Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksvegan 3.0

Three years ago I decided to adopt a vegan diet. Here is the blog I wrote on Myspace (WAT) when I made the decision:

Jeez. Two blogs in a week. 

So I'm making a big change to my life. It'll be somewhat gradual, but very needed.

I'm turning vegan.

I'm finding that I eat when I'm bored. I eat when I'm watching tv. I think about food almost constantly and I eat way more than I should. Some of it is healthy, some is not. All of it is making me unhappy.

Let's take french fries. If done right, they are food from heaven. Crispy and hot on the outside, soft and flaky on the inside. A little salt, a little ketchup. Yum. The bad thing about this wonder food is that it's really not good for you. At all. And I will eat fries at any time, whether I'm hungry or not. I try to talk myself out of them at Burgerville but they end up sneaking into my bag anyways. Jeff and I will order a plate to split and I'm seriously upset when they're gone.

When I cook dinner, I always take more than I should and then extra bites when I'm putting it away for lunch the next day. Last night I made this squash & pasta dish (vegan, starting in already) and I ate too much. My tummy felt like Thanksgiving had come early. I need to stop.

Why go vegan? I've been veggie for about 4 years now - if I count back Thanksgivings, my first non-turkey day was at Florin's house in 2004. I get sick if I eat too much cheese and ice cream. If I eat too many veggies, it will have a less negative effect than if I eat too much mac 'n' cheese. Veganism will help me avoid places like Burgerville as I'd have to place some special order and nobody likes that. I can still take in the main staple of our household dinners: pasta. And this will encourage me to experiment with seasonings and unknown veggies. 

But what about protein, you ask. Veggies have protein. I like tofu and that has protein. My soy milk that I've been using since I found that I couldn't drink milk has protein. I love peanut butter, luna bars (vegan!) and black beans. 

This doesn't mean I can continue to stuff my face to the gills. I obviously need help with portions and will power. If that takes brushing my teeth after dinner, drinking two glasses of water before I eat and packing up leftovers before I start eating, then I'll do it. I'm just finding that my current way of eating has too many loopholes, too many opportunities to eat badly.

Is this a forever thing? I don't know. I don't miss meat, at all. I tried some of Jeff's chicken and I didn't feel like I was missing out. In fact, I didn't like the taste. I do like sushi, but there are plenty of non-fishy options there. But damn I'll miss my grilled cheese.

Oh, and beer is vegan.

Obviously, I've grown since I wrote that! I've learned not ALL beer is vegan, and I don't actually miss grilled cheese. I still have an issue with overeating, but I think it's more emotional than anything.

I'm celebrating my third year of veganism with my third annual Thanksvegan. I'll share the menu after the event, as I feel this is long enough, but it is fantastic.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Native Foods comes to Portland! Er, Tigard!

Outer SW Portland is not exactly a desert when it comes to vegan options, but it doesn't compare to closer-in parts of the city like downtown, SE or NE. We proudly hold Green Wok, Laughing Planet, Barbur World Foods, Sweet Lemon (technically in Beaverton, but still) in our cold little hands and now we have Native Foods (technically in Tigard, BUT STILL).

Thanks to a super special friend, I was able to go to the soft opening yesterday and gorge, I mean try out, a bunch of dishes Native Foods has to offer. I took my friend Jill and here is our spread.
 Saigon Roll with DELICIOUS peanut sauce. These tasted so fresh!
Sweet Potato Taquitos. These are much better when they're hot, but the filling was perfect.
Classic Deli Reuben. True story - my only experience with a Reuben was a pizza my mom used to bring home. I would scrape the sauerkraut off  into the bushes outside. That little story means I just had to try this, right? The sauerkraut here wasn't overwhelming and the seitan was amazing.
 Portobello and Sausage Burger. Jill's burger! I love portobellos. And vegan sausage. A win in my book. Right after I took this Jill scraped the lettuce and tomatoes off :-)
 $2 Ninkasi! Also, their menu says local beers, and most are from Oregon, with the exception of 21st Amendment, which is from San Francisco. That's me just being beer picky, though.
 Chocolate Love Pie. The chocolate mousse and crust were fantastic, the nuts on top....meh.
Peanut Butter Parfait. Oh my god, party in my mouth.

And that includes my oh-so-professional review of Native Foods! I plan on going again on Wednesday and trying something else, but WHAT?!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

And Then We Came to the End.

I don't want to say I failed at MoFo this year.

I blogged plenty about delicious vegan food. I made it to 16 posts, or 4/5ths of the 20 post recommendation (please correct me if I have the math wrong. Me + numbers = disaster). I talked about MoFo and veganism to those in my daily life, especially at the new job. My coworkers are FASCINATED by what exactly I can eat, their only example being a girl who is on a raw vegan cleanse to lose a bunch of weight for a trip (and is pretty miserable).

On Halloween, I brought my coworkers cupcakes. Just the basic chocolate cupcakes and fluffy buttercream from VCTOTW, dyed green (I didn't have red to make orange!) and decorated with cute Halloween-y sprinkles. I brought in 12 and took home 2.
The response was overwhelmingly positive. The ladies kept telling me the cupcakes were delicious, and how in the world were they vegan?! I just smiled and said "oil and love."

I also dressed up this year as Luna Lovegood. My awesome friend Crystal channeled Bellatrix LeStrange.
Due to timing, I didn't get a tie. I also just realized my part is on the wrong side. And honestly, this is basically my costume from last year (zombie librarian) but without the zombie makeup.
I think next year I'll be something great, something that doesn't involve pulling clothes out of my closet and repurposing them for a costume.

Ok, on to some serious stuff.

Lately, I've been struggling a lot with my eating habits. It's not something that just appeared in my life, but rather a storm brewing just below the surface finally coming up to wreck the land.

One of the biggest issues is how much I'm eating. I don't want to say I'm binging, because I'm not sure that's what it is, but I've been eating really, really fast, continuing onto a second portion and eating that really fast. Late night trips for toast have also been exacerbating this problem. I've had alot of stomachaches as of late and I'm done. I've been trying to make less food to prevent it and slowing my intake down. I used to take FOREVER to eat a sandwich, now I just inhale my way through it. Not healthy. And those cupcakes I made? I took 12 to work, but had two at my house, before work, without even a thought as to "why am I eating these? Am I hungry?"

Another issue is how much bread I've been eating. I love bread. It's just so easy to have toast in the morning, a sandwich at lunch and a snack (or two) of toasted bread with PB. That's 5 pieces, easy, and I've definitely gone over that in a day. I've been attempting to limit my intake to two pieces a day and I believe it's helping. Please know this is not at attempt at low carb/low gluten intake or anything of the sort. I just don't think overdosing on bread helps anyone.

I think both of these issues of mine are being magnified by stress. I'm in school full time and working half time and I was just "promoted" to bookkeeper at my job. Darlings, I am excellent at AP, but since the old bookkeeper left in August this place is pure chaos. And I have no experience in half of what is being expected of me, so I'm struggling with growing pains.

Wish me luck! Tomorrow I plan on posting about a super special lunch I'm having today.