Sunday, July 3, 2011

Becoming a Vegan...or something like that

Upon my return from France, I found my diet to be lack-luster. Unexciting. Boring. Bland. With the leisure of summer and not having a demanding job, I decided to completely revamp what I eat and become, what some consider to be, crazy. In other words I decided to take a shot at being vegan. Having recently read an article on up and coming vegan chef Tal Ronnen, veganism seemed suddenly possibly, even enjoyable. No longer a black hole of bland rabbit food but open to a wide range of possibilities. Tempeh burgers comparable to those of meat, enchiladas, and cupcake war winner Chloe Coscarelli's chocolate cupcakes with strawberries and whipped cream. With offerings like these, what would you be missing? I also liked Ronnen's taken on veganism. For many, being vegan is scary only because of the stigma that accompanies it: opinionated hippies who refuse to accept the views of others. Ronnen on the other hand does not look down on those who are not strict purists i.e. a vegan who eats bacon can still be considered a vegan with that exception. The fact that he eats bacon on occasion does not nullify the fact that he is vegan on all other occasions. With this new view on the practice I decided to come up with my own take on being vegan. And so I am one week into what I have decided to label "customized vegan". Knowing myself and my often lack of will power, I set up a set of fairly flexible rules. I knew if I attempted to go balls-out vegan, I would end up disappointing myself and cheating after a matter of hours. So I gave myself these, for lack of a better term, guidelines:
Addison will be vegan but:
1) Eat fish
2) Milk is still allowed in minimal amounts-say in coffee
3) An absolute and screaming craving is permitted to be indulged in a small quantity

So far these have been working out quite well. I have avoided meat and eggs in all capacities. Who knew that a banana is a wonderful replacement for eggs in a cake mix for a friend's birthday cake? I now much prefer the banana method, it is much more moist and adds wonderful flavor. The cake received rave reviews Conveniently, a new vegan cafe opened this week in Walla Walla. Vegan cooking for a large crowd can go horribly wrong, but much to my delight they have hit it out of the park. It is absolutely fantastic. There wasn't a dish that went by that I didn't want to try. I had an amazing sandwich called a Hummus Amongus. Soft whole grain bread with thick spread of hummus, kalamata olives, tzatziki, arugula, cucumbers and peppers. Amazing and half the price of what it would be in LA. The duration of this challenge? This answer is still unknown...update to come soon.

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