Southern Girl Goes Vegan

Tempeh Fakin’ Bacon is Amazin’
August 31, 2010, 5:00 am
Filed under: Recipes

I used to be a fan of the BLT.  Guess what?  I still can be!  While shopping with Andrea in Whole Foods, we discovered LightLife Tempeh Fakin’ Bacon strips.  The package tells you that it would make a great BLT, but you know how advertising can be.  They may say it, but would it really be great?  Well, lemme tell you, it was!  I have had it for dinner 2 nights in a row.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had a BLT, but it goes like this:  bacon, lettuce, tomato on bread with mayo.  Of course, there are different versions as with anything, but I am a fan of the original.  I did try and make it a little healthier.  I used Men’s Bread- a vegan sprouted bread, Nasoya Nayonaise, tomato, and mixed greens.  It was delicious.  Tonight, I subbed kale instead of mixed greens…still superb. You could use avocado if you didn’t want the “mayo” spread.  I hadn’t had tempeh, a fermented soybean product, but I had heard of it’s health benefits and wanted to try it.  It was surprising how close the flavor of this product is to actual bacon.  I also enjoyed the texture, which was thick and a little crunchy.  I fried mine up in Earth Balance spread.  It was very enjoyable.  I am so excited about this version of an old classic!


Fakin’ Bacon


Baked potato!
August 29, 2010, 4:19 am
Filed under: Recipes

I said earlier that the thing I missed the most since trying to incoporate a vegan diet was fish!  Well, I sure had a challenge this evening.  It was a surprise 50th birthday party for my aunt where heavy hors d’oevres were served.  Among them were lots of meats (of course), fruits, few veggies, and smoked salmon with all the trimmings.  I love smoked salmon, but did not consume.  It was tough, but I realize this will be challenging every day.  I decided to avoid it and filled up on what was available for me to eat.  This left me reallly wanting some comfort food.  When Chase and I left the party, we swung by Publix.  I thought I would just make some homemade salsa and call it a night until I saw the potatoes.  I love potatoes in any form, but especially baked with lots of butter and sour cream.  I thought this would just be another item I would be giving up.  Instead, I thought I would veganize it!  Oh my, did it totally work!!  I remembered I had purchased some Tofutti  Better than sour cream at Whole Foods one day, but hadn’t tried it.  Well, tonight it had its turn at bat and hit a homerun!

Tofutti Better than Sour Cream

Vegan loaded baked potato

My loaded baked potato:

1 large russet potato

any vegan margarine spread (I used Earth Balance original)

Tofutti!  Better than sour cream!

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

fresh cut chives

I bake my potatoes Alton Brown style usually (1 hour @ 350′), but tonight was in a hurry and didn’t want to wait an hour, so I cheated a little.  Take the potato and rinse well to remove dirt.  Poke several holes in the potato—I use a knife and stab the little sucker several times.  Microwave for 5 minutes.  Remove with an oven mitt for it will be hot.  AB calls for canola oil, but I was out, so cover the potato with the butter spread about a tablespoon.  Sprinkle sea salt on potato.  Place in preheated oven at 425′ for 10 min.  Turn potato over.  Reduce heat to 325′ and bake for another 10-15 min.  Remove potato with oven mitt and plate.  Slice and add 1T vegan butter, 2T “sour cream”, fresh chives, and salt and pepper to taste.  The result will be crunchy outer skin with fluffy middle—perfection.  I devoured the whole  thing and feel so good right now!  🙂

Mmmmm, mmmm!!!

Going Vegan…
August 28, 2010, 5:17 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I am a new vegan.  I have always felt I should be vegetarian or vegan since I was a teenager.  Somewhere in the back of my mind or maybe in my heart, I felt it was the right decision.  I just never found the courage or motivation to do it.  I have been an animal lover all my life.  I grew up in the country and was exposed to all sorts of wildlife.  Sometimes it would be in sad situations, but I would try and save every animal I could.  For example, once when I was a kid I was riding my bike down the road and came across a turtle that had been ran over.  It had several smashed eggs around it.  It also had one egg that was still intact.  I got the egg and rode home with it.  I buried it in the yard hoping it would hatch.  (I had watched turtles every summer dig a hole and lay their eggs, so I just knew it would hatch!)  I don’t know if it ever did hatch, but I hope so.  Also, we had a pasture beside our house.  One summer, my brother ran inside and got me to come out there with him.  He had found an opposum that had been killed by coyotes.  They have a pouch like a kanagaroo, but this one’s little babies were scattered outside and had died also.  I took a stick and opened the pouch just to check and sure enough there was one little baby left.  It was still alive.  I took it inside and put some warm milk in a ziploc bag.  I cut off the end of the bag thinking the baby would take it like a nipple, but it wouldn’t.  It was too little—still pink, no hair, eyes and ears closed.  I’m sure it was too cold too not being in the pouch.  I tried so hard to save it.  I have several stories like this.  I would try and save animals.  I also had a lot of pets.  Knowing the way I felt about these beings, I knew deep inside that I shouldn’t be eating them.  But, like several others who, I’m sure know this, I pushed this thought way deep inside and took the easier route.  It was last year when I read “Skinny Bitch” that that thought started to climb its way out.  I tried for a few days, but fell short.  I thought, “this is just not for me”, but I couldn’t get that thought pushed back down in its hiding place.  It had been “eating” at me ever since.  So, I tried just not eating mammals.  I did pretty good with this, but found it was quite difficult since I was still eating chicken, fish, turkey, dairy.  It made it easier to still eat beef and pork, so I slipped up with my excuses (my carnivore husband’s diet didn’t help either).  Finally, I started doing research and read about all the health benefits of being vegan.  I knew the choice I needed to make.  I’m only 27 and already have higher cholesterol than normal for my age.  Heart disease runs in my family.  I was overweight.  I was tired and low on energy all the time.  I knew it was time to try again and give a real effort this time.  So I did, and I loved it!  I do not know the exact date I became vegan.  Once I started eliminating meat and dairy from my diet, it became natural.  I started again by eliminating mammals.  Then birds.  Then milk.  Then cheese.  Cheese was tough, but I found a vegan alternative that has filled the void.  I then needed to eliminate fish.  I love fish!  I do not feel as bad eating fish.  Call me cruel, but I just don’t.  I love my daddy’s fried catfish, and will probably eat it again someday.  That’s just the truth of the matter…it will be my bad splurge if I decide to do it.  I grew up going fishing with my family.  My husband loves to fish.  My daddy goes fishing almost every weekend in the summer!  It is a part of my blood to love to eat fish.  I have resisted the urge for the moment though.  I really wanted fish sushi when I went to dinner with my friend last week, but I got veggie tempura sushi instead, and it was fantastic.  I also know that most vegans do not even consume bee products.  I am still using honey and bee pollen.  I bought both of these before I became vegan and am not going to waste them.  After I’ve used them, I probably won’t buy anymore.  Like I said, I’m new at this (only been at it since the first few weeks of July), and am growing in my effort every day.

One of the resources I have found that has really upped my success with veganism is twitter.  Until I started searching for vegans on twitter, I never knew of any except Moby and the authors of “Skinny Bitch”.  I found an old friend of mine on there who has changed her body completely because she was eating a vegan diet (shout out to Katie Vines).  She sent me some recipes that were delicious, and gave me the hope that I could do it!  I found other vegans who were motivating.  I found delicious recipes.  A stronger friendship grew with my former speech teacher also (shout out to Andrea Masoner).  She was experimenting with being vegan too!  We have a support system in each other!  I am lucky that my husband also supports and is proud of me for being vegan.

Since I have been eating a vegan diet, I have lost weight.  I have more energy.  My knees don’t ache all the time.  My skin looks great.  I feel happier.

I have found that telling people has been a challenge.  Most people react aggressively.  I do not know if its because they know its right and are jealous because they don’t have the courage to do the same or if its just because its different and people don’t do different very well.  I have become good at defending my choice though.  They may ask, “well, where do you get your calcium?”  And I simply quote, “The same place the cows do.”  (Thanks, Andrea!)  Then, they sort of shrug and leave me alone.  I have positive answers for what ever question they throw my way.  I’m ready.  I know this is right, and I’m defending it.  The cheerleader in me is screaming, “Go, Vegan!  Give me a ‘V’…!”  Woohoo!

I am hopeful and excited about this fun and challenging journey that I am embarking on.  With so many benefits like:  saving animals, improved health, helping the environment, I don’t know why it has taken me so long to climb aboard.  I do hope my journey attracts others who may be toying with the idea of becoming vegan to climb aboard as well.

About this blog…
August 27, 2010, 7:51 pm
Filed under: About

I am a southern girl through and through. I grew up in Boligee, Al on a pine tree farm. We lived in the country…couldn’t even get cable tv. I was raised on deer meat and fish that my dad caught. Our sunday dinner was roast beef with mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuit, and gravy! I know the term soul food very well. So, when I made the decision to choose a vegan diet, I knew it would be a tough one. My husband is as carnivore as they come these days. What I mean by that, is most people eat a few fruits and vegetables at least, where my husband’s diet is composed of meat, cheese (dairy), bread, potatoes. It’s challenging living with someone who will not eat vegetables or fruit except the occasional bean. Another challenge I have found about being a southern vegan, especially living in Tuscaloosa, is the lack of vegan and/or vegetarian dining options and vendors available. I have been cooking for myself a lot more than when I was an omnivore. I have found that the internet, mainly twitter, has given me the support and information I need to follow this path. This is why I thought I’d create a blog that I could write about my challenges, share some recipes, and maybe motivate some other southerners to join this compassionate, healthy, and delicious diet!

Southern girl goes Vegan!!! (What?)
August 18, 2010, 9:20 pm
Filed under: About

I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Home of the Crimson Tide.  The #1 football team in the nation.  This is a town that knows football and food.  When I say food, I mean:  barbeque, hamburgers, hotdogs, steaks, fried chicken, hot wings, fried catfish, ham, turkey, etc.  They get their game on and get full doing it!  So when I tell you it’s hard to be Vegan in this town, I’m not kidding!  Welcome to my (mis)adventures of going vegan in the South!!