Vegan and You Don't Even Know It

Today is a long-overdue meatless chat day, and as part of my making-up-for-lost-time efforts, I intended to test a recipe yesterday and share the results in today's space. However, monster-style thunder, lightning and tornado-ish conditions blew through the Washington area yesterday afternoon, leaving Casa Appetite without power for several hours and alas, getting in the way of my kitchen plans.

As some of you may already know, I've been contemplating the state of my diet since a dear friend of mine underwent coronary bypass surgery. The theme resurfaced like a bad rash this morning, when I heard from my mother, whose long-time companion suffered a massive heart attack last night. Now if there's anyone who needs to say sayonara to the sausages and embrace a meatless diet to give his clogged arteries a fighting chance, it's this guy.

I've never asked him why he won't jump the red-meat ship given his long history of heart disease, but I suspect it's because he's afraid of the unknown and assumes that meatless means flavorless.

You may have heard that Oprah is in the middle of a vegan experiment, as part of a 21- day alcohol, gluten, caffeine and sugar-free cleanse. On Day Two, she writes in her blog: "Wow, wow, wow! I never imagined meatless meals could be so satisfying."

In lieu of the new recipe I had hoped to share, I've compiled a bunch of vegan recipes from the Mighty Appetite vault to illustrate a point-- particularly for my omnivorous friends afraid to dip their toes into the meatless pool -- that vegan isn't just nutritious, baby, it's delicious. I'm not suggesting that we do all-veeg all the time, but what's the harm in having a stable of vegan recipes that are packed with so much flavor you might not even miss the meat? And if you don't miss the meat, you might not be scared. And if you're not scared, you might say, "Hey I can do this!" And before long, you've got meatless on your menu a few times a week. And whaddya know, you might actually give those arteries a break.

And if you're still scared about the V-word, forget everything I said except this: Check out my trusty list of flavor-forward, heart-healthy dishes that are so tasty you feel like you're cheating on your diet. Veeg veterans: Pull out those recipe cards and share those meatless favorites that are just too good for a scared omnivore to pass up.

Dessert first: the most gorgeous, silky Blueberry sorbet, without a stitch of dairy or eggs.

Eggplant curry
, Malaysian style. Serve it with steamed rice, and you'll forget how to spell s-t-e-a-k.

Gazpacho, one of the easiest ways to cool off in the summer and get your fill of nutrients without noticing. A terrific make-ahead portable lunch that lasts for a week in the fridge.

For when friends drop by, you'll need a heart-minded version of dip n' chips. Make your own hummus, in about seven minutes flat, or roast up some zucchinis and onions for Zuke-a-mole, one of the most satisfying low-fat dips that's crossed my lips.

I used to think that red lentils were meant exclusively for cold wintry nights, but because they cook in just 30 minutes, I've come to love them all year long. Big bonus points for dietary fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol.

I have made these Szechuan-style green beans a zillion times, and I've never met anyone who doesn't like them. They work really well on a buffet table, as they can be made ahead and can be served at room temperature.

Craving more? Join me at 1 p.m.

By Kim ODonnel |  June 5, 2008; 9:03 AM ET Vegetarian/Vegan
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Kim,
Our prayers are with your mom's companion, hoping he has a speedy recovery.

Thanks for the posts. I've been thinking a lot about this of late, as well. Thinking about people dear to me who are not suffering the massive heart attacks or other sudden, attention-getting signs, but rather the slow, pervasive decline in quality of life. And, since my own pants are uncomfortably tight this morning, I am ready to make some changes. We eat pretty healthy foods most of the time, but I need to work on portion control. One glass of wine becomes two; one healthy portion of tasty food too easily becomes one unnecessarily big portion... etc. So, today is a new day. Thanks for the inspirations and support. All the best to you.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2008 10:21 AM

Hey, Kim! This is a gingerbread recipe (based on one of yours) that I worked out during a 6-week vegan stint. Supersatisfying, and you'd never know the difference:

In one bowl, combine:

1 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspons ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
In a separate bowl, cream:

6 tablespoons Earth Balance
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Add 1/2 cup unsulphered molasses and 1/3 cup applesauce

Mix

Boil 2/3 cups water and add to the wet mix, alternating with the dry mix. Mix until moistened, but don't go crazy. You don't want to overmix. Bake at 325 degrees for 35, 40 minutes.

Posted by: Vegan Fab | June 5, 2008 10:23 AM

I think that regardless of your meat eating status, the important thing is to pump up the whole grains and cut out the processed foods. I know that "chik'n nuggets" might be a little healthier than chicken nuggets and a convenient baby step alternative... but if you really want to change your health you have to really change your diet.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2008 10:32 AM

i don't understand the idea of going meatless. humans have eaten meat since the beginning of time. why is it suddenly a health problem? i believe the problem is in how meat is processed, what the animal is fed or injected with.

Posted by: nall92 | June 5, 2008 11:18 AM

nall92 -

Yes, yes, yes! I firmly believe that the way that our country raises meat is AT LEAST half of the problem as it pertains to our health. Please read, if you haven't already, Michael Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma."

(And thank you, Kim, for having made mention of this book in your blog/chat, because that is where I first heard of it.)

I think that it is perfectly acceptable to go meatless, be it for health reasons, religious beliefs, economical reasons, etc.

Posted by: Centre of Nowhere | June 5, 2008 12:17 PM

Yes going meatless is definately fine, but i'm tired of meat being blamed for health issues.

my 82 year old Aunt said to me one day "when we were kids we grew up slaughtering our own meat (in the deep south) smoking it, preparing it. Flies flew around and you just shooed them away and kept going. None of the 12 brothers and sisters got sick; we were all healthy and not one of us was overweight".

Remember this was over 60 years ago, smoking meat was the way to preserve it rather than freezing.

Maybe once or twice a year I'm in the mood for a meatless meal but overall I eat meat in some form every day, from fried to baked to grilled etc and I'm as healthy as they come!

I believe people need to be more active, drop the mickey d's, restaurant food, and crap in their diet and they will see a world of difference.

Posted by: nall92 | June 5, 2008 12:37 PM

Count me in the not giving up meat crowd. This is not because I'm afraid of the unknown or think that meatless is flavorless. I am quite fond of many vegetarian dishes. My Moosewood cookbook is one of my regular resources. We even had a veggie pizza last night (roasted eggplant and chevre on a marinara base). I simply enjoy the taste, texture and ability to satiate of beef, pork and chicken. Fish seems to be a bit of a Switzerland in these matters.

What one can get away from is overuse of saturated fats--I try to cut down on the use of butter and limit eggs. No bacon, sausages, or hot dogs (a bit of virginia ham makes it into some dishes as an ingredient). Chicken is eaten without skin. Pork, when eaten, is a tenderloin. When using ground beef (not a regular occurrence), it's made from chuck that has been thoroughly trimmed and ground in the food processor.

And, yes, by all means have regular meals without meat. So, I applaud encouraging a healthier diet. And judiciously prepared meat can be a part of it.

BB

P.S. It's king salmon season. Any suggestions?

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | June 5, 2008 1:08 PM

One of my staples is roasted chickpeas (or really anything roasted.) I toss them with some oil and whatever seasonings I feel like. Then I bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. It makes good snack food.

Posted by: mollyjade | June 5, 2008 2:14 PM

Kim,

Veg/Vegan diets are certainly healthier than meat diets in many ways, but I have always wondered about the chemicals that go into some vegan products that make them vegan. Your recipes are very natural and don't wander into that world, but I would be interested to hear from you on that issue.

Posted by: Elyse | June 5, 2008 2:30 PM

I actually enjoyed Pollan's "In Defense of Food" MUCH more. I got it as an audio book from the library and it kept me company for a whole week during my commute. The style of his writing has finally evolved into an engaging one with this last one. It's basically a whole foods approach to eating and touches on some great points.

Posted by: phillytransplant | June 5, 2008 3:36 PM

I was vegan years ago, and I ate all the unhealthy foods that Elyse refers to her in post. I lived on veggie burgers, french fries, chips and a bunch of so-fake-it's-vegan goods. I couldn't understand why I wasn't reaping all the benefits I had heard so much about.

Now I live a healthy vegan lifestyle. My meals revolve around the local, organic produce I receive with each CSA share. I not only cut out the animal products, I've also eliminated most highly processed foods. And this time around, I get it.

I've never felt better, and I've never gotten so much enjoyment out of being in the kitchen. Sometimes I wonder if I ever truly understood flavor or cooking until I became a vegan.

Posted by: Maggie | June 5, 2008 4:52 PM

Meatless, yes.
Vegan, forget it. I life without cheese is not worth living.
And soymilk? Aside from the fact that it tastes like aluminum foil, it violates "Linda's First Rule of Food", which is, "Beware of ANYTHING that's masquerading as something else!!!"

Posted by: lsgc | June 5, 2008 6:15 PM

I'm a vegetarian who goes through vegan phases whenever I can force myself to give up cheese. In general, I do it the healthy way -- lots of natural foods, whole grains, low saturated fat etc.

But if you're looking for great vegan recipes, check out "Veganomicon" by Teri Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz and for dessert, try "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World" by the same authors. I regularly make the cupcakes (with whole wheat flour and organic sugar) for omnivores who love them and are surprised to know they are vegan.

Posted by: Jo | June 6, 2008 12:37 AM

I live in Los Angeles and I have been a vegan for 20 years. I have tried just about every product that's vegan. Some people have mentioned cheese and there is a very good vegan cheese these days that I use to make pizza. It's called Vegan Gourmet. I buy the mozzarella. There have been several vegan cheeses over the years but this is the first one I have tried that was good. And as for soy milk, there is one I buy that is sold at most markets. The brand is Silk and I can tell you the chocolate soy milk is delicious. I guarantee you'll agree. I actually haven't tried the other flavors. But the main thing to keep in mind is a hap hazard vegan diet is less detrimental than a hap hazard omnivorous diet, but a truly healthy diet consists of a lot of fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. A vegan diet of fake meats
and processed food can be delicious but should be done sparingly.

Peace for ALL that live!!!!
:-)

Posted by: The Vegan | June 6, 2008 1:44 AM

I have been Vegan for a 14 months and I am SO VERY happy and healthy. My heart feels great and I am competing in a triathlon this July. I cannot tell you how great it feels not to have a death sentence hanging over your head. The sex is great too!

I am 41 and my dad had his first of many heart attacks at age 40.

Posted by: Barry | June 6, 2008 1:52 AM

This is a family favorite, and also a quick, what's in the cupboard (or freezer) dinner. I keep frozen mango (for smoothies, mostly) and black beans on hand at all times.


Black Beans with Mango

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon canola or mild olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
1 bell pepper (any color, but red is nice) diced
1 mango, peeled and diced (you could also use frozen mango chunks)
one small fresh, minced and seeded hot pepper or 4-6 slices pickled jalepeno pepper (optional)
½ cup frozen corn
1 15-ounce can black beans, undrained (or drained, and add ~1/2 cup of water)
Dash of salt

Saute the onion and bell pepper in oil until they are soft and fragrant. Add the mango and jalapeno, and cook until the mango has softened. Add the beans and corn and simmer for 5 minutes. Add a dash of salt to taste. Serve over rice.

Posted by: CFAinNL | June 6, 2008 8:03 AM

Soy milk isn't masquerading as something else. It's its own thing and people have been drinking it for a very long time. It's no more a fake food than coconut milk is.

Posted by: mollyjade | June 6, 2008 9:31 AM

Here's one of my absolute faves which I've made more times than I can count. I wish I knew whom to credit for creating it--I think it was in The Baltimore Sun probably close to 20 years ago. If you have some leftover corn to use, there's no cooking involved, which is a big plus for hot days.

Thai Black Bean Salad

1 (16 oz) can black beans--rinsed and drained
1 c. cooked corn kernels
½ c. diced celery
½ c. diced onion
½ c. diced sweet red pepper
¼ c. chopped cilantro leaves
1 to 2 jalapeno chilies--stemmed, seeded, and minced
2 cloves garlic--minced
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger root
1 T. sesame oil
2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt to taste
Romaine leaves (optional)
Tomato wedges for garnish (optional)
4 lime wedges (optional)

Combine the first nine ingredients in a bowl. Whisk the oil, vinegar, and lime juice in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over bean mixture and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt. Chill until ready to serve. Serve on a bed of romaine, garnish with tomato wedges and lime to squeeze over salads.

Misc. notes: The original recipe called for 3 tablespoons of oil, but I think 1 is plenty. It does have to be sesame oil, though--that distinctive flavor is crucial. This is especially nice for potlucks, since it's very colorful and virtually everyone LOVES it. The recipe as given doesn't make a lot--I always double it. I've never actually tried it with the romaine, tomatoes, and extra lime juice. It also keeps well for days (well, a couple days, at least--I don't think I've ever managed to keep it around longer than that).

Posted by: Juno | June 6, 2008 10:26 AM

Agree with the poster who questioned all the funky stuff they put in fake meat.

I've been veggie--without that gross
stuff-- in various incarnations (those other than vegan wouldn't be considered vegan by the hard core)since I was 16 and until I put limited amounts of eggs, fish and dairy back in to my diet a few days I week, I caught every cold coming down the pike. I can't bear to eat flesh and I truly wish I could live healthy with no animal products at all, but after 15 years of experimenting, I've found the mix that works for me.

Lots of veggies and fruit and tofu and nuts and lesser amounts of fish, cheese and brown rice (just because I'm lazy about cooking it up) and quinoa. And chocolate every day :). I'm a size 4 and strong as hell and I rarely get sick.

Figure out what works for you. And while you're doing it, please consider that you DON'T have to take another's life (would you eat your dog??) as often as you think. And for those who care about the environment: The cattle industry is a huge pollutant--in a million ways you might not realize.

My favorite breakfast:

PB Banana Smoothie

Unsweetened (ie no sugar!) vanilla or chocolate soy milk--great stuff at Whole Foods (yes, Silk is delicious--bse of all the sugar)
2 bananas
ice
peanut butter (real pb--just peanuts or ps and salt)
spoon or so of plain yogurt (optional--makes it creamier)
few tablespoons of flax (optional--adds some crunch and valuable Omega-3)

Blend the heck out of it and enjoy.

Posted by: Rachel | June 6, 2008 10:48 AM

I'm 50, and have been vegan for just over a year. I made that choice because I was diagnosed as a diabetic - something known to be a problem for increasingly larger (pun intended) number of people. Going vegan has helped. I'm not making any wild claims. But balancing my diet simply works better when I am cooking with whole, healthy foods, than it does when I'm using packaged and high sodium, high cholesterol, processed foods. I love good food, and being vegan (if you do it right) means increased attention to high quality ingredients.

I have always loved to cook, and in fact was raised in various parts of the world, so grew up with rather demanding tastes for food. I lived part of my life in Switzerland, and have eaten some of the world's finest cheeses. But I made a choice for my health. To those who say they cannot live without cheese - I would respond: some of us, finally, cannot live with it. With my health at risk, I choose to live, and have not ultimately felt that I have degraded the quality of my enjoyment of fine foods in any way. I challenge you to do as Oprah has done.

There are numerous great vegan cookbooks on the market at present, more than ever before, and they do not skimp on flavor. Check out websites, too - many of the recipes on Epicurious.com, for instance, are vegetarian or even vegan.

Posted by: Carol | June 6, 2008 11:05 AM

Seriously, why does every veg/vegan post get invaded by the "heck no I love meat" crowd? Can't we just have a veggie discussion here without the meat police coming in to toss their two cents to people who are just trying to exchange a few recipes?

Posted by: Nikki | June 6, 2008 11:16 AM

I was wondering about there being too much soy in most vegans' diets. I try not to eat any soy products as possible because it interferes with my thyroid medication. I was drinking soy milk for a while with my cereal until I learned this. Are there adverse effects to this since too much soy effects estrogen and thyroid hormone receptors?
Also, I am not a vegetarian or vegan but growing up Italian American and with not much money, we only ate meat maybe twice a week (although lots of eggs and cheese) and I still don't eat meat most days. Is eating meat everyday common in the US?

Posted by: amanda | June 6, 2008 1:46 PM

Nikki-

It's a defense mechanism. Or they failed to do veganism properly, so they have some need to warn others away from it.

I have yet to meet a true vegan who eats the proper combination of foods that has had to "quit" being vegan due to health reasons. In fact, most of my friends are vegan, and I'm active in the animal rights community, and I've yet to hear that issue come up. In other words, I know a lot of vegans.

If anemia, for instance, was only a symptom of veganism, then why are so many people eating animals put on iron supplements? If cow's milk provides calcium, why do so many cow milk drinkers get osteoporosis?

I imagine there might be.00001% of the population that wouldn't survive without flesh as a source of protein or nutrients, but I find that highly unlikely. The more likely scenario is that doctors, who get about a few hours of nutrition training, are most likely blaming diet when a patient comes in with some malady, without knowing what they are talking about. Instead of knowing what to recommend to improve the patient's symptom - that's vegetable-sourced- telling them to eat animals is the simplest remedy.

Posted by: kim | June 6, 2008 2:00 PM

Regarding coronary heart disease: Drs. Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn have shown that very low-fat vegetarian diets can literally reverse heart disease.

In Esselstyn's case, very low fat vegan diets tracked for 20 years (peer-reviewed research) reversed heart disease in some very very sick patients. As he notes, even ONE fatty meal affects the elasticity of your circulatory system.

You can read an interview I did with him at:
http://www.madcowboy.com/02_MCIview05.000.html

His website is:
www.heartattackproof.com

Regarding someone's comment that "life without cheese isn't worth living: the correct statement would be, "is cheese worth dying for?"

As a low-fat vegan, I've significantly less chance of ever getting heart disease, various cancers, and diabetes. There are so many studies out know that indicate that for health reasons alone, ignoring the environmental impact, animal abuse, and expense, a plant-based diet is the healthiest.

Worth considering... FYI, Mark


Posted by: Mark | June 6, 2008 2:40 PM

Amanda, I certainly think meat is common in the U.S. I grew up in a household that ate meat not just every day but THREE TIMES a day -- my father thought it simply wasn't a meal without meat.

In my opinion, far too many households are like that. If someone doesn't want to go vegan, fine. But at least make meat more of a treat rather than the cornerstone of your diet.

Re: your other question, I was eating way too much soy for a while. It's really easy as a vegan to eat a ton of it. I switched to rice and almond milks. I use tofu only a couple times a week, rather than every day. I still eat too much tempeh, but I'm trying to have more meals with seitan instead.

It really takes some effort to get soy products out of my diet, but I feel better when I eat them sparingly.

Posted by: Maggie | June 6, 2008 3:58 PM

Nikki - This board is far more than a recipe exchange. I think of it as a place to exchange views on food, diet and cooking. Usually with good humor (the great chapati debate being a notable exception). There were three posts from omnivores on the board, none of which denigrated those who chose to be vegan/vegetarian. Also a cheese lover.

Kim, it's not a defense mechanism. You threw in a provocative comment (omnivores are afraid of the unknown) and just upped the ante. Many of us are quite capable of preparing and enjoying tasty, vegetarian meals without wanting to throw in the towel. And I happened to LOVE the black bean burgers from the other week (with a slight modification).

BB

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | June 6, 2008 4:41 PM

I'm loving the dialogue and how it's moving all over the map. Thanks for the spirited debate!
BB: Fyi, the earlier comment about "defense mechanism" did not come from me! I know there are plenty of folks out there willing and able to diversify without throwing in the towel; you are the leader of the pack!

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | June 6, 2008 4:45 PM

I was going to add a recipe.. but then I realized that many of my favorites are versions of something I got from here. Thanks, Kim! Here's one thing: we buy dried chickpeas and cook them ala Deborah Madison. Not only does this make better chickpeas, it makes wonderful broth. I'm not into meat substitutions, but I happily use it wherever I would have used chicken broth.

I'm an omnivore who's always eaten meat sparingly, and my fiance is vegan. From the beginning I wanted us to eat together, even if we didn't always have exactly the same foods on both our plates. It has meant some changes to my diet, but mostly not huge ones. Frankly, I wish he ate dairy--even just a little bit of cream or cheese can make a big difference (not to mention all the not-so-healthy dishes that they're central to). I now rarely make some things that include dairy or egg and aren't really one-person dishes (fried rice: it's not the same without the egg). I've also learned a lot more about beans and middle eastern foods, as we've explored more varied and mostly-soy-free vegan options.

All in all, my diet's more interesting. But note: having a mostly vegan household has definitely NOT been cheaper. For instance, making eggplant curry for a dinner with friends costs more than making chicken curry. The food isn't cheaper by the pound, and the servings are larger. I so wish I still lived in a country (or region) with strong local food distribution networks and an emphasis on production of basic foods rather than boxed products.

Posted by: Suz | June 6, 2008 6:02 PM

ISGC - speaking of food masquerading, what is cow's milk masquerading as?

I know that people rebut with arguments that "it's what we've always done" etc, but we're the only species who drinks another's milk -- this disgusted me long before I went vegan, not to mention the similarity of milk to mucus - I think it's probably the result of pus from mastitis infected cows.

We strip the calf from her mother shortly after birth, mutilate them by cutting off horns and tails, and artificially inseminate them when they're mature, all so we have another cow to milk. And that's if they're lucky.

Male calves endure severe stress to bring them to market - when their sold into the veal trade. They'll spend their entire, but short, lives on a nutritionally inappropriate diet before they're slaughtered for food.

This says nothing of the horrors of the pig and poultry industries. The things that happen to those poor creatures make the dairy industry seem like heaven.

Eating meat a hundred years ago is one thing, but the way the industry has manipulated and tortured these animals in modern production is unjustifiable in any society that considers itself compassionate.

Posted by: pablo | June 6, 2008 6:36 PM

Cheers, Kim! [O'Donnell] I apologize for not looking closely at the tagline.

I'm a big fan of this blog and it does stretch me. I'm having a rosé wine tasting in a couple of weeks and your bean burgers will be featured. I"ll definitely look at some of the other

Although I can't quite stretch to vegan, I'm making an effort to move beyond meat. I can give that up, but they'll take my camembert from my cold, stinking (from the cheese), hands.

Cheers,

Paul Lane

(I use BB as short-hand for buh-bye as a tagline)

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | June 6, 2008 7:56 PM

Paul Lane: What can I bring to the wine tasting? I l LOVE rose.

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | June 6, 2008 9:15 PM

I discovered the easiest vegan recipe the other night and was surprised how much I liked it! This is my new go-to meal for busy nights when I'm sick of instant Indian w/grains. Mix 1) rice 2) canned black beans 3) salsa.
That's all - not sophisticated but cheap, fast, and better than Burger King or Cup O Noodles. Thanks for your blog which I enjoy.

Posted by: W | June 7, 2008 1:42 AM

Kim,

More glasses are always welcome! It'll be on the 21st in Alexandria. I should find the right blog for suggestions (pslane-at-verizon-dot-net).

So far, we have Barnard Griffen's rosé based on Sangiovese (it has a lot of heft, perfect for the bean burgers), Santa Digna from Argentina (cab. sauv., also a good match), a Chinon from France (very delicate), and Mulderbosch from S. Africa (also cab sauv, but very different). A good neighborhood wine store is a treasure. Ours is Unwined on King Street.

I thought we'd add a few generally available wines to fill out the tasting. We're big fans of Bonny Doon and plan to add Vin Gris de Cigare.

In your honor, I'll make a vegetarian buffet to accompany the wines.

Cheers!

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | June 7, 2008 1:32 PM

People do get defensive when they're challenged to try new foods. Whether it's a vegan asked to try dairy or eggs, a vegetarian asked to try meat or a carnivore asked to try a vegetable that doesn't rhyme with potato.

I do think it's interesting that we allow vegans and vegetarians and raw-fooders to take a moral position on their diets that we don't allow carnivores. I live in the West where much of the land won't support any food production except cattle. Eating locally raised beef here certainly isn't immoral and I think one could make the argument that harvesting wild blue-green algae, processing it into powder and trucking/flying it all over the world is. I'm not supporting situational ethics so much as geographical ethics.

When I cook vegan meals, which I do often, I find that it's easy to skip dairy and eggs, but that I'm tripped up by fish sauce. There are so many great Vietnamese and Thai dishes that my eyes think of as vegan but that aren't even vegetarian. Sigh. Soy/lime/ginger/garlic sauces are good, but they aren't quite the same.

Posted by: esleigh | June 7, 2008 2:05 PM

Posted by: curmudgeon | June 8, 2008 2:29 PM

Amanda, I don't know if you'll come back to this, but for thyroid disease, it's not necessary to avoid all soy. Certain foods, including soy, but also walnuts, fiber, and calcium or iron supplements, decrease absorption of thyroid medication. But only while it's being digested. That's why thyroid medications have to be taken on an empty stomach.

For some reason, a lot of groups have latched onto the soy part of this without considering all the other foods.

Posted by: mollyjade | June 10, 2008 10:42 AM

Kim: Just wanted to say from this omnivore that I love the zuke-a-mole - the flavor is spot on!

Though texture wise it seems a little watery. Any idea how to get that "guac"amole texture, without the "guac" part? :-)

Posted by: JenX73 | June 16, 2008 3:14 PM

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