Hold your judgements til the end

So, after a very long hellish trip that was supposed to only take 12 hours (and some-fricking-how turned into almost a month…) I am back to civilisation, am recuperated, and am diving mouth first into a seitan burger: nutritional yeast, vital wheat gluten, herbs et spices, tomato, onion, catsup and mustard all combine to make a delicious, protein-packed, om-nomming, meat-substituting burger. 

My gawd…. it’s marvelous… All it lacks is grill marks and smoke-flavouring…. and mah teeth 😉

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…But then Humanity happens

So, I’m currently at a place called “Lunsford’s Auto Service“and my faith in humanity is restored 🙂 Mike and Bob (the mechanics who  towed my car) are some of the kindest people I’ve met in quite some time. If you’re ever in need of a mechanic in London, Kentucky, I highly recommend coming here. They’re some of the few honest mechanics in existence. They won’t overcharge for their services and they’ll discuss repairs with you before they start on them. Not only that, they don’t push unnecessary repairs. They understand that some people are on a budget… anyhow, please be sure to give them a visit if you are nearby and need auto repairs.

Sometimes Life Takes a Dump on You….

So…. as you’re probably aware, my previous post has me planning on doing a two week mono-food diet…. that won’t be happening for a bit. My car died in London KY (for real… irreparably… the engine seized after a radiator hose popped off) on my way to visit my beloved brother and his darling family. (I’m not being facetious. I really love ’em that much.) So, I’m going to sell the @$!#/^&* car and hike my fat ass the remaining distance. On foot. With bug spray and a rucksack. Ps, he lives near Columbus Ohio, so I’ve got a bit of hiking to do. 

I’m gonna be safe, and I’m going to keep a sharp eye out for predators.

I’ll keep you guys posted whenever I find Wi-Fi hotspots.

Love to you all, and stay healthy.

Minor Change in Plan

So… the next two weeks are going to go as planned, with one minor caveat: 

dark leafy greens will be my “one food”

I went to donate blood today and when they ran my sample to make sure I was good to donate, I ended up having a bit less iron than the last time I donated. Not “supplement needed” anaemic, but low enough to not want to go without a serious source of iron. Yes, brown rice has iron in it, but leafy greens taste better… plus I can get my B12 in by not rinsing all of the leaves. I’ll just have to give a teeny spritz of lemon or vinegar to get the maximum iron intake after I donate… which will likely be tomorrow…

Although come to think of it, I pounded through an all-spinach salad the night before I donated last time…. Oh well… I still prefer dark green leaves to brown rice. I’ll just leave off the vinegar so I don’t get too much iron…

Om nom nom nom…. Sweet potato leaves…..

Solitary Confinement

This is hour one of day one of only eating one food for two weeks. Not one type of food, like bread or fruit, but one single solitary food. In this circumstance, it’s brown rice. 

It’s already difficult. I love having choices and options. I love all the colors and flavors, but having put myself in the “solitary confinement” of one food, I hope to broaden my horizons in other ways. 

Definitely gotta broaden horizons… the rest of me is already broad


Even though this will only be for 2 weeks, confining myself to just this one food will heighten my senses. My sense of smell will go into overdrive, and my sense of taste will become so accustomed to the bland mush that is brown rice that anything else that makes contact with my tongue will be the gustatorial equivalent of attending an orchestral performance from the front row, when I’ve only ever heard it on a crappy scratched vinyl that’s been used as a coaster.

I’m already regretting my decision to put myself into the confinement of eating one solitary food, but I’m going to complete this challenge and hopefully finish as a more enlightened (and lighter) individual.

Sapere Aude

My Last (interesting) Supper*

*Not actually last, just the last one for 2 weeks. 

For those of you who don’t know what I look like (all of you, btw) I have a bit of a weight problem. That round dinner roll that is my profile photo is almost an accurate representation:

Laundry day selfie. And no, I don’t smile in pictures

Because of my weight, I have a serious body image and self esteem problem. So much of one, that I have no mirrors in my house except the small one in the bathroom that I only use for flossing and post-brush plaque check. I am somewhat phobic about showing my body to anyone, but if I am to accurately record my next step, I have to get out of my comfort zone and show the parts of me that I would rather keep hidden. Like my legs:

That’s 5 years of intense cycling covered up by 5 years of fast food and 5 additional years of “healthy” meat based meal plans

My torso: 

Those bovine growth hormones skipped my breasts, somehow

My butt:

They landed solidly on my butt and hips, though

And my arms:

Thems factory worker arms… and clutter from moving

I haven’t stepped on the scale in ages, but the last time I did, I weighed 233 lbs (16.64 stone, or 105.7Kg)

Which is a bit much. Honestly, it snuck up on me. When I was in my early 20s, I was a very muscular and athletic 160 lbs (11.43 stone, or 72.6Kg). Thanks to a decade of poor diet and almost zero exercise I’ve gained 70lbs… and it feels weird to read that. It makes it real somehow. I’d like to get back to that cycling weight, or a little lower since I don’t need my cycling calves to get to work anymore. 

And the way I’m going to be doing this is by “fasting” for two weeks.the word fasting is in parentheses because I will still be eating, I’ll just only be eating one food. And because I’m obviously a glutton for punishment, the food that I’ve chosen is brown rice. It helps that I have a never-ending bag of brown rice.

Anyhow, mono-food “fasting” is supposed to reset something called a “biome” which, if I understand it correctly, means the critters in my stomach responsible for the breaking down of foods will swap over from the flesh eating kind to the kind that make mincemeat out of veggies. As it were. It should also have the added benefit of resetting my brain and tastebuds, since I will literally only be eating brown rice. No salt, no sugar, no nooch, no spices, no herbs, no oil, no flavor, and no fun. Brown rice and water only. Days 3 and 4 are supposed to be miserable and day 5 is supposed to be the euphoric endorphin release day. Expect a lot of whining in a few days. Sorry in advance. 

I’ll probably take photos on each day to document any changes and use this blog as a diary/psychiatrist’s couch. A few well placed “And how does zat make you feel?” Comments would not go amiss if one were so inclined. JS.

Anyways, this post has gone on quite long enough. Be happy, be healthy, be kind 🙂

Mediterranean Pasta and Soul Food

Normally I publish these posts as I’m preparing to eat the foods, but today has been a bit busy. I’ve been doing oodles of research and more than my fair share of YouTube browsing. Unfortunately for all you WordPress alumni, this means that I’ve just been “cooking by my wits” rather than digging around to find recipes on here to try out. 

What this means for today is a double feature with a bit of a culture clash. 

I present to you Mediterranean pasta:

And black beans and rice:

The pasta dish came about because I have a bunch of these little tomatoes that are doing their full best to spoil before I get to them, and I really wanted pasta for some reason. It has fresh banana peppers, black olives, Roma tomatoes, and grape tomatoes tossed in with the pasta. And it’s rather lovely. It’s one of the many variations of “sauteed veg” that makes for a delightful, healthful, nutritious, vegan, delicious, filling meal. It also functions as a covert conversion meal. If you make a large portion of this for a group of omni friends (or a small portion for yourself if your veg-curious) and also mix up some fauxmesan cheeze (cashews, or any nut really, can be used as a sunflower substitute) I can almost guarantee conversion. Or at least a removal of the “Vegan foods taste of cardboard” mental block. My very carnivorous father had 3 servings 😉

As for the black beans and rice, I was in the mood for a comfort food. As with the pasta dish, it has no added oils. It does have some salt, but definitely less than I would have put last month. The yellow sprinkles in the middle are nooch flakes. Which, if you haven’t already tried it, go out and buy some. Whether you’re vegan, omnivore, carnivore, vegetarian, pescatarian, flexitarian, or any other way to self-identify by diet, go buy some. You won’t regret it. The Bragg brand and Bob’s Red Mill brand both are fortified with B12, which is something that most people are deficient in. Buy some. You can sprinkle it on just about anything, and it adds a very ‘umami’ bit of awesome to everything. 

Anyhow, black beans have a pretty decent amount of omega 3, which is a nutritional element that seems to get almost as much attention as protein when playing defensive omnivore bingo…. 

Fried Rice

There are few recipes more flexible or forgiving than fried rice… all it really needs is rice, veg, a protein, and some sort of soy sauce. It’s flexibility is only limited by what is in your fridge.

The origin of the dish, as I understand it, is a way to make use of leftovers. You take your rice, your protein, and your veg, sautee it all up on high temperature, and douse it in soy sauce. 

The “traditional” ingredients consist of long grain rice, chicken, shrimp, or pork, onion, carrot, egg, soy sauce, lard, salt, and pepper. However when one is trying to eliminate animal products, one must get creative… which is how something like this happens:

Instead of meat and egg, I substituted scrambled tofu (dofu) that had nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and olive oil for flavoring. The soy sauce that I found in the fridge was tamari style, and because I have no lack of them, I used red and green peppers and a small onion. I didn’t have any leftover rice, so I made some and stuck it in the fridge before I started so it could cool off. Take it from me, that step is very important. If you don’t have rice that has been cooled off completely, you’ll end up with a soggy, gloppy, disgusting mess. Not fun. 

Anyhow, start with your rice. You don’t need a lot, but it’s best to have about a 2:1 rice to everything else ratio. Usually, about 1.5-2 cups of prepared rice is sufficient. Again, you don’t have to be super exact, as long as you have more rice than veg.

Once you’ve made the rice and stuck it in the fridge, get to work making your favorite iteration of scrambled egg substitute. That gets to cool off on the counter while you go on to the next step:

Sautee the veg. However crunchy or soft you prefer your veg, cook it to that temp and add the cold rice. 

Break up the rice with your favorite cooking utensil, dump the “egg” in, douse the whole thing with soy sauce, stir well, and put it on a plate. 

Add your favorite eating utensil, and go to town. On the food, I mean… don’t leave it there and drive to actual town… that’d be weird.

Soapboxing. Because I’m Pissed.

I’ve watched quite a few farm exposé films lately and I’ve noticed something deeply disturbing on a primal level. 

The inhumane facilities that the animals are kept in are bad, and the diseases are horrifying, but what scares me the most is the rampant psychopathy and sociopathy displayed by the workers. And I haven’t been able to find a single study dealing with the mental and emotional state of these workers! 

Don’t get me wrong, being a vegan is a really good idea for everyone, but holy shit! What is going to happen to the crime rates of these towns and communities where these disturbed people live and work when their non-human victims are no longer available to torture? Are they going to take it out on their friends and family? Their annoying neighbor? Their misbehaving child? Their cat? Their dog? Their colicky infant?

Captain Picard WTF

These people who work in agribusiness, and especially those whose work involves the slaughter of infant animals (such as on veal farms and hatcheries) really need to be studied and researched to see if they’re able to be re-habilitated into mainstream society… These are not jobs for well rounded morally, ethically, and mentally sound individuals. These jobs are for the degenerate few of our society that “get off” on causing pain, suffering, and anguish in any way they can. Whether it be mental, emotional, physical, psychological, or all of the above. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certain that a percentage find the job repulsive and can only cope by compartmentalising, but there’s still a staggering number that go to work every day and look forward to  doing their job. You can even hear some of these psychopaths shouting abuse at the animals while they’re torturing them. 

Take a listen to what the workers are saying the next time you watch a farm exposé. It’s not words of comfort. It’s not even prayer. It’s foul taunting, hatred, and abuse. 

I know this is pure speculation, but I would be willing to bet a fair sum of money that the majority of workers who deal directly with the animals on these large farms have some form of sociopathy or psychopathy. Even if they went into the job with a healthy mindset, they cannot possibly remain unaffected by the abhorrent behaviors that they’re forced to act out in order to make the money they need to feed their families. 

Which also speaks to the mindset of  big agribusiness on a corporate level. What must these managers be thinking to put the hourly rate at such a comparatively high level that average citizens in rural areas (who probably have pets that they love) are willing to do despicable things to maintain their standard of living. 

Was it the intention of big ag to prove that morality and ethics have a price tag?

I’ve rambled a bit. I know. I’m just very upset (read: highly pissed off) about the distressing trend of violent individuals on farms who are “tending” to the animals. It’s sick. It’s sick enough that I’m giving serious thought and consideration to taking my vegan lifestyle to the next level… I’m pretty sure I’m already on a few watchlists… what’s one more, right?

Vegan

Madison Elizabeth’s Spreading Sustainability Blog Cashew Milk

Welp, I’ve set my quest for good rice milk on the back burner for a bit, and I’m now focusing on cashew milk… which seems to be less hassle and more awesome. The cashews are more expensive short term, but if they make a palatable milk substitute then they’ll be cheaper in the long term… since I won’t be literally dumping my money down the sink with crappy tasting rice milk recipes. 

***if you’ve figured out a way to make rice milk that tastes like rice dream, lemme know how you did it. That’s what I’m looking for…***

Anyhow, I’ve stumbled upon this recipe for raw vegan cashew milk. I’m super excited because I just happen to have medjool dates in my fridge. Weird, huh? I live pretty close to an international market, so I can get a hold of some pretty obscure things… like dragonfruit… 

Dragonfruit halves

Om nom nom

and 1 1/4lb bags of raw cashew pieces…

Small white cashew pieces

Seriously… that’s the price

If you live anywhere near the Dekalb Farmers Market, or are in the area for any reason, go check it out… it’s pretty awesome. The produce section is second to none for variety.

Anyhow, back to the cashew milk recipe… *ahem* 

I’ve got the cashews soaking, and in this picture I’m about 40 min into the soak… 

Raw cashew pieces soaking in water

Soaking…..soaking…..soaking…..soaking…..

Anyhow, the preferred method of straining these types of milks seems to be something called a “nut bag” which is something I don’t have. 

I do, however, have the poor-man’s version, called “nylon stocking” which seems to do just fine… 

Nylon stocking over mason jar

Because broke people drink vegan milk, too

I also have a blue tea-towel, but it’s not as easy to wash up as the nylon stocking. 

Anyhow, we’re nearly to the time when I can toss these cashews into the blender and make milk. Loudly. Not as loudly as dairy cows pining over the loss of their calves, but still loud enough to be a nuisance in the house. Good thing no one is asleep here 😈 

And it’s time!!!

Raw vegan cashew milk

Ya like my tofu? Yeah… that’s right… tofu and cashew milk

I’ve got my cashew milk now 🙂 The recipe made twice what you see, but I was impressed enough with the recipe that I went a little bit fat-kid and drank the rest……… before you get all up in arms about how “fat shaming is bad”… I actually am a fat chick… slowly losing weight, but a fat chick nonetheless.

I had to put it over ice… sorry….

It’s a little dark because I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so instead of the 3 dates that were suggested, I put like six… it was still delicious with just the 3, but my sweet tooth was all like “moar sweet!” And I was all like “ok”

Anyhow, well done to you, Madison Elizabeth. It’s delicious and you’re awesome!!!

Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay awesome!