Category: plantbased


I take photos of my food.

I do.

And I share those photos on social media.

I share them because I want people to like what the food looks like and even say ‘ooooh purdy food’ sometimes.

mixed

I don’t share photos of all my food – curry and rice is hard to make look like anything but slop, and sometimes my meals are too mono-coloured to be pretty to look at. Also, dinners are hard to photograph because it is dark, and flashes and food do not go well together.

Those exceptions aside, my food does generally  look good. And it tastes good too.

breakfast-and-lunch-8-feb

But I think it tastes good because I make sure it looks good.

 

When deciding on what I want to eat I consider how the colours would look together, how the plate would be composed, what the balance between items would be. The result is that I eat all the colours of the vegetable rainbow pretty much every day. I never overcook anything because grey, soft vegetables just look gross whereas crispy bright ones still retaining their colour look good in photos. A few slices of pepper and some cherry tomatoes on the side of avo on toast takes a green meal into a different realm of colour – and taste and nutrition. Nutritional yeast on a heap of roasted okra and baby aubergines turns the browns into something that both looks tasty and is actually good for me.

dav

I have always been an adventurous cook and that has continued to develop now that I look at new ingredients both in terms of what they may taste like, and what they would look like. My desire to explore new shapes, colours and textures in images has exposed me to new flavours and dishes.

dav  sdr

 

I probably eat less now (but still enough – I used to be a right piglet) because the plates that work well for photos are not huge dinner plates, but smaller, somewhere between side and dinner plate sized. (I think they may be called fish plates – but I dunno really.) If I am hungry I will have four, five, six meals in a day, but all on smaller plates. This smaller, more frequent eating works much better for me than three big meals, with seconds, a day.

 

I also take longer to make my food which stills me three times a day. Rather than a packet of crisps and a chocolate at my desk, I get up and prepare fresh food for myself. I don’t spend hours doing it but I have discovered that stopping for those twenty minutes to make the meal energises me for an afternoon at my desk. I stand, I stretch, I twist, move, bend and pick things up. I also talk to my dogs and sometimes even go outside, notice a new flower blooming, slip into the pool for a second or just breath, arms in the air, while I wait for something to heat, cool, cook or warm up.

I almost always eat at my desk because I spent the time preparing the meal, but I still get time away from work.

I find the process of preparing food meditative. I just stop the noise in my head, calm the thoughts, ignore the work stress, and instead, for a short period of time I just cook, prepare, slice, mix and arrange an attractive plate of food.

collage-2

Breakfast is the meal I most like photographing and so, for the first time in my life, I am eating a proper, healthy breakfast every morning. This may be related, or not, but also, for the first time in forever, I don’t get hangry when I get hungry. Maybe having breakfast is something that works for my body and it took wanting pretty photos for me to work that out.

 

I never would have thought that joining the IG and FB food sharing brigade would eventually have this effect on me.
What a win

1 month report card

So – it’s been a month – a whole month of plant based eating

and………

 

I feel amazing, I have lost a few kilos, the black rings under my eyes are so much lighter than they have ever been, I feel confident and proud of myself, I feel strong and capable.

 

I am loving the food I eat and I never feel like I have over-eaten

I don’t wake up in the morning or go to bed at night angry with me for having eaten crap all day

I am less interested in drinking and my smoking has diminished drastically

I am on the path to fitness because I want to be, not because I have to or for punishment for eating/being fat/looking horrible

 

I eat what I want, when I want – and I eat lots.

I am hungry quite a lot but then I just eat. So I am eating three proper meals and two snacks a day

I get hungry but I never get hangry

 

I have met and connected with amazing people online and in real life

I have fed meat eating and vegetarian friends vegan food they have been amazed by

Dammit – I’ve made food I have been amazed by

breakfast-and-lunch-8-feb collage-2

mixed

My days start earlier and are longer because I have more energy

I sleep better and wake up better

My skin is happier and my joints don’t ache

 

I have discovered new products I like – like seaweed and miso paste and dried mushroom

sdr

I have learnt that it is better to create vegan means than to try to adapt meat ones

But I have also learnt that you can adapt meat containing meals so that everyone looks to be eating the same meal – and this is important sometimes so everyone is seen to be sharing the communal experience of eating

 

I have found amazing support among my friends – even those who do not understand what I am doing or why

I have had meals made especially for me without a noise or fanfare

I’ve watched my meat-eating partner reading the ingredients on a packet before suggesting something might be to my liking

 

This may be about the animal but the benefits to me are incredible.

 

Viva plant based diets – Viva

Farting

Yes, that’s what I said. Passing wind, whizzpopping, baffing, good old letting one rip.

fart

Vegans and vegetarians have a terrible reputation for noxious farts that could clear a room. It’s all those fermenting beans I hear you say.

 

Hmmm – as a new vegan I can clearly remember my prevegan farting habits and compare them with my vegan ones

And that’s nonsense – well, half nonsense.

 

I fart much much less than when I had rotting, decomposing dead animal in my belly – much much less

But jesus, I could clear a room in seconds. Even I want to leave the room as the varnish on the doors slowly melts and the glass bubbles.

What the hell happens to veg in the digestive system? With some clever engineering I am sure this could be a chemical weapon of mass destruction.

fart-wars

image from: http://www.ladyandthesweatshop.com/ancient-fart-wars/

I am mostly joking – the glass doesn’t bubble cos it gets blown out before it is really exposed to the noxious fumes

I did some research and discovered that actually vegan farts should be less offensive than meat eating ones because: science

However, the foods vegans eat that do create sulphide rich gas are cabbage, broccoli, onions, Brussel sprouts, peas, leeks and garlic. It’s the sulphides that burn your nostril hairs and cause small dogs to whimper around vegans.

So my problem may not be the lack of meat but the fact that I eat at least one of these dreaded suphide-monsters in pretty much every meal.

garlic-monster

image of a garlic monster from: http://blog.coghillcartooning.com/6410/gnarly-garlic-lowbrow-monster-food-vegetable-cartoon-character-sketch/

But of course these delightful vegetables that are the gifts that keep on giving are also some of the most protein dense vegetables too. So not eating them in a plantbased diet is not really a possibility.

Seems noxious whizzpops are part of the deal when deciding to eat a plantbased diet.

 

All I can say is that I am glad I have four dogs I can blame.

dav

Food as commune

Changing how and what I eat has brought into stark relief the social importance of eating together. The communal experience is really what eating together is about rather than anything else.

eating-together

image from http://clipart-library.com/circus-clown.html

In many religious groups and societal groups, people eat together, fast together, share food and drink from a single container, eat from communal plates, share the sensual experience of food. Eating together is one way in which we reaffirm social bonds.

So when one person in the group is not playing along the whole dynamic is disrupted.

I saw this last night when out with friends. These are friend with whom I eat often, with whom I discuss food at length. Some of the people in the group are real foodies – two are, in fact, chefs. Some of us are enthusiastic eaters and creative cooks. We had a platter of fried bits and pieces – fish fillets and prawns included. Three weeks ago I would have been all over those prawns but last night I really had no desire. I know they are delicious but I didn’t want one.

 

‘Cummon Kim, just one’

‘You know they are good’

‘Choochoo train’ while pretending to feed it to me like a child

‘Just the one, no one will know’

 

This was all light hearted and not real pressure but it was still there. The undertone was that I was not participating, not part of the shared experience. And that didn’t sit well with my friends who wanted me to be.

I ate some of the coriander garnish off the platter to be at least seen to be participating. (And I love coriander.)

 

Then we had wors rolls and our friend who is the chef at the place had gone and got me some Fry’s sausages. He had also not used butter or ghee to make the relish so I could happily have a roll with a sausage in it like everyone else.

And that meant I was again part of the shared experience.

I was teased a little at eating soy sausages but at least I was there, doing the same thing everyone else was with food that looked the same.

 

On the way home a friend asked me how long I planned to do this for, and why didn’t I just do it when not out and enjoy the food he knows I like when out.

I didn’t feel like this was pressure or anything negative but rather a call to return to the fold, to rejoin the shared experience.

We all eat out together a lot at an establishment said friend owns. Because we are friends with the chefs we get unique and delicious meals made for us. And by changing what I eat I am excluding myself from so many experiences in the future.

 

I’m okay with that because I have never felt better. But I am also a little saddened by it. These are my people, I am their people – and I have excluded myself from the group in such a fundamental way.

Compassion is a wonderful thing and something lacking in too many people’s lives. We are all so hell bent on getting ahead that the people who actually give a shit about anything other than themselves are few and far between.

 

However, where you will find an abundance of them in the vegan community.

For some that compassion seems, very oddly, to extend to animals only with no real care for other people or the environment.

 

But for many the compassion is all enveloping.

These are the kind souls who buffer the new vegans from the scorn of the older (and therefore much better and more evolved) vegans, who offer kind advice and gentle correction, who share ideas and recipes and tricks that make it easier; thing they have learnt that they don’t think other people should have to struggle to know.

 

For all the self-righteous sanctimonious vegans of yesterday’s post there are a slew of truly compassionate people for whom veganism is a lifestyle choice rather than a food choice.

 

They care – about themselves, about others, about generosity and compassion, about building people up and empowering them, about sharing their skills and knowledge – and they happen to manifest this in ways that include not wanting to kill animals for food.

 

Now that’s true veganism in my book

These are words I would use to describe many vegans I have observed on various social media platforms. And it is so sad and such a pity.

No vegans – you are not more evolved that meat eaters, or omnis as they are called in the vegan world. For fuck sake, it is a life style choice you made, not a sainthood you earned. And unless you are also pro-life, accepting refugees into your spare bedroom, officiate gay marriages and have adopted needy children – and that’s just your weekend – you are not more ethically or morally evolved than anyone else who makes a simple food decision.

Furthermore, if you eat tofu imported from China with a carbon footprint of a yeti, or use Himalayan salt at the expense of Pakistani mountains, don’t be throwing evolved around to describe yourselves.

salt renewable-salt

Say no to pink salt, say yes to renewable sources only

(photo of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan from http://anettemossbacher.photoshelter.com)

No vegans – other people choosing a vegan lifestyle is not an opportunity for you to say you were right all along. Well done, you got there before other people, pat yourself on the back and then see how many people got there before you did. You are not the first person to decide not to eat animals so stop pretending you invented it and everyone else has finally seen you were right.

queue

You weren’t first and you won’t be last

How about rather just offering help and support and encouragement to new vegans instead of doing a bloody victory dance with an order of gloat on the side. Way to alienate people, dickhead!

victory-dance

(image from http://midnightmeowth.deviantart.com/art/victory-dance-291812692)

No vegans – your decision not to eat meat replacements does not make you a better vegan than those who chose to. If soya mince is what gets a person through a day without harming an animal for food, then let them have at it. You and your lentil burgers are no better that soya mince scoffing people. So stop pretending you are.

 

No vegans – not everyone can run out and buy vegan mayo and vegan biscuits and seitan steaks. When a new vegan asks for help how about being a bit more aware that for some people these options are out of financial range. And if those people, once they see how much less food costs when meat and other animal products are not on the shopping list, realise that the mayo is within reach, no gloating and saying I told you so. Not even implied!

 

No vegans – omnis do not want your opinion on their food. Shut up and eat what you chose and allow others the same freedom. Meat eaters know what vegans think cos vegans never shut the fuck up about it. If someone asks, answer, but how about not forcing your opinion on people trying to enjoy their meals.

 

Veganism feels a bit like religion – the principal is great but many of the supporters ruin it.

But all of that being said – there are some amazingly supportive vegans and vegan social media spaces. But it is less fun writing about the nice than the nasty.

But I will – next time.

One of the things I always thought about vegan eating is that it is simply too expensive. I mean have you seen the price of nuts and avos and all those other fancy things one obviously has to have when not eating meat.

R30 a litre of soy milk – you have to be kidding, right?!

How much are nuts? That’s daylight robbery!

Have you seen the price of tomatoes? I am not paying that much per kilo

dav

 

Uh huh – yep, I agree. Nuts are crazy expensive. Like R250 a kilo crazy. I would never buy stuff that expensive!

hear the sarcasm

dav

I certainly can’t often afford to buy a whole kilo of nuts so I buy small bags which are more expensive per kilo but less to shell out. Likewise my meat eating people cannot often afford to buy a whole animal or even a pack of chops or steaks, so they buy single servings.

 

Except R30 worth of nuts, even at inflated prices, is 60g. R30 worth of red meat is 125g of processed ham or similar to eat on a sandwich, or about a 200g sirloin,  250g chicken livers or 2 or 3 chicken thighs.

 

60g of nuts is a lot of nuts – made into vegan parmesan or nut cheese or nut butter I could eat on those 60g for a week. The meat amounts bought – each is a single meal really with maybe the livers being a meal for two.

 

‘Ja, but you eat expensive stuff like avos in a single sitting’

 

So let’s look at a salad we might both eat.

 

dav

We all eat the basics – and my avo is still cheaper than your tuna and cheese.

And it is in colour so I win.

Usually half an avo is all the rich I can eat anyway

 

So tell me again about how being a vegan is too expensive?

No one has to be a vegan – eat whatever makes you happy

But don’t use financial constraints as an excuse or reason

 

*I used the same shop for the prices of all the items in the article – I know you can get everything for less and for more at other outlets, but these are all from the same place.

So, I’ve been a vegan for a week and it doesn’t feel like a decision I had to make or a lifestyle I now have to follow, but rather just what and how I am supposed to be. But that may be because I am in the honeymoon phase and all these replacement/additional/delicious meal options are exciting, shiny and new.

In a week/month/year I may be gagging for bacon, desperate for a chop or dreaming about biltong. (This is what happened when I did the vegetarian thing for a year previously.)

If that happens, I will deal with it then. It certainly doesn’t mean that my feeling of rightness now is any less valuable or real.

 

But why? I am asked. In the name off all red and meaty (and delicious) WHY?

 

Well, there is a MEAL of reasons.

 

Me

I don’t want to consume all of the antibiotics and other bits and pieces injected and fed into animals bred for slaughter.

I think there is a correlation between many cancers and eating animals.

My body does not like vast amounts of meat and other flesh – my stomach rebels, I feel sluggish and tired, I am always hungry.

When I tried banting, which is animal eating in the extreme, I got eczema and gastritis. I know I don’t need to eat that much meat and animal products, but the fact that this was my body’s response made me question wanting to put any of it in my body at all.

 

Earth

The carbon footprint of animal products for eating is just ridiculously massive.

Grass fed, organic-style animals have a bigger footprint that feedlot ones. So, so much for that being the response to me not wanting antibiotics etc.

The Earth cannot sustain us – there are too many of us consuming too much. Eating plantbased meals simply and easily reduces my carbon footprint.

 

Animal Lives

This is the actual, real, final reason I just couldn’t eat flesh and other animal products any more. (Because let’s not pretend animals bred for products other than meat are treated any better than those slaughters to eat.)

 

It’s a story so settle down – no gruesome crying piglet images, I promise (except the one I just put in your head).

 

In April 2016 I made a series of decisions which resulted in my beautiful dog Pippa being hit and killed by a car. I didn’t do it on purpose but as the human in the relationship, it was my fault. I let her do something which directly and specifically resulting in her being hit by the car. So yes, it was my fault.

And her death agonises me still. I dream about her, I miss her, I feel so guilty that I made decisions which resulted in her death.

 

And yet I was happy to get up and chose to eat bacon for breakfast and not even think about the animal I was killing with that decisions. I’d buy wors and chops and steak for a braai and never even consider the farmyard I was sending to their death. Eggs, milk, cream and cheese – yum yum and screw the animals kept in captivity, treated like crap, separated from their mothers when still needing her milk, slaughtered at birth if male, and finally, possibly mercifully, killed

 

Why do we think some animals are worth loving and protecting while others are commodities to be treated appallingly and then destroyed?

 

We don’t need animal products to be healthy; in fact, we may well be healthier without them.

 

So, yeah, that’s why I am just not going to consume anything an animal suffered to produce.

Cos those random cows, lambs, sheep, chicken and even fish deserve life as much as Pippa did.

 

Also – I watched Food Choices on Netflix which actually consolidated all of these thoughts.

Watch it – it’s not even gruesome, just eye-opening

2017

If you want flowers, plant flowers

nature-collage

that’s my motto for 2017 – I want a good year with positive results, self growth and happiness. so I am planting those seeds right now

this is the year I turn 50 so I refuse for it to be anything but amazing

50

I will achieve Level 50!!!!!!

I have many plans for the year but the first two I am addressing are:

  • eating primarily plantbased meals
  • read primarily authors who are not cis-gendered white men

so expect book reviews and recipes