Monday, January 6, 2014

~ living vegan ~

Here's the first post (hopefully one of many) on eating (mostly) vegan in the south!  You might think that's a pretty hard thing to do, and rightfully so, since much of a southern diet consists of mac and cheese, fried chicken, peas cooked with meat, buttermilk biscuits, etc., etc.  But trust me, it's possible.

Growing up vegetarian, I learned from an early age to check labels and ask about ingredients at restaurants.  But a dairy allergy took me by surprise (and royally pissed me off)!  So here I am, three years after completely cutting ALL dairy out of my diet, and I'm going to show you some of my favorite vegan recipes and dairy-free products.

Side note: if you too are going through diet reformation, don't think of yourself as a "picky eater" but rather a "thoughtful eater."  And feel free to correct anyone who mislabels you.

The basics: 

Vegan vs. dairy-free.  Let me clear some things up for you.  I am strictly meat and dairy free, but I sometimes call my self vegan since it's easier to ask for vegan options at restaurants and you're less likely to accidentally order something with dairy, as vegans don't eat any products that come from animals.  The only animal products in my diet are eggs from my hormone/antibiotic-free, organically fed, well-treated, happy chickens (they all have names, but that's another story for another day), and honey from my mom's very healthy and happy beehives.  If I'm eating out, I try my best to avoid eggs, since I don't know where they come from or how the chickens were treated.

Food groups:  Obviously dairy products and meat are subtracted from the list, but protein, soy-based "dairy" products, vegetables, fruits, and grains remain.

So here's a rundown of what I eat:

Protein: mostly consists of tofu, almonds, and lots and lots of beans (all kinds!)

"Dairy" products: Silk soymilk (plain - the vanilla is tasty but sweeter than I prefer for everyday use), soy-free Earth Balance (since I have a diet heavy on soy and soy is heavy on estrogen, I like to cut it out when not 100% necessary - there's no difference in taste as far as EB is concerned!), Silk soy creamer (great in tea and coffee), So Delicious dairy-free ice cream (AMAZING.)

Vegetables: I like em all but I'm particular to beets, carrots, sweet potatoes and regular potatoes (yes I know.  Technically potatoes aren't considered vegetables, but for the sake of simplicity they will be categorized as such on here), peppers, onions, broccoli, any kind of beans or peas, lettuce, tomatoes (unless they're raw or I will push them to the other end of the table and probably run out of the room), cucumbers, celery, corn, collard greens (what self-respecting Southern gal wouldn't list collard greens?!), and any kind of olive.

Fuits: Same with vegetables - give me any kind of fruit and I will eat it.  Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, peaches, etc, etc.

Grains: my main source of grain comes from homemade whole wheat bread, but I also eat whole wheat pasta, brown rice, oats, grits, and occasionally cornmeal.

So there it is!  My dietary rap sheet.  Next I'll be posting a few of my favorite breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes.  Bon appetit!

{maybe Betty used butter instead of Earth Balance}


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