Friday, April 25, 2008

Kitchen Inspiration

So, how was your Earth Day? We really didn't make any permanent changes, but kept up with the things we have been doing for a long time now: went shopping with our fabric bags, picked up some material at the library, shopped at the health food store, buying in bulk where I could and picked up some other things at the regular market with a focus on organic and local food.

That's not to say that it's all organic or all local. I'm not there yet. I don't have a local source for local bananas, though I do think you can grow them here in FL. I use a lot of bananas. We have a "green" smoothie almost every day and often have frozen bananas in there for its creamy texture.

I had a very "foodie" week. I'd been kind of in a funk in the kitchen of late. My cooking has been pretty redundant and uninspired... because I have been uninspired! Mostly it's because I have been so wrapped up in my art and knitting that I have wanted to spend time on that and therefore food has been more of an afterthought. You know, that would be just fine if it were only myself I have to feed. I would happily just eat a papaya for dinner. I'm serious... and I've done it too! But there are others here that need supervision or else they might just eat cereal for their dinners - which is okay on a busy weekend, but not for a regular diet!

Anyway, I've been listening to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's podcast, Vegetarian Food for Thought and have been re-inspired to try some new things. I have found Colleen to be SO well spoken on vegetarian topics including nutrition and ethics. Having been a vegetarian for 21 years myself, the ethics side of my diet choice is not new to me. I have steered clear of some of her episodes in which she addresses things like factory farming, the dairy industry, etc. I really have a hard time listening/seeing things like that, which is one of the reasons I became vegetarian in the first place. Really. I think if people really, REALLY knew just what animals are made to endure for the convenience of human taste, they would stop eating meat... or at the very least, stop purchasing meat that is not humanely raised (a.k.a. cheap/bargain meat).

Anyway, listening to some of her shows on her "Five Favorite Foods," for example has gotten me excited to be in the kitchen again. I also checked out Robin Robertson's fantastic, comprehensive, book, Vegan Planet, from the library and will definitely be ordering a copy for myself.

One thing I thought was funny in Colleen's podcast is that she talks about the common questions we vegetarians always, always, always get and she makes some suggestions as how to respond to them. Mostly, she refers to folks who ask us sincere questions, but there are some funny ways to respond to some of the "smart" or not so kind remarks we often get. Of course, the most common one seems to be, "Oh, you're vegetarian???? Where do you get your protein?!" She noted that we vegetarians don't often say, "Oh... you're a meat eater? Don't you know that animal foods contain high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat? Aren't you concerned about heart disease, osteoperosis, kidney damage, or high blood pressure?"

I'm not trying to bash meat-eaters here, I just enjoyed listening to someone who really understood my values and had heard so many of the same things I hear so very, very often.

So, the refrigerator is stocked and I've been spending a bit more time in the kitchen of late. I haven't drawn anything for a few weeks now and it feels weird, but with our homeschool year coming to a close, end-of-the-year planning (award ceremonies and the like), the homeschool convention, and curriculum shopping moving to the forefront, my art has had to take a bit of a back seat. I am hopeful for new projects to begin again once school is over next month. In the meantime, I can expend a bit of that creative energy exploring a few new recipes. After all, the meals have to get cooked anyway!


Anonymous said...

Hi Hon,
Wow! What a full fridge! We also use only cloth bags now so I feel I am doing some things for our planet. We just bought some whole coffee beans at Sam's Club which were from the Fair Trade org. in Brazil. It was fairly cheap, but we were pleasantly surprised at the yummy taste! AND, for the most part now we will use cloth napkins!

Meredith said...

As the sister of a vegetarian, I have to say that most people who ask about the protein issue are probably sincere.

I had to make box lunches vegetarian this week, and I was just wracking my brain thinking of a cold meal which would include protein without tofu (one didn't like that).

I ended up with a black-bean-and-corn salad served over an avocado half on a bed of romaine...but it did make me wish I had asked more questions about adequate protein first!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog.
Thank you for the wonderful information and especially the podcast links.

Creative Life Studio said...

Thank you, Lisa! :)


Yes, for the record, I do realize that most folks are sincere in their questions and I answer most quite happily and non-judgementally. I was just pointing out the fact that, while I realize most folks are asking out of a sincere concern for our (the vegetarian's) health, many people do not want to hear what our own concerns may be for those that WE love who choose to eat meat. Does that make sense?

As for the protein component to a vegetarian lunch, I would say, next time, don't sweat it and here's why,

"Protein is made up of amino acids. There are 9 essential amino acids that we need to obtain from the foods we eat. Animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs contain large amounts of all 9 essential amino acids an are called 'complete proteins.' However, animal foods also contain high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat, which put you at a higher risk for developing heart disease, cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. In fact, too much protein can damage your heart, kidneys, and bones. When you eat a diet that includes meat, dairy, and eggs, it is easy to get too much protein, which is another reason to get your protein from plant foods.

With the exception of soybeans, which are a complete protein, individual plant foods are 'incomplete proteins,' because they do not contain a perfect balance of all the essential amino acids. When you eat a variety of plant foods throughout the day, however, by day's end the various amounts of amino acids in the foods have combined to make complete proteins. Plant foods have the added benefit of being naturally cholesterol-free, high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, and low in fat." - Robin Robertson

Meredith said...

Okay--I was thinking I had to combine two certain foods--like corn and beans--in order to make a complete protein source in one meal.

I know you must get tired of answering, though!

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