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Fight for Your Imitation Meat Foods

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City living has some advantages. Not many in my book, but take for example Food Fight!, an all-vegan grocery store in Portland, Oregon.

This tiny little radical store carries nothing but cruelty-free products like vegan calamari.

Yes, you read that right: vegan calamari, made by Sophie’s Kitchen from Northern California (where else?)

What’s it made of?

Konjac, or Elephant Yam. A plant grown and used in Asia for hundreds of years. The Japanese see it as a healthy fibrous food. (Sophie’s Kitchen) uses the root of the plant for the start to make things like vegan calamari.

Some veganazi’s might say that vegan seafood is a hypocritical attempt at winning over wanna-be’s who can’t give up the animal products, but I don’t care.

I thought it was excellent and pretty close to the real thing (which I absolutely love…except for the tentacles!). Even carnivore hubby was impressed, which blew me away.

In my vegetarian to vegan transition, giving up seafood has been difficult. I love seafood. I just hate the fact that be eating it, I’m contributing to ocean depletion. This vegan calamari thing is impressive and I hope to taste other aquatic animal species knock-offs.

The other crazy meat knock-off I found at Food Fight was this Vegetarian Haggis.

Not being of Scottish descent, I can’t say I’ve ever tried the real thing or would ever want to. It’s pretty disgusting.

But then again, so is Menudo, which I grew up on, and until recently ate on special occasions with la familia.

So I suppose if I was Anglo and fond of this meat dish, one of the foulest sounding ones I’ve ever heard of, I would dig it.

There are some pretty neat things on the horizon when it comes to the vegan lifestyle. I think our society is at a turning point and even people like my husband are willing to go out on a limb and try things they never would have before. If not for health reasons, then for the simple fact that we all know how damaging eating animal products is to the environment.

And who wants to say they contributed to that?

My Chuckwagon Veganista Lifestyle

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To me, eating super healthy and dairy-free is just a little easier when your homestead is in one place.

Something about having room for lots of ingredients and odds and ends spices makes living a semi-vegan lifestyle a lot more enjoyable.

But here in the chuckwagon, where cabinet space is at a premium, and your Dr. Bronner’s competes for space with your underwear, it’s tough getting enthused to make a loaf of bread when the ingredients are scattered in just about every corner except the water closet.

We bought these insta-vegan sauces at an all-vegan grocery store in Portland, Oregon. But honestly, they kinda suck. At least in comparison to what we can make on our own.

When it comes to convenience, few vegan foods are better than what you can make on your own.

I’m trying to live the vegan lifestyle, but as we approach the holidays (oh wait, they’re here…damn), it’s getting more difficult. When I go home for Christmas, it’s gonna be even worse as Mom looks at me with a perplexed look because she just can’t figure out why I would not want to eat her Mexican dinners smothered in cheese and sour cream.

But I’m gonna stand my ground, and do my best. It’s all anyone can do.

Commit to doing the least you can do. Then commit to doing at least that much.

Veggie Queen Meets the Carnivore

A long time ago, an uppity veggie queen girl met a carnivore boy and despite their culinary differences, they fell in love and got married.

Through the years, veggie girl discovered that it wasn’t the end of the world if a piece of meat touched her food. And carnivore boy learned that having a meal without meat could be a satisfying experience. Sometimes veggie girl had fish, and she couldn’t give up that love of cheese or dairy products, even though they made her farty and she always felt guilty about eating them.

As the years went by, and carnivore boy’s health became compromised because of his love for sweets and meats, veggie girl knew that something had to change. So she bought a veganazi cookbook that a hippie friend told her about, and she’s been on a cooking frenzy ever since.

She’s not the best cook in the world, but she tries. And thankfully, many of the vegan recipes are simple and even if she screws them up, it’s hard to tell because the meals are, well, vegan, you know? Vegan meals, being what they are, are forgiving when it comes to lackluster chefs.

Carnivore boy is being very cooperative with this new vegan thing, and sometimes he even seems like he likes the food she cooks. Veggie girl is happy about that. And she’s even happier now that as she moves to a more animal-free diet, she doesn’t have to feel guilty for the things she puts in her mouth.

She’s not saying she’ll never eat another animal product again, just not as much as she used to.

Just don’t expect her to wear cruelty-free shoes. Even a vegan cowgirl can’t give up her boots.

Get Me to a Farmer’s Market

After living in a remote mountain town last summer, I chucked my long-term fantasy of living like Ms. Grizzly Adams out the window.

The one local store in this spectacular town just sucked. They left old zucchini on the shelf for weeks, and tried to sell beets that looked as sprouted as old potatoes. Everything was expensive, and the closest halfway decent grocery store was over an hour away.

Growing our own produce is unlikely at 9500′ elevation. After a month of living in that town, I knew that not only was this lifestyle impractical, but it would throw my vegetarian self into a state of malnutrition and scurvy.

I’m glad we found our happy medium this summer. Live somewhere close to a great town with lots of fresh produce and health food stores in the summertime, then, when the snow covers the ground and all that’s left on the store shelves are heads of wilted romaine lettuce imported from California, I’ll head south to where the weather is warmer and produce is still green and fresh.

Like the nomads we are, moving seasonally seems to be the ideal living situation for us. Everyone should try it!