Friday, January 21, 2011

My Chipotle Burrito = VEGAN!

I have two words for that - FUCK YEAH!!!!!!

I have been waiting for a response from Chipotle since my trip to NJ at Christmas, when I *thought* that it was butter that they were mixing with the rice. Well, today i received the email that made me do a happy dance:
Debra, Thanks for writing. Our rice does not have butter in it. We cook our rice with soybean oil, and it is completely vegan. I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any further questions. We hope to see you soon.

Hell yeah you'll see me soon - how about tonight? :)

I also learned that the stuff I *thought* was butter is actually lime juice. No wonder their burritos are like crack.

Also, on the website it lists special diet options - very nice. So basically, the things that are not vegan are: pinto beans (they are cooked with a small amount of bacon), meats (obviously), cheese, sour cream, and chipotle-honey vinaigrette. Sweet. I only ever ate chicken from that list anyway- back when I did the meat thing.

Oh, my dream burrito?
Black beans, fajita veggies, ALL THREE salsas (with EXTRA corn salsa) and....that's it! :) Sometimes I will have them throw on some lettuce if I feel adventurous. Oh, and for some strange reason I like baby carrots on the side when I eat it at home...weird, I know. I can seriously eat baby carrots with anything.

So excited to celebrate with a burrito in about half an hour!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Update on protein shake mix

Yay! I found a protein shake that mixes well (thanks to using a cocktail shaker!)
NutriBiotic Rice Protein!

Plus, I found out a way that I don't have to just drink a "shake" - I now mix it in my almond milk and use that milk for my cereal. Duh, why didn't I ever think of that before? Protein + breakfast all in one shot. I learned that I can also mix it in oatmeal, but I normally have cereal for breakfast.

Oh, the best thing about that mix is that it comes in plain, vanilla and chocolate.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What do you eat for protein?

Lots of people ask me what I eat for my protein source now that I have cut animal products from my diet. Honestly, before going veg, I only really ate chicken and fish with the occasional steak or red meat source. Even when we were grilling, I'd still make a veggie burger for myself.

But, now I do have to make sure that I get enough protein, since apparently chicken had a shitload of lean protein. So now my best sources are:

BEANS They pack alot of protein. Luckily there are plenty of beans to choose from, so I can have a variety. Its been easy to replace my old favorite meat-basted recipes with beans. I use chickpeas for my chickpea salad for lunch as well as using them in recipes. I also have grown to love black beans and kidney beans. Lentils are my newest bean to play around with.

TOFU I already liked tofu, so this one was easy. I love it in stir fries and grilled. I even made scrambled tofu last weekend and it was delicious!

QUINOA (keen-wah) SUPERFOOD! This baby is the queen of whole grains and complete protein. It can be used in place of rice in any recipe. (People in Bolivia even eat it as oatmeal - I have yet to try that one.) It is loaded with vitamins and minerals.  It is a great source of folate, iron, magnesium and zinc...and it is one of the few non-meat foods that provide all eight of the essential amino acids that our bodies need to repair themselves. Mmmm, mmmmm good!

NUTS Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. I try not to eat too much because of fat content, but plenty of protein here.

PROTEIN BARS / PROTEIN SHAKES I really love the Odwalla Super Protein bar that has 16g of protein...sometimes I will have that as part of my breakfast in the car if I am in a hurry or as an afternoon snack. I am still trying to find the best vegan protein mix that dissolves well in almond milk just with a spoon. I hate pulling out the blender, so I need one that dissolves easily - I'll keep you posted.

VEGGIE BURGERS I love my veggie burgers - any variety - bring 'em on! Luckily I loved veggie burgers even before going veg, so this was easy peasy. 

MEAT SUBSTITUTES - Gardein makes a whole bunch of delicious meat substitutes.The ones Ive tried are:
~the crispy tenders "chick'n strips" - my favorite so far- I even got my sister to eat them and she said she'd eat them again.
~the "buffalo wings" - yummy
~the stuffed turk'y breasts (available at Thanksgiving, but I still see them in the stores now)- amazing!
~chick'n & scallopini is still in my freezer - I'll let you know
~bbq pulled shreds - I was never ever big on pulled pork, so i I wasn't too crazy for this one. I got is for Craig to try - he wasn't too crazy for it either.
~chicken strips - I had them once and don't feel the need to have them again. I'd rather put garbanzo beans on my salad

Edamame Mmmmm mmmmm! Fresh green soybeans (thankfully not genetically modified) Another complete protein source! A 1/2-cup serving of shelled edamame contains only 100 calories, with 3 g of unsaturated fat and 8 g of protein. It also provides 4 g of fiber and is a good source of calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Edamame doesn't contain any cholesterol and has very little sodium* (unless you throw some salt on them, of course!)

Protein can even be found in my everyday goodies such as oatmeal, cereals, bagels, breads, broccoli, potatoes, peas, and even spaghetti and rice

I am still learning about / experimenting with..... 

SEITAN - no, not Satan...say-tan -it's the protein part of wheat gluten. Some people refer to it as "wheat meat." Ive used it once in a stir fry - it had a chewy texture like meat- good if you drown it with a yummy sauce. Boring if its plain.

TEMPEH The NKOTB for me (oh, that's 'new kid on the block' for those of you unfamiliar with boy band lingo.) I've been interested in this even though its higher in fat than tofu or other proteins. I bought some 'jalapeno flavored' at the Farmer's Market and it was DELICIOUS! I cant wait to get another container. (wikipedia says..."it is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty.")

Have you lost any weight?

Alot of people ask if I have lost any weight on my new diet.

Well, the thing about losing weight is that you have to stop eating like a piggy and start exercising, no matter what kind of diet you are following. I am still working on both of those, so.... nope....I haven't lost any weight yet, but I plan on it once I get moooving (hee hee a cow pun!) and get a grip on the amount of calories I am taking in each day.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

So far so good....

First week of transition to vegan = success in my book....but definitely LOTS to be learned.

Eating at home is quite easy - there are so many recipes out there - plus, most of the vegetarian things I had been making were already vegan (or could be made vegan very easily.) Most of the times, all I need to do is take out the cheese and voila! vegan! Honestly, most things I make don't taste any different to me without the cheese.

Today I made tofu scramble for the first time - YUMMY! Craig said that if I served it to anyone else, that it could pass for real eggs. Hmmm...wonder who I can pull one over on ;)

Going out is another issue.

At dinner this week, we THOUGHT that we ordered something that was vegan, until we got a little surprise when we tasted butter. This is totally a learning experience for us...we are going to make TONS of mistakes along the way...AND we're going to end up eating non-vegan foods by accident or by choice along the line...but the main thing is that we are making an effort to not use/ consume animal products as much as we possibly can without making ourselves crazy. It will not be the end of the world when we mess up...and we will certainly never send anything back at a restaurant if we discover it has something we weren't expecting.

I am going to try my best to be as vegan as possible when out, but I am sure there will be times when it might not work out 100%.

This week we had vegan pizza for the first time at a pizza place at the farmer's market - it was certainly delicious and I didnt miss "real' cheese one bit!

In the same meal, we did learn that Guinness is not vegan....oops!
From Guinness:
In reference to your inquiry, isinglass, a fish product, is used during the clarification process as a magnet to get rid of excess yeast. To the strict Vegan, this would be considered an animal product and therefore unsuitable. 

Like I said....we're going to make LOTS of mistakes along the way!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Making the leap to VEGAN

baby cows are NOT trash :(

This link is just part of the reason that I have decided to cut dairy out of my life. I cannot believe that it has taken me this long to allow myself to see the truth. Animals are not trash and should never be treated that way. I allowed myself to see some of the videos of how cows, pigs, chickens, geese, turkeys, etc are treated at farms and it sickens me. It sickens me that for the almighty dollar, animals are allowed to live in disgusting, painful conditions and treated like machines rather than the living, beautiful creatures that they are. I can no longer support an industry that abuses these creatures anymore. It is so sad that people are being fooled by the pictures of "happy cows," wide open pastures, and loving farms on the packaging of dairy and meat products. I feel sick enough that I supported them for this much of my life, but I am THANKFUL that for the rest of my life I will know better.

I only wish that EVERYONE could feel this way. I wish that there was a way to spread this message without sounding preachy or self-righteous. I guess the only way is by the occasional facebook/twitter posting for now to try to get people to open their minds to what is going on. I can also become involved in local organizations and continue to support places like the Gentle Barn and Farm Sanctuary.

I am VERY thankful that Craig is also an animal lover and he is on board with me.He is willing to give a vegan lifestyle a try too! He has a unique way of transitioning in - he tells people "I am vegan when I cook at home, but vegetarian when I am out" since he feels overwhelmed about not being able to find anything to eat when he is out at bars and restaurants, which is understandable in the beginning stages. I think that in time we will find options at our favorite places, even if it means asking the waiter to change up the selections for us.

For now, that may be how I approach things - if we are out and I have no other options, maybe I will have to allow myself to have a dairy item....BUT in time, i would love to be able to just say no to it no matter what the circumstance. I think this will be a learning experience as we go along...maybe there will be situations where we have no choice but to have a small amount of dairy in a dish - we will see as we go along.

I am glad to have very supportive friends for the most part...I feel lucky to know others who are giving this a try so its been fun to be able to share websites, recipes and ideas.

For those interested in learning more....

Food Inc  is a wonderful documentary that exposes the truth about the food industry. I will never look at food the same way again after watching this. This didn't just focus on meat, but also on the soybean and corn industry, which I learned some shocking things about. I continue to read about all the new things I learned from this.

Meet Your Meat  (narrated by Alec Baldwin) is one of the graphic videos that I forced myself to watch. As much as it made me cry, I needed to see the truth. I think it was important for me to look at the images to truly understand the suffering animals live through each day for the sake of meat, eggs, milk, cheese, etc... It isn't a happy cow on a happy farm like the commercials show. Its a miserable cow in miserable conditions. Please watch for yourself.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Its been awhile....

I haven't blogged since July, but I plan on starting up again with the new year....
all I know is  - I have A LOT to learn!