On being a vegetarian

On Thursday someone asked me if I am a vegetarian, and she seemed a little surprised when I said yes. This happens to me from time to time.

And on the one hand, I’m always a little happy when that happens. Sometimes I get on a (tiny) soap box about eating meat. I mean, I don’t run around with pamphlets or anything, but if the topic comes up, I won’t shy away from sharing my thoughts on why it’s pretty gross.

I get the most riled up about chickens (they have the worst lives, get dipped in chlorine before you eat them, and are the most fleshy, you know? Like when you’re eating chicken, it feels the most like you’re eating a body part.) and about pigs (because they are so smart, eating a pig is like eating a dog. Sick.).

My point is that I worry about being a little off-putting, and so it makes me happy when someone I have known for a while doesn’t even know I’m a vegetarian, much less think I’m “militant” (hate that word) or evangelical about it.

But on the other hand, I want to be (a little) loud and proud. Being a vegetarian is empirically better than being an omnivore. And it’s so normal to me now, I sort of just assume people don’t eat meat until I see them doing otherwise, and then I’m a little surprised.

I made pizza with nothing but my hands (and wheat, an oven, etc.)

Inspired by this post from healthytippingpoint.com (My new favorite blog) we made pizzas! 

Of course, I can’t follow a recipe to save my life.  So!  I subbed grapeseed oil for vegetable oil in the crust, and I subbed sweet potatoes in for butternut squash in the sauce.  Making my stolen/very slightly modified recipe:

Crust:

  • Package of active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm (not hot) water
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1.5 cups warm water (and another 1/4 cup water added while kneading)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups organic all-purpose white flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour 

In a small bowl, combine packet of dry yeast with 1/4 cup warm water and honey agave. Let stand for 10 minutes – there should be bubbles!

Combine remaining ingredients, use food processor or knead by hand (we’re knead-y).

Add the yeast and stir/knead for a few minutes, until a sticky and stiff dough forms.
Separate into six balls and place in glass casserole dish.  Cover with clean towel and place outside or another warm spot (on top of the dryer, heater, etc).  Let rise for an hour.

Spread out dough on a greased cookie sheet or pizza stone.  Top with sauce and cheese or other toppings.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes if you plan to freeze or 15 minutes if you’re going to eat right away.

Sauce:

  • Roughly 1/4-1/2 cup Pasta sauce (we had Classico Tomato Basil in the fridge)
  • Equal parts Everything Sauce (Any kind of barbecue sauce would be okay, I suppose, but man this sauce is good.  Just the right amount of spicy and amazing)
  • One sweet potato, microwaved in a towel for six minutes
  • Blend everything in the food processor! Ta-daaaa.  It’s sauce.  And it’s delicious.

Because it’s what we had in the refrigerator and pantry, we topped with black beans, spinach, corn, and red onion, things we pretty much always have in the house.

Nom nom nom.

The blog post I read referenced freezing them, but we just wrapped in tin foil and then put in the fridge.  We took them for lunch and heated up in the toaster oven at work.  Amazing, amazing, amazing.  I have been eating some variation of quinoa+farro+veggies for lunch for like two months straight, so pizza feels like…a mouth vacation.

Healthy Tipping Point is my favorite blog of the genre!  I hope I’m not stepping on any weird internet rules by changing and reposting the original recipe.

Could this be more boring? This is literally what I ate for breakfast.

I sometimes take pictures of things I eat.  And post them on the internet.  I don’t know why we do that.  It’s kind of boring for everyone else.

I do know that this pan of brussels sprouts and bell peppers was so pretty I was compelled to take a picture.

Chopped up veggies are so pretty.  These joined forces with pasta to become this week’s breakfast.  (Breakfast is a time, not a food.) 

Tax the marketing and sale of unhealthful foods. This isn’t nanny-state paternalism but an accepted role of government: public health.

If you support seat-belt, tobacco and alcohol laws, sewer systems and traffic lights, you should support legislation curbing the relentless marketing of soda and other foods that are hazardous to our health.

Oh, Mark Bittman.  I have a foodie crush on you.

One non vegan thing per day progress

It’s ten days since the Only Eat One Non-Vegan Thing Per Day challenge started!  The idea was originally to do it for the rest of February, but I like it.  I really like it.  It’s kept me from eating tons of Valentine’s Day chocolate left over in the office, kept me from munching on the sketchy looking popcorn at the bar last night, kept me from grabbing a handful of crackers at a wine tasting.

Things that have been my One Thing:

Kashi Bars that have chocolate (x2)

Eggs at 20th Street Café (x2)

Free lunch at work – pizza one day, enchiladas another

Free breakfast at work – bagel and cream cheese

Goat cheese and crackers for dinner (x3)

Not that I didn’t eat goat cheese and crackers (with champagne) before, but it suddenly feels more virtuous, like I’ve earned it after a day of eating all plants.

Tomorrow is our nine year anniversary! So tomorrow’s One Thing will be the champagne brunch at the Brown Palace.  (One thing is flexible.  It can be one thing like a granola bar or one meal, like eggs with buttered toast.)

I’ve been a vegetarian for almost two years, and I’ve been half-trying to have at least one vegan meal per day. But! I want to be more mindful about what I’m eating and why.  I’m not ready to stop eating animal products entirely, but I think part of being an ethical eater is making thoughtful, deliberate choices.

So! I feel like I should come up with a more clever name, but Project Only-Eat-One-Non-Vegan-Thing-Per-Day started yesterday.  So far, both days the one thing has been a Kashi granola bar.  (It has chocolate.) 

Since I’d already eaten my One Thing, I passed on a birthday cupcake this afternoon.  Good for animals, good for the planet, good for my waist line!  So far this project is awesome.

Mondays are long days.  I leave for work at 6:30 to catch the early bus.  The later bus gets me to the office just on time, and on Mondays I need to start out not almost running late.

The day’s schedule is hectic, so Mondays I don’t normally take much of a lunch.  I leave work and head to my regular volunteer gig, and I get home around 9.  But it’s not the long hours that throw me off kilter.

What really throws me off is that at six in the morning, I have to plan my next three meals.  I have to bring enough food to get me through over fifteen hours of the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks. I can’t carry a purse on Mondays; I have to carry a messenger bag, because that’s the only way I can fit (from top to bottom) a yam, cucumbers, ravioli, grapes, and chili along with the rest of the things I need for the day.