Day TWENTY-TWO: Stay Motivated, Stay Educated

This day is easy, because it’s something that I have been doing in my free time since the beginning. Today we are to buy a book, subscribe to a magazine/email newsletter, or follow a blog that will help us stay motivated about veganism and that will continue to educate us on the subject. There are tons and tons, but my two favorites so far are Eat to Live and One Green Planet.

Day TWENTY-ONE: Meet a Real, Live Vegan

Sound advice: veganism is radically different from the Standard American Diet (SAD), and it will take some support in the beginning to find recipes and restaurants you like, find vegan products you can afford, learn about substitutes for you favorite foods, and learn how to act in awkward social situations. It can be done alone, but we all know friends can make a huge difference.

Today’s assignment is to find another vegan to be friends (or at least acquaintances) with. This is going to be a problem for me. People in Southeast Missouri are simply not vegan. There is nothing wrong with getting a little creative, though. For the benefit of everyone, I’ll make a list of ideas:

Good luck everybody. Let me know what works for you, and I’ll do the same.

Good Habits Can Be Difficult

Good habits can be difficult to start and keep. Bad habits can be impossible to break. I ran across some excellent advice today on ZenHabits by Leo Babauta. If you don’t know of Leo, he’s been blogging advice on simple living since 2007. He posted an article today that could be considered helpful in almost any area of your life: diet, exercise, religion, studying, and more.

Go ahead and read I Suck at Habits: How Do I Get Better?

Day TWENTY: No More Eggs

Yet another item at the store that you don’t have to buy anymore! Today is the day to eliminate eggs. Luckily, egg substitutes are legion. I’ve listed three that I have tried and had success with. Remember, each item is equivalent to one egg:

  • 1/2 mashed Banana
  • 1/4 cup Apple Sauce
  • 1 tbs Cornstarch + 2 tbs Water

Not every substitute will taste great with your recipe. Just use your head. For example, if you’re making veggie burgers, you probably won’t want to use a mashed banana as a binder. Instead, you would opt for the cornstarch.

If you love scrambled eggs, give scrambled tofu a shot. I’ve seen at least a hundred variations of this recipe over the last three weeks. Go crazy.

Finally, be sure to watch for stealth eggs in cookies, breads, and pasta. If it helps, Sarah tells us that penne pasta, sourdough bread, and rye bread are almost always vegan. Speaking of Sarah, don’t forget to buy her book or borrow it from your library!

Sweet, hot and spicy soup

I’m definitely going to try this when I get a chance, but maybe with less nutmeg.

Cooking Without Limits

soup

A few days ago I managed to make a very nice sweet soup. In our country we don’t have sweet soup. Most of our soups are sour, so to eat a sweet soup is something new and very interesting. Having a sweet potato in my fridge, I decided to try a sweet soup. So I used what I had in the fridge and this is my sweet soup.

Ingredients:

– 1 sweet potato

– 2 red onions

– 250 g peas with pods

– 1 big carrot

– salt

– pepper

– red chili

– 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Put the the vegetables cut in pieces in a pot to boil them. When they are done, use a blender and mix everything. Put the pot back on the stove and add the spices. I love a spicy food, so I will put lots of chili. I served very hot and…

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Day NINETEEN: Buy Yourslef a Treat

Today’s assignment is a fun one: buy yourself a treat for all of your hard work so far. It’s that simple. Money may be an issue, and this assignment is nonessential to becoming a vegan. That being said, if it fits in the budget, go out and buy yourself something nice (and vegan). Sarah suggests a t-shirt to show your vegan pride. You could also treat yourself to vegan cosmetics or fine (dark) chocolates.

My little indulgence was Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live. This book is a real kick in the pants to take your diet choices seriously. It expounds on the link between consumption of animal products and heart disease/cancer/stroke/diabetes. Dr. Fuhrman is also kind enough to offer a shopping list, a meal plan, and some recipes to set you on the right track.

Day EIGHTEEN: Buy a Veggie Chopper

I never thought I needed this, but behold–more sound advice from Sarah. Get a veggie chopper. My husband bought me a veggie chopper for my birthday last weekend (total coincidence), and it is absolutely magical!

I made pasta with homemade tomato sauce and a side of collard greens with the help of my new mini-appliance. The sauce was a breeze: I just chopped some onion and garlic. While that was cooking over low heat, I chopped some basil and tomatoes to make up the rest of the sauce. It was that easy. The collard greens were already shredded, but I effortlessly added garlic, onion, and sun-dried tomato to cook in with the greens, thanks to the chopper.

No promises, but the model I got came from Menard’s and was only around $15, including a warranty. I can see myself using this thing every single day.

Restaurant Review: Fazoli’s

My family and I went to the Fazoli’s in Poplar Bluff last weekend. I was able to eat Penne Pasta with Marinara Sauce topped with Steamed Broccoli. Had I done a little more research before going, I could have also ordered a Garden Side Salad (no Croutons) with Light Italian Dressing and some Breadsticks without the Garlic Butter. My meal was delicious, but I have one complaint:

None of the combo meals were vegan (fair enough), and they were all about $6.99. I did a “Build Your Own Pasta,” and my pasta with NO meat or cheese cost $7.99 and didn’t include a side or a drink. I guarantee you that the actual cost of my meal was less than the cost of the combos. The pricing certainly doesn’t seem fair. Despite my frustration, eight dollars is still pretty reasonable for a bowl of pasta. Humph.

Day SEVENTEEN: Quality Kitchen Time

One common criticism of the vegan diet is that no one has time to make green smoothies for breakfast, lush salads for lunch, and gourmet meals for dinner every day. I totally agree. Here’s the deal: convenience foods are slowly killing us. An easy solution here is to make your own convenient foods.

Today’s assignment is to spend some quality time in the kitchen. If it can’t work today, schedule some time this weekend or on your next day off. Spend at least an hour doing some food preparation for the coming week. Bake a casserole or cook a deep pot of soup that could provide leftovers for you and your family all week. Chop up some fruit and portion it out into sandwich baggies that can wait in the freezer to become a quick smoothie one busy morning. Slice some vegetables in advance for some easy snacking.

Hopefully in the coming week you won’t be tempted to cheat, because you’ll have created a variety of healthy, convenient options for yourself right at home!

Day SIXTEEN: Eliminate Seafood

This is the last flesh sacrifice you’ll make. Today is the day to toss out or section off the seafood in your pantry. From today on, your diet can be considered vegetarian. Congratulations! If you’re having trouble giving up this last little bit, remember: what we typically like about meat is not the meat itself, but the flavor of the seasonings, sauces, or the grill it was cooked on. Sarah gives some solid advice on this day, encouraging us to substitute portabella mushrooms, baked potatoes, or pasta for the fish in our favorite recipes.

If you haven’t yet, give Sarah Taylor’s Vegan in 30 Days a try! Follow the link to buy a copy, or at least request it at your local library.