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Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

I try not to preach about veganism on this blog and in my life.  When people ask me why I am vegan, I usually keep my answer short and sweet (“For the animals, for my health, and for the planet.”)  If people ask more questions, I am happy to answer them the best that I can, but I can only speak for myself and I don’t pretend to be an activist.  I try to lead a healthy vegan life and let the delicious food and my own health and happiness speak for themselves.  But something has happened recently that really frustrates me.  I’m sure you’ve heard about it – the massive egg recall.  And you may or may not have heard of the investigators’ horrific findings upon visiting these farms.  Unfortunately, places like this are where most of our food comes from.  If you don’t think that is so, ask yourself how this could happen.  How could someone get away with this for so long?  Why did over 1300 people have to become physically ill before the problems at the DeCoster egg factories were “uncovered”?  Do you really think your health and safety – or the animals, or the planet – are being protected?

You can read more about the DeCoster egg recall, well on just about any news site, but here is an article from The Huffington Post.  And here is an outstanding post by a local Des Moines chef who re-emphasizes the importance of buying local in light of this recent recall.

I want to talk a little bit about my own Vegetarian Tipping Point.  On July 4th 2006, I had the day off from work and we were relaxing around the house.  We grilled some food (steak, salmon, and asparagus) and watched some lazy TV.  You know, I hear all the time about how television is rotting our brains, but I happened to catch a show on The History Channel that would literally change my life forever.  The show was called Modern Marvels:  The Butcher, and it explored the various methods of meat processing throughout history up to modern times.  Before I watched this show, I hadn’t really thought much about where my food came from.  I liked food that tasted good and so I ate it (and plenty).  There was something about the way they showed the live animals being prepared for slaughter and the various stages of processed carcasses and raw meat, that deeply disturbed me. That was the last time I ate meat.  My reasons for becoming (and staying) vegan have changed and evolved since then, and they are even slightly different from day to day – but food safety concerns were one of the first things that made me re-examine my diet.  Whenever there is a massive recall like this, it makes me thankful to be vegan.

Now, I will step off my soapbox and present you with some (hopefully) useful information about vegan egg alternatives.  I’ve never felt deprived or like I was missing out on anything since becoming vegan, and substitutions like these are what make that possible.  But you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy these foods, either!

Egg Substitutes

Ener-G Egg ReplacerThis commercial product is made mostly of potato and tapioca starches and is mixed with water to make a slurry (I love that word) and then added to your recipe.  I’ve used this product with success in cookies (like my Chocolate Chip Cookies), muffins, and pancakes.

Fruit puree (like applesauce, mashed banana, or pumpkin) – These can be used in baked goods like muffins, quick breads, and cakes.  They work best in recipes that have additional leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder (or both).  Usually, 1/4 cup of fruit puree can be subbed for 1 egg.

Tofu – Silken tofu works well in dense baked goods like brownies, and one major bonus is that it’s virtually flavorless.  In recipes, 1/4 cup of blended silken tofu subs for 1 egg. I’ve also used silken tofu successfully in cheesecake, pumpkin pie, and chocolate “pudding” pie.  Regular tofu can be used as a substitute for cooked eggs in things like quiches, tofu scramble, fritatta, and even egg salad.

Flax seed – The flax egg is one of my favorites because it’s affordable and it works so well in baked goods like cookies, muffins, cakes, and quick breads.  It does add a slight nutty flavor and can lend a “grainy” texture to things like pancakes, though honestly I view this as a bonus.  There are a few different formulas for flax eggs, but the one that I use is 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 3 Tablespoons of water to sub for 1 egg.  Combine and let stand for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens, then add to your recipe as directed.

Chia seed – I haven’t experimented much with this substitution myself, but you can use a chia egg in the same way you would use a flax egg.  Mix 2 Tablespoons of chia and 1/2 cup water and let stand for 10-15 minutes.  This will make 1/4 cup of chia “gel” which can be subbed for 1 egg.

– In savory recipes like meat (or veggie) loaves, eggs are often used as a binder.  In these cases you can use something starchy like breadcrumbs, oats, or even cooked rice or quinoa to help hold things together.

– Lastly, I want to mention black salt or kala namak.  Commonly used in Indian cuisines, black salt has a very sulphury flavor and aroma, and is said to give faux egg dishes an eggy flavor that is otherwise difficult to duplicate.  I haven’t tried it myself, but I think I need to!

Vegan Alternatives for popular Egg Dishes

Tofu scramble – This is one of my favorite things to make because it’s so easy, tasty, and versatile.

Vegan Frittata – I am remembering how much I liked this broccoli frittata , and thinking I need to make it again very soon!

Deviled Eggs (Potato Angels) – This is not my recipe, but I’ve been wanting to try these

Eggs Benedict featuring the Vegan Poached Egg – This is from one of my favorite newly-discovered blogs, Meet the Shannons.  They have so many recipes I’m dying to try.

Eggless Egg Salad – I used to buy this salad pre-made from my co-op’s deli and I’ve always thought I should try to figure out my own recipe.  This is it!

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Just a quick little post to wish everyone a Happy National Running Day!  This is just the second annual National Running Day, and although there are some events (you can search on the website), all you really need to do to participate is lace up your shoes and go for a run today.  I celebrated with a short little 1.5 mile run this morning before work – it was cool and a perfect morning, and it was most importantly, pain-free.  Although I struggle with getting out of bed early, I love to be out before many people are around.  It’s so peaceful and I don’t get self-conscious!

In other very exciting news, I just found out that Des Moines is getting a Trader Joe’s!!  This could be dangerous.

I’ll be back later with a recipe using some of that asparagus I got this weekend at the Des Moines Farmers’ Market!

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Those Resolution things…

    Ah, New Year’s Resolutions.  I’ll be honest, by the time New Years rolls around in the Midwest, I’m usually deep in the “winter blues.”  Though you couldn’t tell by looking at me (I’m ghostly pale), I love the sunshine.  My ideal temperature range is about 78-82 degrees.  I happen to live in a place where it is that temperature for approximately 1/100th of the year.  So when the snow (and ice, and sleet, and freezing rain, and ice pellets) starts falling, so does my mood.  It’s hard for me to have a positive outlook on the year ahead during this time.  But nonetheless, I do try.  Just this morning I found myself thinking:  “Well, it’s January 4th.  That means, at the very most, three (probably) more months of winter.  Just get through January and February and you’ll be fine.”

    With all that out in the open, I do usually try to make a couple of New Year’s Resolutions. 

 

   

  Okay, here’s another confession:  I’m not very good at goal-setting.  The first time I met my amazing wonderful personal trainer, he of course wanted to know what my goals were.  I told him, “I want to lose weight.”  He was nice about it and said that it usually helps to visualize a number or size you want to be, maybe an outfit you want to wear like a bathing suit or dress.  He, being wonderfully amazing, emphasized that it didn’t have to be about a number on the scale, that there were other ways I could measure fitness.  But I was stubborn. I told him, “I’ll know when I get there.”   (Note: I’m not there yet).  We compromised and set small goals together.  Every week he would ask me what my goal was that week – anything from a certain number of workouts, trying a new kind of workout, reducing the number of bagel breakfasts I’d have that week, etc. I also set small personal goals for myself, with a system of rewards.  For example, one year in July I set a goal to walk my dog 25 times in that month.  If I did it, I could buy a purse I’d been wanting.  I achieved my goal and got my purse!  Just for the record, I am strongly against food rewards.  I think it sets up a negative mindset about food being categorized as “good” or “bad” and can lead to bingeing behavior for some people.  A reward should make you feel good about yourself.

   All that being said, while they may not fit the typical goal-setting blueprint (specific, measurable), my goals for 2010 are:

Sweat every day.  This means, simply, do some type of exercise every day, whether it is 10 minutes or 100.  Anything that forces me to break a sweat.  Every day (unless I’m sick.)

Deepen my yoga practice.  When it warms up, I plan to find a studio somewhere around me (there are none in my town) and sign up for classes.  I also want to practice more on my own and try meditation. 

Save money.  For this I do have a set amount I would like to save by the end of the year, but I’m keeping that private.

Comment more on blogs I read and friends’ blogs, especially.

Try one new recipe per week.  Healthy or unhealthy, elaborate or simple, doesn’t matter.

    That’s it!  For the first time since I can even remember, I don’t have a weight loss goal for the New Year.  I’d like to lose a few pounds, sure, but no pressure.

Oh, one more:

See Andrea!  Whether she visits me, I visit her, or we visit somewhere together.  I miss her lots.

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