Monday, May 4, 2015

Plants are Friends and also Food

Rhode Island in August: nights that knock on your windows and demand that you open up to let the crickets sing you a lullabies. Light sweater breezes on some days and swimsuit and tee shirt sunshine on others. Damp and cool bedsheets each night. The trees are still green and full and clovers clutter the ground for rabbits to come visiting. Sunsets sink into hazy hills over slow-flowing bays and cattails. Screened porches light up with lamplight and laughter.
And all around me, my family rips the limbs off of rust-colored crustaceans.
I help myself to my fourth cob of corn.
As an 85% vegetarian, lobster does not qualify for the selective 15% that I do eat.
Today, however, I won't bore you with all those gory, ethical questions of why I don't like meat (aside from the texture.) Instead, for those of you who are anywhere on the vegetarian gradient, I've got some for healthy meal ideas, certain dilemmas us veg-heads encounter and what to do about them, and just how to deal in general with being a selectively picky eater.

1) Granola!
I had been inspired by one of those "eating habits for healthy dancers" presentations. I attempted homemade energy bites. After mixing in haphazardly measured ingredients, it looked nothing like it was supposed to (sticky and adherent) but rather, dry and crumbly. Discouraged, I tried a bite to see what went wrong. Instead, I found something had gone quite right. It's nutty, sweet, crunchy, and super healthy.
So, to make your new favorite breakfast, mix flaxseed (tons of omega 3), honey (natural sugar), quick uncooked oats (may reduce cholesterol), peanut butter (protein and yum), vanilla extract (essentially angel tears), raisins, chocolate chips, shredded coconut (or any other mix-in of your choice - gummy bears maybe?) into a bowl and stir it till it looks dry-ish. Because it's extremely onerous to mix up certain kinds of peanut butter, you can use a pastry blender if you just happen to have one floating around. And viola! You have breakfast for the next week. Just put it in a preferably glass, eco-friendly tupperware and refrigerate until you're ready for breakfast. You could add frozen fruit, yogurt, or really anything else you want to make it more your taste. If you want the full recipe for the actual energy balls, it's here on Mia's lovely blog.

2) How to Not Look like a Farm Animal while Eating Salad
I have lately encountered a significant issue with salads: I can't eat them. At least not with table manners that my grandmother would be proud of. It's easier to win a game of bridge at an old person's home than eat a salad with halfway decent etiquette. So, after many a stained outfit, I have a couple of helpful tips for you all so that you don't suffer the same dire consequences I have.
Firstly, not that I've been on any, but don't order a salad if you're on a date. It's just a recipe for disaster. Secondly, take small bites. Like, one or two leaves at a time, and make sure they're all folded up on your fork at that. Because although it might take you an awkwardly long time to finish your meal, it's better than spending hours and multiple stain removers getting the oil and vinegar out of your favorite blouse, or having to put your hand to your mouth each time you take a bite to avoid looking like a cow who literally bit off more than it could chew. Thirdly, and lastly, especially if you're making it yourself, don't soak the salad in dressing. This way, your spinach doesn't taste like it's had an acid wash, the bottom of the bowl is not a soggy-kale graveyard, and the possibility for drips is reduced by approximately 45%.

3) The "No Thank You Bite"
I have to thank my parents and their creative ways to get me, the most picky child on earth, to eat whatever was served for dinner. I present to you: the perfect way to avoid the awkward "I'm 78% vegetarian" talk after you've been served a rack of ribs at a friend or relative's house. Here's how it works: if you're served something that looks suspicious, just take one or two small bites while they're looking. Then they know you've tried it and just don't care for it. Step two (optional): quietly offer the rest to another friend, sibling, parent, passing-by pet, or stray dog, depending on your surroundings.

Well, I hope this may be somewhat useful. Fellow veggie-mates, thanks for commiserating with me. See you all soon.

I want this on a shirt
Photo creds to instagram user @livy.johnsonn

If rainbow chard is not enough to make you convert to vegetarianism and pledge your allegiance to
plants forever, I don't know what will.
Image credit: Naturally Nourished 

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