Flying Vegan

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My job as a corporate trainer causes me to travel alot. I have status with Delta and Southwest airlines and the gate agents now know me at my home airport. I know what all the dings mean on an airplane (the first indicating it is “now safe to use approved electronic devices”). As a vegan I am usually forced to check my luggage because I travel with a small cooler and ice pack unless I’m renting a car and will have time to shop. I’ve travelled across the entire country (from east to west coast) with a cooler full of greek yogurt (before going vegan!).

But the hardest part of it all is finding quality vegan food in an airport. Sure there’s tons of carbs to choose from (chips, bagels, pretzels) but I’m always looking for protein. Good luck! Tofu, never seen it. Tempeh, what’s that? Beans, maybe. Hummus, possibly.

I bring my own. I travel with baked tofu which happens to be made in Rochester, NY, about four hours from where I live so I tell myself I’m eating local when I eat it:) And I’ve been known to bring some baked tempeh along as well, it travels well.

Last week I even brought tofu into a restaurant while in St. Louis. Am I the only one that does this?

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Hell no GMO!

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Wow, things are really starting to shake up around GMO’s. My inbox is filled with emails regarding GMO’s. There is a FREE upcoming tele summit that you must consider attending. It’s that important. Click here to register!

So why should you care about GMO’s….genetically modified organisms? Because they are created in laboratories. This is not selective breeding where a farmer took an apple tree that produced alot of apples and grafted it with one that grew low to the ground so the apples where easier to access. GMO’s are foods that are produced from combining genes of DIFFERENT organisms. Like a fish and a tomato. Yuck!

According to the Non-GMO ProjectHigh-Risk Crops are identified as:

  • Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
  • Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
  • Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
  • Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
  • Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)

ALSO high-risk: animal products (milk, meat, eggs, honey, etc.) because of contamination in feed.

Vegan or Paleo, there seems to be no escape here from GMO’s in our food supply. While the debate is ongoing about whether GMO’s are harmful, I deserve to know if what I’m eating is genetically engineered or not and dammit, so do you!

Top-10-GMO-Foods

My freezer, my friend

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Let’s face it, we are busy these days. Cooking a big meal every night is not only time consuming but impractical. What I am totally digging is the trend towards once-a-month cooking. Granted you would have to practically spend one weekend in the kitchen to achieve that, but perhaps it’s worth it. Folks are realizing that time can be saved, meals can be healthier (than fast food) and money can be saved all by utilizing that little icebox. My German-born grandmother always called her refrigerator “the icebox”. It had the tiniest freezer. Nowadays our fridges have much bigger freezers to hold all the crap food that is sold in the freezer aisle. Apart from the vegetables, it’s really frozen fast-food.

I can tell you in my freezer you will find some of that frozen crap food (I’ll blame that on my husband:)) but a lot of what you will find is frozen vegetables and frozen portions of foods. I’m a big believer of the “cook once, eat many times” philosophy. I like to cook up batches of brown rice, quinoa, steel-cut oats, soups and chili’s and freeze them for easy re-heating.

Vegan eating is often comprised of “bowls”. A bowl with quinoa, tofu and veggies. Or a bowl of rice, beans and vegan cheese. Either way, since my cooked grains are typically frozen in muffin tins, all I have to do is grab a frozen block of brown rice and re-heat. By the time I’ve prepared my protein source and veggie, the grain is ready!

QuinoaFreeze

Quinoa Before the Freezer

Love doing this with steel-cut oats, they take 30 minutes to cook and I often don’t have time for that. But I do have 2 1/2 minutes which is as long as it takes to reheat in the microwave.

Steel-cut Oats About to be Frozen

Steel-cut Oats About to be Frozen

Where do you get your protein?

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For the vegan this question is as ubiquitous as “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” which quite frankly I could give a shit. But back to protein. This has been a familiar question to me having been a vegetarian for almost 30 years. It shows me how much as a culture we don’t know about nutrition. Not a right or wrong, just is. I’m about to graduate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a Health Coach and although I’ve had an AMAZING experience studying there, I didn’t learn the foundations of nutrition (carbs, fats and protein). Interestingly enough, I’ve learned that in my career working for one of the largest pet food companies in the world. Now before you start getting all over me for working for a pet food company and being a vegan, let’s just remember cats are obligate carnivores. Translation: they have to eat meat. They cannot get the amino acids they require from any combination of plant sources. Dogs, not the case. I know some people who have made their dogs vegan. I don’t know how I feel about that.

So if you too are wondering where I get my protein from, well wonder no more!
Tofu
Tempeh
Seitan
Legumes
Protein powders (I like Garden of Life)
Quinoa
Vegetables (broccoli=45% protein)

Protein in Veggies

Walking the talk baby!

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So being vegan isn’t only about what goes in your mouth right? It’s also about what you wear and how compassionately you live your life. So what does one do when they “go vegan” with their leather, suede and wool? Big question. Well to me it doesn’t make sense to get rid of it all because that’s not going to help now. But I sure can make different choices now, now that I know better. When we know better, we do better.

With the change of seasons (it’s fall here now in upstate NY) comes a change in wardrobe. I realized I needed to add a comfortable black fall/winter heel to my closet. And it had to be vegan! Working in Corporate America requires that I dress professionally and Crocs just weren’t going to cut it. So I headed to where all shoe-shopping females go when they are behind their laptops….Zappos! 854 search results for “vegan shoes”. Can you say heaven? So from there I landed on a beautiful pair of Jambu (looooove that brand) black short boots that are uber comfortable.

Jambu boots

Tofu Scrambled Jewel’s Style

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Serves 1

1/4 package of extra firm organic tofu
1/4 cup chopped organic green pepper
1/4  cup chopped crimini mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup fresh or frozen organic spinach
1/4 cup fire-roasted tomatoes
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1- 2 tsp grapeseed oil

Directions: Put tofu between a few sheets of paper towel and press down to get out most of the water. If using frozen spinach, microwave for 20-30 seconds and squeeze out water. Heat oil in a small saute pan for a minute or two, then add all veggies and cook for 4-5 minutes. Crumble tofu into pan and add spices, continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes. Serve with brown rice tortilla or sprouted-grain english muffin.