Veganista or just Veganish?

Sensational Saturdays

a blog where I write what I want to

This past March I’d had it.

My birthday is in February and I had made what should have been a healthy cake. Chocolate carrot cake made with whole wheat flour. Homemade and full of fiber and vegetables. It knocked me sideways and lay me on the bathroom floor in migraine hell.

It wasn’t like I didn’t know it could happen. I’d spent the entire holiday season last year in a constant fight against a low grade migraine. You see migraines do what I call “lurking”. After you start a migraine, they don’t go away. They hide in a corner of your head and wait for you to do something stupid, then they jump out and lay you low.

I’d begun 2011 with the full intent of eating better, getting exercise and avoiding stress. And I did pretty well, but that cake was the breaking point. I knew I had to do something different.

So I became vegan.

For those of you not familiar with the term here is a definition:

ve·gan [vee-guhn] noun

a vegetarian who omits all animal products from the diet.
Now it’s not that easy. There are vegans who believe that you should not use animal products, and vegans that believe that you need to watch each and every ecological decision you make to be sure it doesn’t hurt another creature or the planet.
Given all that, why don’t I call what I’m doing vegetarianism?
Because I’ve found that vegetarian food frequently contains eggs and or dairy. And I’m avoiding those. Mostly.
Okay, you caught me. I’m a terrible vegan. I try.
At home it’s easy. I can make my own food. Control each and every ingredient in my homemade granola. Purchase only the veggie burgers that are true veggie burgers and not egg and cheese burgers with vegetables in disguise.
But when I go out, it is almost impossible unless I eat nothing but salad. And even then you have to be careful. Ceasar salad has anchovies and eggs, after all.
So why do it at all?
INFLAMMATION. I’ve discovered that most of my health issues are better when I decrease my inflammation. And that means cutting down on the foods most likely to cause it. Meat, eggs and dairy being some of them. White flour and white sugar being culpable also. In other words. The staples of the American diet.
So I’ve become something indefinable. I’m vegan by day, vegetarian at noon and meat eater at night. No. Acutally it’s closer to: Vegan at home, Vegetarian if that option is offered at the convention, and meat eater when that’s all there is. Because I’m not good without food. Those sneaky migraines don’t like if it I eat wrong and they don’t like it if I skip meals.
And guess what. It gets even more complicated.
I’m allergic to some nuts. Not terribly allergic. Not, “OMG you smell like peanut butter so I can’t breathe” allergic. Thank goodness! But when you go out and look at a restaruant’s choices even the vegetarian options have either nuts or cheese or something else on them that makes them something I can’t eat. So I cheat.
Oh, and I will add another confession. I do eat the occaisional chocolate chip cookie when it is waved under my nose. Even though I know it has white flour, white sugar and the evil twins, eggs and butter. I’m sorry. I’m human.
So for the month of November I’m calling on you all to send me your best vegan recipes. Those without cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts or peanuts. Oh, and eggplant. I just hate eggplant (sorry eggplant people!). And in turn, on Saturdays I will share my favorite recipes (so far).
Today I’m sharing my granola recipe. Actually it’s Alicia Silverstone’s mother’s recipe with a few modifications. If you aren’t familiar with veganism, Alicia’s book The Kind Diet is a great place to start. While Alicia herself is a “superhero” (macrobiotic) she introduces veganism in a kinder gentler fashion. And she has some killer recipes. Her peanut butter pie is to die for!
(For those allergic to peanuts, substitute almond butter instead)
So here is the granola. And as Alicia says, “Yumm!”
Pre-heat oven to 350°
Place 6 cups of rolled oats onto a flat large baking tray. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring once.
(I actually use two pans because I like my oats well done, and metal works best for crunch. Don’t forget to stir.)
In a large bowl mix 1 cup raisins, 1 cup chopped raw almonds, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds and 3/4 cup wheat germ. Stir and add hot oats.
In a separate container mix 1/2 cup oil (I use canola, but you choose), 1 cup maple syrup (the real stuff please!), and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla (also only use real vanilla).
Mix the liquid into the dry and stir well.
Spread back into the pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once halfway.
Cool (stir before completely cool so the granola doesn’t stick)
Store in an air tight container and don’t over eat no matter how delicious it tastes. It is very filling!!
Have you ever tried veganism? What about vegetarianism? What about simply trying to cut out something that everyone loves from you diet? I’d love to hear your stories!


Filed under Sensational Saturday's, Veganista? Or Veganish?

10 responses to “Veganista or just Veganish?

  1. I’ve tried many different eating plans and “toyed” with the vegan idea, but I’m sure I couldn’t stick to it. I know my limits on restrictions. The granola from Silverstone sounds yummy.

    • It is, and you definitely don’t have to be vegan to enjoy granola! Alicia recommends playing with being vegan, trying it maybe one or two days a week. That is actually surprisingly easy. 🙂

  2. Good grief, Jessica! I did not know you suffered from migraines. I eat just about anything, but find myself constantly thinking about ingredients and possible substitutes “just in case” someone vegan comes to visit. I need to try out my lentil soup recipe ala Veganista and get back with you!

  3. Hey, Jessica

    Bravo for recognizing you need to alter your diet, and for taking positive action.

    You may have already discovered most restaurants will bend over backwards if you let them know you have an allergy, ie, subbing vegetables or rice for potatoes mashed with milk. Most places will do substitutions at no charge, but with the allergy banner raised, places that say they don’t substitute will, and places that charge for substitutions, won’t. Only issue is with dishes prepared in advance, of course.

    I have to avoid wheat and diary, but so want to visit Italy and France, all cheese and bread and pasta. Yikes. Major challenge. Thailand, on the other hand, was a breeze.

    Have you visited a nutritionist or naturopath? They can test your food sensitivities (no needles involved like medical allergy testing) and take out the guess work.

    Bon appetit!

    • What a great idea to raise the allergy banner! I’ve had allergy testing, (I’m allergic to nearly every thing plant and animal wise!) and the only food allergies that came up were nuts. I do know when I eat too much white food, ie white flour, potatoes, white rice, I get those pesky migraines again!

      I have a difficult time in restaurants, between my rebellious nature and their menus, it is tough. I even went to one that had great vegetarian options, but every single thing either had walnuts or cheese for protein (and I’m allergic to the walnuts). So, that’s why when I go out I’m more lax. I allow myself to fall off the wagon. And if I don’t do it too much, or in the wrong way (ie that pasta!, completely vegan, but I agree, its dangerous stuff) then I’m okay. But a few days of it and I’m back in bed with a migraine. Conventions are a challenge!

      I bet France you could do. Many of the French do food combining, and in that you don’t combine carbs and proteins. But I love real French bread! Baguettes! Yumm!

  4. Wow! You think that everyone else has no issues. It’s just you. Not so much, eh? I guess we’re all just doing the best we can. I subscribe to healthy eating but all that other stuff just jumps out and forces me to have it. You know how it is.

  5. Ouch, migraines have to be one of the worse things. I’ve only had a couple in my life, but they knocked me off my feet. I once put together a grand round at a hospital for migraine sufferers. We had 3 doctors from conventional and complementary medicine explaining how to treat. Besides, identifying triggers, changing diet, medications etc., I do remember there were certain oils as in aromatherapy that also worked. I absolutely love lavender spray on my pillow.

    I hope the vegan diet works and you never suffer another migraine, Jessica!

    • Thanks Sharon,
      Since I’ve started the change in food, the only time I’ve had any issues is when I have fallen off the wagon. Rom Con’s three days of naughtiness led to a migraine. As did my CRW writers retreat. But I have managed to avoid the “BIG” migraines so far since March. And if I can do that, I am very pleased!

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