Archives for Vegan
I spent this past weekend in Asheville, North Carolina. If you've never been, Asheville is an amazing city in North Carolina, part of a four-county metropolitan area and popular for its gorgeous mountains, live music, arts and crafts, locally grown and organic food, historical attractions like the Biltmore Estate and Thomas Wolfe House, and... ...beer. Asheville is home to numerous breweries (such as Highland Brewing Company, French Broad Brewery, and Green Man Brewery - my favorite), and even more pubs. So, when we arrived Friday night, having a drink or three was a given, as was having a delicious vegan meal, so the beau and I headed to Laughing Seed (conveniently located above my favorite pub, Jack of the Wood). We both (yes, both of us - I was so proud of him) ordered a vegan, gluten-free burger and a beer while we waited. Imagine my delight when I saw Dogfish Head's Tweason'ale Gluten-Free Beer on the menu.
When I first started my gluten-lite journey, it was easy to imagine some types of gluten-free foods. For example, fruits and vegetables are gluten free, as are fresh eggs, meat, seeds and nuts, and most dairy products. However, wrapping my brain around other gluten-free versions of certain foods, like breads and pastas, was a different story. I've since discovered that I like some gluten-free bread, I'm not that fond of some kinds of gluten-free hot dog buns, and certain gluten-free pastries are delicious. I'm just now getting around to gluten-free pasta with Road's End Organics Gluten-Free Alfredo Mac & Chreese.
Continuing on my gluten-lite journey, this week I've chosen a sort of convenience food - something you can unwrap, pop in the oven for a few minutes, and NOT feel guilty about! PRODUCT: Amy's Gluten-Free Non-Dairy Cheese Pizza. Like Schar's Gluten-Free Classic White Bread, this is another rice-based product. Amy's Gluten-Free Non-Dairy Cheese Pizza is suitable for those with gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity as well as both vegans and vegetarians. USES: A quick lunch or dinner when you don't have the time or energy to prepare something with actual ingredients. I ate it for dinner one night after work.
Like most big changes in my life, I sort of just woke up one day and decided it was time to eat a vegetable or salad with every meal. Before this decision, I knew I wanted to find a way to lower the amount of non-helpful foods (chips, cookies, giant hunks of cheese, etc) I eat on a daily basis, but was also fully aware that just taking them away wouldn't do the trick. I needed to replace them with something else and fool my stomach into believing everything was normal. "No one's doing any depriving here..." Because fruit has a good amount of sugar, I decided that my childhood arch nemesis, vegetables, was going to be the ticket to a healthier, yet still satisfied, meal. Veggies and I have a troubled past. I willfully neglected them for a while. But now that I'm understanding just how vital they are to my health and energy, the white flag has been raised and I'm welcoming them back into my life in a big way. So, here we are: the veggies-with-every-meal thing. Veggies with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Veggies when I'm not sure I actually want them. Cooked, raw, cut up or in salads, vegetables are invading my life. And it's actually not that bad.
Not to state the obvious, but it's hot. So hot that most of my cooking these days consists of me staring at the oven and then ordering take-out. It's not that I don't want to make myself dinner, it's just that my tiny kitchen threatens to roast me alive any time I even think of turning on the oven. Unfortunately, my sweet tooth doesn't seem to register that baking is out of the question. All it wanted for the last three days was pie. Raspberry, cherry, peach - it didn't matter. Just give me pie! it kept shouting. Give me pie or I will wake you up at 3:30AM with such a craving that you will be forced to mix a spoonful of peanut butter with a spoonful of chocolate sauce in the dark. Alone. While wearing a bathrobe. Since the aforementioned scenario was embarrassing enough the first time around, I decided that something had to be done to appease my need for sweet. I wasn't going to be baking, so a traditional crust was out. I was also battling a nasty head cold, so doing any kind of major prep was impossible. After leafing through some recipes, I finally decided on a raw, vegan fruit tart - it would be fast, easy and full of the sweetness I had been craving.
The first time someone had me try chia seeds, I wasn't sure what to do. Part of me wanted to spit the gelatinous mouthful out (gelatinous is not always a fantastic adjective when it comes to describing food), but another part actually... liked it. The chia seeds had been soaked in almond milk and flavored with a little bit of raw cacao and cinnamon, and once I got over the weird sensation, I realized that all I was truly tasting was creamy cinnamon. Chia seeds don't have much taste, but they do have loads of protein, Omega 3's and fiber, making them the hot new thing for health foodies and normal people alike. Since my first meeting with them, I've grown to enjoy their gelatinous texture (they remind me of tapioca), and have developed a taste for chia seed pudding - which isn't really pudding at all.
Earlier this week, I told you about new research linking low red meat consumption to depressive and anxiety disorders, and asked vegans and vegetarians specifically: Whether they noticed any depression- or anxiety-related changes when they adopted their vegan or vegetarian diets, and Whether they'd be willing to start eating meat again if it meant improving any depression or anxiety they feel. I'd like to take that train of thought a little further to include everyone - vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike. Have you ever made dietary changes for your mental well-being? If not, would you consider it?
Happy Monday, darlings! Here's something for you to chew on this week (maybe literally): According to researchers at Australia's Deakin University in Melbourne, eating less than (or regularly eating MORE THAN) the recommended amount of red meat is tied to depressive and anxiety disorders. PsychCentral.com Associate News Editor Traci Pedersen does a great job of summing up the research, but in short, during a study involving 1,000 women and red meat consumption, researchers found that women who ate less than the recommended amount were more likely to deal with depression and anxiety.