Sunday, November 22, 2009

More Deliciousness

Alright, so, the people at work think I'm crazy for the things I'll put in my mouth. The people I speak of are on a diet of strictly Mexican food or strictly Southern food. They're used to things laden with fat...fat tastes good. So, whenever I make something that they seem interested in, its an accomplishment in itself. I think I'm changing their minds about "health" food.

This week I made a hot-damn-delicious tofu leek quiche (which, even to me sounds horrible). Au contraire. One of the Mexican ladies who works in the back tried it and wants me to bring her two on Monday (this was all communicated using gestures since we don't speak a lick of each other's languages....which is also why she doesn't know the ingredients). But yeah, its that good.

Other winners this week? Portobello mushroom-lentil soup, oatmeal-raisin cookies (using oat flour, not oatmeal), Exotic Squash soup, Upside-Down Rum Pear Tarte...

I had quite a few orders with Etsy, so I didn't have a ton of time to cook. But, when I did, it was really nice. I know I'm probably the farthest from being a poster-child for vegetarianism- since my digestion is not ideal, in spite of the fact that I eat extremely healthy- but hopefully at some point that will turn around and this habit will provide me longevity. If it doesn't, if I still attrap a rare form of cancer or get killed in a car accident, at least I did the best I could.

It may seem that I care too much about finding recipes that taste good and correspond with my diet. Its somewhat true- there is a pleasure I associate with making good food-but I'm mostly a SLOW food advocate. I've fallen in love with good-for-me food like the french, for whom "indulging" in an artichoke heart is not seen as crazy. I'm tired of pumping shit into my system. And it certainly is a worthwhile pursuit to be aware of the food industry and all its subterfuges.

On the other hand, I realize food is ultimately inconsequential to my happiness. I care more about people, and dancing. I await the day I can think more about that than all this..... but maybe thats just the exchange you take for making good food choices. And anyway, it'll get easier....after a bit more time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Week Two

Week one I survived on a lot of things from the store that, much to my chagrin, I realized contained rice flour or rice dextrin (?); I didn't spend any time making much. I also found out that the recipes for soup and such are not followed by the cooks at work...instead of oil they use butter, etc. So, fabulous, I thought. Time to get in the kitchen for realz and stop taking short-cuts.

If anyone stumbles upon this site looking for gluten-free and've come to the right place. Or, anyone with a peanut, cashew, pinto bean, garlic, mustard, or rice allergy... bienvenue!

Things that came out good?

Vanilla ice cream- Veganomicon, how to make it more nutritious?...
Chickpea Noodle Soup- Veganomicon (though I used navy beans and quinoa macaroni instead of wheat-based pasta)
Crumbly Pumpkin Cake- mom's recipe, oat flour
Portobello Spinach Tacos with pesto- made it up
Mom's Recipe Best Vegetable Soup

Not so good?

Mushroom-Cauliflower-Almond Casserole thing from Vegan Taste of France...probably coulda been better had i not been forced to omit the god of all culinary flavors, garlic. Wasn't bad. I wouldn't go so far as to call it degoutant. Might make the mean vegan gravy Spiral makes for its biscuits that I learned last year at their T-giving class to smother the leftovers in.

Last year when I
first got my braces and
became afraid of solid food for the havoc it can wreak on my stomach and
had to really watch my fat intake due to my missing gallbladder

I decided to make a ton of soup. Its so comforting and nutritious and a great detox... split pea, butternut squash, vichysoisse, TVP stew...I think I'll unearth those recipes and get back in there. If I can just perfect a recipe for homemade gluten-free will be a complete meal.

Friday, November 6, 2009

One Last Diet

I used to be an excessive dieter (which I don't really think is redundant). It began in high school as just a way to initiate control over one more part of my life (in addition to making perfect grades, being the infallible daughter and girl), ended when I went to France for the first time, and began again when I returned home to try and lose the "foreign study forty" (I'm coining this term). It ended again when I went to Brussels during senior year and decided it would be ridiculous to force a regime under such privileged circumstances. I vowed to find an acceptable balance though, wanting to avoid the aforementioned forty and since after all, many people travel as a part of their profession and must learn to curb an enthusiasm for delicious foreign food. So I said goodbye to dieting.

The freedom that flowed from my newfound joy in eating in moderation, eating fresh and local, and indulging when it was worth it was a life-changing experience. I never read French Women Don't Get Fat, but I'm almost positive this is the behavior it encourages. When you turn to good food, nourishing food, and start to learn how to feel full and satisfied, there is no need to skimp and starve, nor a desire to overdo. Its a whole philosophy I quickly embraced and now champion.

However, when my morals got to me and I realized I could still maintain the same eating ethic whilst doing the right thing and becoming vegetarian, I began to limit my diet once more. In comparison to previous times, though, this was not something I did unwillingly or unhappily. It was a chore, but when something feels right (and being a vegetarian IS right- i say this dogmatically because I care about your health and our planet), it doesn't really matter. It was a chore with immediate rewards.

So here we are today. And again I'm saying, one last diet (very reluctantly). For some reason that has yet to be determined by modern medicine, I suffer from severe gastrointestinal issues. I have since before I became a vegetarian. I've been to every kind of doctor and therapist I can think of. I've had surgery to remove my gallbladder. You name it, I've done it (aside from getting pregnant, my last bastion and acceptable option in the search for a cure). My latest hope? I took an expensive nutritional metabolic test from a chiropractor, who has determined that though not allergic, I am mildly-severely sensitive to the following foods: wheat, rice, mustard, garlic, peanuts, cashews, pinto beans, milk products, eggs, etc. So as a vegetarian, this definitely limits my intake. But, for a vegan, its not as hard. Conclusion? For the next few months, I'll be vegan + celiac disease - certain nuts - rice. interesting endeavor.

I wanted to put this up on my blog because I know there are numerous people who struggle to find an answer to digestive issues. It doesn't surprise me with the diets we're raised on, nor the things we consider food which enter our bodies.

I'm on the verge of a breakdown with trying to come up with an answer. I saw a doctor of internal medicine in August who pretty much told me it was time to just accept my condition. Naturally an optimist, I've sunk to places of despair I would never have imagined possible. So, if nothing else, this whole thing is giving me a perspective on how others live/deal with pain. Humanitarians worldwide do this everyday- they walk in others' shoes. As one who hoped to enter that career-field eventually, I guess its nothing less than what I should expect. Life is not a pain-free existence, and so if anyone also struggling happens upon my blog, I can be satisfied that what I tested and tried benefited you. Knowledge is power!!

Look forward to recipes and results. I'll post what was delicious and inspired me to keep well as stories of those helping me through this time. There is a point when the body gives up and doesn't want to nourish itself anymore. Its a part of the consciousness that can't handle it. I hope to never get to that point, though I know I've been close. Please comment here with your advice if you have any; I'm a grateful recipient of whatver help you got.

A votre sante!