Tag Archive | food

Experimental Craziness

It’s Foodie Friday!!!! I know, I know. I’ve officially hit kitschy. I will stop. Until next week when it’s Footsie Friday or something equally heinous.

Last week, I believe on a Tuesday, I had a doctor appointment. I bet you are so darn jealous. It was a little later than I normally schedule and in the opposite direction from work. One never knows quite how long a doctor’s appointment will take (no offense doctors), so I opted to not make lunch. I didn’t want it to sit in the car for hours. Plus, if I got out at lunch it was the perfect excuse to stop by Starbucks or, um, some other place. (Not addicted!). Sadly, the appointment went fast, so I swung by the house and threw together a lunch.

So now to back up a bit. I had seen a school lunch roundup at 100 Days of Real Food a few days before. Compared to what I ate for lunch growing up—soggy pb&j, water, and…something that must have been so heinous I can’t even remember—these meals were amazing. So different, creative, balanced, and healthy. No pb&j in site, although I think that gets you arrested and sent to Guantanamo these days. I was so taken by what I saw, that on Tuesday I decided to try one with our leftover Superbowl veggie tray.

I packed a metric ton of veggies (radishes, broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, and olives), with some nuts, a slice of “Daddy” cheese, and hummus. That’s it, and I was STUFFED!!! The afternoon at work always kills me and I need to find something to eat or I will be cranky (er, crankier), but that day I was full until dinner. Gotta love fiber!

I wasn’t sure if it was a fluke or was the food, so I decided to experiment. I packed a similar lunch all week, and into this week. And yes, not all were unprocessed food and I didn’t make the hummus and peanut butter from scratch. I’m amazing, but I’m also busy.

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I did not think to photograph the first lunch. You’ll notice that the veggies are the same, although I did have broccoli on other days not photographed. You will also notice that hummus and peanut butter look like something from a diaper.

I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I didn’t always get through the afternoon without a snack, but it was so minor and a Clementine was enough to sate the appetite. I felt most full with the one with peas, but there were also too many nuts in that one.

I’m still fiddling with amounts (you’ll notice that there seem to be more veggies in the bottom, more filling, boxes) and I’ve been swapping out the side boxes (one box not pictured had peanut soba noodles), but overall, it’s AWESOME! Not only am I less snacky in the afternoon, but I found that I had more energy at Zumba this week. I just need to come up with a few more variations (lentils, sweet potatoes, spinach, etc.). I do believe I have a new standard lunch.

Oh, and I did go to Starbucks anyway after that appointment. (Not addicted)

Meatless Rant Helmet On

So whatever happened to my attempt at being vegetarian on my trip? I did it. Mostly. I did sneak in that Japanese breakfast that had salmon, but how often do you get to choose that from room service? And of course, there were two meals where I got food that I thought would not have meat, but  did, like the potato salad or egg drop soup. I promptly stopped eating them, but they were on the plate.

I have to say that I feel for every vegetarian and vegan out there who do this every day, because they choose a different way of eating and are in the minority, their options while out can be vastly limited. I found that if I was lucky, the restaurant would have one token vegetarian option. If I was super lucky it would be something I would actually want to eat. Were I trying to be vegan, many of those options were full of cheese or cream and wouldn’t work. And this was in LA!! Of course, a highly touristy part catering to outsiders, but still.

The buffets at the class and training were worse. Only one day included a meal with a dominant vegetarian entree–veggie lasagna. The rest of the meals provided were predominately meat and I had to make do with rice, salad, and if I was lucky, beans. Let me tell you, the lack of protein options was tough.

Here’s the thing that restaurants, conferences, office parties, etc. don’t understand. It doesn’t have to be that tough to provide for vegetarians and vegans. Beans, lentils, nuts, soy, quinoa, tempeh, vegetables, pasta, brown rice, etc. are out there and easy to incorporate into a menu. Granted, not all are cheap, but some can be quite cost effective. If your only option is going to be a salad then at least provide a salad that has some, pardon the pun, meat to it. A lettuce, tomato, and onion salad with sprinkled cheese and maybe one lone cucumber just won’t cut it. Provide options for people.

Look at McDonalds. I don’t know of one straightforward vegetarian option on the list. I can get a paltry salad with no chicken, but then what’s left? Cheese, lettuce, maybe two tomatoes? You could get the apples with walnuts and possibly mix the two. If that’s the case, why can’t McDonalds do that and offer it as a meal? At least Burger King has that horrible veggie burger that some how sucks the life out of every sandwich I get. All McDonalds needs to do is make a black bean/soy burger or a salad that is built for vegetarians in mind, with beans, nuts, or dare I say more veggies. And I don’t mean to pick on McDonalds specifically. Wendy’s has similarly limited options (would it kill you to have a vegetarian chili?). And while Burger King has a veggie burger, it’s pretty mediocre and not much else on the menu.

I am actually quite lucky. I did the week as a vegetarian on a whim, to see if I could do it. If there was nothing for me to eat, I could always fall back to meat. Not everyone is so lucky.  I decided to try my social experiment, because I’m on that precipice where I’m not ready to give up meat, but I’m flirting with giving it up. What I found was that I missed meat. I did decided to make more of an effort to cut back on it again, but not give it up completely. I am fortunate that I live in an area with many great restaurants and stores with many great options for a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle, and I’m going to do my best to support them.

The Blue Booger

Leave it to the Blue Booger to provide more food options!

Vegetarians Have It Rough

After receiving 5 calls from Southwest on Sunday telling me how my Los Vegas to LA flight was suffering from multiple personalities, or something, I arrived safely in LA. The first call said my 7:30 flight was now 8. After landing in Los Vegas I had two messages where the first call said the flight was back to 7:30 and the second said 8:00. The people at the gate said the fight would leave shortly after 7:30, but we were moving down the hall. Sadly we got on the flight and then had to wait until 8:15 before we had approval to leave. Fortunately, the flight was uneventful, albeit confused about itself.

The conference has been okay. After 3 sessions on the first day that seemed to be different topics but ended up covering the same thing, I decided to bag the day and walk across the street to Universal Studios City Walk. I think that should really be called Universal Studios in Your Face with Touristy Crap and Tacky Chain Restaurants. Okay, maybe one or two restaurants weren’t tacky, but still. It’s fair to say, it’s not my thing although the walk was nice and I plan to go to a crepe place on the walk to pick up dinner to get out of the hotel. I’m not sure what else is around and being a small-town girl in an unfamiliar place near sunset, I don’t generally go a-walking. That’s the fun of being a girl. At least the girl in my head.

Speaking of the crazy in my head. I decided to do a social experiment while I’m away. Well, I’m not sure if it’s really a social experiment, really, but let’s call it that, shall we? I decided to try being completely vegetarian on my trip. You would think that would be pretty easy to do in LA. You would be wrong. At least where I am so far. And can I say that it sucks trying to eat Vegetarian?!? Every place has one veggie-friendly option if I’m lucky. The hotel restaurant? In LA? None. None! I had to ask to have something modified. Crazy. What’s with that, LA hotel?

I did cheat this morning and ordered the Japanese breakfast with fish, but how often do I get to order a Japanese breakfast. It was yummy by the way. We’ll see how well I do the rest of the week. Especially if something looks yummy.

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Hey, Mommy! If I learn how to use a computer, can I go to the next conference?