Eating Away from Home

Three days since my last post!  I have a good excuse, I swear!

I decided to take an early weekend this week, and went home to visit my parents.  I have to say, even when you’re entering the home of people fully aware and accepting of your dietary differences, it’s tricky stuff to behave when you don’t have your trusty stash of staples at your fingertips! But I prevailed!

I brought along some nutritional yeast from home, because I was tasked with making my wonderful favourite mac n cheeze for supper with our friends.  The dish turned out great, but it is harder to fool a 7- and a 4-year-old than I anticipated.  They weren’t fans.  Mind you, their mother didn’t care for it, either.  Mine did, though! So I at least have one convert.  And really, the prominent silver lining here is the adolescent “MORE FOR ME!”

Not long after arriving, I realized there was no way to avoid running out for a few things.  I bought some quinoa and a couple cans of black beans, though I never actually used the beans.  I am sneakily building up a staple stockpile at my parents’ house – muwahaha.

I was feeling seriously low on fuel, so I chopped up an onion (alright, an onion and a half…) to caramelized, then stirred in some quinoa cooked in half water and half vegetable broth:

quinoa and onions

Delicious and so easy (if not quick).   I did sprinkle a bit of garlic powder on it as well, but I would leave that part out next time, as I was not a fan.

I managed to draw my mother further onto my side (or at least into full belief of the fact that I don’t just eat kale and bananas) with another glorious Gardein food:

chicken fingers package

Oh, these ones were just as good as the “wings”!  We dipped them in some plum sauce, but when that bowl was empty, they were lovely all on their own.  Even my dad liked them!

chicken fingers

Yum!

Along with my nutritional yeast, I had also packed my Vega smoothie powder.  As I have mentioned before, the smoothie powder is delicious and filling and all-around awesome, but I’ve decided it’s too pricey to have every day, when including greens and tofu in my morning smoothie gives me the veggies and protein I need, anyway.  It is definitely the perfect thing to bring when you won’t have those ingredients at your disposal, though! I would have been content just shaking it up into the almond milk left over from the mac n cheeze, but my parents have a blender and a plethora of bananas, so I made myself a delicious “Straight Up Smoothie”.  Like so:

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup pineapple pieces (canned or fresh)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 scoop natural flavour smoothie/protein powder of choice (Vanilla would be great, too!)
  • 6 ice cubes

You could always stir in flax seed or chia or any number of other goodies.  If your smoothie powder tastes as good as Vega, though, you won’t need to!

straight up smoothie

Quick, simple and nutritious.

Since Vegans on the road cannot always be expected to behave, I did have a couple of splurge foods:

splurge

If you are shocked to find Maynard’s Fruit Mania pictured here, definitely check out PETA’s Accidentally Vegan food list.  It is a joy for Vegans who are willing to let their hair down (and loosen their belts) once in awhile!  I just checked, and they don’t actually list Fruit Mania, but they do mention Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids.  Maynard’s has actually stopped putting gelatin in the majority of their candies – hooray!  Look out for Wine Gums though; in Canada, at least, they still have gelatin.

And if you haven’t tried Veggie Stix, you definitely should! I wouldn’t call them healthy, but they are definitely less bad for you than regular potato chips.  They claim to provide 60% of your daily Vitamin E, 50% of your daily Vitamin C, and 90% of your Vitamin D, but I have yet to check into the actual absorption rates.  Regardless, good car ride snack food!

My visit home was wrapped up with a visit to Alternate Root, a great place for natural foods and alternative remedies.  I am always impressed with the amount and variety of stock they carry.  I could probably go there to pick up everything for which I would have to visit two or three different stores in the city.   Some of the products are necessarily pricier, but many are comparable or even cheaper!  The items I often compare since I am continually vacillating over whether or not to shell out the dough to make my own protein powder, are Maca, Chlorella and Spirulina (evidently all good things to throw in the mix).  At Alternate Root, Spirulina was the same price as it is at Nutters, but both Maca and Chlorella were considerably cheaper.  I will definitely be sending my mother on a shopping trip if I decide to bite the bullet and prepare DIY Protein Powder one day.

While we’re on the topic of those ingredients, actually, I was reading the back of the Chlorella powder and I noticed that it is supposed to be a good source of vitamin B12 (as I linked previously, that’s the one you can’t possibly get enough of from plant foods).  Curious, I looked it up.  It seems that the majority of B12 in algae (I guess Spirulina has it as well) is a type that inhibits the absorption of the “good” type by our bodies.  So it’s probably not a reliable source.  I have also read in various places that the B12 we absorb from plant foods is processed too low in the intestine to actually raise our levels.  So, long story short, if it’s a worry of yours, stick to the supplement!

Wouldja look at that! I managed to cram in recipes, the difficulty of eating Vegan away from home and a nutritional fact into one belated post.  I think I have earned curling up in my chair, eating cookies and watching Season 2 of the West Wing for the rest of the day!

Instead, though, I am going to go grocery shopping, do some cooking and baking, and try to drag my butt out for a run.  I will share my kitchen escapades soon!

Thanks for reading,

*Lou

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