It’s hard to believe that we are at the halfway point in our vegan lent challenge. The week before vegan lent started I ate out a lot. To my great fortune, it coincided perfectly with Restaurant Week and my birthday. Not that I ever need them, I found myself with multiple reasons to go out and enjoy tons of amazing food.
I assumed that eating out would come to a screeching halt, but that has not been the case. Many restaurants already have a vegan option on the menu or they are willing to work with “special dietary considerations.” While I have put the latter to test with great success, I am not going to make a habit of it. I will leave the menu design and dish creation to the chefs.
Which restaurants are vegan friendly? More than you would think. While I haven’t personally eaten at all of these restaurants, I’d like to provide a short list that might appeal to all likings: Au Bon Pain, Shish Cafe, Chipotle, Pizza Luce, Triple Rock Social Club, California Pizza Kitchen, Ecopolitan, Everest on Grand, Turtle Bread, Red Stag Supperclub, and French Meadow Cafe.
An interesting predicament has arisen from my vegan experience. At this point, I
don’t miss any particular foods eggs. While I have not found it hard to be vegan, I do not plan on being vegan forever. That said, I feel incredibly defensive when asked, “But, what do you eat?” or told that it is impossible to eat well as a vegan.
Modesty is going out the window. I am defensive because I know a lot about food. It is an obsession of mine, both for the better and worse. I cook great, healthy food. Prepackaged convenience food-like items with 50 ingredients that I can’t pronounce do not make an appearance in my kitchen.
I love to cook. It is not a burden for me. Am I perfect? Absolutely not. But, if you want to talk food and health with me I am well equipped for the discussion.
There are two very important factors that can’t be overlooked: 1) we can afford to eat well and 2) I am cooking for 2 people, not a family of 4 or more. I have the time and monetary luxury of making the food decisions that I do.
So, back to the original question, what do I eat? I seriously considered recording every single morsel of food that I put into my mouth and attaching it as an addendum to the blog. Really? Who wants to read about what I ate for every meal, every day, for forty days? I know I don’t.
Here is an idea of what I typically eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. In case you’re wondering, I am not starving nor deprived. I have not been eating a bunch of weird foods that you can’t find at the regular grocery store. You might agree or disagree with me. I know I am putting myself out there for critique but it is something we can all learn from.
Grape Nuts cereal, soymilk, blueberries or blackberries, chia seed; coffee
Ezekiel or sourdough toast, almond butter, banana; coffee
Oatmeal with banana, soymilk, and peanut butter (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it)
Handful of cashews and an apple
Cherry Pie Lara Bar and a pear
Peanut butter granola bar and a banana
Soy latte and a banana
Lunch and/or Dinner
Whole wheat penne with kale, garlic, cherry tomatoes, cannelini beans, kalamata olives, crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil
Giant salad with mixed greens, shredded carrots, bell pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, garbanzos, edamame, pepita seeds and vinaigrette
Lentil soup, bread, salad
Stir fry with tofu, carrot, onion, red bell pepper, celery, and spinach served with basmati or jasmine rice
Black bean chili, rice, salad
Whole wheat noodles with peanut sauce, red bell pepper, onion, carrot, cilantro, and tofu
I try to fill our plates with delicious fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and healthy fats (sounds a little like the Mediterranean diet to me, sans fish of course). Some days I eat more, some days I eat less. I typically eat a lot on Saturdays because that is our long run day. I always eat a lot on long run days because running 10+ miles makes me really hungry.
It’s funny, so many people have cautiously asked, “How’s it going?” I can see the disappointment when I don’t have any vegan horror stories to tell. All in all, I basically eat the same things that I did before vegan lent. Anticlimactic, I know but it is a good example of how livable a vegetable based diet can be.
Are you willing to tip the seesaw of balance on your plate from primarily meat to primarily vegetables?
What do you think would be the biggest change, or the food that you would miss most?