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No meat, no dairy, what DO you eat?

(post, Trista Cornelius)

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I have been vegan-ish for 3 1/2 years--no animal products in my diet, except humane-certified eggs and local honey.  When people first learn this, they inevitably ask, "What DO you eat?"  

Unfortunately, my mind always goes blank.  What DO you eat if not turkey sandwiches, ice cream, pizza, yogurt, bagels and schmear, nachos, and burgers?  At best, I give vague answers getting nowhere near the truth of my reality.

It sounds like a paradox. but eliminating meat and dairy from my diet introduced me to more abundant, diverse, colorful, and satiating foods than I'd known before.

So, because I've not done a good job answering the question in person, I'll answer it here.  For at least a few posts, I'll share with you what I eat. I'm not out to change anyone else's diet, and I'd love to hear your thoughts and questions.  

Here goes--one week of veganish living (which includes the pie pictured above):  

For breakfast most days this week, I toasted Dave's Killer Bread (dairy and egg-free), smeared it with raw almond butter, and topped it with sliced fresh peaches so juicy and sweet they tasted like jam.  One particularly ravenous morning, I made a serving bowl full of Bob's Red Mill oatmeal and mixed in fresh peaches, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, raisins, AND dried cherries!  (I was hungry.)

Lunches included quinoa mixed with the juice of a lemon and an orange, dried cherries, and fresh figs.  (I've only recently eaten fresh figs--they're so beautiful, my tongue had no choice but to love them.  It's like eating fruit plucked from a master oil painter's still life!)  Some huge salads decorated with raw golden beets.  And maybe the tastiest:  buckwheat soba noodles mixed with sesame oil, sea salt, and at least three heaping tablespoons of finely minced roasted seaweed.  My cousin, who is trying a vegan diet for a month, made me vegan pizza for lunch:  homemade pizza dough, cannellini bean hummus, kalamata olives, roasted garlic, and tomatoes from her garden.  D-lish.   

Finally, for dinner, I am a tad ashamed to admit that twice this week we went to McMenamins to share tater tots.  Some days, obviously two of them this week, I get this gut-centered desire for tater tots, like they hold some essential essence of life and without it I'll perish.  At least I follow them with a big spinach salad.  For an early dinner one night, I tossed chopped green Thai eggplant from the garden with olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, and sea salt, sauteed them until brown, then added big tomato chunks (also from the garden) put the lid on the pan and turned off the heat.  About ten minutes later, we scooped it right out of the pan onto corn tortillas I'd cut into triangles and toasted in the oven.  Yum!  

Of course, the kicker is pictured at the top of this story--a totally vegan dessert free of oil or margarine!  A lemon (or lime) "cream" pie from Dreena Burton's book Everyday Vegan.  The bottom layer is a lemony cheesecake made from soft tofu, maple syrup, lemon juice and lemon zest, unrefined sugar, and flour.  Smooth vanilla pudding (made with soymilk) creates the top layer.  Cool, creamy, and lemony--a perfect summer dessert.  

So that's a snapshot of last week's meals in a veganish life.  How's it look?

PS:  I almost forgot.  I also made Dreena Burton's carob chip cookies from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan and turned them into "ice cream" sandwiches using Turtle Mountain's coconut milk vanilla ice cream!