I’m Not Vegan, but I Eat Like One….Usually

If you asked me a little over a year ago if I’d ever be vegan, the answer was a super Hell No! I love bacon! And a nice juicy steak! But like so many other things in my life, I evolve and change and try new things. So I don’t eat meat anymore, and I am sorta kinda vegan. But I won’t call myself a vegan.

The definition of vegan is “a person who does not use or consume animal products.” So right away I cannot call myself a vegan because I am not making sure that I never use an animal product. I have a wool-lined jacket that is my favorite. I own one or 2 pieces of leather. Now, I am not jumping at the chance to wear fur but I am not throwing away anything I already own.

There are several things I still eat. I am definitely not strict. If I go out to eat and have beans that were cooked with animal fat I am not going to say no. If a friend cooks something that has bacon in it, like green bean casserole at Christmas, I’m still eating it. And the one thing I am never ever giving up is pepperoni pizza. I tried eating vegan pizza and it was like my world was crumbling around me. Pepperoni pizza brings me happiness. Like, it literally makes me smile and have a good day. So I will continue to eat it. I still eat butter on my toast. If someone brings a pie to a get together and it was baked with eggs, I’m still eating it.

Besides the occasional pepperoni, I don’t eat meat anymore. And that’s a huge change for me. It is an easy and a hard change. It’s easy because I like carbs and veggies so I just eat everything I would eat as a side without the meat. It’s hard because meat used to be such a staple. The convenience of grilling a bunch of chicken to reheat throughout the week is gone.

And then the carbs. That’s been a hard change for me but mentally a bit more than physically. When I first tried eating vegan while I was doing my yoga teacher training, I was eating so many GD carbs and I wasn’t doing the working out I am used to. So I gained weight. I thought that I would never be able to eat vegan if I was going to get fat. When I got home and returned to my usual exercise routine, the weight fell off and I was back to normal. So I just have to be mindful of making sure I continue to exercise while consuming mass amounts of beans and rice.

One of the reasons I still eat butter is because of the ingredients. A few years ago I started to eat clean and look at labels. It became normal for me to only eat things that had a couple “real” ingredients in them. So when I look at things like plant-based “butter” that are full of ingredients, yes they are plant based but there is still a long ass list, I just can’t do it. I cannot go against my clean rule and eat something full of stuff. And I know, I know, dairy products are full of shit from the animal that we don’t think about but we’ve seen on the Netflix documentaries, but I’m okay with having some butter and cow puss over a long list of things I can’t pronounce.

I also don’t eat too many fake meat products. The main reason is because I limit my soy intake. Soy is not good for people, especially women, and I’ve already had side effects in my past while consuming small amounts of soy. So I steer clear. That part is easy because I hate tofu. Tempeh is okay, and I don’t mind that as a filler, but I am the kind of person who is just better off not eating something than trying to fake it. I would rather just skip the cheese than eat the fake stuff that is usually ground up nuts and a bunch of things to make it sorta kinda taste like cheese. I’m just not about that.

I did decide just this week that I am occasionally going to eat eggs again. I love eggs. And we have chickens so I know where the eggs are coming from and what my girls are consuming.

Now I know about now there are hardcore vegans who are screaming at me because I am not really a vegan. Uh, hello, I said that in the beginning. And here’s the thing about me; I do what I want. And you know what? I don’t give a shit what you do. I am not an advocate type person. So if you tell me that you’re going out hunting to kill a deer and feed your family, good for you. You do you. I am not going to go with you and I am not going to eat the meat, but if that’s what you’re doing that’s cool with me. My husband still eats meat and I cook it for him. My daughter still eats meat and that’s okay.

Back in September when we (I say “we” because my husband was on board at first) first started, we were really limiting my daughter, too. But she’s 10 and it’s hard to teach a 10 year old new tricks. I know a few people who are raising their kids vegan and I think that’s amazing. But I think you HAVE to start kids out young or it’s going to be hard. I am her parent but in the grand scheme of things, I am raising her with TOOLS so that when she grows up she will have all these ideas and all this knowledge to make her own decisions. Our daughter has already changed so many things since we started eating clean, she’s going to do great in the health department as she grows up.

Part of the reason I decided to write this is because I have a lot of friends who are just not sure what to do when I come around. Around the holidays some of our friends were scared to invite us over to eat. But we went and ate what worked for us. And I am so thankful that those friends kept our eating habits in mind. The other day I visited a friend and met her husband for the first time. He knew I was a yogi and then she asked, “Are you still vegan?” The look on his face was priceless! He was like, “Oh no! You’re one of those.” We ended up going out for pizza. I ate cheese but had a veggie pizza. Part way through lunch he was like, “I can’t figure you out. But you don’t give a fuck.” That is probably the best thing anyone has ever said about me. Because it’s true. And it’s not at the same time. I am who I am. I don’t hide anything. But it’s true, I don’t give a fuck. If what you’re doing does not affect me in any way, I don’t give a shit what you’re doing. Just like eating vegan or not. I am choosing to not eat meat, just like I choose not to drink soda, but I am not going to stop being your friend if you eat meat, or drink soda. I feel like I am kind of going in a different direction now, so I’ll end here.

My point is, I hope you do what makes you feel good. And I hope you make choices because you WANT to and because you have done your own research and come up with your own opinions about things. And if you decide to eat vegan or plant-based and at some point start to eat meat again, that’s totally okay. There is no RIGHT way to live. We all have to go through this trial and error thing called life and do what we feel is right for us.

 

 

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Zucchini Pizza

I have not posted about zucchini pizza boats and that makes me sad. I posted a photo of the boats on my Facebook once and wrote, “When you bout that healthy life but pizza is life.” Seriously, if I could never eat some form of pizza again I might just die. And the best part about eating different versions of pizza is the fact that you start to realize that it isn’t (always) about the bread, it’s about the toppings. So you can eat the cauliflower crust or these boats and still love them and feel like you’re eating pizza.

But this blog is not just about the recipe. The main idea of this post is to boast about how proud I am about this particular meal today for lunch. The first thing… look at the size of this zucchini!!!

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That’s a trenta cup! It was my daughter’s idea to take this next one…. a fun perspective photo.

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And guess where I got this beauty! MY GARDEN! It’s the first harvested crop from this years’ garden! I am beyond excited! I cannot wait to taste this thing. And just to add to my excitement, this meal will be enough to feed both my husband and I. I alone usually eat at least 1 and a half zucchinis because the store-bought ones are so small.

So here’s what I do. You’ll need a couple zucchini’s cut in half, olive oil, pizza or spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese, mini pepperonis, s&p and garlic. You can always add other pizza things but these are my go-to.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the zucchinis in half and scoop out the insides. I cut the insides a bit so that I scoop square-ish pieces out. You don’t have to get all the middle out, just make a little divot like a boat. Put the insides in a fry pan and add some olive oil with a bit of s&p and garlic. Cook on medium. While that’s cooking, put your boats on a foil-lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with s&p and garlic, and put them in the oven while it’s heating up. You’re just cooking these a little so they are beginning to get soft. Stir your pan full of zucchini pieces until they start to get soft. Add about a cup of sauce and stir. Once everything is heated, remove the boats from the oven. Pour your pan contents into each boat. Top with mini ronis and cheese.

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I also added fresh basil from the garden!!

Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Then broil for about 3 minutes just to really crisp up the cheese. ENJOY!!

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Butter Blog

One of the cool, fun, and interesting things about clean eating is learning WHERE your food comes from and HOW it’s made. Just this weekend we “harvested” a duck for dinner. We now know where the food came from (a friend with a farm), what it ate (whatever it could get by foraging in the open yard), how it was slaughtered (I won’t go into details but we did this ourselves), and how it had to be prepared to be cooked and served. We did EVERYTHING!! That’s pretty neat. But this blog isn’t about the duck.

One of the things we eat a lot of is butter. But what exactly is butter? Once you know, it won’t seem bad like some people have made it out to be. We used to eat margarine and then we found out that it’s made with oil and sometimes things that resemble plastic. Did you know that someone invented margarine as a food to help fatten up turkeys? First, key word INVENTED. We really shouldn’t be eating things that are invented. Second, if it was used to FATTEN up anything I don’t want it. So a while ago we switched to real butter. If I buy butter I get salted butter and it’s only ingredients are cream and salt. But how does the cream become butter? And why add salt? That’s why I’m here! I’m going to take you step by step through the super fun (and kind of exhausting) process of making your own butter (it’s only exhausting on your arm muscles but hey, workout and make butter. Win win!!)

I’ll answer the why add salt question first. Have you ever eaten unsalted butter? It’s gross. That’s why you add salt. End of story.

When we started eating clean and learning about where food comes we decided to try to make our own butter. We just googled it and tried it. This blog is basically that except I’ll go into better detail with photos.

First you need heavy cream, not whipping cream. What’s the difference? Heavy cream is, you guessed it, heavier. It has about 35% milk fat while the whipping cream has only about 30%.  Heavy cream, a mason jar, salt, paper towels, a plastic container, and your muscles!  Let’s do it!

Take your cream out of the fridge about an hour before you are going to start. The outside of the container won’t be cold to the touch. Not warm, but not cold. Okay, it’s ready.

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Start by adding your cream to your mason jar. Fill it only about half way because the cream is going to get thicker and it needs room to expand.

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Tighten the lid and start shaking. You’re going to shake about 2 minutes or until your cream is solid and it feels like you can’t shake it anymore.

From the outside it will look like this…

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If you open the lid it will look like this…

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Put the lid back on and continue shaking. This is really the worst part because it will feel like you are shaking a solid and that you are making no progress. I promise, you’re doing it right. About another 2 minutes later the solid will feel like it is moving again. See the difference?

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Keep shaking until there is liquid in the jar again. There will be a little ball of butter and buttermilk.

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Once you hear the liquid, shake for maybe 15 more seconds. Don’t overdo it.

Now, open your jar and rinse the butter. Pour out the buttermilk (or save it for pancakes or something. I can’t tell you about that because I’ve never done it) and rinse the butter with cold water, swishing it around, until the water runs clear. It’s totally normal for little pieces of butter to come out into the sink. (Like the little piece floating on the top in the next photo).

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Once the water is clear, pour it out and put the butter into a couple paper towels and squeeze out all the water. Use more paper towels if you need to.

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When it feels dry, plop it down into the plastic container. Cover it and start back at the top until you’re out of cream. This pint of cream took me 4 repeats. I was beat when I was done, lol. Usually my husband is making butter with me so the work is split. I did this alone and I had jello arms when I was done. The very first time we did it, my daughter helped too but wimped out at the shaking the solid step. But I definitely recommend this as a family project.

Once you are done and have balls of butter, use a spoon and mush it up.

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If there is any excess water, soak it up with another napkin. You don’t want any liquid. The liquid is not BAD, but if it sits in there too long it will make your butter rotten (think milk sitting on something it doesn’t belong on).

Add your salt, a couple turns of the the grinder, mix it up, and put it in the fridge. Or make some toast and try it out. MMMMM!!!!!!

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ENJOY!!!

 

 

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