So a vego and an omnivore walk down the aisle…

Can a happily committed, loving, healthy relationship be maintained between two people with opposing dietary habits?

My answer is a resounding “YES!”

Of course, there are variables that come into play.  Personal characteristics such as sensitivity, understanding, the degree of respect and acceptance each has for the other and willingness to compromise to name a few.

I wouldn’t trade in my meat-eating hubby for anyone else on God’s green earth.  Although we are polar opposites in many ways (ethnically, culturally, traditionally, personality-wise etc) we share commonalities in the ways that matter.  The ways that enable you to last through the years, the invisible forces that bond, strengthen and nourish.  I’m talking about values, morals, long-term goals and aspirations.  My 2 cents: you gotta be on the same page in this regard… as a clashing between these fundamental elements are likely to be deal-breakers.

It would be infinitely easier for a vego to be in a relationship with another vego, no doubt about it.  Things such as the weekly grocery shop, deciding what to make for lunch or which restaurant to go to would be a simple, painless process.  For a while hubby’s battle-cry when it was his turn to make dinner was “So… a salad for you then?”  Good grief, I never thought there would come a time when I was sick of salad.

But it came.  And reared its ugly head.  After some ‘lively’ discussion, it came to light  it was not carelessness or laziness on his part, but confusion, bewilderment and unintended ignorance that was the problem.  This is why men don’t ask for directions, preferring instead to drive around dazed and lost!  After giving him a crash course on Vegan Substitutes and Staples 101, referring some handy websites his way, and arming him with a veganised shopping list – he has flourished and done me proud.

No longer does he ask me if I want salad for dinner.  No longer does he look befuddled when making quinoa.  No longer does he make an ‘ewww’ face when I ask him to try my kale smoothie.  I tell you, his coconut tofu flan would’ve bowled over the MasterChef judges (recipe below).

I shove as many veg as I can into him, he’s drastically minimised the amount of meat he consumes, I veganise his favourite dishes, he makes sure there’s something on the menu I like before we decide where to eat.  See this pattern?  It takes two to tango.

I don’t crucify him for having a cheat meal… I just smirk when he returns, muttering he ‘feels like crap’, that ‘it wasn’t worth it’ and he’s ‘dying for an apple’.  It’s an ongoing gradual process.  The cheat meals happen more infrequently as time goes by.

Hubby likens our relationship to a quote from a Rocky movie.

“I dunno, she’s got gaps, I got gaps, together we  fill gaps.”

Now, I don’t usually refer to Sly Stallone movies.  However I must attest its accuracy.  It describes us to a T.  Two contradictory personas, each slowly toning down the other until a blissful medium is reached, and there are no more gaps.

I don’t see him as a ‘meat-eater’.  Instead, I see a man who only wants the best for me and loves me unconditionally – I see my best friend, my biggest supporter, my hubby, my heart.  Someone who will always give me the last bit of chocolate.  Someone who still opens doors and pulls out chairs for me.  And that my friends, isn’t what’s most important at the end of the day?

Hubby’s Coconut Flan 

Syrup:
5 tbs raw sugar + 3 tbs water

Pudding:
2/3 cup firm tofu (crumbled)
2 tbs agave
1 tbs syrup mixture
1 tsp coconut extract
pinch salt
2 1/2 cups rice or almond milk
1 tsp agar agar powder

To make syrup: Bring water and sugar to boil in a small saucepan over low heat.  Simmer uncovered 5 mins.

Working quickly, put tofu, 1 tbs prepared syrup, 2 tbs agave, coconut extract and salt in the blender.  Set aside.

Pour remaining syrup evenly into 6 moulds or small bowls, making sure to coat the base and sides evenly.

Into same saucepan, bring non-dairy milk and agar agar quickly to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 mins.

Carefully add this hot milk mixture to ingredients already in the blender.  Immediately blend to a smooth cream, stirring down any bubbles.

Pour blended mixture into coated moulds/bowls and skim off any foam.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To unmould: dip bottom briefly into boiling water, then turn upside down onto a plate.  It should slide out easily.  Pour any remaining syrup over the pudding.

If you’re feeling fancy decorate with fruit or mint leaves.

Since 2006

Since 2006

The Dairy Debacle + 4 vegan alternatives

One of the most successful cons out there is that dairy does a body good.

I used to consume copious amounts of it, mistakenly believing I was preventing osteoporosis in later life, that it was good for my overall health.

Dairy products are marketed as high calcium foods that assist in strengthening bones.

However the most ideal foods for bone health are foods that are not only high in calcium, but reduce calcium loss in the body.  Namely… fruit and veg.  Fruit and veg also contain boron, which assists in reducing calcium loss.

Dairy is an acidic food, along with meat, white flour and sugar.  Studies show consumption of an acid-producing diet will lead to four times more bone fractures.

Acidic foods age and degenerate your skin.  Eeps!  Those expensive miracle creams are wasted if your diet is highly acidic.

Have you ever wondered when you’re feeling under the weather, why the doc tells you to up your liquids (clear soups, herbal teas, water) and steer clear of dairy?

Two reasons.

In order for our bodies to digest lactose (lactose is the sugar found in dairy), we need an enzyme called lactase.  From when we are 18 months to 4 years old, up to 95% of this enzyme is lost.  So put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Undigested lactose + acidic nature of milk = breeding ground for intestinal bad bacteria = higher cancer risk

Dairy products produce mucus, and the body’s natural self-defense mechanism is to develop a cold or an ‘allergy’.

Dairy does not deter osteoporosis.  Its high protein content leaches calcium from the body by sucking calcium sources from the bones to balance the pH in our blood.  Foods even lower in calcium such as meat and eggs cause even greater losses.  This explains why blood tests show you have adequate amounts of calcium if your diet is based around dairy and meat.  It is no coincidence the countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis (USA, Sweden, Finland) are the biggest consumers of meat, milk and other animal foods.

A host of other problems have been linked to the consumption of dairy: acne, anaemia, anxiety, arthritis, ADHD, autism, cancers of the breast, prostate and ovaries, fibromyglia, heartburn, indigestion, IBS, joint pain, colic, obesity, heart disease, diabetes and Crohn’s disease.

It’s not all doom or gloom though, folks.  The good news is there are plenty of alternatives.  It’s all about substitution!

DAIRY ALTERNATIVES

I thought I would feel deprived until I discovered the joys of milk alternatives such as almond milk, cashew milk, hazelnut milk, oat milk… even mung bean milk!  Same story with cream and condensed milk – swap over to coconut, nut or tofu based substitutes.

When it comes to yogurt, I am about to experiment with making my own.  If you can’t be bothered then COYO is delish, found in many health food stores and some IGAs.

Cheese – There are plenty of ready-made alternatives out there whether you want.  Brands such as Notzarella, Vegusto and Tofutti are pretty tasty.

As for icecream, buy sorbet or get creative by making your own.  There’s so many recipes out there, with most of them being comprised of some sort of non-dairy milk, tofu, or frozen bananas.  Coco Luscious makes a range of ready-made non-dairy ice creams which are *to die for*

Below are some tried and tested recipes for dairy alternatives.

Basic Almond Milk

1 c raw almonds (soaked overnight in filtered water)
3 c filtered water
optional: agave or stevia, vanilla extract, cinnamon

Discard soaking water and rinse nuts.  Place nuts in blender and add filtered water.  Blitz until smooth.  Add sweetener to taste (optional).

Place a bowl on kitchen counter.  Slowly pour milk into a nut milk bag and catch liquid in bowl.  Squeeze nut milk bag gently until no liquid remains.  What’s leftover in the bag is almond meal you can use for crackers, cakes, cookies, replacing flour etc.  Leftover almond meal can be frozen for later use.

homemade almond milk

homemade almond milk

Pour strained milk into glass mason jars and store in the fridge.  Keeps for 3-4 days.

Tip:  A favourite of mine is using hazelnuts.  Smells rich and chocolatey.  Add cacao powder and 1 tsp vanilla essence to make chocolate milk.

Raw Cashew Cheeze

1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked)
1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons water
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice or vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
freshly ground pepper
Drain nuts and place them food processor or blender. Add 1/4 cup water and the rest of the ingredients, and mix until thoroughly puréed, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl every so often.

Add a little more water if necessary and blend again to adjust the consistency; the cheese will get a little more solid as it sets.

Transfer to a bowl, cover, and let stand somewhere cool for 24 hours before placing in the fridge, keeps for 5 days.

Rawmesan (Parmesan alternative)

1 cup almonds
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
sea salt

Blitz almonds in food processor until crumbly and resembling grated parmesan.  Add in nutritional yeast and sea salt to taste.

Sprinkle on top of pastas, pizza, salads…  Refrigerate unused rawmesan in airtight container.

Raw Pistachio Icecream

1 ripe avocado
4 chopped frozen ripe bananas
2 tablespoons agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
1/4 cup pistachios

Throw everything in a food processor with the ‘S’ blade.  Process until smooth.  Scoff!

Happy experimenting 🙂