Never again

My office went generally apecrap for the U.S.-Belgium World Cup game last week, complete with tacky decorations, pizza (my boss ordered me a cheese-free salad, lovely woman she is) and a slew of sugary, artificially-colored store-bought desserts.

I feel less bad about this photo being crappy.

I feel less bad about this photo being crappy.

These concoctions never really appealed to me. So much sugar, not very tasty and I typically felt like crap after eating them. But in these situations, though I was reasonably good at resisting such fare, I would often spring for a cookie or cupcake, just because they’re there. I’m a journalist – eating free food is a biological imperative. It might be all you eat that day.

But now I look at this stuff and it’s such an easy decision to lay off. It’s not like I’m dieting – I don’t tell myself “you can’t” or salivate while feeling deprived. Rather, it’s an automatic decision. Instead of thinking, “I can’t” eat that stuff, I just know that I don’t.

It’s a little empowering. A great excuse to eat better. There’s no wrestling with my nutritional conscience. Conventional baked confections? Not my style.

Previously in office food battles

What does it matter?

I kept my vegan-ness unknown around my workplace until I ordered the “vegan wrap” for a work lunch and my cover was blown.

I was still pretty new. I wanted to be known for my work and my personality, not as “the vegan one.”

But my boss has been super-de-duper nice about it since she learned about my leanings. Whereas pizza is the go-to working meal for journalists normally, last election night she opted to order us Thai food, which made it possible for me to order something without imposing on anyone else. She thinks of me any time there’s a meal on the company dime.

Same for when this representative for a web video distributor came to Seattle last week and brought us lunch. My boss told him ahead of time there’s a vegan in the newsroom and though he planned on getting pizza, he’d bring me a salad.

I don’t expect people to go out of their way to accommodate me. But I’m grateful for every thoughtful gesture.

The guy came with boxes of pizza and a bag containing my salad. My boss peeked inside, came to my desk and whispered, fretfully, “I think there was a mistake. The salad is covered in cheese.”

“No big deal,” I assured her, “I’ll pick it off.”

Didn’t want to bite the hand that fed me. I hate waste as much as I love free food.

But as I furtively flicked blue cheese bits from my salad into a trash can with a fork, I wondered why I was taking such pains. I used to love blue cheese. And it’s not like I’m saving a cow by throwing out the cheese, already made, distributed and sold. Can’t unring that bell, as one might say.

And in order to remove most of the cheese presence, I had to sacrifice the tomatoes and cucumbers with them, leaving mostly just greens. And there were still itty bits of cheese here and there that I was not anal enough to pick through. So basically I chucked nearly half my salad just for my choice – not an allergy or life-threatening condition, but a choice and a stance.

As I picked through greens and walnuts while the rest of my colleagues piled up on cheese, pepperoni, Canadian bacon and sausage pizza – and oh, it smelled so good – I felt a mix of pride and a strange guilt. Why can’t I just eat the cheese if it’s served to me? I just wasted perfectly good food, didn’t I?

More

Easter candy

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I can’t believe weeks have passed by since Easter already.

Easter used to be my favorite holiday. I loved dyeing eggs, hunting for them the next morning and gobbling up Cadbury creme eggs and jelly beans.

Pretty much all of that is out for me now. (RIP my longtime love affair with Cadbury creme eggs.)

I didn’t want to go completely candy-less when I went to my parents’ house for Easter, so I whipped up vegan versions of two of my favorites: peanut butter cups and peppermint patties.

(True story: My Christmas list every year used to be headlined with “a peppermint patty.”)

They’re a smidge labor-intensive (but I’m also Miss Can’t I Just Put Everything In A Pot and Let It Go?) and it’s hard for me to make them pretty (follow the links to the recipes for pretty), but what do you know – they worked beautifully! And tasted every bit as good as their commercial counterparts, but with little to no added sweetener. They did have to be kept frozen or refrigerated, but don’t most good things?

My whole family loved them. My boyfriend, well, he preferred the big, fat Reese’s peanut butter egg in my parents’ candy dish because it’s sweeter, he said. I mean, who DOESN’T like the big peanut butter egg, but I was glad to have my yummy peanut butter cups. And they were made out of pantry items!

I think I have to make these for Christmas, too.

Now if only I can find an easy Cadbury creme egg alternative.

How do you substitute traditional holiday sweets?

‘Whoever smelt it dealt it’

Real talk here.

Since going plant-based, I fart quite a bit more.

Come at me, bro.

This is common for vegans.

And apparently, as long as you’re not bloated and uncomfortable, it’s also a sign of good things.

Yasssssssss!

So if people give you crap, just tell them they should start farting, too. It’s good for you.

I need to try all of the places

My boss has kind of anointed me the unofficial food blogger at the Seattle P-I as of late, so of course I had to insert my own interests into my work.

A couple weeks ago I posted a Seattle guide to vegan and vegetarian restaurants. It was fun. And actually attracted lots of traffic. I think it surpassed my superiors’ expectations. We veggies crave to know where to go!

Anyway, if you’re in the know, let me know what I’ve missed. For the sake of limiting the scope of the piece, I stuck to places that are veggie-only. There are infinitely more places that are veggie friendly, of course.

You’re a lucky vegan when …

… your parents visit and decide to bring you a salad, but when the salad they bought for you unexpectedly was covered in cheese, your dad picks out all the grated cheese for you.

My parents are your run-of-the mill omnivores, but they support me.

This week in news of vegan interest

I know I’ve been an absentee blogger. I’ve had some awesome food going on, I’ve just been lazy. And some of the most exciting cooking I’ve been doing is recipe testing for a fellow Seattle vegan and I don’t want to blow her project. (Intrigue!)

I do have posts brewing in my head, though! Meanwhile, some interesting reads from the past week:

Less meat = longer life?

Good news in food and health – ❤ Mark Bittman ❤

Future of meat: no meat

The badass Vegan RD debunks more vegan myths

Cows and REM will be linked in my mind henceforth

Big ag vs. animal welfare, round 934

Be well!

Update, 3/11/14: OK one more about the water resources dairy products require

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