Friday, February 01, 2013

An Introduction to Vegan Living

So I'm not really a vegan. I mean, I like to think I am. I try to cook that way at home, though it's not always 100% vegan.

However, my breakfast is a great vegan start to the day. It has tons of fiber, which is good for you. When I've been traveling and not eating very well, I always look forward to this morning meal.

Here it is:
Fiber cereal
Fruit and nuts
Almond milk

The fiber cereal is a mixture of four different kinds of cereals: Uncle Sams, wheat squares, Grape Nuts, and rolled oats (non-instant). I just layer them up in a big container, then shake it up until it's all combined.

Once I pour that mixture into my bowl, I add fruit and nuts. The fruit is important because--let's face it--that batch of cereal is pretty tasteless! I always add raisins, since they're easy to keep on hand. And I like to add a banana, too, if I can. The most important point is to remember to have a bit of fruit in every bite! Otherwise it's not very good.

The nuts are important in the beginning, when I was learning to get used to almond milk. Almond milk tastes nutty (surprise, surprise), so I could reason with myself that the nutty flavor was coming from the walnuts (or pecans) I had in my cereal. Usually only four or five halves is enough. And now I'm used to the almond flavor, so the nuts aren't as important, but I like them, so I still use them.

Next is the almond milk. I use Blue Diamond non-sweetened vanilla, and it's really good! It did take some getting used to, I admit. It's not cow's milk. But I really like it now, and try to use it instead of cow's milk whenever I can. I especially like making hot chocolate with it!

One note about this cereal: It is very filling! I started out making a large bowl, like I always did with my Frosted Mini Wheats or whatever I was eating, but I never could finish it! So I make a small bowl, and it stays with me until lunch.

So, skeptics out there are reading this and thinking, "Wow, she has a lot of provisions to make up for the bad taste. Why doesn't she just grab a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and call it good?"

Most of us were not raised vegan, and by the time I was 30, I had trained myself to add some sugar here, a bit of butter there, and to choose taste over health. Well, as the rate of obesity increases, as well as diabetes and heart disease, it's become more obvious to me that choosing foods because they satisfy my taste buds isn't perhaps the best idea. So, this little breakfast bowl is one way that I'm re-training my taste buds. So if right now I don't like the taste of some healthy foods...I'm adding other, tastier, healthy foods to compensate. I'm retraining my sense of taste.

Not that all healthy foods taste bad; on the contrary, I think it's mostly a matter of training ourselves out of liking healthy foods, when in fact they are quite tasty! On this little vegan journey, I have learned to enjoy foods I've never tried before, or tried and hadn't liked. Next week, I'm going to take on brussel sprouts, and am fully prepared to love them!