City Hounds

Just sniffin' around…

Going Vegan

Like most people, Steve and I have struggled with eating well for years.  We go through stages, eating well and cooking at home when we have time, but ording pizza and grabbing McDonalds when we’re busy or stressed out.  For years, both of us have wanted to commit to going vegan for ethical reasons (me) and health reasons (him).  I feel better in my mind when I don’t eat meat; Steve feels better in his body.

I started to jump on the “health” bandwagon this summer after reading Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy Change the World by Kathy Freston.  Steve grabbed the book off the bargain shelves at Barnes & Noble (it was later moved, so we think it was actually there by mistake – or the book had a sudden gain in popularity! ), and the book really changed my way of thinking about a vegan diet.  I knew a plant based diet was healthier, but I had no idea that there is evidence it can not just prevent, but cure diseases like diabetes and cancer.

Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World

For me that was a huge revelation, since so many of the diseases she discusses are those I’m forced to write in my familiy medical history each time I go to the doctor.  Cancer? Check.  Diabetes?  Check.  High blood pressure?  Check.  Heart disease?  Check.  Apparently, the Standard American Diet is killing off my family one at a time.

So, I decided it won’t get me.  Steve and I have committed to a vegan diet.  We concede that we may occiasionally slip up when we’re eating out or eating at others’ homes, but even there we’ll make our best effort to stick to the plan.  I think that it will get easier as time goes on and we settle into our new way of eating.  Because no matter what the books tell you, it’s hard to eat out and avoid all animal products, at least here in the Midwest.  Some places, it’s hard to avoid meat, so avoiding dairy is pretty much out of the question.  There’s only one vegetarian restaurant in town, and while they do serve some vegan options, there are only about 5 or 6 selections.  We met Steve’s parents at a family restaurant last summer and I couldn’t even find a vegetarian option on the menu.  Even the pasta all had meat in the sauce.  And, since the sauce is already mixed up, what are the odds they’ll agree to make meatless?  I suppose I need to be more fearless about asking.  Still, in some ways this is good encouragement for us to cook at home more often, which is good for the pocketbook as well as the body.

Steve’s a fantastic cook, and we’ve built up a great collection of vegan cookbooks over the past couple of years.  Vegan With A Vengence by Isa Chandra Moskowitz is one of our favorites:

Vegan with a Vengeance : Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock

This was the first vegan cookbook Steve bought, and it’s actually the book that got him cooking.  It really changed our lives.  About seven years ago, we were browsing the bookstore, and when we were ready to leave, Steve had two cookbooks in his to-buy pile.  Seeing my skepticism (I did the cooking back then), he promised that, if we got the books, he’d make at least 10 meals over the next couple of months.  What woman could refuse that offer?  Little did I know how much better it would get.  Steve discovered he really like to cook, and he’s really good at it.  Within a month he had taken over the cooking duties completely.  He’s done 90% of the cooking ever since.  Thank you, Isa!

Seriously, Isa’s  books are great because she doesn’t use a lot of “fake” food.  There’s a place for tofu hot dogs and fake bacon, but vegan cooking is oh-so-much-better when it’s not just an imitation of the Standard American Diet.  I mean, we all know fake bacon doesn’t taste like the real thing, so why not find something that just tastes great for what it is?  We now own all Isa’s regular cookbooks: Veganomicon, Vegan Brunch, and Appetite for Reduction.  She also has three books on vegan baking, which we don’t have yet.  I haven’t turned Steve into a baker yet, but I may take that up myself, since there’s no where in town to get vegan baked goodies!

Post Punk Kitchen:

Isa’s Show, Website and Blog

 

Watch episodes of Post Punk Kitchen on Google Videos or YouTube.

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November 4, 2011 - Posted by | Vegan Cooking

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