Monday, January 10, 2011

Did someone say RAW?

Making the truly life-altering change to 'become' vegan is challenging on many levels. And we really do become something different - it's not a simple grocery-list adjustment. This change comes from a freshly opened mind to a concept you may have never considered previously. And if you're not consistently eating from non-animal sources, just remember that every meal you eat -- No -- every portion of every meal that you've exchanged for a non-animal source product, you are making a difference. You are adding to the demand. You're probably also, whether you realize it or not, making a positive impact on someone you know.

It's against our gregarious human nature to go against the flow, so it's no wonder that only 1% of the US population is vegan and 10% that do not consume flesh. Every time you take a step in the direction away from the majority, you are relying on your own mental capacity as an animal with a cerebrum and not on your caveman instincts. You're leaving conformity behind and stepping into your brain's shoes and evolving - go you!
If we are 'supposed' to eat flesh and therefore we 'should', then should we not also crap where we want and breed indiscriminately? You tell me. We're an evolved species with the resources to eat to our optimum health without requiring animals as a source of any nutrition.

It just so happens that I am currently re-living that life-changing experience of a diet change. I've been vegan for nearly four years and during that time I've probably consumed 80% starchy vegetables and grains (potatoes, rice, pasta), 10% beans, 9% fruit, and maybe 1% leafy greens or other veggies. I'm serious! I am an unhealthy vegan! There. I said it.         And boy, it's not easy.

So after much research (just like when I was discovering the atrocities of factory farming and the alternatives to a Standard American Diet before choosing a vegan lifestyle) I have decided to try eating raw foods. My goal is to ease into the exclusively raw diet over a period of 30-45 days and then 'go raw' for 12 weeks. I won't be disappointed if I do not succeed because I'm not causing any suffering by not eating my daily spinach. But I would enjoy the benefits of a healthier body and vitality. So fingers crossed.

Here is my favorite raw recipe from the book, "Thrive, The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life" by Brendan Brazier (vegan triathlete):

Blueberry Rooibos Antioxidant Smoothie (antioxident rich)

1 banana
2 c cold water (or 1.5 c water plus 1 cup ice)
1/2 c blueberries
1 tbs ground flax
1tbs hemp protein
1 tbs agave nectar
1 tbs hemp oil
2 tsp ground rooibos (leave this out to make it raw)

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Makes 2 large servings.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Vegetable Pot Pie

My dad actually whipped this up for me in several little individual casserole pans. It’s absolutely fantastic! With all that starch it's certainly stick-to-your-ribs comfort food, but it's a real treat on a cold night.

Vegan Veggie Pot Pie


1/2 onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 tsp. vegetable oil
3 potatoes, chopped and peeled
1 cup frozen vegetable medley
1/4 can green beans
1/4 cup white rice
2 lasagna noodles, broken into small pieces
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp. cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste


vegan crescent rolls, rolled flat and cut to the size of your casserole pan(s)

Saute the onions and celery in a pan until caramelized. Meanwhile, place your potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring them to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Cook the potatoes until soft enough to be pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes. Place them back in the pot with all the other filling ingredients. Simmer the mixture for 12 to 20 minutes, until your rice and lasagna are perfectly cooked.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom of your casserole pan with a layer of crescent roll. Top with pot pie filling and the other layer of pie crust. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Let it cool and sink right in!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pasta in a Rice Cooker

I love my rice cooker. It makes it so easy to whip up a cup or three of rice to go with beans or curry or anything else. I'd heard that you can cook other things in a rice cooker besides just rice, but hadn't branched out and attempted any. That is, not until a good friend of mine shared with me his method of cooking pasta in one. It's so easy, I've been doing it several times a week. Thanks, Pug! If you have a rice cooker, give this a try. And if you don't, start dropping the hints for a birthday present. :3

Rice Cooker Pasta
2 Cups water
1 Cup tomato sauce
2 Cups pasta (any type except for spaghetti)
1 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
(optional) 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning (or whatever you enjoy)
(optional) minced garlic or garlic powder to taste
(optional) 1/2 to 1 Cup "add-ins" of any sort. (I use 1/2 Cup of TVP chunks.)
(optional) 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (makes it so creamy)

Combine everything in the rice cooker, and press the button! Towards the end, I get up and stir everything a bit because some of it tends to get stuck to the bottom of the pot. Just be careful not to burn yourself, or tip the bowl too much if you have to scrape - you risk lifting it off of the pressure sensor too soon and turning off the cooker. I highly recommend including the nutritional yeast. It gives the sauce a creaminess that is wonderful. You could probably replace the tomato sauce with any other sort of sauce or water-and-seasonings you can think of, too.