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Archive for June, 2012

I started my journey towards a healthy heart at the end of last August.  What prompted this journey was a visit to my doctor who informed me that my cholesterol was way up there and I needed to get my butt on some medication.  If you want to know the whole story, read my about me page.

Heading down the road to veganland has not been an easy one.  The only thing I have stuck to 100% is that since last August, I have not eaten any land meat.  Nothing that walks the earth has entered my mouth.  If it has hooves or a beak, it is safe from me.  I miss things like a good hamburger and bacon; the two go together quite well.

In my home I do not cook with dairy or eggs 90% of the time.  I have found some great alternatives.  I am still having trouble finding a great tasting flavored “coffee mate” and “whip cream” replacement for my morning coffee which I enjoy about 3 times a week .  I still eat seafood.  I am not ready to stop that yet.

When I go out to eat I don’t usually stress too much.  I do not order meat, however, I know that many of the things I have ordered include eggs or dairy in the ingredients.  This is what I have a hard time with, then of course there’s chocolate but that’s another story.  While recently eating out with meat eaters, I got the eye roll while I was ordering because I was asking questions.  It’s not easy because there is not this huge support system and I don’t have any vegan friends.  My husband aka “grill king” has been extremely supportive and has actually cut way back on his meat intake.  He even went with me to a vegan restaurant recently (I’ll blog about that later).

I live in a small town and recently went to one of the restaurants where I learned that the only thing I could safely order was a salad and a baked sweet potato.  All of their vegetables and beans had meat parts floating in them for “seasoning” and “flavor”.  What is up with that?  Basically, a vegetarian cannot eat there.

Now for my health status….  I recently had my blood tested again while off my medication.  I was really nervous about having this done because I did not want to hear from any family members about how I’ve been doing all this non-meat eating stuff and it hasn’t worked and blah blah blah blah blah.  The truth is I would never hear the end of it if my cholesterol was not lower and everyone would expect me to go back my meat eating ways. Not happening!!!

And the results (drum roll please)……while my cholesterol is still not as low as it needs to be, it has DROPPED 40 POINTS!!!!!!!  Yes folks, that is 40 points just from giving up land meat.  What has this done for me….it has encouraged me to continue on my path and to find a way to completely rid my diet of dairy and eggs, cut back on the oils, say goodbye to fried foods and cut back on the “whites” while adding in more whole wheats/grains.  Once I get this mastered, I’ll have that blood work done again and see if I dropped further.  The only thing I am not yet giving up is my seafood but I may limit it to twice a week.  So, I am somewhere in the middle of my journey and my blood test results have made it a happy middle.  Having a happy middle validates everything I am doing and encourages me to keep moving forward.

For all my relatives out there that have this “hereditary cholesterol gene,” take note and stop eating all that meat!!!!  That goes for you Uncle George and you Aunt Peggy and you too sister dear.  There are others;  you know who you are.  Go have something healthy and meatless instead.  I love you all.  Enjoy!!!

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I grew up in one small town and currently live in another not far from the one I grew up in.  The area is surrounded by vegetable farms, sugarcane, and cattle.  The towns are small, the people friendly, everyone knew everyone else and if you snuck out at night, your mama knew before you got home because most likely someone called her.  Why did they call her…because they knew what time your curfew was.  Friday night football games were the thing to do and afterwards you hung out in a parking lot.

Until recently, on the table of restaurants, you found salt, pepper, sugar and raw sugar (we were in style before the rest of the world).  There was no equal, sweet-n-low, etc.. because we were surrounded by sugarcane fields.  If your parents didn’t work for the industry then you knew someone that did.  The sugar industry supported the small town.  Still to this day, I DO NOT PUT THE FAKE STUFF IN MY FOOD OR DRINKS!  I want real sugar, not some fake manmade sweetener that can’t begin to compare to the real stuff and only God knows what that fake stuff is doing to our bodies.  I grew up munching on stalks of sugarcane.  After more than 40 years, I think I can safely say that sugar ain’t that bad.

Now in towns filled with vegetables, sugarcane and cattle, you can safely assume there is not any tofu to be found.  Asking for Tofu usually gets the response, “God Bless You,”  because surely that was a funky sneeze and not a real word.  Sometimes you get, “What is it?”  or  “Toe What?”  or “Is that some kind of new Martial Arts?”  It’s not always easy living where time seems to stop and people don’t get out much.  Usually it takes traveling to the “big city” 30 minutes away to be able to find what one needs for my vegan dishes.

Having not too long ago visited a Thai restaurant and walking away having had a fabulous meal, I really wanted to finally bite the bullet and cook tofu.  It’s something I have been wanting to do since taking the walk to veganland.  A place I have yet to completely reach because I made a pit stop at “Veganland by the Sea” and can’t seem to move on.  What this means is I have pretty much given up all animals and by-products except for my seafood.  This would make me a pescatarian vegetarian/part time vegan.  I am really liking this little place and do not know if I will leave it.

Anyway, at home I decide to cook tofu for the first time.  I took it out of the package and well, it looked like a big off-white sponge. Not appetizing at all.  I proceeded to cut it up into chunks.  This is what it looked like:

Chopped Firm Tofu

I don’t care who you are, the stuff looked nasty and I started getting nervous thinking there was no way this was going to tastes good.  I set it aside.  I chopped up 1/2 an onion and set that aside.  Then I mixed together 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp ground ginger (because I didn’t have any fresh), 1/2 tsp white pepper and 1 1/2 tsp curry powder.   Then I  grabbed a big pot and put in 1 can of coconut milk, 1/3 cup coconut flakes, the chopped onion and the mix of seasonings.  I let that simmer for a little while until the onion was nice and cooked and then added the chopped tofu and about 4 cups of stirfry veggies.  Once the veggies were tender and the tofu looked okay (not sure what okay means since it was a first for me).  I served it over brown rice.  If you think you need more coconut milk, feel free to add some.

Coconut Milk Mixture

Thai Coconut Tofu Curry

Now, while I did not have any bok choy or lemongrass, two things I would have liked to add to my recipe, this turned out FANTASTIC!!!  I was so thrilled with it and the coconut curry flavor was mouthwatering.  I had never attempted to cook Tofu or Thai.  This was so good that I truly cannot wait to try it again.  The tofu chunks were delicious and took on the flavor of the dish.  I am going to have to attempt another tofu dish.  I just don’t know what.  My whole family ate it and there was just enough left over for me to have it for lunch the next day.

So if you are straddling the fence and wondering whether to Tofu or to not Tofu.  I say go for it and try it like this.  You will not be disappointed.  Enjoy!

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