30 Days To Vegan

Vegan

This past Tuesday, I started a 30 day vegan challenge. For the next 30 days, I won’t be eating any meat, dairy or eggs. Yes, I’m aware that Christmas falls within the next 30 days, which I hadn’t really realized when I first decided to embark on this challenge, but it doesn’t matter. As my mom pointed out, if I can make it through Christmas eating vegan, I can make it through anything.

I’ve been a vegetarian for almost four full years now, though during that time I ate fish or seafood on occasion. I’ve always been of the belief that doing something imperfectly is better than doing nothing perfectly, so though sometimes I didn’t totally fit the strict vegetarian label, I still considered myself a vegetarian.

The Why

I initially stopped eating meat after reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. The ethical and health implications of factory farming truly disturbed me, and I no longer felt comfortable with my eating choices, so I stopped cold turkey (ha!). Even with my convictions, for the better part of a year I still made a couple of exceptions – once for McNuggets (ugh, I know right?), another time for my mom’s homemade barbeque ribs.

I share this to illustrate that sometimes despite my beliefs, I have a hard time accepting change in my life, as I think we all do sometimes. For the last four years, I’ve known that I don’t believe in eating seafood (mainly because of bycatch effects and the toxicity of farmed fish), and yet I still occasionally did, when I willfully ignored the things I already knew.

And for four years, I’ve known there are major problems with eating dairy (for example, the hormones in dairy products, the potential link between meat and dairy proteins and serious disease such as heart disease and cancer, the treatment of dairy cows and chickens) and that eating less dairy is probably healthier for humans. And yet for four years, I willfully ignored the things I already knew, mostly because I didn’t want to seem radical or militant or like a hippie or just plain extreme, which is the way our society tends to see vegans.

But I know the things I know, and it doesn’t sit right with me to ignore those things anymore. I want to strive to live in a way that fits with my values and beliefs, so I want to strive to eat healthier for me and for the planet. And in my opinion, the best way for me to do that is to eat a vegan diet of mainly whole foods. I should note that I certainly don’t judge anyone for their personal choices.

Vegan22

The What

I decided to start with a 30 day challenge because the idea of going without eggs for the rest of my life is too terrifying to contemplate (say what you will, but it is what it is!). I’m going to start with 30 days to prove to myself that I’m capable of eating this way, but I’m aiming to keep it up once the 30 days are up. The hashtag I’m using to share my meals and track my progress is #30DaysToVegan, which to me implies progress towards a goal, not a set number of days.

So far it’s been fun and remarkably easy to eat vegan. I’ve been collecting lots of inspiration for vegan recipes on Pinterest, and I’ve been happy to see that it’s easy to slightly modify some of my favourite meals to avoid dairy (and keep all the taste). My family have been really supportive: for example, my mom has made me a meal or two already, and my dad uncomplainingly ate the nutritious but slightly bland curry I made him for dinner. They might not totally understand, but they accept me and my choices, which is a wonderful feeling. That’s the most important thing to me.

The How

I’ll be posting weekly progress updates over on Guinea Pigging Green, and I’ve been trying to post at least one photo of my (vegan!) food on our Instagram, @GreenGuineaPigs, every day. You’re more than welcome to follow along or even join in!

xo,

Steph

Lemon Meringue Pie

My father came to visit last week. And since I haven’t been posting anything of consequence, I would like to take this opportunity to blame my blog’s dry spell on my Dad. You see, had I not been touring contemporary art museums, imbibing tequila shots (yes, with my father), and generally being the best tour guide known to man, I would probably have been sitting alone in my apartment, writing useful content.

Instead, all I have to show for my lack of posting is this pie. This lemon meringue pie, which tastes of love and summer, that I specifically prepared for the arrival of my father and the remains of which have been heartily consumed by my boyfriend since the departure of said father. People, I whipped this meringue by hand. With a whisk. That’s love. Don’t tell me it’s not until you’ve reached minute forty-five of meringue whipping. It should probably be noted that I don’t own any manner of electric beaters, but that makes no difference. By hand! By hand!

You should make a pie for someone that you love. People love pie. People love the fact that you baked them something. People love you. (Are my daddy issues showing? Just kidding. Kind of.) Either way, here’s what happened.

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Veggie Pot Pie

Is it chilly where you are?

It’s on and off around here, but sometimes I don’t notice because around midterm season (yes, for me mid-September is in fact midterm season, I have one on Tuesday..) I tend not to leave my house for hours at a time. Especially on the weekends. Instead, I spend my days indoors, in sweats and a ponytail, studying (to me, this means lecturing aloud while pacing my room and probably annoying my roommate to no end) and occasionally making (what I assume to be) weather-appropriate food.

So, last weekend, when I saw that the weather outside appeared to be frightful, I decided to make a scrumptious favourite in my house: chicken pot pie. Sans chicken.

Before you say it, don’t. This is just as scrumptious and amazing as any artery-clogging meat-filled extravaganza pie and I promise, you’ll love it. It has all the goodness of puff pastry, rich (but not fatty) ‘cream’ sauce and enough mushrooms and peas to make you sing with joy. And, on top of all that, it’s easy as pie. HA!

I used this recipe, but not really. As usual, I observed that recipe, then did it the way I wanted to. :) I’ll tell you what I did!

Vegan Veggie Pot Pie

Serves 6

  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry shells (Tenderflake makes them in a pack of 6)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • Handful of mushrooms, chopped
  • Approximately 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Soy milk (or regular, if you don’t need it to be vegan)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (make from those cubes)
  • 1 cup frozen peas (approximately)
  1. Follow the directions on the pastry package to cook them (they should take about 20 minutes).
  2. Saute the onions, garlic, carrots and celery in some olive oil in a pot until they are tender crisp. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until all the veggies are done.
  3. Put the veggies into another bowl, but don’t get rid of the pot just yet! Whisk together the olive oil and flour until it is nice and thick. Add the salt/pepper to taste, then slowly add the veggie broth and soy milk. Whisk it all together, making sure that the floury mixture doesn’t stick to the sides of the pot.
  4. Add all the veggies back in, and put in the peas. Keep cooking the mixture until the peas are cooked through. Season to taste.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the shells and sprinkle with dried basil (to impress your guests!), and put the little hats on top. :)
  6. Dig in!! YUM. Soul food.

Delish! The only thing I would say is that our version ended up a tiny bit too floury for my liking, but it’s probably because I didn’t add quite the right amount of olive oil. Next time I’ll be sure to be more precise, but if you make this recipe let me know how it turns out for you!

xoxo,