Friday, March 22, 2013

That's Not a Pizza

I ran into an unexpected hiccup during my first week of living vegan. Apparently to my eight year old daughter, my "going vegan" (as she puts it) is the end of the world.

I know. Her teen years are going to fabulous.

This first week was basically seven days of, "MOM! You can't eat cheezits!! You LOVE cheezits!!", "Oooooh no mom - EASTER! How can you celebrate Easter without eating hard boiled egg?" (it's easy actually) and the shot heard round the world...

"You can't call that a pizza ... it doesn't have cheese!"

Sigh. Thanks, Audrey.

I kept reassuring her as I chopped and sauteed my veggies on our family's make-your-own-pizza night. Of course it's a pizza! You can top your pizza however you want! I brushed my pre-made crust with a nummy bread-dipping olive oil blend and topped it sauteed onions, peppers, kale and herbs and popped it in the oven along with their cheesy delights. The timer dinged, I triumphantly took it out ... and almost cried. I looked at my husband and whimpered (quietly, so the kids wouldn't hear), "She's right. That's not a pizza."

It was a simply gorgeous, flavorful veggie flatbread. But it absolutely was not a pizza. The week progressed with ups and downs, made more difficult when the kids shared their horrific spring cold with me. All I wanted was chicken soup, man. I was sick as a dog and I couldn't have my darn soup.

So here I am on the other side and I wanted to make a list of what I did eat, treats I found and how I felt ... because I know that Pizza Night Pout will happen again.

A note to myself and other folks on a new food restricted diet: make enough dinner to save some for the next day.

Veggie Pizza
Premade dairy free pizza crust, bread dipping oil blend, italian spices, kale, onions, peppers

Tex-Mex Black Beans and chips (this is a staple lunch for me)
Rinsed beans, coconut oil, chili seasoning, cumin powder, onion powder, scallions, lime juice, salsa, salt, small splash of soy sauce (adds a savory "meaty" note), hot sauce and multigrain dairy-free tortilla chips

Spinach Gnocchi and Tomato Sauce - OMG so goooood
Dairy free spinach gnocchi, tomato sauce (I tried a new one for me, Gina Rispolli Tomato & Basil) and seasonings

White Beans & Pasta
Canellini beans, egg free pasta, basil, oregano, garlic powder, olive oil and lemon juice. I may have also added some veggies at the last minute. Be sure to add beans at the end or the pasta will get starchy and gummy. Add more water to make it more saucy.

Ice-cream for Breakfast Day
So-Delicious Mini's Coconut ice cream sandwiches and fudge bars. These are great but shockingly small. My Maddie's jaw dropped and said, "That's just not FAIR!" It's still worth it to me to have a treat on hand for when my sweet tooth hits but I'd love it if they were just a wee bit larger.

Chinese Take Out (from Oye's) - this was my substitute for chicken soup
Veggie Spring rolls, scallion pancakes with extra ginger sauce and veggie chow foon. When ordering noodles be sure to order rice noodles only as yellow noodles have egg. This dish was fairly bland so I added some chili garlic sauce I had on hand to the ginger sauce and doctored up the noodles. A nice treat.

And on the snack front...
Tostitos Multigrain scoops (more filling and flavorful than the regular corn), Earth Balance Vegan Aged Cheddar Flavor Puffs (kinda like a slightly more dense, less cheesy Pirate's Booty - it does have the crunch and slight cheese-esque tang I sometimes crave however)

Wine. What? It's a fruit.

So we all survived and Audrey is adapting fairly well now that the initial shock has passed. Tomorrow she and I will be going on an overnight camp-out with nine Brownie scouts. Packing my own food will be interesting but I found some vegan, nut free (I have a nut allergy) energy bars and snacks at REI.

Being ill on a restricted diet was just lousy - there's no way around that. If you are going through a restricted diet, remember that when you are ill, your body needs warm nourishing foods. No matter how pitiful you feel, that is definitely not the time to gorge on vegan treats (cookies, snacks etc) because you feel like you deserve a treat ... nor is it the time to simply avoid eating because preparing a meal makes you depressed. Even if you settle for peanut butter sandwiches, give your body what it needs. Not eating or binging will make your recovery from illness take longer and will put an incredible strain on your adaptation to a restricted diet.

**I am in no way connected or receive reimbursement/product/kickbacks/magic powers from any of the companies mentioned here. All products mentioned were purchased by me or my mommy and daddy who buy me treats when I'm sick**

Sunday, March 17, 2013

And Suddenly I Am Vegan

So some day I'll get into the details, but long story short, the rheumatologist has put me on a strict vegan diet.

Have you LOOKED at my blog? To say I whimpered would be an understatement. He also wanted me to quit judo but right now we're all pretending we didn't hear him.

Shhhhhh. I said we were pretending, dammit.

Anyway I'm going to stick a few things in here that have worked - and not worked - for me.

For example, one of my favorites, the Border Cafe? That does not work for vegans. I had a bean burro with a side of beans and rice *sigh*

I added guac ... it helped a little.

What DID work? Bertucci's. Create your own individual pizza with grilled onions, roasted peppers, arugula, drizzled with balsamic. Nom nom nom. Seriously.

Not work? McDonald's. I had fries with that ... actually that was all I had. We rarely hit McD's but when the kids judo tourney runs from post-breakfast til two, parents get a wee bit desperate.

And then more things worked.
I had this ready to cook in the freezer but had kept the veggies separate.... Stir Fry Beef with Onions and Peppers. Obviously I modified it a bit - I cooked the veg first, added some of the sauce before removing from pan and didn't add all the veg back to the pan with the cooked beef. The veg over rice were just Nummy. See that capital N? Yeah.

I was worried about my protein intake since, you know, I'd had none, so I decide to find some sort of filling, easy, decadent dessert that would fill this niche. Dude, I did it.

I keep this bread in the house for the kids ... it's an easy way to get extra protein into the kids AND it has no high-fructose corn syrup. Win.

Anywho, I happened to see a recipe on Pinterest for Vegan Chocolate-Nut Spread. I remembered I happened to have half a jar of organic crunchy peanut butter (which the kids hate but I love) in the pantry. I added a wee bit of coconut butter, a slosh of vanilla (and then a slosh more), some confectioners sugar and some cocoa powder. Angels sang ... and I refused to share with the six year old who was STILL AWAKE WELL PAST HER BEDTIME. And then I poured some wine.

Anyway, there are a million vegan blogs and this one isn't about that, but changing your diet for heath reasons is hard and I needed to post this here for days that aren't so good.

Now if someone would just come put this kid to sleep, I'd be REALLY happy.

**I am in no way connected or receive reimbursement/product/kickbacks/magic powers from any of the companies mentioned here. All products mentioned were purchased by me, generally using standard shipping which I immediately regretted as it takes too flipping long.**