What Vegans Eat: 2013, Week 9, Part 2

Year: 2013 | Week: 9 | Part: 2

Foreword: I probably talk about myself and my life less here than most bloggers elsewhere. Apparently this is bad for readership, since people like to connect and relate or something like that—whatever, for me it’s about the food. But to-night I’m getting a little more personal and introducing a new category. Apologies in advance.

So I may not have mentioned this explicitly, but Ryan and I cook at least 20 meals a week. Sunday nights, we cook lunches for Monday and Tuesday; and Tuesday nights, we cook lunches for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Sometimes there are leftovers for dinner, and sometimes we ‘scrounge’ or strategically plan out-to-lunches.

It’s a considerable amount of effort, but something that neither of us minds.

We have a pretty beneficial division of labour.

I usually pick out the recipes (oftentimes because I need to take pictures for this blog…) and make the grocery list. We both go shopping; Ryan carries the basket and I maintain the list. I compulsively clean the kitchen, then Ryan preps everything. I cook and season, asking Ryan whether pasta’s done or a sauce needs more acid. Ryan packs up, and I clean. (Then I compulsively clean the kitchen, again. Who can stand bits of food sticking to their feet?)

This is two people, cooking two lunches for each of five days—twenty lunches.

And now I’m moving onto a digression.

I recently had my first PCP appointment in nigh on five years. It was just never one of those things that was high on my priority list. And the barrier to entry was pretty high: navigating health insurance, finding a convenient location/date/time.

In all honesty, here’s what I did to find a new PCP:

  • Realised that I lived next to a hospital, and that that hospital probably had a doctor somewhere
  • Used the Internet to find a list of that hospital’s accepting-new-patients doctors
  • Picked the cutest

I’ll keep this short, but the appointment was awesome. She walked into the room, and we both knew that each other was familiar, but couldn’t figure out where.

She also wasn’t judgy at all about the whole vegan thing.

And really, I didn’t realise how much that made me anxious until I noticed how relieved I was when she brushed right by it and was even a little impressed.

(My old PCP was a somewhat morbidly obese man in my hometown who keeps the suburban housewives hyped up on antidepressants, so it’s safe to say that he just assumed that I should ‘eat more meat.’)

It’s almost always something of a struggle with food. I feel like I’m constantly explaining myself—that:

  • I get enough protein (and you really don’t need more than ~10% of your calories from it)
  • I get enough iron…and calcium (which one can’t metabolise well without vitamin D, in which Americans are epidemically deficient), and B vitamins, and vitamins X, Y, and Z
  • I’m superthin not because I starve myself, but because I’m blessed with a rampant metabolism and I don’t know, exercise the willpower not to eat food that’s mostly unpronounceable genetically modified starch and oil?
  • I EAT FOOD!

This last one I want to sound my barbaric yawp over. I EAT FOOD! I EAT ALL KINDS OF FOOD, FROM ALL OVER!

My brother’s birthday was last weekend, and he wanted falafel. My mother asked me to make it, since it didn’t quite fit with her chicken-and-boiled-vegetables menu. I made it, we fried it fresh, and half of the dozen people at the table had never tried falafel.

On one level, I suppose that this makes sense, but who’s never tried falafel!?

(The secret win was that my grandfather loved it, but he didn’t realise 1. that I made it (he’s currently displeased with me because he’s found out that I’m ‘living in sin’ and am ‘a used woman’) 2. it’s middle-eastern food.)

But back to food.

Eventually my new doctor and I realised where we knew each other: we go to the same yoga studio. So suffice it to say that I left my appointment elated and excited.

A few practices later, she mentioned that she and her family were looking to go vegan three days a week. So I sent her a bunch of resources and crossed my fingers that I hadn’t overwhelmed her (if you’re reading this, then my fingers are still crossed!).

A colleague of mine mentioned that he and his wife had watched Forks over Knives recently and were also trying to go vegan.

And with both of them, I was almost at a loss to answer the question: What do you eat?

Vegans hear this all the time.

The way that I explained it to my doctor was ‘think of it less in a “how can I cook without animal products?” way and more in a “how can I substitute animal products when cooking?” way.’

Because honestly, I eat everything. I eat from Mexico to China, from American childhood comfort food to junk food, from dishes in under 45 minutes to dishes that take days in advance to prepare, from light salads to heavy curries.

And actually, curries is where I like to recommend to start: spice, vegetable, rice—simple and satisfying.

So in the selfish effort of having somewhere easy to turn to when people ask ‘What do you eat?’ or ‘Where do I start cooking?’ I’m going to start simple, haphazard posts of the lunches that Ryan and I cook.

So please, leave a comment if you’ve read through all of the above, because I’d like to send you a hug. It was more than self-indulgent, but it provides the necessary walk-up to this project.

***

Year: 2013 | Week: 9 | Part: 2

What do I eat? As a vegan who cooks almost all of my own meals?

To-night, Ryan and I are both exhausted. Both inundated with work, both continuing to work even after we get home. I irked him when I forced him to come sit at the dinner table with me, drink a glass of wine, and answer what he’s most grateful for to-day.

To-night, it was all about efficiency: what can we cook in the least amount of time?

The answer was macnchreesenpeas, and ‘we have some vegetables and some leftover soba, and since salad and avocado don’t keep well I’ll make a dressing and it will be a soba salad.’

Yep.

  1. First lunch: Vegan Macaroni and Cheese, with some Pemberton’s sun-dried tomato pesto mixed in
  2. Second lunch: Soba Salad, inspired by Avocado Wasabi Salad by VeganYumYum (different dressing, subbing soba for greens)

Both of these will be eaten with chopsticks.

  • Oh, this is awesome! Over the years I’ve kept myriad online vegan food journals – usually photo journals, however I don’t have a smart phone/Instagram account and it became quite a pain in the ass – and if I threw something up on my blog, I felt compelled to include a recipe or anecdote or *something*. But I have a child (and a husband, can’t forget him), I make everything from scratch (even grinding most of my own flours), and spend a good hour every night with my daughter making dinner+our lunches the next day . . . So, the online journal thing came to a grinding halt. I finally started tracking my meals on Meal Outlaw – this way everyone from my daughter’s pediatrician to my meat-and-potatoes in-laws can just peek at my calendar and see what the hell we’re eating. BUT – I’m always wondering what other vegans are eating on a regular basis!

    In short – I’m glad you’re doing this and look forward to peeking into your kitchen. 🙂

    • Monika,

      Happy to hear it! I had started something on Twitter, and considered other formats, but my conclusion was basically, ‘Well, I have a blog for a reason—no need to duplicate efforts…’ And I’ve never heard of Meal Outlaw, but nice communication effort!

      And do check in! I hesitated to start off with a mess, but I figured that it would be nice to show that sometimes vegans just make mac+cheese, too, and that option is available.

      Because we can eat anything!

      Meaghan