The end of Stephanie’s vegan nightmare.

Well Stephanie successfully completed my challenge, in that by day four she was done being vegan. Hey, at least she gave it a shot!   It all came to an end when Elephant and Castle said, hey, have some french onion soup and pretzels.  I’ve been there, sister. Here’s her narrative!~
So it’s Monday, day four of back to normal life.  As I write this I’m snacking on my favorite gorgonzola crackers (from TJ’s) which have been giving me the stink eye from the top of the fridge for the past week.  Today I had the same oatmeal that I ate last week, but I got to have cheese in my lunch!  That’s what I missed the most last week.  Not bread, surprisingly.  Cheese! 
Overall, even though I had some tough times last week and eventually gave in before a full week’s time, I am glad I experienced veganism.  I’ve never put my body through something so restrictive before.  I am the type of person who spoils myself and allows myself treats and indulgences so it was really hard to tell myself I couldn’t have things when I wanted them. 

Here is a recipe of something good that game out of being Vegan: Cupcakes!

So they’re actually called Margarita Cupcakes but I had so many oranges that I chose to change it.  Here’s the recipe for what you ate on Sunday:
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 tsp. orange zest
1 cup soy milk (or you can probably use almond milk if you prefer but it might affect the taste a little
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar (it’s only vegan if you make sure it’s a beet sugar brand)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-24 minutes.  I tend to eyeball things instead of timing though and it’s great as cupcakes or a cake.  For the frosting I just mixed 1/4 cup butter (vegan or non if you’re not in the vegan mood), 1 tbsp soy milk, 3 tbsp orange juice and 2 cups confectioners sugar.  If you want the frosting to be thicker just add more powdered sugar.  And there you go!
Last week definitely made me think about ingredients that you (well me) might not realize are in everyday foods.  I think going forward it’s going to make me very conscious about knowing what exactly I’m ingesting.  And that’s a good thing, so really this was a good experience.  Thanks for challenging me to do it!

Here picture of the faux meat that broke this camels back.
~This is Lauren again.  Just as an FYI, Steph thought this was disgusting and wound up giving me her chicken version that she couldn’t even bear to eat. BEAR or bare.  I’m not sure, actually I think it is bear. Anyway, I had it for a lunch today and it was awesome.  BOOYAH.  Vegan whattt!  I wonder what I’ll challenge her to next.

I think I have the perfect quote to send us out of this post….from my favorite kitten youtube video.  “I want pie.  I want beef jerky!”  We all just want a little meat…or maybe bone char in our sugar.  Mmmm.


Steph and her vegan hell

From the mouth of the beautiful stephanie and her challenge to go vegan for a week~
Started off the day on the right foot with the usual steel-cut oatmeal, splash of soy milk (vanilla flavor) and raisins.  For lunch I had a snack-size bag of 100 calorie Reduced Fat Cape Cod chips and then had the leftover brown rice and stirfry from wednesday night.  It was delish, again.  I had a nectarine for an afternoon snack.  I walked through the shop downstairs looking for a treat around 3pm and was so frustrated that EVERYTHING has sugar or dairy in it.  Are there no good vegan snacks?  
For dinner I decided to try the faux meat in a wrap.  I was really excited because it looked good and lauren (yes THE lauren) had said it would taste just like meat.  I heated it up in the skillet for 5 minutes like the directions said.  They were cubes of what looks like imitation beef on skewers and they looked pretty tasty.  I put them on a lavash wrap with some soy cheese and a few squirts of mustard.  I took a bite and began chewing, but before I even swallowed I spit it out.

I tried.  I really tried.  But it tasted so gross i just couldn’t do it.  It’s so weird because I LOVE veggie burgers (which are not vegan, unfortunately they have eggs and milk in them) but this faux meat just was not edible.  At all.  So instead I threw about 15 tater tots in the toaster, sprinkled a little salt and ate.  It was the worst dinner, but I didn’t have time to figure something else out because I had to get to dance class. After, I had a few squares of the dark chocolate to make me feel better. 

Looking back, this has been a really mental week for me.  I’m constantly thinking about food – how I feel about it and what I’m putting into my body. 
First there’s sugar:
I recommend reading this:
The idea of eating something that was processed with bones grosses me out.  It makes me think of chalk, I don’t know why.  So I’m planning on permanently switching to sugar brands that use beet sugar.  By law sugar companies aren’t required to say whether their sugar is derrived from beet or cane (cane uses the bone char to process it) but apparently Whole Foods has a beet sugar in their 365 brand.  I’m going to search for it this weekend for the began cupcakes I’m going to make and have made before (delicious). 
Then we have milk (and I suppose dairy in general):
I actually stopped drinking milk about a year ago simply because I live alone and it always seems without fail to go bad before I can drink it all.  So I switched to soy milk because it lasts longer.  This week though I’ve really been thinking about milk and how unnatural it is for humans to drink milk past infancy, but also the milk of another animal.  Maybe it’s because I watch a lot of Animal Planet, but doesn’t it seem a bit odd that no other mammal species of earth drinks milk after infancy?  I understand the incredibly nutritious properties a mother’s milk holds for her child and I think breast feeding is great.  But why do we (humans) then continue to drink milk throughout our lives, milk that comes from a cow?  I’m struggling with it, these thoughts, and whether or not to continue eating dairy.  My doctor always asks me what my daily intake of dairy is because it’s important to my growrth.  I understand that.  And I love cheese like nothing else, especially mozarella and brie.  And Havarti Dill.  And just plain old sharp cheddar.  I love it on bread and crackers and in omelets and just by itself.  I’m really struggling here.  I don’t know what I think is right anymore and what’s not.  It’s a war of what my mind thinks is right and what my body (or cravings) wants.  Right now for example I would give anything for an everything bagel with veggie cream cheese.  I can’t have either and I know why, but my head is telling me I want it.  Badly. 
I’ve started to realize that really my issue is with the animals.  I don’t eat meat because I absolutely hate the idea that a life was brutally taken so I could have a burger or a a chicken breast.  I have realized over the past year I don’t want blood on my hands when humans are perfectly capable of leading completely healthy lives without meat.  I’d also like to point out that I’ve never seen a fat vegetarian, although I’m sure it’s possible there are some out in the world.  So I don’t eat meat, fine.  But my further struggle is with the cows who spend their lives hooked up to pumps being drained of milk.  And the chickens whose sole purpose is to produce eggs (they are called “layers” whereas the chickens raised solely for meat are called “broilers”).  I feel guilt, that’s what my issue is.  I hate that something as trivial as a bag of shredded cheese (that I might not use up and will have to throw out, I realize I’m actually a hug waster of food) came from an animal standing every day in a confined space.  There’s also my issue with humanity and playing God but that’s a whole other can of worms you probably don’t want me to open right now. 
See?  It’s been a really mental week.  There’s this huge tug of war going on in my head and I don’t know who’s going to win.  I am just so confused about all these thoughts. 
And I’m wondering if I’m going to even make it to Sunday when all I want is a brioche roll with butter and jam.  Or that bagel.

And on the first day God created….

Stephanie’s first day of Veganism Menu!  From the perspective of Stephanie…
Breakfast: The best oatmeal ever (I was obsessed before this week) with some sugar-free maple syrup and raisins (I usually put brown sugar in it but obviously I can’t this week and that made me sad – maple syrup doesn’t have the same flavor)
Snack: apple
Lunch: Bombay Curry Tofu with brown rice (not as flavorful as I’d hoped)
Grumpy moment of the day (so far): I ordered lunch from Viga for a training meeting in one of the conference rooms (Pepperoni, Cheese and Onion & Peppers pizzas and soda) and I feel like I’m being tortured.  I can smell the tomato and cheese and it almost made cry.  No, not really, but it made my stomach churn like nobody’s business.  
Snack: Clementine
Dinner: Vegetarian Pea Soup, Lavash bread with horseradish hummus and the kicker (which really made my day soooo much better) was four little squares of the dark chocolate with almonds and berries.  It tastes soooo much better than milk chocolate.  I love it!
Feeling good, although this afternoon all I wanted was candy or a soda.  But this is good for me because it’s keeping me away from the junk!
I can’t wait for the full narrative!


Steph’s Corner-I feel like vegan tonight

Well my faithful readers (there are a lot more of you than you would think…so says my Stats tab on blogger) you are in for a treat.  Stephanie has begun her journey with Veganism and throughout the next week I will be posting her progress! She is a published author living in Somerville (check out my About Me for more info!) who has a knack for writing.  So, without further ado… Steph, take it away!

My story with meat…

I’ve had a historically complicated relationship with meat and I should preface that this coming week of veganism shouldn’t be too difficult because aside from two occasions (on a trip to NY in July and two weeks ago when Wendy’s goofed on my order and put chicken in my salad) over the past ten months I have been a vegetarian.  Throughout my life I’ve always turned away from lamb and pork and veal and typically only ate meat at restaurants because I didn’t like cooking it myself.  Growing up my mom used meat sparsely (mostly just fish and chicken).  I’ve dabbled in vegetariansm as an adult because of my moral struggle with eating animals but it wasn’t until I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals” last April that it really changed for me. 
I’ve always struggled with the moral and ethical issues of eating meat.  I’m one of the most passionate animal people I know and it became very clear while reading “Eating Animals” that it was contradictory to believe what I do while keeping meat in my diet.  So I quit… well for the most part.  I haven’t fully given up seafood yet.  So maybe I’m part vegetarian, part pescatarian?  Anyway, that’s where I’m at for food when starting this week of vegan-eating.  I think this coming week would be difficult for someone who eats meat regularly. 
Ever since watching that episode of Oprah last week (where she challenged her coworkers to go vegan for one week) I’ve been looking at the ingredients of everything I eat.  I had no idea how much dairy was in what I eat.  And not just that but sugar, pectin, and red dye (all of which a vegan doesn’t eat because they’re derived from animals – sugar, for example, is produced using bone char which is the ground up bones of cattle, therefore white and brown sugars are not vegan).  I didn’t think it would be too hard until I read the label of my crystal lite and realized I can’t drink that.  No crystal lite!  So I have scarfed the remaining brioche rolls (so they don’t go bad) and made chocolate chip cookies and mac n cheese, because I need to get it all out of my system before Monday.  Tomorrow night’s superbowl party will be my last hurrah, of sorts and I imagine I’ll be eating quite a bit of non-vegan food.
I went to Trader Joe’s this afternoon thinking I could probably get everything I needed for the week there.  But I realized quickly that I had no idea what I was getting into.  Everything I picked up had to be scruitinized and I ended up getting less than I’d hoped.  So then I headed over to Whole Foods, thinking they’d have like a whole vegan section.  Why don’t they have all the vegan food in one section?  Seriously, it would have been so much easier to shop that way.  Instead, I spent about an hour looking at so much food only to realize it wasn’t vegan.  There’s tons of “vegetarian” food, but it’s not necessarily “vegan”.  So then I got to the checkout line feeling pretty disappointed about it all.  How do vegans shop?  I would go crazy if I had to do this every week – read through every ingredient before okaying a certain food.  But then I overheard the two women behind me talking about “vegan certified chocolate” and I chatted them up.  Chocolate!  It’s dark chocolate (obviously) but it’s chocolate nonetheless and I know it’s going to help me on those nights this week where I just want a cookie (because I gave up looking for vegan cookies after five minutes). 
So here’s what I ending up getting for the week…
Steelcut oatmeal (Trader Joe’s frozen foods section – it is seriously the best breakfast)
Organic vegetarian chili
Kettle corn (great snack)
Soy-made cheese
Three different types of tofu-derived faux meats
Fresh fruit
Lavash wraps
Vegetarian split pea soup
I also need to preface that I’m not the kind of person who has a well-balanced dinner.  Or a well-balanced diet in general.  Some times I just have cereal, or an english muffin with peanut butter for dinner, while other times I’ll eat an exorbitant amount of pasta.  So just be aware that I’m not the healthiest eater going into this.  Alright, well I guess that’s it.  Until Monday.~
Thanks Steph! More power to you, because I don’t know what I would do without my Crystal Lite. If you’re interested in going VEGAN mo meegan, then here are some websites to check out: