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Veganism Didn’t Really Work Out for Me

As most of you know, I decided to be vegan for the month of April.

I had good intentions, I really did.

Thing were going peachy for the first week or so until I realized that I was continuing to mindlessly down cappuccinos on the daily without really thinking through the fact that there is cow’s milk dwelling within every cup. Whoops.

This gave me flashbacks to my days as a grasshopper gluten free-er when I was slowly but surely watching my world crumble figuring out how many things contain gluten in this cruel world. When I made the initial decision to go vegan for April, I went in with the impression that veganism meant cutting out basic things like cheese and eggs. Sort of in the same way that most people think that cutting out gluten is just cutting out bread.

Truth is, I hated the initial transition into being gluten free for the reason that it was just learning about all the things I couldn’t ever eat again. Why I thought it would be a grand idea to put myself through the same thing again with veganism, je ne sais pas.

Anyways, what is funny is that I was never actually vegan since I was accidentally ingesting milk every day in my coffee delights but my intentional failure occurred last week when I buckled down and bought some eggs.

I blame it on this picture that popped up on my Tumblr feed:

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Perfectly scrambled eggs on a crispy piece of buttered toast slathered with salted and peppered avocado? I’M DONE.

Sorry, veganism, smell ya later.

It was fun while it lasted.

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Uncategorized

I’m Legal!

Guess what guys?! 

I turned 21 on Wednesday! It’s a little weird to think that the next “landmark” birthday will be my 25th when I can officially rent a car… we all know how exciting that one is. 

As my birthday landed on a weekday night, I made plans with a good friend of mine to do some simple Buffalo Exchange shopping and then grab a quick dinner. We took a bus down to the part of town that we were going to get some food (Capitol Hill, for you Denver dwellers), and got there around 4:30, a good two hours before our dinner reservations. After we finished up our consignment shopping, we had some awkward time to kill. I told my friend that the restaurant would probably let us in early but she was adement about going to this used bookstore down the road. We went in and were browsing for a suspiciously long time, finding all kinds of bizarre books that only exist in used bookstores. I started to feel like something was up that my friend wasn’t telling me, and as 6:30 came around we headed over to the restaurant. 

We turned the corner into the restaurant and what do you know- ten of my best friends were in there waiting for me with balloons and a hilarious homemade edible arrangement!

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We’ve got some serious Lydia the Lurker in the background.

 

I’ve never been surprised before so the sight of all those people there for me made my heart swell with happiness and gratitude for the amazing group of people I get to call my amigos.

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Don’t I have a good-lookin’ group of buds?

I guess I ought to mention the restaurant we were at… It’s City o’ City, which is a very hip and urban organic restaurant with tons of gluten free and vegan options. I ordered my usual-the savory waffle-and got a complimentary potato vodka from our server. It was less of a shot and more of a sippy cup portion but like a true 21 year old, I downed the thing in two gulps. Potato vodka, as it turns out, is actually quite pleasant- it’s got a bit of a fruit juice flavor to it. Yum. 

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A post-vodka, mid-bite snapshot.

My friends, all of whom are “normal” eaters- no one is even vegetarian – absolutely loved their food and praised me on my skilled restaurant choosing abilities. After a few years of being gluten free, one has to find a good restaurant and stick to it like glue. City O’ City is that restaurant for me. Go, if you’re ever in Denver!

Now that I can hit up the bars and be a real-life adult type person, what drinks should I order? I’ve gotten used to ordering gluten free food but I feel like ordering gluten free alcohol is a whole other can of worms that I have yet to open. Suggestions welcome. 

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Recipe, Tips & Tricks

Vegan & GF “Chipotle” Burrito Bowl

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Chipotle is my savior: I can’t count the number of times that I have been starving to death without the energy to even pour myself some cereal* and Chipotle is there to save the day with it’s hearty portions and quick service.

* dramatization

Anyone who is familiar with Chipotle and likes it (the only kind of person I associate myself with) knows that they probably drug their food with addictives so it is near impossible to mimic their flavors. However, I have attempted the impossible and came up with a pretty close version to the real thing! Mind you, I was working hard in the kitchen, sobbing over red onion, for a good hour when I could have just sacrificed $7 for the real deal but where’s the fun in that?!

Part 1: Lime Cilantro Rice

1 cup long grain rice (I used Basmati) 

2 cups water

1/2 lime’s juice

a handful of cilantro, chopped

salt

Boil the water, add the rice. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the water is evaporated and the rice is fluffy. Once fully cooked, add in the chopped cilantro and the lime juice. Stir until completely incorporated and add some salt to taste.

*I added the cilantro while the rice was still really hot and it wilted the leaves a little too much. I would wait a bit for the rice to cool until adding the cilantro so that it keeps a level of freshness.

Part 2: Corn Salsa

12 oz can of corn (sweet corn is the best)

2 small jalapenos, chopped to small bits

1/2 small red onion, finely diced

Handful of cilantro, chopped

2 limes worth of juice

salt and pepper to taste

Simple: combine ingredients, stir to full incorporation.

Part 3: Black Beans

Open can, heat over stovetop

Part 4: Guacamole

1 ripe avocado

1 small roma tomato, chopped

1/2 jalapeno, diced

small bunch of cilantro, chopped

1/4 red onion, chopped

Squirt of lime or lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Mash up avocado into a bowl. Fold in the diced tomato and the jalapeno. Stir in the cilantro and red onion bits. Squirt a bit of lemon or lime juice into the mix and shake in as much salt and pepper as desired (taste as you go to add whatever you think it needs more of).

Pile all parts onto a plate and DEVOUR

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Daily Life

In Which I Bear Many Fruits (and Vegetables)

veganhaul

Well, folks: Tomorrow is the big day… I’m getting married to Josh Hutcherson.

Haha, psych. You believed me though, yes?

Due to an idea that I will probably regret immediately, I will be starting the vegan chapter of my life tomorrow for the entire month of April. And by vegan I just mean no meat, no dairy, and a main focus on vegetable and fruit centered meals. Just as we celiacs know that being gluten free doesn’t necessarily mean being healthy since you can still technically gorge on Snickers candy bars, being vegan doesn’t have to even be a healthy initiative, especially if I were eating pounds of dark chocolate or entire bags of potato chips. However, my purpose is to improve my own health while doing my part for the environment and my animal friends.

I can’t go into this thing unarmed, of course, so here’s what I’ve stocked my kitchen with:

Almond milk, Coconut water, Coconut oil, Basmati Rice, Quinoa, GF oatmeal, Frozen berries, Bananas, Mangos, Spinach, Broccoli, Strawberries, Oranges, Grapefruit, Sweet Potato, Bell pepper, Apples, Blackberries, Avocado, and because I am of the female sort, Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and a Peanut Dark Chocolate bar. Listen, I might have a mental breakdown within the first 24 hours of this if I don’t have at least the prospect of getting chocolate.

I thought about getting those uber-Vegan snacks like kale chips and coconut macaroons but they were, like, $8 for a teeny package at Whole Foods. Ain’t nobody got money for that. Especially me, considering my nasty Topshop addition and the “need” to get at least one cappuccino every day.

Any suggestions from you vegans out there as to what goodies I should get?

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

I’m Going Vegan.

Image Last night, in those serene moments before one drifts off into the oblivion off sleep, I made the decision to go vegan for the entire month of April. Not for any real reason other than the fact that I want to try something new and challenging- in the case of veganism, I will be challenged but will also be doing something positive for the environment and for my body.

And so, as all good Internet-nerd-foodies do, I will be blogging the experience and hopefully getting some advice and recommendations from my vegan readers along the way (but actually… I need help…I require advice)

As someone who has been 100% gluten free for nearly three years now, people might assume that going vegan will be simple since there are already so many restrictions within the gluten free/Celiac diet. FALSEHOOD. Eating gluten free is just a second nature thing for me at this point, as I’m sure is the case with you fellow celiacs reading, but veganism is an entirely new treacherous path coated in tofu, chia seeds, and kale (none of which I have ever consciously put in my meals).

I have a terrible feeling that after a couple of weeks of being vegan I might actually start to like it. I might even find myself wanting to continue my hippie ways long past my April commitment- one could say April may be just the vegan-ning of a long term breakup from animal sourced foods. Hehe. I told you there’d be more puns this year.

Until you fine folk forward me to some of your favorite vegan & gluten free blogs, here are some of the friendly faces I’m gonna get nice and cozy with next month:

Riia Eats Right

The Gluten Free Vegan

XGFX Vegan. Gluten Free. 

Garden of Vegan

Rabbit Food for My Bunny Teeth

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Daily Life

What’s In My Fridge?

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If I were a famous celebrity, you would all already be aware of my fridge content, as I would have made an MTV Cribs appearance by now. Alas, as I am but a lowly college student and blogger, you have yet to see what all I keep in there.

That last sentence there makes it sound like I’m keeping roadkill carcasses or human fingers in my fridge– I hate to disappoint, but those things can’t actually be found anywhere within proximity of my kitchen (or at least, from what I know…)

Being a busy college student, I try to keep my fridge well stocked with healthy options that are also easily portable. I’m at school from 7:30 am- 6 pm nearly every day so it is an absolute necessity for me to have lunch, snacks, and a light dinner packed and ready to go before I make the morning dash to grab coffee and then catch the 7:15 bus.

Whether you are looking for grocery shopping inspiration, meal planning ideas, or just looking cause you’re bored, here are (most of) the foods that I keep regularly stocked in my fridge:

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Starting off logically on the top shelf, I’ve got some Blue Diamond Almond Milk– vanilla flavor, please. I’m not dairy intolerant by any means (you’ll see that with the presence of cheese in the side door), but I just prefer the sweeter flavor of almond milk. Also up there, I have strawberries (pretty self explanatory), and a small assortment of salad dressings. Having tasty salad dressings on hand makes me feel more inclined to fix up a healthy salad for lunch. My favorite dressing at the moment is Annie’s Balsamic VinaigretteImage

Look downwards, and you’ll see some Noosa strawberry yogurt. My obsession with Noosa yogurts (raspberry being my favorite) began a year or two ago at Denver’s Cherry Creek farmer’s market. We were given free pumpkin pie yogurt samples by a very handsome Farmer’s Market man and immediately fell in love. With the yogurt, not the man. Well, maybe the man a little bit.

I’ve also got some Sabra hummus (Classic and Roasted Pine Nut). Hummus is always great to have on hand since it can be easily paired with most savory foods. As a side dish for my daily salad lunch, I pair some tortilla chips with a dollop of hummus and it never fails me. My new least-favorite word ever might be dollop. It sounds like what would happen if you stepped in a pile of manure.

Also chilling in there, I’ve got leftover pizza from Mellow Mushroom which isn’t exactly a fridge necessity but represents the well known fact that keeping leftovers is a darn good idea. Sure, it was really difficult refraining from scarfing down the entire pizza in one sitting, but I reaped the benefits later when I didn’t have to slave away in the kitchen cooking.

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I never considered myself to be one of “those people” who buy those pre-made salad mixes but I’ve been swayed. I still don’t buy the full on pre-made mixes, but I’ve found the basic lettuce mixes to be really handy. Just throw some of it in a tupperware, and top it with whatever veggies, beans, cheeses, or meats you have on hand and ta-da! You’ve got lunch.

I love me some Mexican food so I keep corn tortillas on the ready at all times. Mi Rancho Corn Tortillas are the I’ve found by far. They aren’t marketed as “gluten free” tortillas but they clearly label them as being so which conveniently keeps the price from being inflated due to being a gluten free food.

Clementines also make an appearance here, alongside other varieties of veggies and fruits (not shown). Pick these up at your next grocery haul because, clementines. Image

In my fridge door lives a bunch of random, disorganized goodies. Let’s start with my first priority in life, which is cheese. I have Sargento Provolone in there (**although I think this may have made me slightly sick, so I don’t think I could recommend it to celiacs** Get Tillamook instead), and there’s also the Whole Foods 365 brand cheese which is safe (and delicious) as a far as I can tell. To fulfill my butter quota, I’ve got some of the basic stuff that comes from cows, along with some chocolate almond butter from Boulder, Colorado’s very own Justin’s Nut Butter. Other knick knacks like baby carrots and snap peas (great with the hummus), black beans (put some in anything and everything), 365 raspberry jam, and Udi’s breads (I like to keep some cinnamon raisin and plain old whole grain on hand). Image

Last but not least, the freezer. Not much to see here, just some casual corn, peas, and bread (frozen for preservation’s sake, as any gluten free bread she be). Once all this snow melts and the sun decides to come out for good you can bet this place will be overflowing with ice cream. Can’t. Wait.

So, there you have it! Nothing too shocking or out of the ordinary, but an accurate glimpse into what works for me in terms of grocery stocking and cooking.

Happy gluten free-ing!

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Uncategorized

Vampires Back Off: Eating to Fend off a Cold

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I did a silly thing yesterday… I rode the bus, touched a pole on the bus to retain balance, got to my apartment, and ate a tangerine without remembering to wash my hands first. Despite having gotten my flu shot a couple of weeks ago, with all this flu hullaballoo plus the fact that it is already cold season, you can’t be too careful. Plus, it should just sort of common sense to wash one’s hands after taking public transportation. 

Us gluten free people can’t ever be too careful when it comes to taking medicine for anything. I learned that lesson last spring when I landed in the ER twice completely dehydrated and ten pounds lighter than two weeks prior due to glutened pills prescribed by a doctor… just let that marinade for a second and you’ll see why I go down the natural path when it comes to healing as often as possible. 

A cold can’t necessarily be cured (and it’s not the worst of sicknesses to have, although it feels rather unfortunate all the same), but it’s life can be shortened with the incorporation of some simple foods into your daily diet. 

1) Garlic

This is probably the number one recommended food to have with a cold. In fact, regular garlic eaters have been scientifically proven to catch the cold significantly less than their vampiric counterparts. This potent food has the power to fight off the bacteria that causes colds in the first place and will help alleviate a cough and nasal congestion. Mash some of this up in a stir fry, whip up some strong garlic bread, and if you’re feeling desperate or really like garlic, just eat the clove. 

2) Honey and Cinnamon 

I was recommended this tasty combo by an extended family member the last time I had a cold, and it seemed to help- plus it tastes really good. Take down a tablespoon of slightly warmed honey with 1/4 tsp cinnamon and after doing this about three times a day for a couple of days, you will probably notice an improvement. Just be sure that you don’t go TOO crazy with the antibacterial cinnamon or else this will turn into the cinnamon challenge. 

3) Seafood

I’m not a big seafood fan (therefore a bad Seattle-ite), but I’ve started to try bringing it into my diet more often due to it’s many health benefits. On top of being great for the digestive system, seafood is full of zinc, iron, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are vital for a strong immune system. Try adding some shrimp to quinoa or pan-fry up salmon for dinner tonight. 

4) Mushrooms

Mushrooms are commonly used to help with colds in China and Japan because they help to build white blood cells which assist the immune system. I wouldn’t normally think of mushrooms being useful for curing colds, but that’s how I am about more than a few things that come from our friends over in the East, those innovative folk. 

5) Carrots

Carrots may help your eyesight, but that’s not all they serve for. The easy-to-eat veggie has lots of nutrients that help boost the infection-fighting cells in your immune system. If you’re not a big fan of carrots, try out other orange foods like sweet potato or orange pepper as these foods tend to be the best for nutritional value. Cheetos don’t count. 

Now, I’m not saying that any of these foods will have you feeling well enough to run a marathon by tomorrow morning, but if collectively combined to make up the contents of your meals and snacks for the next few days, you will no doubt see improvement. 

For example, you could aim for eating like this for a couple of days:

Breakfast: Orange juice and whole grain cereal drizzled with honey

Lunch: A quinoa salad topped with shrimp and flavored with garlic

DInner: A big stir-fry full of carrots, mushrooms, protein, garlic, and a spicy flavoring. 

Snacks: Carrots with hummus, citrus fruit

In the meantime, be drinking plenty of liquids (natural juice and water) and rest up! 

 

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