Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Seventy Savories Sent from Secret Santa

Oh yes, I have already attended a holiday paty and was gifted by a Secret Santa! Friday at a little day job gathering I was overjoyed to be recipient of The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen. He is the mastermind who crafted the plant based dishes that were so delectable that Oprah was able to stick to a 21 day cleanse. I have just cracked the cookbook open this week, and I am so excited to try out some of the seventy exciting recipes.

I typically hate following recipes. It makes me feel constricted and like my creativity is being taken away, hence why I am not a big baker (but clearly, I have control issues-haha). However I need to get better at succoming to following recipes since I am a novice to these new innovative plant based dishes. Sunday I made Alicia Silverstone's Kind Diet chocolate peanut cups and they are soo good and in my opinion far more divine than a highly processed Reese's Peanut Cup. Okay, I can do this. See, I can even have kind clean desserts. I just need to stick to some recipes at first and then I can learn the basic tools of this cooking method.

I went to Whole Foods early Saturday morning to get some things and felt overwhelmed. While I have my favorite veggie store, Stanley's, as my go-to Mecca of cheap organic produce, I need some cooking essentials if I am really going  to commit to more than my standard grain/bean/veg stirfry concoctions of late (although they are fab if I do say so myself). There are only certain kinds of fake meats I enjoy, and I am surrendering to the fact that fake cheese just isn't for me (I don't like most of it, so I'm not wasting calories eating it). I also had an unsucessful brush with tempeh so I need help understanding how to cook it-I can't just wing some of this stuff. What to eat, what to eat? I decided to treat myself to some animal product-free choices at the Whole Foods Salad Bar to give my pallet some variety and ideas. It was a delight!!!!!!! Much of it was tofu based, but so delicious! I currently have some curried tofu salad in my fridge that I want to copy-it's criminal how yummy it is.

This kind of cooking will just take me a little more time at first and I will also need to put some money into to get my essentials. I've already been using soy butter (Earth Balance soy butter is amazing-I doubt anyone could tell the difference), but I had to buy some things like mayo substitute and still need some other vinegars, sweeteners and various grains. Once I have all of the essentials then I think I will be in good shape. I also just need solid time at home to cook. Somehow even with my show up and running I have crammed my weeknights full of other things like auditions and seeing friends' plays and such. Health is an investment of mind, body, soul, time and money. That's a lot of committment, but I am truly enjoying most of the foods that I am trying and feel cleaner inside. I also feel good about being compassionate to my animals friends. I still find myself indulging in sushi so I am not a complete convert, and I may never stop, but overall I am feeling healthy!

Do you wonder why I am not using the word vegan? Here's why: I think over the years the word has been negatively conotated. I know because I was one of the Negative Nellies. When I would hear about someone being a vegan I would think that they were super malnourished and crazy and actually sacrificing their health. I thought it was down right scary! However, I've been doing a lot of reading and I am committed to learning how to incorporate the lifestyle successfully. There is work involved in making sure you get what you need, but there are soo many benefits and so many delicious creations to try (if you like to cook and are open to trying new things). Now listen, I may never fully cross over, but moving closer to the animal product-free end of the dietary spectrum is comfortable to me. I wrestle with a self imposed black and white pressure to be all or nothing, but there is no human rulebook that says I have to have a title for my dietary habits. I like using an Alicia word and saying I eat kind foods. I also love that in the literature I have been reading there are no harsh judgements about meat eaters and vegetarians. In fact, all I am finding is encouragement to all who are expressing interest and praise for small steps like incorporating one veggie based meal a week into your diet. I like praise. I'm a Taurus after all :)

I have been visiting The Kind Life everyday for inspirartion.


  1. I dig it! I feel the same way. Being a meat eater who lives with a vegetarian, over the past 7 years, I have found myself more and more conscious of what I'm eating and how it ended up on my plate. I always say I'm very vegetarian friendly, but I like saying I eat "Kind" foods. That is definitely my philosophy. Hopefully I can live up to it.

  2. That seems like a great book! I hope you'll share some of your fave recipes with us :) I love how sensible you're being about this transition. Its like religion - everyone has their own comfort level - and I'm psyched to see you finding yours!

  3. Thank you Jennifer!! BTW I tried a cabbage recipe from the Tuscon site and it was fabulous!