Monday, August 27, 2007

Yesterday's lunch and today's frustrations

Yummy pita sandwich... I built this in layers: Broccoli + grilled eggplant and zucchini + "Dry" Red Lentils from Madhur Jaffery's World Vegetarian + a few dollops of my horseradish-peach chutney. So good!

I got World Vegetarian at the library a few days ago, and it's just the most amazing cookbook ever. To begin with, it's HUGE. 768 pages and over 650 recipes! While there is a chapter on dairy and eggs, and there are recipes calling for cream or yogurt or butter, most are vegan or easily veganizable.

There's just SO MUCH in there. I don't know where to start!

Madhur Jaffrey's Indian roots are pretty obvious in this book, as there are probably more recipes from India than other cultures, but that's just fine with me. :)

I liked the idea of her 'Dry' Red Lentils because they sounded ideal as a sandwich filling, or pretty much anything else. This recipe was verrry simple and basic- the only ingredients called for are red lentils, oil, garlic, and onion, with the option of adding carrots and celery. I doubled the veggies, of course. :)

And what an easy recipe! The hardest part was waiting as the lentils soaked for a few hours.

I was veryyy impressed with the results- flavourful, without actually using any spices, and as 'dry' as she had promised (as an alternative to when red lentils are cooked to a 'soupy' consistency'.

What a great basic recipe! It will be perfect for lunches once school starts again. I've frozen the extras!


In the Edmonton Journal, every Monday they have a special 'Body and Health' section. Usually, the paper will run an 'Ask the Expert' column, where people will write in and specialized Edmonton doctors will answer their questions.

Here's what today's question was:

(read the whole article/column here)

"In a recent Get Fuzzy comic strip, one of the characters laments that a personal trainer was right in saying there are animal byproducts in everything -- from veal stomach in cheese and glycerine in bubble gum, to gelatin in marshmallows and live bugs in yogurt. Since the bugs or bacteria are live in probiotic yogurt, does this mean vegetarians can't eat it? And, is it true that everything contains animal byproducts so it's harder to be a vegetarian or vegan these days?"

Did you catch that?

And, is it true that everything contains animal byproducts so it's harder to be a vegetarian or vegan these days? (emphasis mine)

I wouldn't quite say that EVERYTHING contains animal byproducts. :) Or is there some whey hiding inside my eggplants and gelatin in my tofu?

Of course, the professor who answered this question was an assistant professor of microbiology, but near the end of his response he couldn't help being a nutritionist as well:

"Vegans, though, have difficulty getting the full recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 or folate. If you make a decision to become a vegan in your adult life, you may still have enough reserves from your meat-eating days for those nutrients to carry on for a while, but eventually you may need to supplement. This has been a problem for vegan pregnant women especially, because the requirements they need go up quite substantially.

So there are some vitamins you have to pay attention to if you're a vegan. The same goes for calcium, because in the average Canadian diet, dairy products are the most significant source of calcium. If that's taken out, you have to figure out how to get it back in by choosing another source of calcium."

Argh. Not nearly as frustrating as Nina Planck, of course, but I hate when people make it sound like veganism is hard.

I don't know why he talks about the B vitamin folate/folic acid, either. According to the World's Healthiest Foods website, "Excellent sources of folate include romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, mustard greens, calf's liver, parsley, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, and lentils." All of those, except for calf's liver (aw! poor baby cows! :(), are from plants and VEGAN. I don't see why this nutrient would be hard to get enough of... In fact, in Becoming Vegan, Davis and Melina say that "Adult vegans and lacto-ovo-vegetarians consume abot 20% to 50% more folate than nonvegetarians".

I'm thinking about writing a letter to the Journal to clarify some of these points, and to make it very clear indeed that a healthy vegan lifestyle is EASY PEASY.


vko said...

Lunch looks delicious and that article is completely frustrating. People are so ignorant & narrow-minded. You are right nothing as bad as Nina Planck, but still feeds bad sterotypes that the vegan lifestyle is ultimately detrimental...such ridiculousness.

VegMomma said...

I don't read the paper, so I didn't see the article, but thanks for posting it. You should definitely write a response, especially since we're living amidst a majority of I-love-Alberta-beef-ers. :(

Peggy the Veggie said...

I've finished the letter, so I think I'll just have my mom look it over quickly before I send it. :)

VegMomma said...