Food Day and Vegan(ish)ism

I became a vegetarian when I was 12 years old. On our annual trip to Eastern Washington, my 6th grade best friend and I made a pact. After one more hot dog, we were cutting out meat. Cold turkey.

She lasted one week. I lasted 13 years.

I have fallen off the vegetarian band wagon every once in awhile. I had a few years where I ate fish. Two years where I even dabbled in chicken on a random occasion.

When I started my vegetarian adventure, I was a pre-teen. This means my diet consisted mainly of hot and spicy cheez-its (holy god, they’re addicting), saltine crackers and apples.

It was going well for me.

Although my food choices weren’t the healthiest, I knew that I would never put another piece of pork or beef in my body. At the ripe old age of 13, I discovered Meet your Meat.

Say what you will about education via shock and gore, this movie changed me. As an impressionable young thing who jumped into vegetarianism on a whim, seeing where meat came from was shocking.

It is evident in these videos (regardless of your belief in animals having the intelligence to understand) that what’s happening in our food system is horrible. No living creature should be treated like that. For me, that’s the bottom line

Knowing that was where the majority of our meat came from, I wanted no part of it.

And now here I am, 25 years old and I eat a mainly vegan (once in awhile an egg from Vital Farms isn’t going to hurt me), whole foods diet. Stepping away from cheese was big deterrent from vegan-ism, but as a person that eats nutritional yeast by the spoon full, I get by.

In a country where obesity and heart disease are on the rise, I am kind to my body. I partake in morning runs and long sessions of stretching. I spend hours in the kitchen making nice with kale and sweet potato enchiladas. I have a happy stomach that enjoys endless amounts of fruits and vegetables.

Tomorrow is national Food Day. A call for us to shake it up, change our relationship with our meal. It’s a call for us to look at our current system, our current policies, and see that this isn’t sustainable. We can’t live in a country where childhood obesity is the norm and the food that is most readily available is packed so full of sugar and preservatives there isn’t anything “food” about it.

I don’t eat animals. That is my part of being a conscious eater. 13 years strong and I don’t see myself eating meat anytime soon. I get that this strict diet isn’t for everyone, but if you are at all curious, give it a try. You may be surprised at just how wonderful your body feels.

Happy food day.

Vegan Pesto

There is something so satisfying about a giant plate of pasta smothered in pesto. I was so sad when I thought about losing that from my diet.

Silly me, just take out the Parmesan  add some nutritional yeast and you’re set.

This recipe is from Vegan Spoonful, just another wonderful vegan blog for my to get inspiration.

This pesto is good for pasta, for smearing on some bread or you can freeze it for later. So garlicky, so good.

  • 1 large bunch of basil (3 cups loosely packed)
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic
  • 6 Tbsp raw pine nuts
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor until creamy and perfect. Commence devouring at unladylike speeds.

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Chaos Box

I let myself have a bit too much fun this weekend.

Woops.

After suffering from the WORST allergy attack after doing yard work for a record ten minutes my bestie and I decided to bike to our fave brewery. Mmmmm Interurban IPA, how I love you.

One beer turned into two. Which turned into cocktails and Thai food. Which turned into another beer at the Fremont Solstice Celebration. Which turned into margarita happy hour at El Camino.

my bestie is so stinkin’ pretty.

Worst.

Idea.

Ever.

And when I say worst, I mean best. Best because I spent a summer(ish) evening with my best friend. Best because we always have fun when it is just the two of us drinking too much alcohol. Best because it reaffirmed the idea that this summer will be lived balls to the wall, full of insane ideas explained away by the “chaos box theory”.

This theory was presented by a lovely young lady from Atlanta, GA. After asking me my astrological sign and studying my face for a minute or two, she exclaimed that I liked to put things in boxes.

She hit the nail on the head. If there is something I have to admit (bashfully, and with a little bit of hesitation), it is that fact that I like things to be in their place. I am a planner. I fear change. I like when things are color coded and organized.

I guess this is a Capricorn thing?

Needless to say, this lady suggested that I just put chaos in a box. I take the next two months before my big adventure and LIVE. IT. UP.

Perhaps this will take shape in the form of staying up later than 10 pm. Or it will morph into more road trips to places to see people who make me smile. Perhaps it will simply be the idea to let my hair down (figuratively, of course) and allow myself to live it up.

I mean, I’m only 25 once, right?

I took a baby step in this direction by making a recipe without any hint of a recipe. GASP.

It turned out REALLY good, by the way. Chaos box:1 Regular box: 0

Braised Collard Greens with Grilled Asparagus and a Fried Egg

*I need to work on recipe titles…

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch of collard greens
  • ½ a bunch of asparagus
  • 1 cup of brown rice, and 6 cups of H20
  • ½ cup of vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp curry powder

Start the brown rice. I like to boil mine in about 6 cups of water, reducing to a simmer for 30 minutes. Then I remove it from heat, drain, and let it sit in the pot with the lid on for 10 minutes. That last 10 minutes steams it and makes it the PERFECT brown rice—which is saying a lot, I know.

Wash and cut out the stems of the collard greens. You can cut these into 1 inch chunks and use them as well as the leaves, which I cut into strips. Wash and snap of the ends of the asparagus stalks.

Feed to your hungry puppy, if one exists.

Turn the oven on to 400 degrees and roast asparagus (tossed in 1 tsp olive oil and salt and pepper) for 10-15 minutes, until soft but not mushy.

While asparagus is roasting, heat up 1 tsp of olive oil, and throw in the collard greens. Let wilt for a couple of minutes and then toss in the spices and garlic. Continue to let these bad boys simmer and toss in the ½ cup of vegetable stock. Reduce the heat and let all of those amazing flavors mingle. I kept the collards on the stove the whole time the asparagus was cooking, it definitely cooked down a WHOLE lot, but the flavors were outstanding.

Once the rice, collards and asparagus is done—cook the egg. I am lazy and just popped it into the same pan that I used to cook the collards, and it made it SO MUCH BETTER. The egg soaked up the leftover flavors that were in the pan…

Just drooling thinking about it.

Eat. Enjoy. Thank spring/early summer for giving us all these amazing veggies.

Cheers to the summer of the Chaos Box.