Welcome to Nature Maven's Healthy Eating Healthy Planet Blog

Welcome! If you're a vegan, you'll find support and suggestions you may be able to use here. If you're a vegetarian as I was when I started this blog in June 2008, reading my archived posts may be of interest to you. If you haven't gotten here already, I hope you'll consider trying the vegan way of life, too.

As I try new recipes, learn to eat in restaurants, entertain non-veg friends and make the changes necessary to bring my life into greater harmony with the planet, I share what I learn. And little joys and other thoughts get thrown into the mix here, too.

In March 2009 after starting to read The Engine 2 Diet by vegan firefighter Rip Esselstyn, I became fully vegan, to the best of my knowledge and ability, and I post entries here as I live and learn in this lifestyle. It's definitely a process of experience and discovery.

Please check out the Vegan News Headlines supplied by Google News Reader down on the right, and see my Blogroll for just a few of the choice blogs and websites I've found useful.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Engine 2 Diet

This morning on the "Today Show" I saw a segment featuring Rip Esselstyn, a hunky and totally fit firefighter from Engine 2 Company in Austin, Texas whose firehouse has gone totally vegan after several guys had colossal total cholesterol scores. Rip has a book out, The Engine 2 Diet, with a website where you can learn more and order it via links to all the usual online vendors, or get it through Amazon.
My omnivore husband announced, as we watched this piece, that he's decided to swear off red meat, including pork. This is a big change and one that gives me great hope! Just last night he was telling me what an inconvenience my veggie lifestyle is for him, because he wanted to stir fry my tofu and veggies in the same pan where he'd sauteed his Kung Po shrimp without cleaning it out. I deferred, grateful for his wanting to make it for me, and telling myself that any faint vestiges of his shrimp don't change my commitment to my own vegetarian ways.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wearing Your Ethics

The longer I enjoy meatless eating, the more sensitive I'm becoming to the needs of the planet and our animal co-inhabitants. As moved as I am to tears and disgust by cruelty in factory farming, I still need to know it exists and fight it. I have watched the videos and read the articles and I tell others what I believe and why. The easiest way to get the point across is fashion without confrontation, at least that's how it seems. The Peta Store has some awesome t-shirt choices. Paul McCartney wore the "Eat No (cow)" t-shirt on an album cover. I have it in the "Eat No (fish)" version, too. Order a few. Wear your convictions!
I went to the hairdresser recently. One of the working women there comes from Eastern Europe and had raised her own meat and poultry. Because diet seems to be a constant topic among us when I'm there, my vegetarian lifestyle came up (again). I explained that as much as I had enjoyed meat as a food, at least sometimes, it was exposure to factory farming cruelty that turned me from it, never to return to eating animal flesh again. The European woman said that she and her husband slaughtered their animals themselves and assured us that chickens and lambs "have no adrenaline" and therefore can't feel fear. I think that's preposterous. I told her that anything that dies in a state of distress is suffused with the chemical influence of that disstress and this is bad for the person eating it. Maybe lions on the Savannah are innured to those influences, but we who have many healthier alternatives, and the molars to grind grains and veggies, are not.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Holding My Own

Life as a vegetarian about 8 months into the process is really good. Thus far I've stopped eating all meat, fish and poultry. I've stopped buying new leather shoes (found great Chuck Taylor at the Converse outlet and Madden Girl shoes that you can get at Alternative Outfitters) and accessories. I especially like the Converse slip-style with eyelets but no laces that come in black and colors and even some funky patterns. I got black and aqua.

I cook and eat vegan as much as possible, while still eating eggs and dairy when we eat in restaurants that don't offer vegan selections. I anticipate reaching a point one day where I stop doing even that, just as I reached the point where the concept of eating meat bothered me too much. That took years, however, and I am allowing this journey to unfold. Meanwhile, Red Robin has meatless patties available on all their awesome burger selections.

One of my favorites is the Blackened Bayou Burger made with a Boca or Gardenburger. They describe it: "Blackened (meatless) burger topped with roasted red peppers, angry onions, Pepper-Jack cheese, Creole mustard sauce and cabbage-carrot mix on a jalapeƱo-cornmeal kaiser roll. Add a splash of Tabasco® for even more spice. It's good, we guar-an-tee!" Yup! Fer true!
I bake vegan, using soy milk, soy sour cream, egg substitute (Ener-G), and other goodies. I now subscribe to VegNews and recently baked the "Vegan Whoopie Pies" they featured. They were delicious but do enjoy them fresh if you make them. They're made with whole wheat pastry flour and are still light and yummy, with no sense of eating something grainy or rough.

The whoopie pies were great at first but after hanging out in freezer and fridge for a couple of weeks became too crumbly to really enjoy, so I threw them out by the bird feeders and expect the squirrels had a field day. In fact I saw one character holding up one piece in both paws and nibbling before scampering off into the woods.
Today I baked some Valentine's Day cupcakes to take to dinner with friends. I made the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and piped hot-pink icing hearts, and filled with Cookies-and-Cream frosting from the last batch of minis I made. My recipes all come from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and I recommend it highly! No, I haven't lost weight since switching from Atkins-style carnivore to vegetarian, but after gaining about 13 pounds from June to December 2008, I've lost about 8 of that and am havng no trouble maintaining. I'll likely lose again if and when I convert to vegan fully, but that's for another day.
That's it for now, except that we now have a real cat, not only a virtual one, and her name is Daisy.