Thursday, April 8, 2010

Falling Off the Wagon/An Experiment

Today was a bit stressful work-wise and after an unsatisfying lunch, I found myself craving a cupcake. In my very professional opinion, the best cupcakery here in Austin is Sugar Mama's Bakeshop, and lucky me, Sugar Mama's makes vegan cupcakes as well. I checked the menu, and today's vegan pick was one I've been wanting to try for ever: Birthday Cake - "A scrumptious vegan strawberry vanilla cake with an almond whipped cream topping."

Also on today's menu? Banana Puddin' - "Moist banana cake filled with banana pastry cream, topped with fresh whipped cream and a miniature vanilla wafer." Ohhhh Banana Puddin'... I've had it once, and it is hands down the BEST cupcake I've ever tasted. So... I bought one. Also bought a Southern Belle (red velvet) for my bestie Jenny and a new cinnamon-ginger vegan cupcake.

(Top: Birthday Cake and Banana Puddin', Bottom: Cinnamon-Ginger and Southern Belle)

During the drive back to the office, I contemplated what to do about the Banana Puddin'. To eat it or not to it... that is the question. I'm pretty sure you know how this story ended. I ate it. For 2 reasons: (1) because I wanted it; and (2) because I wanted to see how my body would respond to the first dairy products it's had in almost 2 months. It was good. Fresh whipped cream? Augh... my absolute favorite. And the banana pastry cream in the middle of the moist delicious banana cake? INSANE. It's been 3 hours, and I feel fine, if not a bit guilty. But before you roast me, let me say this...

As good as the cupcake was, it wasn't worth it. It's not enough, you know? The taste and my instant pleasure is not enough to justify the suffering I know is happening behind the scenes. Plus, I'm optimistic about the vegan ones! Going to try them tonight after dinner. Will report back.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sometimes THIS SUCKS!

This post is going to be the antithesis of the last post. I am not focusing on how good I feel or how glow-y my skin is. I'm not thinking about how it's been relatively easy to switch to a vegan diet and how I've been introduced to an entirely new world of flavors. No, this post is going to be a petit rant of why it (sometimes) sucks to be vegan.

As some of you know, I'm going to NYC at the end of the month. One of the best things about NYC is the food and luckily, there are plenty of vegan eats around. And I plan to indulge in many of them. However, none of my friends there are vegan, and I don't want to force them to eat at vegan restaurants every night. So a couple of other options were thrown on the table, and one of them is quite possibly the most unvegan restaurant ever. Enter: DBGB.

In the past, this restaurant would've appealed to me. I used to LOVE sausage. I mean, LOVE it (and yes, I know, it's like the most digusting foul meat bits possible, but I still loved it). DBGB apparently specializes in sausage (and some tres UNappealing options like pig's head and tongue). But I figured, there must be something else I can eat. I called the restaurant. Nope. I could eat a salad, and that's about it. And maybe they could put together a simple pasta dish.

Well, guess what? I don't want to eat a pathetic salad or lame pasta dish on one of my NYC nights! I want to be able to order anything off that menu, AND, more importantly, I want to be able to order those fantastic-looking sundaes. Oh man... I die. I die for those desserts. So, I'm angry. Right now, at this very moment, I wish I weren't eating vegan. I wish I could live in the blissful naivete of not knowing how my meat is raised and slaughtered, and I wish I had never read Eating Animals, the book that truly changed it all for moi. I wish I could go to NYC and eat at any restaurant I so desired. I wish I could indulge in brioche french toast and heavenly goat cheese omelettes at brunch. I wish I didn't have to worry about whether the restaurant has nondairy milk for my coffee. Right now, being vegan is a pain in the ass.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rave Reviews

I drove up to Dallas this past weekend to see my parents for Easter. Saturday night we all had dinner with my extended family, and my aunt and Dad could not stop talking about my glowing, radiant skin. My Dad said I look "REALLY healthy." And even though I can't see it, my Mom insists that I look slimmer.

It's good to be vegan.

D is for DAIYA!

After weeks and weeks of stalking Whole Foods Market and local Austin natural foods grocer Wheatsville Coop via twitter, blog, AND phone, asking and asking when Daiya cheese would be available. They all said the supplier was out of stock, but that they "should be getting it soon." After reading this, I immediately headed to the ginormous flapship Whole Foods at 5th/Lamar looking for it. I heard the "dairy guy" on the walkie talkie saying that, "Wheatsville is supposed to get it tomorrow, but I still can't place my order." That's all I needed to know! I called Wheatsville immediately - they were, in fact, scheduled to receive a shipment tomorrow. I asked if they could hold "2 packs of each" for me and to call me as soon as it was in. They did.

At $4.99 a pop, these babies are not cheap, but I stocked up just in case. Problem is, now that I have it, I don't know what to make with it! Grilled cheese and pizza have been popular choices, but I'm also considering lasagna and an insanely delicious (albeit a little disgusting if you really think about it) taco casserole that involves layers of ground beef, tortillas, lots of cheese, and crushed fritos. YUM. I'm going to veganize it with lightlife smart grounds, daiya cheese, and fritos b/c guess what? Fritos are vegan! It's comfort food at its finest (and grossest).

Any other ideas?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Starting A Conversation

I walked to the ginormous flagship Whole Foods store for lunch today (yay for squeezing in exercise during the workday!) and met up with my friend Jenny. Jenny's a bestie from law school who is also an attorney here in Austin. As we sat outside and munched on our respective salads (see mine above... so colorful!), she told me about an incident on her recent ski trip to Colorado. Apparently one of the couples sharing the lodge told the group about their recent attempt to cook lobster (aka boil lobster) at home. Jenny told me that as she heard the story, she got sadder and sadder and almost started crying. How cruel and sad is it to boil an animal alive? Of course they clamber and hyperventilate and panic! And it's not that she didn't know it before, she just never thought about it. This, my friends, is known as lifting the veil.

She told me that the lobster story stuck with her all weekend, and that when she got back to Austin, she decided she would try to eat vegetarian for a month. I was so excited to hear it! Not that she is attempting vegetarianism (which is awesome), but that she was ready to start a conversation. Jenny wasn't terribly supportive of my decision to go vegan at first (she even told me she hoped I hated being vegan otherwise we could never dine together again), but since we surpassed that initial hump, she's been fabulous. She even liked my vegan mac 'n cheese! I love that she wants to start this discussion with me. We're planning to watch Food, Inc. together next week, and I'm ready to be there for all her questions.

It bugs me SO much when I hear people say they don't want to know about the food they eat. That they're too scared. Why? What are you afraid of? Knowledge is power, yes, but knowledge about how this country procures its massive amounts of meat & seafood is not necessarily going to turn an omnivore into a herbivore. And people, the veil must be lifted if we are ever going to see the end of factory farming. I love seeing that veil being lifted, especially for one of my dearest amies.

Anyway, this whole thing reminds me of this video I watched of John Robbins talking about how Julia Child gave up veal after visiting a veal farm. Kind of amazing, huh? I mean, this woman loved vegetarians just about as much as Anthony Bourdain does. Not a whole lot.