Because “resolutions” are too harsh

I know everyone is all about making new year’s resolutions, but I really dislike the word “resolution.” It removes all flexibility, and I like to keep it flexible. Instead, I like to set “intentions.” While both resolution and intention highlight a bit of forward-looking determination, intention just seems so much gentler.

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Me and Amie at FTNS radio!

Back in February I was on FTNS radio, the world’s first ever fitness radio, on my friend Amie Hall’s show, The Green Gate. Amie and I go way back; she is actually a friend of my mother, so she knew me when I was toddling around pant-less, filthy and grinning. Actually…I am still doing that…but you smell what I’m stepping in. Amie is also a holistic health coach, just like moi, and we both went to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC.

On this particular show, we were talking about “Lifting Your Libido” for Valentine’s day, going over some foods and activities you can do. I share a recipe for raw chocolate avocado pudding, and we just have a good time. Listen on in! And her show is every weekday at 1pm EST so check in then, too. Amie is not vegan (she talks about eating a lobster roll on this particular show…), so don’t be surprised if she drops a dairy bomb on you all! I was actually on this show in January, too, but I don’t have that podcast. Maybe soon!

Listen to me rant on the radio, here!

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The other evening after work I stood in my kitchen squirting Sriracha on crackers and wishing I had thought to soak some chickpeas so that I could make hummus when BOOM it hit me. Sriracha hummus! Sort of like when you write down your dreams in the middle of the night and wake up with brilliant bits of nonsense by your bedside.

I know people have done this before because originality is dead as ….oh no no no, it is WAY too soon for Whitney Houston jokes…Ugh why am I so crass?! RIP, Whitney! Anyway, I soaked some chickpeas that night and woke up at 7 am to make Sriracha hummus like some weird pant-less manic legume-loving Keebler elf.

Sriracha Hummus
Serves 4/Prep Time 5 minutes/Cook Time 5 minutes

You will need:
3 cups cooked chickpeas
1 clove garlic ( roasted, if you’re fancy!)
2 tbsp Tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup Sriracha

To make:
Throw all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

This has nothing to do with anything, but see how this wine-marker can read my thoughts!

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When your life is a crazy cocktail with a recipe that reads two parts busy and one part lazy, cooking an elaborate meal at the end of the day to eat by yourself sounds as appealing as bathing in bleach. In the warm weather this is fine because I crave cooling, raw foods like salads and smoothies that take no effort to throw together. But in the winter I want someone to cuddle with and rub my shoulders and set up shop in my ladybits. Okay, that has nothing to do with food.  In the winter, I also want to eat warm food. So I have been doing a bit of lazy-girl cooking, which consists of throwing all my ingredients in a pot or pan and turning up the heat. My favorite winter staple is soup, and although I don’t follow a recipe per se, all of my better-than-Campbells concoctions contain the following:

- 1 cup of grains. I like quinoa, brown rice, barley, millet and wheat berries.
- 1 large can of organic crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 can of tomato paste
- 1 or 2 cans of beans; garbanzo, kidney, white, whatever. I don’t discriminate.
- 1 or 2 carrots, diced
- 2 or 3 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2-3 cups of veggies, fresh or frozen. Mushrooms, green beans, peas, corn, cabbage, zucchini.
- 3-4 big handfuls of greens (spinach, kale and swiss chard are my favs) which I add at the end of cooking
- Herbs, fresh or dried. Oregano, thyme, basil, parsley, tons of black pepper.

I throw it all in a pot with a couple liters of water (more or less depending on if I want my soup brothy or stewy. Yep, those are words.), bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for an hour. It gets even better after a few days in the fridge. Sometimes I eat it for breakfast.

I know that’s really not a very good recipe, but I feel like soup is one of those things you can improvise with and never really screw up.

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Everyone else is eating cheese (image by graur razvan ionut)

I am a pretty awkward person. I make awkward jokes and references to things nobody else understands, and then I laugh at them alone. On Friday I was at the bank next to my office where I go to deposit my whopping free-lance checks during lunch, and the teller tried to chat me up. I drool over him every time I go in there, partially because he is a fox (he looks some sort of juicy middle-eastern ethnicity), and because he is rocking a wedding ring so that makes him completely off limits. So he starts making small talk. Probably he was just being friendly, but it made me nervous anyways. “So you work around here?” he said. “yes, do you?” I responded. To THE BANK TELLER. He then looked at me like I had something hanging out of my nose. (I probably did.)

Right before that, as I was heading out to do my bank errands/make an ass out of myself in front of saucy teller, my boss reminded me to be back by 2:30 as we are having Flying Saucers for a coworker’s birthday. “Great, I won’t miss that!” I said. “Even though I will just be standing around awkwardly while you all eat your ice-cream and repetitively ask why I am not partaking!” I continued. “Veganism is so socially awkward sometimes,” I finished. Luckily, my boss laughed (she at least pretends I am funny).

Real talk: Unless I am surrounded by other vegans, I usually feel sort of awkward turning down food. I do it anyways, but usually I feel a bit of judgement coming my way. I have found that veganism makes people nervous, as if I am judging them–I am not, I swear! I don’t sit around saying “DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY DO TO PIGS/WHAT IS IN YOUR MILK/HOW MANY BYCATCH SEA CREATURES DIE SO YOU CAN EAT THAT SPICY TUNA ROLL?” so I hate when I hear “but like, how do you get your protein/no wonder you’re so skinny/What about cheese?!”

So, yeah, office food parties are always awkward for me. I have only been here about 4 months, so I wonder what will happen in April when my birthday rolls around–assuming I last that long and don’t get fired because of the contents of my browser history (Friday on my lunch break I spent 40 minutes reading up on gimps and BDSM for my gimp post…). What? I was on lunch!

Any other vegans ever feel awkward about their vegan status? I want to hear your awkward vegan moments! Or just awkward moments in general…I once tried to get a pen out of my purse in class and accidentally flung a tampon at the boy next to me. It hit him in the face.

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Everyone has their own opinion of what is sexy. Some get turned on by a soulful jazz riff, some by a certain scent, or a touch in a particular spot. Some are attracted to a bad-ass attitude, some go for the loud and boisterous type, some like quiet and laid back. Personally, I like people who can out-argue me for fun, make fun of themselves, carry on an insightful conversation (not just talk about themselves in my general direction) and cook me a meal. It really doesn’t have to be a great meal—it’s the effort that is important.  

The thought behind cooking someone a meal—from choosing a recipe, shopping for ingredients and devoting time in the kitchen—shows caring and consideration, which is attractive. Eating as an act itself utilizes most of the senses, from smell to taste to texture, and that alone can be invigorating and sensual.

Cooking for someone is the ultimate expression of love; you are literally trying to provide them with nourishment. You are giving them something essential, something they can’t do without. You are, if only for that one meal, their provider.

Eating was never meant to be a solo affair—it brings people together, acting as a comforting experience that should be shared. This is why all of our holidays, and most of my social calendar, revolves around food. When I like someone, regardless of the fashion (romantic or platonic), I always try to feed them. I don’t even think about it anymore, it’s the way I express myself, a language that I understand. Although it’s my mother who is the chef by profession, both of my parents love to cook, and growing up this was a way affection was shown in our family. On a birthday, the intricate cake my mother would bake would be more important than the gifts received. Favorite meals were prepared as rewards for achievements or special occasions. It’s a non-verbal way of communicating, of sharing feelings without words, of connecting.

Someone who knows their way around the kitchen, or is at least curious to explore and discover, is the sexiest someone of all. Screw the flowers and Kama Sutra inspired bedroom moves (okay, keep those)—cook me a meal, dammit!

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This super easy and delicious dinner is something my mom made for me growing up all the time. While her versions weren’t vegan, they were a great and healthy way to use up the leftovers from the previous week. You simply layer grains, veggies, beans, salsa, guacamole and anything else you want between layers of tortillas (I like whole grain) for a mexican fiesta you can impress your friends with. Throw in left-over stir fry, cooked grains, or veggies that are about to go bad. Add vegan sour cream, nutritional yeast, hot peppers or anything else you want. Try drizzling the creation with a batch of Veganomicon‘s Cheezy Sauce. Bake it in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes until all the flavors have merged together and everything is heated through. When it comes out, slice it into pieces (like cake) and serve alongside a simple salad. To keep it looking pretty, create your layers in a spring-form pan. Not worried about presentation? Stacking it on a cookie sheet works as a messy alternative.

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Little-girl Zoe just adored spaghetti with meatballs. As I have been sick with a nasty head-cold the past week, I was craving some comfort food and decided to whip up some Spaghetti with Bean balls from my fav vegan cookbook, Veganomicon. (When I related to my father that bean balls were on my menu he said “oh no, those poor beans.” hardy-har-har…)

These delicious balls o’ beans have a great taste and texture, and I was mildly horrified that it took me so long to try them out. While the recipe says to mix the bean paste in a bowl with a fork, I have found that it works just as well in a food processor if you pulse the ingredients for a minute or so — don’t let it run freely or you will end up with a mixture that will be better for dipping chips in than rolling into balls.

After baking, crispy on the pan!

 

Looking lovely over whole grain spaghetti with saucy spinach and broccoli

Try them out for yourself, and amuse yourself while you cook by singing the SexyTofu rendition of “On Top of Spaghetti” : On top of spaghetti, all covered with beans..I lost my poor bean ball, when somebody..beaned.

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I don’t mean to shock anybody here, but it’s pretty easy to be an unhealthy vegan.

but, it says Veggie on it!

Need proof? Most french-fries are vegan. Frozen vegan goodies like Amy’s Kitchen can have outrageously high sodium counts. Some vegans eat peanut-butter all day long ( I call these the Skippy Vegans). Boxed vegan junk food (like Good Health Veggie Stix) are still nothing more than junk, albeit animal-friendly junk. Plus, if you don’t make a conscious effort to get all your essential vitamins, you could end up eating kale all day long and still be intensely unhealthy, with dangerously low body fat (these vegans need to eat more peanut-butter), brittle nails, thinning hair and bad skin.

So, for starter-kit vegans or even long time kale-crunchers who aren’t feeling their best, here are some tips:

If you’re just starting out, write what you eat. It might seem a little OCD (okay, anal) but it will allow you to look back on what you ate that day/week and thing “gee, I didn’t get enough protein,” or “holy soy! I need to cut back on the tofu,” or “more greens, please.” Eventually this will become second nature, but for now, make a little log.

Watch your  fat. Things like nuts, avocados and coconut milk are delicious and high in  healthy (HDL) fats, and this is great. However, they also contain some saturated fats (LDL) (especially coconuts) and if you decide to eat them everyday all day your body will not thank you. Take a look at serving sizes — if that cherished can of coconut milk says that 1/4 cup has 50% of your saturated fat and you have been dumping a cup into your morning smoothie everyday, you may want to re-evaluate the situation.

image by sugarshakes

Greens, greens, greens! If you’re not on a b-12 supplement than you should be eating buckets of greens daily. Some easy ways to do so are enjoying a green smoothie in the morning, some sautéed greens with most meals (it’s impressive how an entire bag of spinach cooks down to a few scrumptious mouthfuls) and of course, raw salads as often as you can. Go buy a salad bowl as big as your head and stuff it  with cruciferous tidbits.

Be a protein machine! Make sure to include things like beans, peas, high-protein veggies (broccoli, asparagus, greens) and whole grains into your diet daily. Nuts and seeds are great too, but remember to mind the fat.

Now, once you’ve made sure you’re giving your body what it needs, please do indulge. A life without chocolate cake and waffles is no life at all….

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We don't all look this depressed...

In case you weren’t already aware, some people think that dating a vegan is a pretty big deal. Many meat-munchers probably have nightmares about their significant others jumping on the leafy green train — my own boyfriend was quite startled when I made the big move from vegetarian to vegan. “But..what about when we go out to eat? What about the ice-cream!?!” he asked with sheer panic in his voice.

Looking around online, there are many resources for dating a vegan if you still enjoy a bloody, I mean, juicy steak. At veganmeat.com you can learn that vegans are not merely strange tofu guzzling creatures but in fact just as loving (if not more so) than any other being. You will also learn that there are two different kinds of vegans, those who can respect your meaty mindset and those who can’t. You will also learn that the author can’t spell “those.” eHow.com lends some informative advice on how to date a vegan. Some key pointers include respect their choices, get your back-ground info straight and don’t bombard your partner with questions or criticisms about their lifestyle. Gee, sort of sounds like some pretty sound advice for all kinds of dating, meaty or not.

If you are a vegan and can’t seem to find the right animal-loving counterpart, there are resources for that too, including VeganPassions.comVeggieDate.org and VeganDating.org. The last site has a lovely header photo of a man feeding a woman a carrot..whoa, sign me up!


When it comes down to it, some vegans are super hard-core and may not even consider getting down with a non-vegan. Others, myself included, would love to find someone they can be veganamorous with, but wouldn’t call it a deal-breaker if their guy or gal eats meat. Just like I would hate being judged for my dietary choices, I try not to harass my boyfriend about his — although I won’t kiss him after he eats hotdogs. That particular flavor lingers for hours, and a girl has gotta draw the line somewhere, vegan or no vegan.

My final words of wisdom on dating a vegan:

  • Be upfront and honest. Don’t gag down endless Tofurkey burgers and pretend to be down with it. It will only make you resentful.
  • Find out wether or not it bothers your mate if you eat meat in front of them. If it does, plan your carnivorous eating when you’re out of eyesight.
  • Be sensitive, but don’t compromise your needs. Don’t wear the leather jacket around your date if you know it makes their insides turn, but don’t kick your leather sofa to the curb.

Another question about vegan lovin’ that is propositioned with an odd rate of frequency: can vegans swallow? eeeew. I will let Yahoo Answers tackle that question for you…

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