Livin la Vida Vegan Day 3 (bad breath and poor protein)

September 19, 2017

We made it through the weekend. Praise be! Now comes the warm blanket that is my routine, and an opportunity to make these vegan habits part of the grind. Of course, the universe couldn’t make it too easy, so our sitter is off on vacation this week. Saint Kay has graciously volunteered to take on Sloppy Joan in her absence, but I’ll need to go retrieve the other two monkeys from the bus stop each afternoon and drop them off. Flexibility is fundamental to parenting, right? Flexibility and cocktails. Flexibility and cocktails and Netflix.

7:30 a.m.
I made my usual shake for breakfast. I’ve been making it for years, so I guess I’ve had a little vegan in me all along. I play around with the spices sometimes, but the base is always the same: PB powder, plant-based protein powder, a generous handful of spinach, cinnamon, turmeric and hemp seeds. Sometimes I add ginger as well. I pour a little bit of water in the bottom, add ice, and top it off with cashew milk before blending. It’s pretty darn good, guys. Pretty darn good. And portable, which is a plus.

I decided to listen to Rich Roll’s audiobook, “Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself” during these 14 days. If you aren’t familiar, Rich is a world-renowned endurance athlete known for his astounding accomplishments, all powered by a plant-based diet, his podcast and his zen-like demeanor. He’s fascinating and inspiring and a really great voice to have filling your ears while you’re trying to make a dramatic change.

But the guy wasn’t just born miraculous. Rich was a collegiate swimmer and successful lawyer before losing a good deal of his gifts to alcoholism. Then, the night before his 40th birthday, he had a wakeup call. He was heavy and tired, weighted down by a fast food and television routine that left him winded and disheartened. Although he was sober, although he had a beautiful family, although he had a successful career, he decided it was time to make a change for his body. He began with a cleanse, then a vegetarian diet and eventually landed on a vegan prescription. It was here that it all clicked for him.

Rich recounts his rise and fall and rise again with a vulnerability that can only pull others in. Maybe I could do that, I think, as he talks about setting out on a short run only to find himself logging 20+ miles because he felt so free. It prompts reflection and fuels optimism and I think everyone can find a small piece of themselves in his story. I find myself taking the long way just to get 5 more minutes with Rich. I have his cookbook on hold at the library and my coworker swears by his meal-planning app, perhaps a purchase for another day.

12:05 p.m.
I don’t make a habit of eating lunch at my desk, but I’ll be using my allotted lunch break to go get the girls this week, so sad sack at my screen it is. Today, I had some bomb ass vegetable hummus from Earth Fare, with tortilla chips, and a salad. I tapped my vegetarian friend at work for her go-to mix, which consists of quinoa (I used my leftover rice and quinoa blend from dinner yesterday), greens, nuts and dried fruit (I used the salad topper mix from Costco) and Greek dressing. It was delightful. Garlicky. My breath could kill a vampire.

We’re thinking about camping this weekend, but Hank has one very strong concern.

“Dude, it’s no fun to eat nuts and berries on a camping trip,” he emailed. “What the hell is that going to look like?”
“Let me worry about the food,” I responded. “I won’t let you starve.”

We’re not going to let a vegan experiment keep us locked up at home for the love of Sarah Jessica Parker.

5 p.m.
I’d tucked the last vegan sugar cookie from Saturday’s celebration in my purse, just in case. By the commute home, I was ready for a little sweet treat. I felt like I was doing something incredibly bad eating the little bugger, good as she was.

I went home to start getting dinner around. On tonight’s menu: Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites. I warmed up the oil to make homemade french fries, too, because I’m not an animal. And just so no one under the age of 30 would starve, I put two peanut butter sandwiches on sugar-free wheat bread on the table as well, just so there wouldn’t be a revolt. Plus peaches and pears for dessert.

The preparation for these cauliflower bites was fine, simple enough. I even bought pre-cut cauliflower because why the hell not, right? For the sauce, I added a touch more honey than the recipe called for for fear of the heat, which ended up being a wise choice.

They looked amazing! My hopes were high. The flavor was good, but I was disappointed with the texture. I was really hoping the outside would have more of a breading, or a crisp. Which was not the case. They were soft like God intended cooked cauliflower and they had a kick like Jackie Chan, which got Hank’s engine going

“I’m so glad we did this so we could find a sauce that I want to put all over chicken,” he said.

I think vegan dinner is the biggest mystery to me. If you don’t build the meal around a main meat dish, then what do you build it around? We used to have a pork roast, and then everything revolved around that. Or chicken or pork chops. The meat was the leading lady, and everyone else played a supporting role, barely making the credits, often going unplanned until after the protein was on the stove.

But with vegan meals, there isn’t always a “main dish”. Sometimes there are just a bunch of veggie dishes. Plus, when I look at tonight’s dinner, there’s hardly any protein. Google says there’s like 11g total in an entire head of cauliflower. But beans make me barf, so I’m not thinking that’s not the best choice. I can feel I need more power. I’m draggin’ ass like a farmer with a dead donkey over here. Chalk it up to rookie vegan mom problems, I suppose.

Speaking of being a mom, I have to go. Sloppy Joan is hovering next to me in my bed, steamy pee dripping down her bare legs into a 10-inch circle of fluid. Turns out sometimes Bubble Guppies is just too damn good to walk away.

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