Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Revival

After a fabulous weekend in Sedona with my family, the consensus was that this blog is due for a revival. Cooking dinner for 11 kept me in the kitchen for no less than 4 hours , and every minute was enjoyable (ok except for when I couldn't find the cinnamon or found out we forgot to bring garlic, but that's why we cook with a glass of wine on constant standby). Amidst the pleasant banter between bites of Greek delicacies, it was stressed that I be more diligent about updating my blog - I should have taken photos of the food before it was devoured to be sure, because there is no remaining physical evidence of our decadent meal.

Oh well, one more opportunity to duplicate and improve a recipe, right?

Vegan spanakopita tyropitas, moussaka, greek salad, italian wedding cake AND carrot cake with cream cheese frosting seems to have produced some kind of appreciation for the vegan diet among my dear and curious carnivores. In thanks and encouragement, I am heeding their advice to spring life back into the documentation of my vegan ventures in order to provoke more curiosity and interest in my vegan world. Perhaps they will read it, and some will pretend to have plans for making some of these recipes on their own, but I would be exstatic if I could could have even a slight impact on the awareness and eating habits of others around me. If, after time, they can distinguish tempeh from seitan, my goals for vegan outreach will be well on track for achievement.

What are my goals for outreach ? I really didn't realize I had any goals until I wrote that last sentence. Hmmmm....Maybe the process of elimination will work. What am I not trying to accomplish?

I am not as focused on turning people toward the meatless lifestyle as I am about highlighting the benefits and necessity of conscious, heathful eating. I do not share the animal rights fervor that many vegans and vegetarians possess, though I do respect the passion and sense of conscience supporting their efforts. I do not want to be the health nut (and by "nut" I do, in fact, mean crazy) that is constantly harping on people for making bad choices. However, I do not want to be a passive observer of poor eating habits who judges others' dietary disasters without offering advice and assistance if asked for it.

I do have a passion for fabulous food and the respectful treatment of our bodies. They are really the only avenue we have to live this life - so I suppose if you're actually interested in living it, you should take care of it. The way we choose our food and how we eat has everything to do with treating our bodies well and preventing damage. Why wouldn't you want to prevent and stave off cancer, digestive disease and heart malfunction? Those things are in my personal family history, and this vegan lifestyle is a tasty way to kick some dirty pathogen butt!

For me, the health advantages stemming from eating this way far exceed the effort it takes to follow the diet in my own opinion. More energy, a badass heartbeat, a solid immune system and normal blood pressure are just some of the things I get to enjoy by cooking real food at home without the use of animal products. I often hear people say they could never pay as much attention that vegan need in order to eat right. Hogwash. Most of the effort required of vegans should be included in anyone's diet, veggies and ommi's alike. For example...

1. Reading ingredient labels.

2. Avoiding saturated and trans fats.

3. Eating whole foods instead of processed foods.

4. Avoiding food additives, preservatives and flavorings (i.e. HFCS, MSG, etc...).

5. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables (preferable seasonally).

That doesn't sound too vegan, does it? Because it's not. Even meat eaters should limit their intake of anything with grody fat in it and avoid buying snack foods high in sodium and who knows what other substances go into making Cheetos that I'm pretty sure are the same as substance you need to make a homemade bomb. Once you take an interest in your health, which is easy to fake but hard to do, most of the precautions vegans take are the same you'd need to do just to be healthy in general.

So back to my goal(s): Well education I guess by way of winning over people's stomachs. For starters, I don't care how much I "preach," as long as people eat my food and like it. The only way to spark genuine interest in most people is through taste buds. So down the hatch and then I'll spread the facts....Once I have their tummies, they'll ask questions. They always do.

And questions lead to personal research and enrichment, as many people start thinking about things they may not have considered prior to devouring a piece of vegan chocoalte pie. If a friend remembers the words quinoa and/or amaranth, well that'd be great. That's not even a vegan thing! If I can instill surpise by letting on that there are 400 kinds of potatoes grown in Peru (there used to be 4,000) and then they actually try a PURPLE potato just because it's different, I'd be giddy. You don't have to be vegan, but if you start paying attention, rocks.

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