Friday, January 13, 2012

My Vegan Quest for 2012

I hate cooking. If it weren't for the great dining options in Portland, my diet would consist of fast food, frozen dinners, and cereal. I know some people find cooking creative and even relaxing; but for me, cooking is a boring chore that involves a lot of work. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy having a delicious meal with a glass of wine and bit of cheese; it's just the cooking part of the meal that I find uninspiring.


Every New Year, I tell myself that this year, I will try my hand at cooking. And every year, I find myself not following through. Likewise, every year, I attempt to eliminate all animal products from my diet and adopt a healthier and more animal friendly lifestyle. 


He Really Looks Good. Is it the Vegan Diet?
Last year, Bill Clinton (the former poster boy for junk food and bad dietary habits) became a vegan as way to improve his health. The news that Bill Clinton could somehow turn his life around and embark on a new lifestyle was not only inspiring, but it challenged my sense self and what I could accomplish. It was like Mr. Clinton was daring me to follow suit. 


To that end: my goals for 2012 are to cook one vegan meal each day, and to eliminate as many animal products from my diet as possible. As part of that quest, I intend to write regularly about my progress.  


Assisting me on my vegan journey is "The 30-Day Vegan Challenge," by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.  It's a wonderful book filled with simple recipes and useful tips on how to achieve your goals. (Thanks for the book Hilary!)


I know cooking one fresh meal each day will be challenging but it can be done! However, eliminating all animal products from my diet seems daunting and even scary. My heart is there but my willpower is weak. It's not like I eat a lot of meat anyway. In fact, the only animal flesh I eat is fish and turkey. I won't miss the eggs, the milk, or even the occasional honey in my tea; however, the prospect of a life without cheese and yogurt seems seems soulless and empty. And what about eating out? It will be interesting to see how I deal with these and other issues during the year.  


First off, I'm going to share a wonderful and EASY recipe that my mother used to make. (Coincidentally, it also happens to be vegan.)


Cabbage-Soy Salad 
Serves 4-6 and takes about 15 minutes to prepare
1/2 white cabbage
1/2 red cabbage
1 French shallot
3 1/2 oz. olive oil
1 tbs. tomato paste
1 tbs. tomato sauce
2 tbs. soy sauce
1 bunch of tarragon
1 carrot
Salt and pepper to taste


Finely shred the cabbages and carrot. Peel and finely chop the shallot. Combine the olive oil with the soy sauce, tomato paste and tomato sauce. Strip the leaves of the tarragon and mix everything together. Season with salt and pepper. It makes for a tasty snack or tangy salad to accompany a main course. Enjoy!

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