I can just eat meat once in a while, like chimps. Har dee har har." But think about this: When's the last time you got so hungry that you considered banding your pals together to chase down a dog? When's the last time you used 4,000 calories, nine friends, and a stick to kill a mammoth? Meat is not for humans, and it's most definitely not for modern lazy-ass humans.
We thrive on a plant-based diet, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is that.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine:
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
Stir by hand until mixed, then add:
2/3 cup soy milk or nut milk
3-4 ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
Mash the bananas with a fork and stir the mixture together. Feel free to leave chunks! Add:
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Mix just until combined, adding a dash of soy milk if the batter seems too dry (it'll depend on the moisture content of the bananas). Spread batter in a greased loaf pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.