Monday, May 06, 2013

the burrito-lover’s guide to vegan-adjacent-ism

It’s been two weeks since I made the bold decision to kinda sorta* be a vegan for, you know, a little while. Last night I dreamed I was in some unnamed war-torn country in which bands of guerrillas charged down the street, setting stores on fire and yelling, “Revolutionaries go to that side of the road, conservatives to that side!” Whichever side you picked, you got shot.

In the dream, I was looking for a good gelato place.

So, I guess you could say there’s a lot I would do for dairy. I miss lattes and Greek yogurt. And without fish, soy, eggs or milk, it can be hard to get enough protein. I’ve been eating a lot of beans and nuts. If you are imagining a pot of red lentils soaking on my kitchen counter, great, keep imagining that. I’m imagining it too. They’re organic and I got them at my local famer’s market! I brought my own container, so no plastic was involved!

Just don’t imagine me at Leo’s Mexican Food ordering a bean and cheese burrito, hold the cheese, while my grandma—in a bright teal poncho—gets her picture taken with the mariachi band.

Cinco de Mayo: when white people dress up as Mexicans, and sometimes, also, Mexicans dress up as Mexicans.
(Recently a poet I like a lot, Craig Santos Perez, posted this picture of his fridge. The food is gorgeous and social-justice-y and earth-friendly. Amazingly, there is not one thing—not even one organic thing—wrapped in plastic. Apparently when Craig isn’t busy writing books, traveling the world and fighting injustice, he pickles his own vegetables, or maybe trades poems for vegetables someone else has pickled. Even his milk is in a GLASS CARAFE.)

Surprisingly, I don’t miss cheese that much. Don’t get me wrong—I love cheese and I will taste it again. But when my burrito doesn’t contain a brick of it, I feel less disgusting afterward. Who would have guessed?

I have, however, been putting guacamole on pretty much everything. Burritos, veggie burgers, bread. Also, after chowing down at book club on Saturday, I swear I had a hummus hangover.

Kale (yes, kale) with avocado and TJ's Cowboy Caviar salsa. Ready in five minutes.
I visited Sprouts, the slightly cheaper version of Whole Foods that opened near my office, last week and bought some lentil crackers because they sounded interesting. They were labeled gluten-free.

Jamie looked at the box. “Are you trying to avoid wheat?” She is, a little bit.

“Lord no,” I said. “There are so many things I’m not eating right now—fish, dairy, soy, alcohol—that I’m giving myself free reign with wheat. And caffeine.”

Avocados and coffee: my advice for the vice-loving vegan whose liver is still detoxing from chemo. But this weekend I’m going to have such a big fat cocktail.

I’ve been cooking a fair amount, which is a great stress reliever, even in my imperfect, lots-of-packaged-stuff, un-Craig-Santos-Perez-like way. Here are a few things I’ve made:**

Toast totally counts as cooking.

Whole wheat vegan pancakes.

TJ's seaweed ramen with added veggies.

There's a (non-soy) veggie burger under that bun. And guacamole, of course.

Barley, potatoes, carrots and leaks. Barley is my new favorite carb.

Here are a few things I haven’t made:

Macaroons are totally dairy-free. They ARE, okay?

Leftover Noo Deli noodles from Fred 62.

I got the kind without frozen yogurt, because I'm hardcore like that.

Disturbingly named kiwis, especially when pictured alongside a young Asian girl.

Cereal. Always cereal. And I know I need to bleach my grout, okay?

Always, always cereal. With almond milk and Ripe & Easy kiwis.

*Permissible loopholes: milk in coffee, eggs in baked goods, a little square of butter in pans. And when the woman ahead of you in line at the taco stand asks whether the beans are made with lard, don’t listen to the answer. 

**I didn’t use any pretty Instagram filters, so this is the food porn equivalent of a grainy home video of naked people with a lot of cellulite.


Anonymous said...

You go girl! Love the inspirational photos. Keep in mind that peas, broccoli, artichokes, spinach, and cauliflower (makes great rice-sub!) are also high in protein... I noticed this weekend that another vegan friend is also lax on the eggs-in-baked-goods rule ;)

Cheryl said...

Really? I actually had no idea that any of those things except for peas contained protein. My high school nutrition class fails me yet again.

Claire said...

Fred 62! I once saw Jason Priestly and the huge guy who played Jerry on ER there; they weren't together but it was at the same time.

It was pretty close to where I used to live. I totally miss having a Trader Joe's within walking distance.

And you don't need to bleach your grout. You just need to adjust curves or levels in Photoshop. ;)

Cheryl said...

Fred 62 is the best. In my mind, Jason and Jerry are sharing some mac n cheese balls right now.

bronwyn said...

So you discovered the avocado-as-dairy thing too. Amazing, isn't it?

Here's something to try: one avocado, one banana, one blender. Blend until it looks like pudding. You could add carob, but then people will think you're avoiding chocolate.

If you put it in the freezer for a while, it becomes kinda ice cream-esque.

Once you've mastered this, I will start leaving comments about roasting veggies.

i-ching said...

Trader Joe's also has a coconut 'milk' ice cream as a vegan non-soy alternative!

Cheryl said...

B: It sounds like you understand my baby-steps approach. Avocado-banana smoothie, here I come.

I: That and the smoothie may get me through the summer.