Note: My last few posts have been about food. I’m not on a food kick right now, I just discovered some unpublished pieces I wrote for another website. Waste not, want not.
Not too long ago I switched to a largely plant-based diet. This is after experimenting with just about every other “diet” out there including Atkins, Paleo, Zone, South Beach, you name it. To say that I switched is a bit of an overstatement, I have been slowly migrating over to the vegetarian way for quite some time now but with two little boys and a meat-loving husband, eating meat represented the path of least resistance. I’m not going to have an existential crisis if a friend serves meat or if I have a slice of the boys’ pizza from time-to-time. I’ve never been a purist and everyone knows that I am a cheater.
After trying all these other ways of eating I came to the conclusion that I prefer eating lots of fruits, veggies, nuts and whole grains. High-protein meal plans always left me feeling light-headed, lethargic and irritable, not to mention, um, backed up.
Not everyone feels the same way that I do. I know people that simply love the Paleo diet. They claim they have never had as much energy or felt so satisfied. The disparity between our experiences can only lead me to believe that we are built differently, go figure. So instead of worrying about what works for others I focus on what works for me.
Everything was going pretty well until today. I stood in my kitchen and thought about what to make for dinner. I perused my favorite cookbooks, Googled “traditional vegan recipes” on the internet and came up dry. I am burnt out on stir-fries, chickpea/lentil/bean stew/soup/loaves and I feel like I have to make a choice between a diet of largely ethnic inspired cuisine (there is no shortage of vegan Indian, Asian and Middle Eastern recipes) or resort to Frankenfoods if I want American comfort food, which is pretty much synonymous with meat and cheese.
Some people have no problem with eating out of their freezers but I don’t think that soy burger patties, soy cheese, vegan sour cream, margarine, vegetarian “chicken” are real food. It’s lab food with a list of ingredients a mile long versus the real versions that often have three or less ingredients, like butter: cream, salt. I am not necessarily making a case for eating butter, I’m just lamenting how I feel like I must choose. Choose between a handful of dishes, eating animal products, or eating overly processed vegetarian foods. Ideals vs. Boredom vs. Freaky Science Experiments.
Of course my solution is always moderation. Whole plant-based foods most of the time, frankenfood some of the time, and brie cheese on special occasions. But I am asking you out there to help me out. I could really use some great vegan recipes that feel … well … familiar. I’m usually up for ethnic but today I want macaroni and cheese.