Livin la Vida Vegan Day 11 (pissy pants and sizzling seitan)

September 27, 2017

I need to take a pause from the vegan diet updates for just a sec to talk about something very troubling. It’s pee. Piss. Urine. Golden streams. Or yellow puddles. In my regular routine, I come into contact with pee – not my own – no less than three times a week. Whether it’s my kid, or another kid, or a dog or a frog, there is a No. 1 situation flowing right through my day, at some point in my day, every day.

It’s like running a kennel for special puppies with small bladders. Yesterday, when I got home from work, JoJo’s sheets were in the laundry room. One of the kiddos who comes to our house during the day had an accident during nap. It happens. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we basically live in a giant urinal. Well, my eldest was having nothing to do with it. She funneled her fury – which was only further fueled by her discovery that Spike and I might also start a pen pal exchange, similar to the one JoJo and I have – into a very strongly worded letter.

It read as follows:

Dear Mom,
Tomorrow I’m giving MeeMee (the sitter) a piece of my mind about my bed!!! I’m ganna say that no more kids in my room and no kids sleeping in there! And you and Spikey canot be pen pals! Focus on you and my Because I’d crie to my death.

[Illustration of JoJo with a happy heart (“Mom and JoJo pen pals”) and then a messy stick figure with the caption “me cring. heart Broken.” just below that.]

Love, JoJo

But oh how the mighty do fall. At 4 o’clock this morning, I woke to the gentle whispers of our oldest daughter, confessing that she herself had an accident on our floor. Why she was on our floor, right next to the hairy, nasty dog bed, and not in her sister’s cozy queen size bed? I don’t know. I never know. This is an every night thing in our house. Does anyone else know?

Hank threw a towel over it, cleaned her up and moved both her and Spike (who was spooned up next to her on the ground) back down the hall so we could go “back to sleep”. Of course, we’re never really back to sleep, are we? Parents. Anything past the REM cycle is considered a luxury at this point in life. Right up there with solo time on the toilet and sitting. I guess that’s just what this chapter looks like … tired souls with urine on their hands.

7:30 a.m.
I put a full teaspoon of spirulina into my smoothie today, and backed down a bit on the powdered peanut butter, which has more sugar than I’d like. The algae flavor was slightly more noticeable, but not enough to tickle the ole gag reflex, so on we go. I’m thinking phase 2 is cutting the creamer from my coffee. It’s a liquid sugar bomb, and it’s got too tight of a hold on my heart.

I had a text from my bud Ryan:

I mean it’s not hard, because that’s really what this is. It’s totally doable, but also an insane life choice that’s making everything ten thousand times harder. It’s natural and against my human nature. It feels healing and like all my weaknesses are exposed. It’s funny because it’s really just food, but the change is making me a bit of a kook. And kooky people are freaking hilarious.

Earth Fare run for seitan and tempeh at lunch. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d type.

I came home to throw together a taco salad with my leftovers, but something was wrong. Terribly wrong. There, on the counter in the kitchen, sat a box with a dozen cookies from my favorite local bakery. Come inside my sick mind for a sec, k …

“What … the truck … is that? Why are those there? Who put those there? Is someone messing with me. Someone’s messing with me. Is there a camera in here? Who would do this? What kind of sick, twisted person would do this?! [Find card.] The car dealership?! Why in the hell is the car dealership sending us cookies?! It was a gosh dang trade in for crying out loud! Those bastards. Those car-selling bastards, with their sweet treats and good customer service. OK, I’m just going to lift the lid. [Lift lid, stick nose into sugar cloud. Close eyes.] Oh, shit. Alright, what’s my end game here? Should I throw them away? Just throw them away. My God, you can’t throw these away! You’ll be arrested. I’m a grownup, just set them out for the kids. But they won’t appreciate them the way I would. Maybe we can freeze them. Yeah, I’ll freeze them. We’ll just pull out our favorites and freeze those, give the rest to the kids. But I love them all. I’m going to put them down in this cabinet until Hank gets home. He’ll know what to do.”

And then I put the box of cookies down low, behind my slow cooker, and walked away; unable to discard them and unable to give them up. This, brothers and sisters, is how you know you are ill.

I assembled my salad: leftover taco “meat”, guacamole, crushed up tortilla chips, a dollop of coconut yogurt and salsa. It was bomb. I stood, leaning against the cabinet door where my cookies were sleeping and enjoyed every single bite.

“Goodnight, sweet cookies. I’ll see you again soon.” I whispered.

3 p.m.
What I really want is chocolate and popcorn, so what I’m having is the rest of my suja organic ginger kombucha. Really hoping that quenches the craving.

6 p.m.
Made it! Tonight, we’re cookin’ up some Crispy Orange Seitan from the Vegan for Everybody cookbook. Oh my gosh … you don’t know what seitan is? How do you not know what seitan is, you silly, carnivorous fool. Psych! I don’t know what the hell it is, either. And I looked at the ingredients, so that makes it extra scary. From what I gathered, it’s like globs of gluten or something? They call it “wheat meat”. So there ya go.

The toughest thing about these recipes is making sure you have all of the ingredients on hand. “It looks like you emptied out your cabinets,” our sitter said, as she watched me assemble the handfuls of sauce components. But once I had it all in there, this one came together pretty fast. The nice thing about cooking with these fake meats – tempeh, tofu, seitan, veggie crumbles – is they cook up fast as Rizzo. It’s a big time saver.

I used bagged cauli rice from Costco for a side, along with some peanut butter + celery courtesy of my sous chefs and chopped up plum, mango and blueberries for dessert. (I’d like for it to be known that I did NOT have a cookie tonight.)

This was pretty darn good, I gotta say. The cauliflower needed a little more flavoring, but the seitan was a pleasant surprise, as seitans go. Hank dubbed it “fine” which, if you speak Hank, you know translates to, “not exceptional, but good”. I would make it again.

This is my 6-year-old on seitan:

7:30 p.m.
I knocked out my last training run before the race Saturday; A snail-like 3 miles with lots of sweat. I notice on this diet, I don’t cramp as much and I can steady my breath a little easier during the run. Could be the training or it could be some vegan magic. Either way, by the time I was done, I knew my body needed something. I slammed a handful of walnuts, dried blueberries and pumpkin seeds.

JoJo was waiting for me at the top of the stairs. She found the notebook I gave Spike so we, too, could be pen pals. She told me I broke her heart. That she wanted to be special. That Spikey could never write messages as special as hers would be. It felt like the emotional climax of a Nicholas Sparks novel. I think I got her down off the ledge enough to sleep tonight, but we’ll see. There could be tears. Or pee. Maybe pee.

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