I’m going to talk about food (NaBlo: Day 20)
I don’t think I talk a lot about being vegan on here, except as it pertains to books. Like PopCo, which influenced my decision to try veganism for 30 days, and that time I read the Julia Child book and enjoyed it even though there were times I definitely twitched. But it’s late, I’ve got food in the oven for Vegan Thanksgiving tomorrow, and I’ve gotta wait until it’s done, so I’ll just talk about food because food is on my mind.
The first thing people ask me is, “What do you eat?” I say, “Everything you do, except the animal products.” (After this usually comes the lecture about how I can’t possibly be healthy. I was fine until recently, with the anemia, and I’m happy to say I’ve normalized my iron levels already. Everyone who sympathized and said they’d had it before were either omnivores or omnivores at the time they had it, so nyah.) The next is, “How do you get your protein?” And I said, “Primarily soy and wheat gluten, beans, nuts…I probably eat more fake meat than I should.”
“Fake meat? Like Tofurky?”
Okay, so I’m totally making two Tofurkys tomorrow for Vegan Thanksgiving, but that’s just because I’m lazy. My omnivore husband likes Tofurky, and I LOVE it on sandwiches but can totally take it or leave it as-is. My go-to is Celebration Roast by Field Grains. Even my husband thinks it’s the best. I also love Gardein “turky” cutlets, but I’m not crazy about cranberries–don’t tell my friend Stef–so I don’t get their “roast.”
Gardein and Field Grain are my go-to. I pretty much have a favorite replacement everything.
Which leads to, “Why eat replacement stuff?”
Because 31 years of eating creates certain habits. Food is a huge part of our culture–try being vegan on any major holiday–and I do miss certain things, but the replacements sate that.
For example, I use Tofutti for my cream cheese (try the herb & chive), Daiya for my fake cheese (love the shreds but I don’t like the new Swiss slices), Gardein for my turkey, beef, and chicken replacements, Veganaise for mayo, Better Than Bouillon for my broths, and um…I don’t know what else. The Whole Foods General Tso’s Tofu pretty much proved to me that I didn’t have to go back to meat. The only thing I haven’t found a good replica for is eggs, but I find tofu scramble makes me happy anyway.
I also get a lot of “Ewwww, tofu.” I thought that too at first. I was like, “What IS this weird stuff?” I think I bought it once when I was a teenager just to see what it was like. It’s like…taste-free pudding or something. (I guess it was silken.) It made no sense to me. I couldn’t figure out how some fake meat was so good if tofu was so not-good. And then I had it fried, in a lot of sauce, and I’m like, “Oh, this isn’t so bad.” Then I would get steamed tofu if I forgot to ask for it fried, and then steamed tofu in garlic sauce became my new go-to comfort food when I was getting a cold. I don’t know how that worked. Oh, it also helped to have it in soups a lot first. But mostly I just had to stop comparing it to other things.
A friend of mine the other day said she was surprised that I didn’t know how few companies own so many products, but honestly, I looked over the chart and I wasn’t seeing a lot of things I buy anymore. Other than my vegan staples (mentioned above), I mostly shop in the produce section, and then wherever they keep the grains and beans, and then I’m outtie. This is such a radical shift from my old diet of canned soups and packaged noodles that I look back and feel I’m eating a completely different menu. And yet you CAN eat poorly on a vegan diet. Soda is vegan. Oreos are vegan. A lot of ramen is vegan. (Oriental, kosher.) French fries are vegan–ooh yeah. So when I tell people I’m vegan, sometimes you can see the “Why aren’t you skinny?” look in their eyes. THAT’S WHY.
Anyway, my banana bread is done and smells lovely, so I’ve gotta go get that wrapped up for tomorrow. To sum, here’s what we’re having tomorrow:
Lentil “meat” loaf
Roasted sweet potatoes
Corn on the cob
Death By Chocolate cake (from Vegan Treats in PA)
And instead of salad, this:
(Okay, we’ll take from it and put it on our salads.)
…I’m missing stuff, but I’ll remember tomorrow when I start pulling all the stuff out of my fridge. It is so jammed in there, you guys.
Wish me (us) luck!