Wednesday, September 1, 2010

An Uneventful but Good Wednesday

After getting everything ready for Dan to go to work this morning I decided to take a little time to relax and do a few things around the house. I needed a little me time after yesterday. I spent time straightening up and making my to-do list for today. I probably should have not included everything that I needed to do because seeing it all in one list is a bit overwhelming.

Next I decided to make myself a very healthy smoothie this morning for breakfast. I don’t recommend that most of you try this since it tastes very “green” if you know what I mean. It is healthy but not something most people would enjoy drinking. I would never feed this my husband in other words this would not go over well with him. ;-)

Here is what I included in my smoothie: 1 tablespoon raw sesame seeds (for calcium and healthy fat), 1 tablespoon white chia seeds (for omega 3’s), 2 ½ cups frozen strawberries, ½ cup frozen wild blueberries, 2 cups shredded kale, 2 cups water and stevia to taste. I don’t normally add stevia to my smoothies, but this one got a scoop and the smoothie still tasted very healthy. This smoothie is ridiculously healthy containing: 328 calories, 14g fiber, 10 g protein, 20,800IU of vitamin A, 380mg vitamin C, 400mg of calcium, 140mcg of folate, and 1100mcg of vitamin K. That is why I drink things like this even though the flavor is not my favorite thing. Sometimes I just feel like I need something uber healthy and this was one of those mornings.

Remember a few days I ago I was lamenting the end of summer? Mother Nature obviously got the message. Not only was it 95 yesterday but it was 97 today. Clearly summer is not ready to give up without a fight. It is nice to have a few more warm days before we head into fall.

Lunch today was an appetizer plate of leftover cooked brown rice from the refrigerator topped with the beans in curried beans in tomato sauce and few cashews. I love having leftovers in the refrigerator. It makes packing Dan’s lunch and grabbing something quick for me very easy. If you aren’t cooking “intentional leftovers” as I call them I highly recommend the practice. It makes life much easier for me.

This afternoon I had a little time to relax and decided to watch something on Netflix instead of reading. Many years (actually decades) okay I was fortunate to get my undergraduate degree from a liberal arts college. There I was “forced” to take classes I never would have otherwise elected to take on my own. Two semesters of Philosophical Anthropology were required for graduation and oddly philosophy become one of my favorite subjects in college. This is why today I watched a DVD called “Examined Life” which filmed a number of different modern day philosophers talking about various topics which appear to be of their own choosing. Some of the philosophers are fascinating and really got me thinking. If you are interested in the subject of philosophy this was a thought provoking piece.

Watching this film causing me to reflect on something I read earlier in the week which I wanted to discuss so I can hear some of your views on the topic. Specifically I read a piece that stated that veganism is only about an ethical mindset and is not about health. The author went on to say that people that are vegan for health should call themselves something other than vegan. I pondered this idea for a few days because I think it is more counterproductive to veganism than anything else. If someone is considering a vegan lifestyle for health reasons the impact is the same in terms of the reduction of suffering and death of animals. However if these individuals who were contemplating veganism but decide to stay omni because they don’t feel welcomed into veganism the impact is more not less suffering and death.

Why do people feel the need to categorize and label things and set up distinctions between “us and them”? Any thought that starts with “those people” is obviously judgmental and probably flawed. What do you think of this idea? Does it matter why someone comes to veganism? I think the positives that come from this lifestyle change are vast in terms of both less human and animal suffering. Why should it matter how someone becomes who they are? I can’t wait to hear what you have to say on this topic. ;-)

Since Dan is trying to hit his deadlines it meant I was on my own for dinner tonight. I made myself a simple salad which contained: ½ head of shredded romaine, 1 Roma tomato, ¼ cucumber, approximately ¼ cup of Muir Glen roasted marinara sauce and ½ of an avocado. To go with this I had a large serving of cardamom scented warm slaw.

This morning I had to make brown rice while I was making Dan’s fresh juice and breakfast so I could pack his lunch. Tonight I decided to make more “intentional leftovers” for tomorrow and Friday. I made a baked veggie dish to serve over warm chickpea mash. Since I haven’t made photographed a proper serving I am going to post that recipe tomorrow. The picture above was my “sample” to make certain the flavors were just right. ;-)

Time for me to sign off and get a few more things accomplished before Dan gets home. Talk to you all again tomorrow. I hope everyone had a good Wednesday.


  1. I'm drinking a smoothie as I type this. :) I also tend to make a really simple (and very green, spinach-stuffed) one when I want something quick, healthy, raw, and filling. I've never added sesame seeds, so I'll have to try that sometime.

    I'm very curious about the chickpea mash, so I look forward to the recipe soon. Thanks for sharing, as always!

  2. Oh should taste some of the "smoothies" I force down...mainly because I can't be bothered trying to achieve a tasty balance...yours doesn't sound so bad...but I know sometimes it is really hard to force down the "less than delicious" smoothie combo. It's like "plug your nose and go!"

    Re: Veganism, I'm not into labeling or categorizing either...Anything that anyone does for whatever reason that reduces animal suffering is A-OK in my book!!

    I think I know the post you are referring to...and while I"m not one to quibble over labels either...I do agree with the author insofar that fundamentally, veganism is about so much more than what you's about what you wear (no wool, no leather, no silk etc.) and what you buy in terms of other household items (cruelty-free, no down, etc.)

    As a philosophy, veganism is by definition couched in compassion, non-violence, respect for fellow creatures, and not partaking in the exploitation of animals for any reason to the greatest degree possible. Being good for health is a positive side-effect (if you eat good whole food that is.)

    I would be vegan even if it weren't ideal for health...I think that was what she was driving at.

    Anyway, having said that though...anyone who follows any aspect of veganism to whatever degree is on the right track!

    That's just my 2 cents, since you asked.

    I've seen that DVD too; very diverse, interesting, and compelling.

  3. Tiffany,

    Smoothies are a great way to cram in the nutrition as I like to say. The sesame seeds can be overwhelming if you add too many, it depends on the other items included. I always start with 1 tablespoon and add from there after tasting.

    The chickpea mash will go up tomorrow. Glad to hear you are looking forward to it. :-)

    hope you have a good evening,

  4. Rose,

    Sorry to hear some of your smoothies go down easier than others, but I know the feeling. ;-)

    We may have been reading a different author. While I absolutely agree with what you said if the goal is less suffering isn't it counterproductive to be exclusionary when you could embrace new comers and welcome them into the fold no matter how they came to the "group"?

    I am not surprised you have seen the philosophy DVD. Peter Singer was particularly good I thought. I also liked the comment about "the moments between health and death".

    talk to you later,

  5. vegan for health or vegan for animals, like you said, they both have the same impact. but, vegan, in the dictionary states that we stay away from any and all things that come from animals. including fur, silk etc. most vegans for health do not do that. the word vegan was MADE because the word vegetarian was being so abused. like.."i dont eat red a vegetarian" vegan is such a huge part of my life, i would be dissapointed if i met somebody that was vegan, then find out its for health reasons and they dont care that much about fact, this has happenend a few times over the internet. it means so much to me that i hate to see it abused. be health conscience, strict vegetarian whatever, but vegan means no animal products ALL THE TIME!

  6. i love what Rose wrote, thats basically what i was trying to say.

  7. Yes, I agree: is counter-productive to be exclusionary...we all do what we can to the extent we's all a process of discovery.

    Absolute labels and pinning people/ideas to either "this" or "that" is a's all a process, it's all a continuum, and we are all on some sort of journey...

    OK, I'll shut up now...


  8. Actually, the smoothie sounds pretty good to me, with or without the stevia.

  9. It never occurred to me to use sesame seeds in a smoothie. Great idea.

    I feel like labels can always be a little dangerous, but also understand the inclination to cling to them (my blog name claims a label loud and clear). As my vegan journey began I did see divisiveness between dietary vs. ethical vegans. I can't lie. My journey started as a dietary one. But, as it often happens in life, the more I learn, the more I evolve...

  10. I agree with Rose. I think the main point she was making is that veganism (as she said) is not just about diet. I accept some people may have different opinions on this but veganism is fundamentally about not exploiting animals in any way, it's not primarily about health. So this means not using leather, wool (which usually comes from the slaughterhouse), toiletries that have been dripped into animal's eyes etc.

    So it's not just about what you eat. Vegans who come to it from a purely health perspective may not embrace this side of veganism.

    I think my view is that almost nobody can be 100% vegan as there are animal products in so many things that we can't really avoid using so there are only degrees of veganism anyway. From this point of view it seems silly to waste time compartmentalising people and saying they're less of a vegan because they don't do x, y and z. Plus as Rose said anybody who is reducing the amount of suffering they cause is on the side of good in my book. Life is a learning curve, we're none of us perfect.

  11. So would the smoothie taste less green with spinach? I hear you on listing out what you did during a day and then thinking "holy crap that was a lot." Though, lately for me it's been, "holy crap I didn't do much." LOL

  12. Michelle,

    I understand the definition of vegan that wasn't my question. My question was do labels make sense and does it matter how someone became a vegan. I believe labels serve to divide not unite and the reason doesn't matter because the end result is the same. Thats just my two cents. ;-) Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  13. Rose,

    I agree completely that is a journey and we are all on different points along the path. ;-)


  14. Losing Weight,

    The smoothie was healthy and definitely tasted like it as my hubby would say, LOL. But then again I don't mind things like that as long as they are good for me, just not every day. ;-)


  15. JL,

    I hope you like the sesame seeds in your smoothie. Add them a tablespoon at a time as they can be overpowering.

    Sounds like you see my point about labeling. I just think it is never good be it about veganism or anything else for that matter. *shakes head*

    I also started as a vegan for health and like you having learned many things during this journey I also now would be a vegan for ethical reasons even though it didn't start that way. If we all end up in the same place I don't think it matters how we got there. ;-)

    thanks for sharing your thoughts,

  16. Carol,

    I think we were reading different authors though that really doesn't matter. My point was about the dangers of labeling and drawing distinctions between them and us. I agree with you completely that it is nearly impossible to be 100% vegan no matter how much you try. Medicine is the first and obvious thing that comes to mind. No matter how someone comes to the point of eating less animal products I think that is a good thing for both people and animals. Just my two cents for whatever it is worth. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  17. Heather,

    The smoothie wouldn't taste green at all with spinach, but it also wouldn't be as healthy. I do sometimes use spinach but kale and collards are a better nutritional choice so ...... well you know. ;-)

    My approach is two lists now. The master list of stuff to-do and then the daily list I creative from the master list. That way I don't have to stare at the big list all day long. *rolls eyes* I hear you on the I didn't get much done. My list for the day is always longer than I can handle. It seems to be human nature to underestimate the time it takes to do things.

    hope you have a great Thursday!

  18. I think your smoothie sounds delicious! When I make smoothies, I usually put in a whole bunch of kale (or collards etc., but kale is my favorite) and I actually love the taste.

    I think you know my thoughts on the labels and "vegan" issue :-)


  19. I agree with Rose and dirtyduck. I do hate how people have to label everything these days! It seems everything and everyone is labeled in some form or fashion....sometimes society just stinks.
    BTW...your smoothie looks good, but it would probably be to green for me too. Maybe I will try collards in a smoothie sometime. Kale is just to bitter for me.

  20. Courtney,

    You are my new role model, an entire bunch of kale, wow that is serious nutrition! ;-) I need to work up to that, LOL.

    I do know your thoughts I was curious what others had to say on the issue since we talked about it yesterday. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  21. Michelle,

    I have a very close male friend that is Muslim and from the Middle East. He is one of the nicest people I have every met and I would trust him with my life. He gets labeled by society and discriminated against and it makes me so angry. I believe labels only serve to exclude people and that can't really ever be good. Just my too cents. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I find collards go down a little easier than kale. I agree with you kale is a little on the bitter side but I can include more of it in my smoothies now than I could in the past. It is so healthy it is worth trying to cultivate a taste for (or at least a tolerance of). ;-)

    hope you are having a good Thursday,

  22. The Voracious Vegan had an interesting discussion, "Veganism - Where Do You Draw the Line?", here: The entry, as well a the comments, address some of the same questions: Who is *really* a vegan? How "vegan" does one have to be in order to call herself "vegan"? Do you use cell phones? The towers are responsible for the deaths of migratory birds. Etc. Etc. I'm with many of the commenters here at Vegan Epicurean -- labels that pit "us" against "them" can be troublesome for me, leaving no room for growth, evolution, discovery.

    I'd use the term "nutrarian" to describe my diet. How wonderful that what is the most nutritious per calorie tends to be what also qualifies as a vegan diet!

  23. Mom,

    I used to consider myself a nutritarian as well but decided I would prefer no label. In the end I think it is important to be inclusive to help as many people as possible learn to embrace a whole food plant based lifestyle. It is better for the people, animals and the planet. I have considered changing my blog name but I can't come up with something short that gets the idea across. ;-) Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!


  24. Love your blog! And the chickpea mash sounds delicious. I'm a fan of anything with chickpeas!

  25. Bianca,

    Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate it. :-)

    I will be posting the recipe for the chickpea mash and veggies later today if you are interested.


  26. Interesting discussion...I agree that it would extremely difficult in this day and age to be perfectly 100%'s one more example:

    When you buy organic produce it is likely (not always...veganic farms exist but they are not the norm) that the farmer has built his/her soils with animal inputs, such as manures, bone meals etc...these come from slaughterhouses and animal farms...makes for fertile soils, but are the veggies absorbing the nutrients from these soils vegan?

    You could go on ad infinitum...just thought that was an interesting aside...

    Incidentally, a new certification program, "Certified Veganic", is currently being developed for farmers in North America; with that certification, veggies can be marketed as veganic/grown without animal inputs.

    Just thought I'd mention it as it germane to the topic.

    Happy Thurs! the 3-day weekend is almost here.

  27. Rose,

    Good point about veggies not being vegan. The two organic farmers at our market use both fish emulsion and blood meal (I think that is what they called it) which aren't vegan.

    If you want to get really into it what about the bugs on the produce that you bring home from the market. I sometimes find them at the bottom of the vessel I use to soak my veggies. We could go one for hours on this topic I suspect.


  28. I love watching documentaries on streaming Netflix. I was a philosophy major, and it was actually on a class field trip when I first discovered veganism. I've been vegetarian ever since (12 years now) and have tried veganism a few times before, but only in the past 6 months or so has it really been successful for me. And I feel better than ever.

    I can see two parts of my problem trying to be vegan that are adjacent to what you say. First, I encountered vegans rejecting anyone who doesn't meet a certain vegan standard (even curious newbies); second and related, attaching a "cool" factor and rejecting anyone who doesn't fit a certain image. So if a nutritionally minded person wears leather or isn't cool enough, there will be some pushback. That's sad, but it's also a part of human nature. Everyone wants to differentiate herself or himself. Many vegans may be advocates for the lifestyle and speak its praises and try to help curious individuals become vegan, but others hold themselves up above the inferior others. You would think that the compassion piece of veganism would extend to fellow human beings, but I know it doesn't always.

    The nutritional piece and ethical piece go together for me. Many of us probably get the question, "where do you get your calcium? your protein? etc..." and it's nice to be able to offer a complete response. Not only is a vegan diet adequate, it can be superior if you eat well. It makes sense, for instance, when you think about the nutritional purpose for milk (to help a baby grow quickly!) that it would not be nutritionally necessary for an older child or an adult.

    What an interesting question. I agree with your other commenters too who have mentioned that you learn more and do better all the time. You come via nutrition and learn about cruelty and give up your Uggs. Or you come via compassion and experience the nutritional benefits and then learn how to maximize them. (I truly the nutritional information in your posts.)

  29. Jessica,

    A philosophy major, you are my hero, LOL. I love philosophy what a great thing to major in!

    Can I tell you how much I love your answer? You got exactly where I was going with the question. :-) I believe most of us will end up at the same place in the end if we are open to all information that is presented to us and how we get there doesn't matter what is important it is that we arrive.

    BTW thanks for the compliment and making me smile.

    thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  30. Your smoothies are always awesome, and I love your yummies too!!!
    Now to talk about the stuff..
    US VS THEM????
    This mentality truly causes the most damage in our society. Here is my honest take on this subject, and as you know, I pull no punches.. so here goes.

    There is no "100% VEGAN"....If you drive a car, buy clothes, eat unorganic, buy plastics, wear clothes from Wal-Mart, eat organic, wear hemp, wear glasses, own a pet, eat rice, live in a house or have a baby, there is going to be issues about if you are a true vegan or not. Some vegans believe if animals are kept as pets, you are no better than a slave master and therefore are not a vegan.. Personally, I find it ridiculous that someone (and I know who wrote the article) would try and segrogate themselves away from other vegans due to personal issues related to an us vs. them mentality.
    Most people in these situations do not know what real life is. Would they choose a horse over their 3 month old baby if the choice had to be made, if the medication was made from a horse? Would they be able to look at the face of their child and tell that child, I am sorry you have to die, but mommy loves ponies?
    I am very extremist on this subject.
    I became a vegan for health reasons. Do I want to see an animal hurt or tortured? NO, but do I want to see children die, and people suffer terrible diseases that can be cured using research from animals, that is also a NO. When people want to stop whining about animal rights and sign up to become research studies, when people want to come up with better ways to find cures, instead of just temporary fixes, when people realize that WE CREATED OUR OWN DISEASES, OUR OWN MEDICAL ISSUES and step away from a holier than thou state of mind, then perhaps I will become a vegan zealot also.
    US VS. THEM...."shakes head" Reminds me of Hitlers plan..... That worked out great.
    BTW, just like THEM, I will not change my mind or be bullied into believing what they think is right..I have had the "up in my face" vegans over animal rights and I still feel this way. I DO NOT EAT ANIMALS, BUT, IF ONE COULD SAVE MY LIFE OR THE LIFE OF SOMEONE I LOVE, I WOULD BE THE FIRST ONE TO GET IN LINE.

    Well, That should drop my following rate by half. I will not be someone I am not because other people think I should. I also will not spout that I am a VEGAN and others should call themselves something different because I think they are not up to my standards...
    :) That was a rant!

  31. Brandi,

    I have never liked labels or cliques even as a child. I think when we exclude others it creates emotional damage. In my mind setting up unnecessary distinctions of us versus them never does anything positive. I think we should focus on doing the right thing and stop trying to label things. Whether people are vegan for health or ethics the end result is the same the label changes nothing other than to hurt feelings and intentionally exclude people. Never good!

    Since you have a serious health challenge you are facing I know you understand the health aspects of this lifestyle. It is easy to overlook the health aspects of diet when you are young and healthy. However you are right that it is practically impossible to be 100% vegan no matter how hard you try. You drive a car or walk you kill bugs. You have a house, birds fly into the windows. You take pain relievers for a headache in a capsule it is made a gelatin. The medicine aspect is particularly interesting since all meds and procedures are tested on animals first. So if you get medical care of almost any type again not vegan. I agree with you that no one is 100% vegan so to want to create a separate “label” for healthy vegan is ridiculous, IMO.

    I will also say that I completely understand being willing to do anything to save your life or the life of someone you love. Until people are staring at their own mortality that concept is difficult to wrap your head around. You know how much I adore my husband. There is nothing I wouldn’t do to save him.

    I hope you have a great holiday weekend, hugs,

  32. I think we are very open minded hip chicks....LOL
    I am going to clean for my holiday weekend and get ready for the wedding and reception. I am thinking of trying to make a vegan version of picadillo...

  33. Brandi,

    Good luck getting ready for the wedding and reception. You have a lot on your plate right now. I am so happy you are feeling so much better. :-)

    Hmmmm, picadillo sounds good! Can't wait to hear how you make that healthy and vegan since I know you will do both. ;-)

    Have a great holiday weekend and I will talk to you later,

  34. It is worth noting that "vegan" is a label that we give is not a label imposed on us by society because of what we look like, where we are from, or what religion we are.

    If a person is going to give themselves a label...whatever it may be...they should at least fit the description to a reasonable degree...or not label themselves in that way.

    I think the reason it is misleading to say that one is vegan for "health" because there is a disconnect: a person can avoid eating animal products for the obvious health advantages, but what part of not wearing a leather belt or not buying a down comforter is "for health reasons"?

    If a person attempts to follow the principles of veganism, then they are vegan. End of story. Why make any distinction at all as to health or otherwise? It seems like the "health vegans" are the ones creating the divide...not the plain old vegans.

    Labels/names/descriptions either apply or do not apply; we cannot change the meaning or definition of a philosophy to suit our own preferences. And what is in a name anyway? Actions speak louder than words.

  35. JessyS,

    This topic came up because there was an ethical vegan that thought vegans for health were somehow less vegan. Their argument was that there should be yet a different label for vegans that do so for health reasons. I don't think it matters why someone becomes vegan the end result is the same. By but drawing distinctions between ethical and health vegans we are creating an us versus them situation that never turns out well in the end. I think we are saying the same thing but in a different way.

    thanks for sharing your thoughts,

  36. But what on earth is a "health vegan?"

    If your point is that it doesn't matter how/by what path a person comes to be a vegan, then I agree.

    If you are trying to say that a person who doesn't eat animal products merely because it is good for their health and does not follow/adhere to the rest of the philosophy/lifestyle is still a vegan,then I don't agree.

    Veganism is a philosophy of ethics, it is motivated by compassion and respect...not by wanting to be "healthy." People strive to be vegan in the same way people strive to adhere to other ethical or religious is an ideal, a philosophy, a path. It is not a health plan.

    Again, if a person attempts to follow the principles of veganism then they are does not come into it.

    If a "health vegan" calls that out specifically, then I assume they are trying to distinguish themselves from actual vegans not vice versa.

    Namely, they are saying, "I am vegan for health, not for ethics", which doesn't make any sense.

    If a label doesn't apply, or if a person doesn't want to be taken for someone who does things for ethical reasons, then they should not calls themselves a vegan.

    I would submit that there is no such thing as a "health vegan".

  37. Jessy,

    People come to veganism from one of two paths, ethics or health. The point which I will restate is it doesn't matter why someone becomes a vegan just that they do. Labels are counterproductive.


  38. Obviously some people need to chill out when it comes to veganism. It is not a religion or a political field, therefore people shouldn't become irrational obsessive zealots. Personally, I think that if people do not care for what we write they can choose to not read us and go have a pout fit somewhere else.
    As I stated before NO ONE CAN BE A TRUE VEGAN. There is no way to stay away from animal products completely therefore no one can claim they are a PURE VEGAN.

  39. Brandi,

    I think that however people come to veganism that is a wonderful thing. It is shame not everyone sees it that way. ;-)


  40. If that's all you were trying to say, then that's obvious...I don't think anyone would disagree with that.

    Veganism isn't a religion, but a way of living life according to a certain set of beliefs as to what constitutes right and wrong. The fact that it would be extremely difficult to achieve in 100% purity is obvious and not the issue, which why I use the words "strive for".

    World peace or the end of poverty will almost surely never happen either, but that doesn't mean we should not strive for those things.

    If a person posts about a potentially controversial topic on the Internet for anyone to see and invites discussion around it, then they should be willing to hear from and discuss the issue with people who may have differing points of view. If not, what is the point of inviting discussion? Or that's what I would have thought anyway.

  41. Jessy,

    My question was "Does it matter why someone comes to veganism?" and that is directly from the post. Others hijacked the post with their opinions that in most cases didn't respond to the question.

    I will let Brandi reply for herself.



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