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Archive for March, 2009

A Constant Struggle

I have such a love/hate relationship with health. The idea of eating nothing but unprocessed, organic, whole food is so appealing. I actually salivate looking at kale.  I love how I feel after eating a meal I know is perfect for my body.

I also really love bread. And baked goods….delicious, in-your-face-it’s-vegan baked goods…cookies, brownies, cakes, pastries. And, of course, chocolate. There is so much satisfaction in veganizing a butter- and egg-heavy dessert recipe and serving it to people who just moan and drool in pleasure and then getting to say: “And they’re vegan, by the way!”  Have you ever had the pleasure of giving someone a buttery, flaky vegan croissant and being able to pinpoint the exact moment it melts on their tongue just by watching their face? That is bliss!

This is where the problem comes in. I know there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every once in a while. And I know it’s fine to have everything in moderation. Some weeks I can be really good about that. Then I rationalize eating bad. It tastes so good, why the hell shouldn’t I eat it every day?! The inner hedonist in me convinces me that I feel good when I eat sugar and carbs until I’m ready to burst. Plus, other people feel good when I give them treats. I love giving baked goods to family and friends and watching them enjoy them. See how this is a struggle?

Then there’s the whole exercise problem. People say if you work out really hard, then you can eat what you want and sort-of balance out. Great! Except I hate working out. If it feels like exercise, I don’t want to do it. I’m not a go-to-the-gym kinda gal; I don’t want to take an exercise class. Blah! I’ve tried that…and it doesn’t work for me. I can’t bring myself to care enough to keep up with it for more than a month or two. I love being active…long walks, hiking, riding my bike, playing frisbee, swimming. Those things are appealing to me. But I also like sitting. And napping. Oh man, I’m a strong napper! A lot of my favourite pass-times are sedentary. And I rationalize laziness, too. I’m tired, I had a long day, husband doesn’t feel like doing anything, I went for a ride yesterday…

I guess what it all comes down to, is motivation. How do I find and keep the motivation to live a healthy life-style? I’ve been taking baby steps…I quit smoking a couple months ago. That has done wonders for my energy-level, to say the very least. I have also been watching my alcohol intake. Nothing says lay around on the couch all day like a hangover! I’ve made a rule that we can’t order-in or do take-out. I’m a lot more consious of what I eat when I prepare everything at home. I’ve got a long way to go; but, I’m really proud of myself for getting this far. And maybe this summer will be the summer I finally take up tennis!

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chiliI’ve been vegetarian off and on for my whole life. I think that in my 27 years, I’ve been a carnivore for a combined total of nine years.I never enjoyed the taste of meat…I could choke it down as long as it was smothered in something I liked…garlicky sauce, herby marinades, I would even cut up pieces really small and try to hide them in my mashed potatoes. Everything about meat was foul to me.

When I finally took the plunge and told my parents I wanted to be officially veg, they were so supportive. In fact, my dad tells me they knew the day I was born that I would be veg. Even on our family’s ridiculously tight budget, they always made sure to have healthy alternatives for me.The first meal my mom ever made veg. for me was chili…the exclusion of ground beef and the inclusion of chick peas was the best thing that ever happened to me. I could eat chili for every meal and it would never get tiresome for me. In fact, even now, when I make a vat of chili (yes, I said vat…and I meant it. I could crawl into my chili pot if I was so inclined), I live off of it until it disappears.

I know it doesn’t sound very exciting…chili…everyone has a recipe for it; but, mine is better! Oh, and do serve it with cornbread…lots and lots of cornbread.

-2 T. olive oil

-1 large yellow onion, chopped

-3 cl. garlic, minced

-2 stalks celery, chopped

-1 c. cremini mushrooms, chopped

-1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

-1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes

-1 c. frozen corn kernels

-1.5 c. each cooked kidney beans, black beans, and chick peas

-2 T. tomato paste

-1/4 c. chipotles in adobo, chopped

-2 T. chili powder

-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

-1 T. cocoa powder

-1 T. brown sugar

-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

-2 tsp. cumin

-1 tsp. dried coriander

-juice of a lime, or 2 tsp. red wine vinegar

Sauté onion, celery, and garlic till onion is clear. Add mushrooms and sauté 2 minutes more. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer for at least an hour. I usually make it a day in advance so the flavours develop more.

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And so it begins…

I have been a blog-creeper for the past couple years. My “favourites” page is filled to the brim with the vegan blogs I read daily…sometimes drooling, sometimes chuckling, sometimes mumbling words of agreement to the posts I read. I finally decided it was time to join the ranks of the talented people I’ve been admiring like a stalker and start my own blog. Here it is. Bear with me as I try to figure out what the heck it is I’m doing. And who knows, maybe this will give me the courage to actually start commenting on some of those blogs I read/love so much!

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