Tag Archives: vegan

Support for MM Veganauts

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I hope you caught my post titled ‘Twas the Night Before Meatless Monday yesterday. If not, feel free to follow the link before or after I profess my love for M.M. in today’s short post.

Exploring the world of veganism takes guts. Trying to adopt a healthier, more environmentally conscious, and compassionate lifestyle is a noble and sometimes daunting task. Some people rip the bandage off in a quick yank, while others pull gently over time to remove it. For those who need a more gradual entry into a herbivore lifestyle, Meatless Monday is a great place to start.

If you are new to the scene, MM is a weekly celebration of vegetarianism. While dairy isn’t strictly forbidden, I encourage Veganauts to use the day as a way to try out the easy and delicious vegan diet options.

With each Monday being a celebration of meatless living, each Sunday night is another Meatless Monday Eve. This carries with it all of the fun, family, and fellowship that comes with other “Eve” celebrations, like the New Year’s version, the Christmas version, and the Tax Day version. For this reason, there obviously needs to be a few songs and traditions to help tell the story of this weekly epic holiday. I’m happy to share this classic in the making, ‘Twas the Night Before Meatless Monday.


‘Twas Meatless Monday Eve

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‘Twas the night before Meatless Monday, when all through the farm,

not a creature was worried, about coming to harm.

The produce was stocked, in crisping drawers with care,

in the hopes that Low Cholesterol, soon would be there.

The children were hyped, all snug in their beds,

while visions of bean burritos, danc’d in their heads.

And Mama in her flannels, and I in my socks,

had just settled our brains, with some “film” from Redbox.

When out in the garden, there arose such a hoopla,

I sprang up to see who was breaking an HOA bylaw.

Away to the window, I stumbled, raising cane,

pulled open the blinds, and slid open the pane.

The streetlight showed a yard, that badly needed mowing,

illuminating toys, and weeds visibly growing.

When what to my adjusting eyes should I see,

but a miniature grocery cart, and eight little Tofurkies;

with a little ole’ driver, such a healthy fireball,

I knew in a moment, it must be Low Cholesterol.

Even without wings, his coursers they flew,

and he whistled and shouted and called those he knew,

“Now Parsley! Now Sage! Now Rosemary and Tyme!

On Garlic! On Onion! On Cumin and Key Lime!

To the top of the swing set, to the peak of this home,

now dash away, dash away, no time to roam!”

As dry leaves, before a leaf blower fly,

when they meet with an air blast, and flock to the sky,

so up to the house-top these coursers they flew,

with a grocery cart full of produce- and Low Cholesterol too!

And there in a moment, I heard on my roof,

the thumping of Tofurkies, clumsy and uncouth.

As I heaved myself up, then tried to spin around,

down the chimney Low Cholesterol came with a bound.

He was dressed like a farmer, from straw hat to boots,

and his clothes were all covered, with soil and young shoots.

A sack full of groceries, was flung over his shoulder,

and he looked like a hitchhiker, just arriving from Boulder.

His muscles- how they flexed! His skin- how healthy,

his cheeks were like a young man’s, his waist- trim and stealthy!

His fancy running shoes, that he kept tied with tight bows,

with the tread on the bottoms, showing he clearly seldom slows.

He had a happy face, and a flat spot, where I had a belly,

and it hardly shook, when he laughed, at MY bowl full of jelly.

He was hale, and strong, a right healthy looking elf,

and I laugh’d when I saw him, in spite of myself.

A wink of his eye, and a thumbs up he flashed,

soon gave me to know, the visit wasn’t trashed.

He didn’t say jack, just got down to his work,

and fill’d all the pantries, wearing a knowing smirk.

No beef was dropped off, no chicken was gifted,

no pork was involved, no fresh fish was lifted.

Instead fresh produce, and foods that were meatless,

he shared quality grub, helping overcome vegan weakness.

Then suddenly jumping, and signaling “hang loose,”

like a zephyr up the chimney, he practically shoots.

He sprang to his grocery cart, to his Tofurkies gave a shout,

and away they all sped, like in the 10 item or less checkout.

But I heard him exclaim, ere they flew fast as they may,

“Happy Meatless Monday to all, and to ALL a great day!”


Crushing Cravings

crushing-cravingsI will not lie to you, dear readers, I still crave meat, dairy, and eggs from time to time. It has been two and a half weeks, and I hardly ever think about the different foods I’ve removed from my life. Hardly, ever.

Smells can be overwhelming when they sneak up on a person. If I was to walk into a Circle K that had a Dunkin’ Donuts inside, I would have already braced myself for the wave of savory smells. I would have wrinkled my nose before pushing through the glass door, and reminded myself how much I detest sausage biscuits and their abominable cousin, bacon, egg, and cheese croissants.

An unexpected odor, by contrast, can be a sneaky salesman. A surprise office party filled with pizza can become a willpower torture chamber to someone still only a few weeks into a new vegan diet. A Pokemon Go gym next to a Sonny’s BBQ can become an unexpected reminder that meat is an addiction that takes time to overcome.

Again, my friends, these cravings don’t happen very often or with any great intensity.  During the first few days I’d say there was a gentle nagging but it quickly faded to an occasional pang.

My solution for these cravings is to stuff my ever loving face. I microwave potatoes in pairs and eat them at the same time, double-fisted. I indulge in a 1.5x Rip’s Big Bowl which is enough to slow down a hungry elephant. I eat all the insanely good food that Plant Based Diet Culinary Artisan, Shannon, makes as well as any leftovers in the fridge or on other people’s plates. For reasons I won’t bore you with, I suggest not trying the “other people’s plates” tip at vegan restaurants. They are very snobby about that kind of thing, and PLEASE LET ME COME BACK AGAIN, ETHOS!

It seems that stuffing your face with produce isn’t the same as stuffing your face with unhealthy food. While I will share my exact starting weight and progress numbers starting in the near future, I can currently share that in just under 20 days, I’ve dropped 14 pounds.

Can it be challenging for a vegan noob to eat a veggie burger while standing next to grill full of the old fashioned kind? You’re damn right it can be.

Can it be worth it? You’re damn right it can be.


Counting Victory in Weeks

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To be honest, I got a little winded when I celebrated today’s big milestone by I running up all three of my porch steps and imitating Rocky. For the record, I will be counting that as my cardio for the day.

The milestone in question: it’s been two weeks of good, plant based dieting with the occasional vegan junk food cheat. I’d give myself an A+ for being a vegan and a low B for plant based dieting. Dr. Esselstyn would probably give me a D for my plant based diet and perhaps even a stern lecture about avocados. Alas, he isn’t on the list of approved doctors with my insurance plan, so it looks like I’ll continue to have avocado surprise every day.

Avocado Surprise Recipe: for each meal of the day, get an avocado and a knife and a pinch of garlic salt. Take it to the table along with your regular meal. Then when the meal begins say “Surprise! I’m having a whole avocado with my meal again- and I don’t share!”

I don’t need my avocado crutch as much as I did in the first week. I’m doing a great job with the steel cut oats or Rip’s Big Bowl for breakfast, a smoothie or giant mixed vegetable salad for lunch, and some form of cooked or raw vegetables and either brown rice, beans, or tofu for dinner. Sometimes we do something crazy like spiralizing the zucchini or grilling Tofurky faux sausages, but keeping it simple is easier and accentuates the actual flavors.

The 14-day influx of fresh fruits and vegetables brings with it a renewed sense of happiness and joy. There is a chance I feel that way because I read this article explaining a study that took just over 12000 people who ate almost no fruits and vegetables and changed their intake to at least 8 servings a day. They didn’t omit any of their old foods- they simply added fruits and vegetables. Because of this, the people had an increase of happiness equivalent to that of people who went from being unemployed, to gainfully employed. As anyone who has been in this position before can tell you, that is a metric ton of happiness.

It is hard to tell if I’m experiencing that level of increased joy, but I certainly feel a lot more optimistic and positive about the actions I’m taking to heal. Come to think of it, I might just go put in ANOTHER cardio session for today.

 

 


Farmer’s Market Pre-Game

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NEWS ALERT: Glorious Leader has become 90 pounds (41kg) more glorious in the last 4 years. I wrote a great post suggesting a plant-based diet for Kim Jong-il, but my editor read it and said that I should try to avoid pissing off all of North Korea and most of North America at the beginning of my comeback tour. I guess that post will have to wait to be part of the book.

Instead, it might be safer to guide this wagon train into a less inflammatory part of the prairie… like the farmer’s market! What’s up with those, amiright? They are so crazy and NOT inflammatory… with their various cottage industry produced mustards and the bushels of kale they have on sale…

…but seriously folks, I do love a good open air market. Our favorite farmer’s market is in Winter Park, FL near the historic train station. It requires getting an early start on Saturdays so you don’t run the risk of missing out on the loaves of roasted garlic bread and the best fruit cups. The thought of missing out on fresh pineapple and fresh bread has motivated me out of bed on many Saturday mornings, and it will be forefront in my mind when I wake up for tomorrow’s supply run.

In addition to fresh smelling and amazing tasting foods, there is also the people and dog watching aspect of a farmer’s market visit. Since these ephemeral outdoor markets attract hippies, with their dogs, and yuppies, with their dogs, the combinations and permutations of human/canine interaction unfold in front of the open stalls like a Shakespearean play.

Queen Gertrude and her overly manicured yellow Labradoodle (cross between a Labrador and a poodle) are not accustomed to jostling elbows and canvas bags of cucumbers with the likes of Second Gravedigger and his spotted Muttiger (cross between a mutt and possibly a badger). Queen Gertrude clearly has a “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” look about her while Gravedigger #2 is clearly giving off a “the lady doth protest too much, methinks” vibe.

Inevitably, the leashes intertwine and the dogs either start barking or trying to make Polka-dotted Golden Badgelabradoomuttiger puppies, and a micro-chaos erupts as the masses pull back for safety and a better camera angle. This usually ends when one of the flailing leash holders yells at his dog, “Out, damned Spot!” causing the gathered crowd to groan and dejectedly put their iPhones away and mutter to each other about screwing up a perfectly good Hamlet metaphor.

Tomorrow should be a great morning for watching the comedy unfold, for all the world’s a stage. Plus, we need some fresh produce… and I’ve been itching to get my hands on a few green pepper plants. Oh… and some kettle corn!

 


2014: Year of the Veganaut

2014-veganautCelebrate the new year and give a warm welcome to 2014!

Today is a day of rebirth. This annual reincarnation of ourselves, is very similar to watching new cars come out each year. Was the gas mileage too low last year? No problem, the new model is a little better! Did last year’s model burst into flame when you went in reverse?  Not this year’s model!  At least not as often…

Throw away all your mistakes, failed attempts, Edsels, and Titanics. Embrace this chance to rebuild yourself in some way that is important to you. If that self improvement happens to include saving the whole freakin’ planet like a super hero, then my friend, you’ve come to the right blog!

Some people give up animal products like meat and cheese for the obvious health benefits which makes them stronger and live longer, much like your average super hero. Other people give up all animal products in their diets and lives because they have compassion for the lives of those who are oppressed and exploited, similar to super heroes in general. Then there is the group of environmentally conscious herbivores that forgo almost all animal products because of the monumental benefit to the planet, which I feel obligated to add, is precisely the kind of behavior exhibited by super-heroes.

If you are starting the new year off by changing to this super hero lifestyle I am proud to call you my Veganaut brother or sister. Veganauts are not perfect vegans.  We are exploring the delicious, planet-saving herbivore lifestyle. Expect to make mistakes and prepare to push on afterwards. Get ready for very convincing people to tell you that the USDA has proven you are making a huge mistake. Practice saying thank you while backing away slowly and averting your gaze. There is a lot of information and disinformation out there, but I know of a community that is willing to help you sort it all out.

If you ever find yourself with unanswered questions or overwhelming concern there is a group of huge-hearted individuals you can connect with. We don’t judge, point fingers, or claim to know what is ultimately right or wrong. What we do have is a crowd of helpful people that want to make your transition to a vegan lifestyle as pleasant and supported as it can be.

Facebook is the easiest way to connect with the Veganaut community.  There is a FB Page you can “Like” so you will see the recipes, articles, and hilarious pictures we share.  However the actual community and group discussion is located in a private FB Group. You need to ask to join the group and a moderator will let you in. The group is private so your friends and relatives will not see what you say in the group. Only the Veganauts in the group will be able to see and respond to your posts.

You can also reach out to the Twitter feed, the Pinterest Board, or even our email. We want to be available because we know from experience that having help and support can make all the difference when exploring a vegan lifestyle for the first time.  Finally, I hope you will join me here on the ole’ blog where I run my mouth about Veganaut news and share my plant-based poems. Just kidding… no poems… yet.

Happy 2014 Veganauts! Wishing you all a healthy, compassionate, and happy new year. Cheers to you, your resolutions and your resolve!

Veganauts private Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theVeganauts/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/From-Atkins-to-Vegan-in-a-Heartbeat/194096680668810?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Atkins2Vegan

eMail: veganauts@gmail.com


Meatless Monday

MMGarfieldWhy all the Monday bashing? I LOVE Mondays!

Garfield loves lasagna but he absolutely hates Mondays. Radio DJs adore silly sound effects and celebrity gossip but they, for the most part, hate Mondays.  They spend all week bashing Mondays and counting down the minutes to the weekend, effectively teaching millions of listeners to join them in wishing away 5/7ths of their lives. This should be a crime! How can you hate a day… especially an awesome day like Monday?

There are many reasons to revel in the glory of Monday but one of my favorites is Meatless Monday.  This movement encourages regular, meat eating omnivores to skip all meat products on this one day of the week, and it’s working.  They are jumping on the MM bandwagon in droves. These omnivores might enjoy a whole turkey on Tuesday or fried chicken on Friday or even delicious wildebeest on Wednesday… but when Monday rolls around they spend the day digging into meat free meals.

Some vegetarians and vegans that have lived years without eating meat might scoff at the effort involved in going meatless once every seven days.  To them it probably seems as easy as breathing to skip meat for a day. Whoop-dee-do, they may say in a bored, monotone voice.

However, many (if not most) vegetarians and vegans see the implications of a movement like this and embrace it wholeheartedly.  They understand that every 7 Meatless Monday participants equal an entire vegetarian! Think of it…if all seven billion people on Earth practiced the MM way of life we would have the equivalent of ONE BILLION VEGETARIANS!

I’m sure we could argue that math with some confusing statistics about food consumption around the globe but it will be hard to convince me of anything while my fingers are in my ears and I am making a sound like Weeeeooooooeeeeeeeooooooeeeeeooooooeeeeeoooo. This is how I win most of my arguments around the house so I know it works.

Another huge benefit of the MM Movement is that it gives people a chance to explore a lifestyle they may not think they are ready to live. Meatless Monday participants have a painless way to learn what vegans and vegetarians already know: meatless meals are delicious! In fact, they are so delicious that people learn that in addition to ditching meat on Mondays, that they are also very capable of reducing their meat, dairy and egg consumption during the other 6 days of the week. This is how vegetarians are born- this is where vegans come from.

Meatless Monday is a gateway lifestyle. It shows people how easy it can be. It hooks them with the delicious foods and keeps them with many long term benefits. There can be a lot of fear to overcome when deciding to make a total life change.  MM allows people to discover how easy and rewarding this lifestyle can be.

Once these meat-free explorers have made a habit of finding delicious alternatives to eat on Mondays they are likely to dial up their compassionate, healthy, and environmentally conscious days of the week. Vegan Vednesday, Animal-Free Friday, and Thoughtful Thursday are all extensions that can be used to expand the scope of their cruelty free explorations. Each of them is another baby step leading people to the brink of veganism and making them comfortable enough to jump the rest of the way in.

Many veganauts are like astronauts- they are exploring strange new worlds and boldly going where only some people have gone before (while carefully avoiding copyright infringement). Meatless Monday is a great way to start the journey: try it yourself, share it with others, encourage those who are interested, and wait patiently for those who are not yet ready. People have to decide for themselves when it is time to make a change- just be ready to help when they ask.

If you disagree let me offer my rebuttal: Weeeeeeeeeeeeooooooooooooeeeeeeeeeeeeeooooooooooooeeeeeeeeeeeeeooooooo.