Recently in Vegetarian Category

Very Vegan February

Hello World!

As expected, I came back for a couple posts, then disappeared entirely again, as is usually the case with such returns. But I've had a nice break, and is the best place I can imagine to discuss my current project: Very Vegan February.

As it stands, I'm a "strict vegetarian" - no meat, and I'm careful about hidden ingredients (broths, rennet, gelatin, flavorings, etc). I also only buy products with dairy/eggs if they come from organic sources (for animal treatment issues). I'm lax about this aspect when I eat out, but not my vegetarianism (I don't "not worry" about broths, etc. when I go out to eat - just about organics).

For February, I'm sticking to a pretty much standard vegan diet. No dairy or eggs, on top my standard strict vegetarianism. I don't worry about honey, a) because I almost never eat it, and b) because I think it doesn't belong in the same vegan category. Otherwise, though, it's gonna be a very vegan February.

I'll post here when I have something interesting to add, thoughts about the process, or tips/tricks I want to share/remember. Looking forward to it, and bringing readers along for the trip!

Dear Food Trucks,

I know the trucks aren't THAT big, but when you're going to an event with a half-dozen other trucks, which you know will get people visiting from all over the area, how about trying NOT to run out of food? Every non-dessert truck was out of lunch stuff, and turning people away, at the truck gathering at the Irvine Chamber of Commerce.

Also: There's gotta be something you can do about the routine 20 minute wait. That's absurd for those of us who already have to drive 10-15 minutes to get to you.

Rant mode off. One other thing: The Lime Truck's tofu taco was awesome.

Social Media Day/food truck event

Wednesday, June 30 is Social Media Day - and while that sounds amazingly niche and pretentious, I'm totally going and totally looking forward to it. Luckily for me, my employer is hosting a Social Media Day/food truck event from 3pm-6pm - there'll be guest speakers, little workshops, and a bunch of local food trucks, including Seabirds (vegan/organic) and Piaggio On Wheels (which comes highly recommended).

If you're in or around Santa Ana, stop on by and say hello!

Wanted: "Authentic" Mexican food in Orange County

veggiemex.jpgAlmost exactly two years ago (while writing at Liberal Atheist Vegetarian), I set out to find the best vegetarian Mexican food in OC. Judging the difference between a good enchilada platter and a bad one is the easy part - the real challenge is actually finding "authentic"-style restaurants that are vegetarian friendly. From the original post:

I'm looking for the best Mexican restaurants in (and around -- I'm willing to make a short drive) Orange County. They can be large chain restaurants, small mom-and-pop places, fast food, even non-traditional styles. Where do you like to eat?

There are a few rules. All of the base ingredients must be vegetarian. This includes the beans, rice, tortillas (corn and flour), and chips. They must use vegetarian cooking oil, and there should be something vegetarian on the menu beyond a bean and cheese burrito. If you're not sure, suggest a place and I'll do the research.

These don't have to be all-vegetarian restaurants - in fact, I'd kinda prefer if they weren't. I'm looking for a good Socal-style Mexican restaurant experience that I can share with my meat-eating friends, but where I'm not limited by ingredients. 

So I need your help. Throw out ideas of locations you like to eat - either places you already know about, or somewhere that looks promising. I'll compile results (with a breakdown of both their vegetarianness and tastiness) and list them here. If you're interested, I'd even like to go out to your favorite places with you, so there's a meetup aspect to this as well.

What's good?

Cover Story

vnanewsletter.jpgHello Readers! A quick update to let you all know that yours truly has the cover story on this month's Vegetarian Network of Austin newsletter, "Austin Vegetarian Living". It's about how to eat vegetarian/vegan at Mexican restaurants (and how difficult it can be).

I'm hoping to start posting here more, with links to other great blogs and original stuff. Thanks for reading, and enjoy!

Damn you, El Pollo Loco...

Based on what I can gather from this post over at the Fast Food Maven, El Pollo Loco's rice, while never anything special, will no longer be vegetarian once it's reformulated in the coming months. That's too bad, because their BRC burritos are a semi-staple for me (well, I go there once a month or so), and it's always been nice to have another burrito choice besides Del Taco and Taco Bell. Alas, if the only thing I can eat there is the beans, I very likely won't go anymore. I'm sure I'm not the only vegetarian, either.

Bad blogger! No cookies! Ok, one cookie...

| 1 Comment
Oh, hello. I'm still here.

Stupid life gets in the way of blogging, and all of a sudden it's three weeks between new posts. I was sick for almost 2 of those, and when I'm sick, I typically don't bake. That's not a great excuse, but it is one...

Speaking of baking, a friend has asked me to make dessert for her birthday party. I'm very excited by the prospect, even though I don't know what I'll be doing yet.

I've actually been cooking with tofu, and made a very good fried tofu with cabbage and mushroom. The secret to frying seems to be too much hot oil. Boy, is that delicious. Next thing to find out is how restaurants make their pressed-style stuff, 'cause it's awesome.

I'm actively trying to decide what I want to be. Other blogs do all the things I'm interested in doing, and they do it better. I'm the only person with my voice, though, so there is that. I think for now I'll post when inspired to.

I hope that won't be in another three weeks...


Quick question for everyone to ponder over and argue about: Outside the actually staff members I know, just about everyone I've met who I'd consider pretty hardcore vegans and vegetarians doesn't care for the practices of PETA. I happen to find them very, very entertaining, but a lot of people think they go to far.

What's your take? Are there specific things they do that you don't like? Are they generally a good group? Often I'll talk to people who say they hate PETA, but can't give me any real reasons. Do you have some?

Meat's kinda bad for you

Not that I had to tell all of you this, but...

Study: Lots of red meat increases mortality risk

By CARLA K. JOHNSON, AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson, Ap Medical Writer

CHICAGO - The largest study of its kind finds that older Americans who eat large amounts of red meat and processed meats face a greater risk of death from heart disease and cancer. The federal study of more than half a million men and women bolsters prior evidence of the health risks of diets laden with red meat like hamburger and processed meats like hot dogs, bacon and cold cuts.

The surprising parts of of this study for me were all the numbers involved:

Over 10 years, eating the equivalent of a quarter-pound hamburger daily gave men in the study a 22 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 27 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease. That's compared to those who ate the least red meat, just 5 ounces per week.

Women who ate large amounts of red meat had a 20 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 50 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease than women who ate less.

Those numbers, of course, are kinda scary. I don't blame the meat entirely - I'm sure most people that have meat as a major component of every meal probably aren't skimping on the rest of the high fat menu. Also amazing to me is that more than half a million people were involved in the study - that's huge.

The story also has the obligatory comment from the meat industry denying the connection, but also throws in a couple sentences about the positive environmental aspects of eating less meat. I wish they'd throw around less "global warming" and maybe add some "increased energy usage" and "damaging to the water table", but it'll do.

The Accidental Anti-Diet

I'm not on a diet.

That said, I'm watching what I eat, and try to keep between-meal snacking, overly fatty food, and caloric pitfalls to a "healthy" minimum. I've maintained my weight well over the last few months, and I'm approaching 200lbs for the first time since high school.

Enter real life. Between a busy weekend, my mom moving, my car breaking down, having a two year old and a host of other things, I found myself going out to eat an inordinate number of times. When I did eat at home, it was a quick meal, and not always well thought out. So even though I'm not on a diet, I've done a hell of a job this week in making sure I eat pretty poorly.

soup1.jpgWhat's a guy to do? Eat soup. I've never been one for purifying, detoxification, or flushing out my body - it'll do that itself when you give it the right foods. And since I'm predicting the rest of the week could be as busy as the first half, I figure I might as well have something easy, tasty, and healthy to grab. For me, it's this very simple to make, very cheap, and very tasty veggie soup.

Simple Veggie Soup

1 can (14.5oz) tomatoes, diced
3 medium carrots, sliced thin
6-8 oz mushrooms, any variety, chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 head cabbage, sliced thin
salt, pepper and other spices, to taste

soup2.jpgPlace tomatoes and juice into large pot on medium high heat. Add vegetables, then add enough water to just cover them. Cook on medium high for 45-50 minutes, until all vegetables are cooked through. Add salt, pepper and any other spices you like, to taste. Makes 6-8 servings. Serve with crusty bread.

Thoughts and Observations: Just like with the Shepard's Pie below, feel free to add any veggies you have handy to this soup - peas, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, beans etc. Make sure you add enough salt - there's no reason the soup has to be bland just because it's all vegetables. Enjoy!

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