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going vegan in a meat-lover's paradise

Posted Aug 19 2012 5:11pm
I'm not sure what it was that finally convinced me that going vegan for a year was a good idea. It might have been the USDA/Cattlemen's brouhaha in July whereby the USDA endorsed Meatless Monday to help alleviate the national drought (veggies take less water than meat to cultivate) and was promptly put into a headlock and given a good wedgie by the Cattlemen. Or perhaps it was being in a big American city like New Orleans and getting my fill of flesh with the first taste of culinary abandon I'd had since being diagnosed two years ago.

Whatever it was, I've made the decision to forgo animal products for a whole (non) bloody year. And I'm dragging my husband and kids with me on the adventure. We'll call it quits when we go to Italy next July or August so I can stuff my gullet with fresh buffalo milk cheese and squid ink pasta.

I'm under no illusion that just because we don't eat dairy or red meat anymore that this will be a snap. I'm a lover of the tuna fish sandwich. I would mainline salmon, halibut, prawns, oysters, mussels and black cod if I could liquify it enough. And eggs and honey are staples round these parts.

But the thing is, I can't unread what I've read over the past two years. I can't truly call myself a girl determined to shit on cancer if I'm not truly willing to give this entire show a chance. Despite all the anecdotal and medical evidence coupled with the smack of intuition that came from the first few months of drinking green juice and reducing my meat footprint, I'm not 100% convinced that going 100% free of animal products is a recipe for a healthy life.

I think leaning that way is going in the right direction, but I've mostly been on the Michael Pollan side of the argument that you simply eat food, not a lot, mostly plants. The free-range chicken on Sunday night or the salmon pasta on Tuesday isn't drawing your entire picture of health. And plus, we live in a city that prides itself on offering the most pretentious and delicious, readily-available, local, natural meats. I'm being set up to be reasonable and measured about this stuff.

But I want to give this thing a chance. I'll likely emerge single and childless from the experience, but yo, I'll have done something I set out to do, right? Right? Ballz.

Here's a recipe for a super tasty quinoa salad I make most weeks to carry me through
1 cup uncooked quinoa (any colour/kind is fine - I used red today)
2 cups water
2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
1/3 cup of sultanas
1 teaspon toasted sesame oil (I use Eden)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about half a large lemon)
1/2 cup of raw, whole almonds
1/4 teaspon of salt

1. Cook the quinoa like rice, in a rice cooker or pot, with the 2 cups of water.
2. Put the cooked quinoa in a large-ish sealable container and let it cool a bit.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the quinoa and mix around with a spoon.
4. Pop it in the fridge - it'll keep for a week.


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