On New Year's Eve we went out to dinner. We made reservations at a dairy restaurant where I know they have one vegan option, an Indian dish. (Kosher restaurants are either meat or dairy. Dairy restaurants then serve vegetarian dairy foods and fish.) This place is a wonderful, intimate, romantic spot with delicious food. How sad we were to arrive and learn they were offering only a special New Year's Eve menu with two options: One was fish and the other was a super duper dairy dish with cream and about 4 different types of cheeses! So that wasn't going to work, obviously. We left and went to stand in line at the Japanese restaurant accross the street, where I did get my vegan dinner (stir-fried noodles with tofu and veggies) but it was not intimate or romantic or special in the least bit. :-(
This was my first challenge really as a vegan. I don't eat out much truthfully. I think it's hard to watch your weight and your health when eating restaurant food, so I just don't go out. (except falafel and hummus!) My husband was a real sport about what happened but I can see that being a vegan and eating out could present some real challenges.
So.... aside from that little hiccup, how have the past 50 days been for me? What are my Half-Way results?
1. I feel fabulous. I feel so great because I am eating in line with my beliefs. It really bothered me before that eating eggs and dairy was so out-of-line with my beliefs as a vegetarian. I never realized how MUCH it bothered me. Now I feel really at peace with my food choices, with animals and with feeling like I have a small footprint on the Earth's resources.
2. I also really like knowing that my food is as healthy as healthy can be - no cholesterol and low in fat, high in nutrients and fiber. This is everything any doctor will tell you to aim for in your diet for the best health, disease prevention and longevity.
3. I am loving the new dishes I am making and the new ways of using old favorites like tofu and tempeh. I am really enjoying the food and no longer have cravings for cheese.
4. I have lost 2 kgs (4.4 lbs) without changing anything else or watching my quantities, counting or measuring anything. Did you get that?! Effortless Weight Loss. Sign me up, baby!
5. My skin's a bit better but I'm using new products and working with a great cosmetician, so it would be hard to pin it only on the food changes.
6. Now, this last one is hard to explain and the one I have been hinting at. WHO I am and HOW I am in the world are changing. I think that's all I'm going to say about this for the moment, but when I find the right words to explain it, I promise that I will.
I made two really good vegan dishes for Shabbat. I didn't get to take a picture of the first one, Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup, because I don't use the camera on Shabbat and the entire pot of soup was literally LICKED CLEAN. There was not a drop left. It's that good.
I got this recipe from Inbal of the MultipleQuestionsBookClub:
Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup
8 bell peppers, red, orange and yellow
2 tsp olive or coconut oil
2 onions, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 tsp Hawaij for Soup* (this is a Yemenite spice we buy here in the spice markets, directions on how to make it will be below)
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups water
1 cup non-dairy milk of choice (I used oat milk)
Roast the peppers under the broiler until charred on all sides. Place them in a paper bag and seal until cool. In the meantime, saute onions and carrots in oil until soft. When the peppers are cool, peel off the skins (which should come off easily now after having steamed in the paper bag) and add them to the onion pan. Add the seasonings. Add the water, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes over medium-low heat. Puree the soup until smooth. Just before serving, stir in the non-dairy milk and slowly bring up to warm again. What a beautiful color and taste this soup has!
Vegan Mexican Lasagna
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups cooked aduki beans
1 small can crushed tomatoes
1 T chili powder
1/2 package tofu
juice of 1/2 lemon
9 large whole wheat tortillas
1 jar medium hot salsa
1/4 cup oats, ground in the food processor until texture of breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 160 C. Saute garlic for about 30 seconds. Add beans, tomatoes and chili powder and cook for about 5 minutes until all combined. Place tofu, salsa, lemon juice and about 1 cup of the bean mixture in the food processor and process until smooth. Grease a large rectangular pan. Place a thin layer of tofu mixture on bottom of pan (this will use up about 1/2 the tofu mixture). Layer 3 tortillas on top of tofu layer. Then spread a layer of half the bean mixture. Top with another 3 totillas. Top with second half of bean mixture. Top with last 3 tortillas. Top that with remaining tofu mixture and then sprinkle the top with the ground oats. Bake for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Yum!
*Hawaij for Soup
1 T ground black pepper
1 T cumin
1/2 T ground cardamom
1/2 T ground fennel
3/4 T tumeric
1/2 T ground coriander
dash ground cloves
Mix all and store in a clean jar. Delish, and also good for indigestion and inflammatory conditions.