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A quickie about Lent

Hey Vegan fans. I know the blog went on hiatus, but don’t worry. It is coming back.

In the meantime today is Ash Wednesday. A day that marks the beginning of Lent.

Looking for something to give up? How about animal products? Go Vegan for 40 days. You will feel so much better for it healthwise.

I did it for 16 months. Surely you can do 40 days…

More soon.

Frank

30 Days to go….

So a common question keeps coming up: “When are you going to be finished?”

That is an interesting question. A part of me believes that I will maintain this eating lifestyle in my home life. I really like the changes in diet, how I feel, how I look, etc. But realistically, I am not going to be Vegan for the rest of my life. It is just not me.

Don’t get me wrong – I do love animals, and I do get all the arguments as to why one should be Vegan, live a plant-based lifestyle, and all that good stuff. However, it has to be something that you believe in. For me, this has always been a challenge, to try to do something that seems so out in left field for someone like me.

I feel that I have done this. Also, I feel that being Vegan is no longer a challenge. Being Vegan in Europe? That would have been a great challenge. But at home? Not a challenge anymore. I came back, and immediately went back into Vegan mode. It was that simple. For me, this is not about a ‘better lifestyle’ or ‘for the animals’. It has been a purely selfish ‘can I do it’ thing. Yes, I did it, and it is no longer challenging.

So when should I end? Well technically, I could end right this second. But that does not seem like a great idea. Sure, going for a big meal right after work sounds awesome, but it is not realistic. Do I want to be very ill? No, I don’t.

I have decided that December 9th will be my final day of being Vegan. Why that day? A couple of reasons actually.

  1. It is 30 days away. Much like when I began, I believe that you must slide into and out of habits in life. Again, I am not trying to give up everything, but just not being Vegan today is not smart – I will then eat everything I see, undo all the good, and make myself sick. Dumb idea.
  2. Christmas. Like many people and their families, there is lots of Christmas tradition around food. I like food. But again, I want to enjoy my food. With that in mind, it is probably a good idea to slowly introduce foods into my diet (like the butters, sugars, and eggs) that will be involved in Christmas. Meat will be there as well, but I don’t foresee eating a massive turkey for Christmas. I also don’t foresee eating Tofurkey either…in any event, I cannot dive into it.
  3. Christmas Parties. This might be the biggest reason actually. I like others tend to go to parties at this upcoming time of year. With that in mind, I want to enjoy the parties, and the hard work that people put into their foods for the guests. That does not mean I am going to be a glutten, but at the same time, I have hosted a number of parties over the years myself. I know what it feels like to have a guest come to your home, and not be able to eat or drink anything you have. It makes you feel like a bad host. I don’t want that. I want to enjoy myself, and have people whom invite me to their homes enjoy my being there.
  4. Follows a Major Event. As readers know, I am involved with Scouts. Anyway, we are having a fundraiser dinner the weekend before. No, there will be nothing Vegan there for me to eat. Yes it will be a challenge – the last challenge. So I can get through the final challenge, and then call it a year.

So there you go.

It is weird actually – now that I have a date for it ending, I am both happy and sad about it. I have enjoyed this. I also like the knowledge that I can go hardcore if I ever need to in the future. I am also hoping that my cravings for bad foods will not come back like they were (fast food anyone?).

Vegan Camping

20111106-002739.jpg

Yes it is another vegan camping trip! We are currently at a Scout camp. And yes it is cold. It is a nice 0 degrees as i write this on the trusty iPhone. Which is way nicer than the minus 4000 it was last night. Anyway the post.

This camp has been a treat. The main organizer of this camp is vegetarian. We are running a leaders and volunteers kitchen. Which means that the menu is mostly tailored for me!!!

Breakfast of oatmeal and toast with almond butter (which you know i love). Lunch of homemade pea soup and sandwiches (another goodie). Dinner is vegan chili (i know it is because i did dinner). All great! Below is the chili! Another successful eating experience!!!

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World Vegan Day

November 1st is World Vegan Day! What do you know! Not surprising actually, as everyone seems to have a day for everything.  I honestly didn’t know that today existed. So let’s see what we can find out:

– According to Wikipedia, today is a day celebrated by Vegans around the world. It was established by Louise Walls in 1944 – as she was the head of the Vegan Society in the UK. Thus, today is the 67th birthday of Vegan! Happy birthday plant lovers!

– According to the Vegan Society, World Vegan Day marks the start of World Vegan Month every year, commemorating the coining of the term, ‘vegan’ and the founding of The Vegan Society in November 1944.

So there you go. November is also Vegan month, where we are suppose to live a healthier lifestyle. Something tells me that is not going to go over well in the USA, where it is Thanksgiving this month. But I will continue on my quest to not eat eggs or dairy, and still be a vegetarian (or Vegan in other words).

Vegan in Europe & End of Month Special

It is a 2 for 1 deal! For the price of one blog, you get 2 entries!

I know it has been almost a month since the last entry – based on the title you can figure out why.

Europe

So in October, I took on the final of my 3 major challenges when it comes to Frank vs. Veganism – travel. I had done some minor trips (Montreal, Vegas), but this was different. How would I handle being Vegan in countries that I am not even sure Veganism exists (Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Germany). In a word – Spectacular. As in Spectacular Fail! Let me explain:

Our first night, we arrived in Prague. Now, after wandering around, we decided to stop at a local restaurant. Part of the reason I love travelling is the food. I love to eat what locals eat. We entered a restaurant. It was an old school pub like place. We were seated. The only other people in our room was a young couple from England (you can tell by the accent, not that I spoke to them or anything). They took our drink order (I already know the beer is Vegan through research, so I get beer). Then they took the food order from the English couple. The guy explains to the waitress that his girlfriend is Vegan. She does not understand. He tells her that she does not eat meat and cheese. Can they bring her something.

They do – a bowl of steamed veggies. That is it.

Now, I did not spend 8 hours on a plane, plus 6 hours on a bus (our connection got cancelled, had to bus to Prague), to eat steamed veggies. Heck, I don’t eat like that at home! So I did my best. I ordered a garlic soup, that according to the ingredient list was Vegan. Then I ordered some other things, that even though they didn’t list it, they had cheese. Oh well, need to eat.

The next day, we explored Prague, and decided to check out a Vegetarian restaurant. We found it, and it turns out that it is a Hare Krishna place. The food is Indian. It was good, but again I travel for the food. I could be okay (avoid the yogurt and cheese and tofu, and it would meet my criteria)

We also started to discover that whenever a restaurant was advertised as Vegetarian, it was Indian food. Now I like Indian food as much as the next guy, but if I wanted to eat Indian, I would have gone to India, not Eastern Europe! So at that point (Day 2) I made the decision to be Vegetarian. I would avoid meat as much as possible, but eat everything else. This made my life and travels much better.

There were times when I got stuck (like walking in the middle of nowhere, running low on energy, stop at a cafe, and all they have is pre-made sandwiches, and all they have currently is ham), but for the most part, for the first week, I was 90-95% vegetarian. Generally speaking, I added cheese to my diet. Which is funny, because cheese is the food I miss the least. But at least it is a protein boost.

On the second week however, I got really bad. Essentially, we were in Austria and then Germany. I have been to this area before. I know what the food is – schnitzel and brats, with lots of beer. I happen to love the food in this part of the world. So I decided that I kept vegetarian for a week, I proved to myself that I could do it (and really, had I wanted to be Vegan, I could have eaten Indian or just cooked in our apartments). So now it was time to celebrate. And celebrate and indulge did I ever!

However, I did keep it together. Sometimes, I was bad. But if there was an option on the menu (or if I had sausage for lunch), I would go back to vegetarian for the next meal. In fact, our last meal in Germany (the last night), we ended up at a great little Mexican restaurant (I know, how can I go for Mexican after complaining about Indian). We were craving spices and vegetables. So Veggie Fajitas it was – and man was it amazing!

Since then, it has been back to strict Vegan again. Got to shed those pounds from the food (and the beer served by the litre – did you know they are 1 litre beer mugs? That is like drinking 3 beers at once! And the beer is really good, and CHEAP!)

End of Month

I realize that the end of the month is not today, but Monday is Halloween. I plan on being busy handing out candy to kids, and watching scary movies, so blogging won’t be a priority. I figure, why not now.

As stated above, I failed in Europe. I expected to however.

As we wind down this challenge, I have learned many things, especially this month. I have learned that I can be Vegan anywhere, it just takes work. I have learned that my energy levels have been good. I found while travelling that at the beginning I had tons of energy. However, as I started introducing my old eating habits, my energy was not as good. I had to take naps (7 minutes of resting my eyes) to keep up.

I also found that despite what people keep saying, I never got sick because of the food. I did not eat something, and then had to find a bathroom for a long time. That simply did not happen. So yeah, I am looking forward to my big filet mignon to celebrate the end of the challenge! I did find that when I was eating bad, it made me really gassy however. Those poor people in crowds and museums. I would walk by and poor them! LOL! (I am kidding, I am not that rude)

The big thing that I have found is that I am looking forward to ending this challenge. For example, in November I have a camp to attend. I am really not looking forward to having to cook my food for that camp ahead of time, versus just eating with the rest of the people. It is so much work. Additionally, I have meetings at work coming up, and there are dinners that I will not be attending, as I can’t eat the food.

If this were a health thing (it sort of is, but not in an allergy thing), then that is one thing. But this is something entirely different.  I am looking forward to keeping Vegan at home, but then being out and getting to do whatever everyone else does.

That is all I got at this point. Thanks for reading!

75%

Wow, where did September go? One second, I was eating at the Urban Eatery, and the next – the month is gone!

This month has been eventful, and busy. Thus the lack of blog posts. But lots has happened.

I had a wedding to attend. That one, I did pretty good at actually. There was more than enough of food that is Vegan-friendly. So that was good. I was a bit worried, as it was an Italian style wedding.

I also had some accidental cheese, which is a Vegan Fail. I know, but it wasn’t my fault (actually, it is always my fault). We went out for lunch with some family one day. We were at a restaurant that I had never been to. There was lots of vegetarian options. Also, they listed their menu ingredients out.

So I ordered a grilled portobello and pepper sandwich. The ingredients of everything was listed. Great, all Vegan. I order that.

It came, and then I ate it. About 1/2 way through, I notice something sticking out the side – and yeah, it is cheese. Funny that, I could not even taste the cheese. So out of site, out of mind, or something like that. But yeah, unfortunately I did eat cheese.

Other than that, it is staying the course.

Next month will be a slow blog month – I have some stuff going on, which won’t allow me to blog unfortunately. More details to follow. Also, it will be a camping month as well. Oh yeah, and Thanksgiving – I can’t wait to not eat turkey!

Happy Veganism everyone!

Urban Eatery – Part 2

As I noted in my last post, I work at the Eaton Centre, and they opened their new Urban Eatery. That is the name of the massive new food court. Since it opened a week ago, I have had the chance to eat there a couple more times. Happily, it is not nearly as crazy as it was the first day. It is still busy, but not stupid busy.

First, I had the chance to revisit Urban Herbivore. Now, since that first day they have got smarter about how their lineups work. First of all, they have a person stationed right where the 2 separate lines meet. That person acts as a greeter, and directs traffic. Also, the lines are now labelled – one says it is for the salad bar – meaning you don’t wait in the salad line for a sandwich. Very smart.

I ordered the Mongolian Stew with Quinoa. I saw that lots of people were ordering this last time I was there. So I figured I would try it. It was delicious. The only problem was that I had to wait 10 minutes to be served. Apparently they ran out of hot Stew, so they were heating a new batch, and that was the holdup. Now, this would be acceptable at say 2pm, after the lunch rush. But at 11:50am? Totally unacceptable! How do you run low on supplies leading into the Rush?

Now, I am sure that in Kensington market, people are not in as much of a rush for good food (and believe me, it is great). But in an environment that caters to business people, you have a set amount of time, and if you can’t serve people quickly, they will go other places. It is one thing to wait for a sandwich being grilled. It is another thing entirely when your ready made food is not ready….

Anyway, here is the stew – Highly Recommend!

The other place I ate was at Mucho Burrito. I was looking for something quick and easy, that was not Urban Herbivore (I have to try as many places as possible). Also, I really wanted to try the Indian place, but they sold out of everything. That seems to be a common problem. Anyway, I got a bean burrito.

 

It was decent. Not an everyday food, but it was good nonetheless.

Anyway, final point – I know it sounds like I am being harsh on Urban Herbivore. In a way, I am. I am enjoying being Vegan, but it is not easy. I really want this place to be successful. I have worked corporate for over a decade now, and I have seen many places go under not because of the food. So I really want them to run like a proper fast food lunch place should run.

Here is an example – today I went with a coworker to NY Fries – there were people waiting in line, complaining. They did not have enough fries, and people were visibly upset about that. About waiting 3 minutes for fries. That is the way it is. The better the food, the longer one will wait, but currently they take too long. I am hoping it gets fixed soon…

Happy Vegan-versary! 4 months to go!

Let’s celebrate! For it was 1 year ago that I published my first post on this crazy idea. Yes, it was Labour Day weekend 2010, that I first decided that I was going to go on a 16 month adventure, and be Vegan for a year. It was at that time that I went shopping, and tried to buy food. It was at that time I went to my first party, and saw what I could and could not eat.

And now, it is almost over. The summer is now over. I made it through August. I realize that my posts have been few and far between, but that is to be expected in the summer.

Health-wise, I am still doing great. I picked up a cold however, which is the first time I have been sick in over a year. A cough that won’t go way either, which is annoying, but generally happens once a year (except last year). I know that a summer bug was going around, so I am hoping that I just caught it.

As for body, I still feel good. I am still hovering between 165 and 170 lbs. Sadly, I have got lazy over the past month, and stopped working out. It is summer. I am too busy enjoying food and alcohol and the summer. But now that it is September, it is time to get back on the routine. Back to the workout regiment.

September should be another good month for me. Just cruising along, making my way to the goal.

Also at this time, I have been thinking a lot of what happens come Jan 1, 2012. Will I stay Vegan? I know the joke I have made is that I am hitting up the Keg, for a nice Filet Mignon. Nothing like beef and bacon all at once! But after that, what then? Do I continue this? I mean, there are a lot of positives (mostly, that I feel and look amazing). But the problem ultimately is that when I am at other events, or visiting people, I become that guy, who can’t eat anything. That is a pain.

So I think right now, that come next year, I was maintain veganism at home for about 95% of the time. I don’t miss things like eggs and milk and butter. Occasionally, I think meat will be consumed (when guests are over – I am a believer in catering to your guests – also, my wife is not Vegan at all). When I am out, I think I will try my best, and whatever happens, happens.

Onto the final stretch!

Urban herbivore – at the Urban Eatery

Confession time – this is my first post using the iPhone WordPress App. Meaning if something is off, that is why.

Also this is my second attempt to do this. I lost the initial post.

Anyway, today the Toronto Eaton Centre opened their $48 million food court. It is quite nice actually. But this post is not about architecture. It is about me vs. Veganism.

Urban Herbivore. A local eatery that is vegan. They have a spot in the new food court. So naturally i had to check it out. Below is a placeholder for a photo as i am having uploading issues…(EDIT – photo added)

The first thing i noticed is that there is a line for a queue and yet people just wqlk up and order. Wait- is this an Italian airport? What the heck is that???

Anyway i decide to order a salad cone. I am informed that they don’t have them. Even though it is on their menu and they have been open for an hour. Poor planning!!!

So i order a tomato and avocado sandwich. I pay and I wait. And I wait. And I wait. I discover that since they have a corner booth, they have two cash registers set up. One prep area. So apparently someone else came to the other cash and ordered the same thing as me and was immediately given my sandwich. Frustrating!

I finally got fed and it was good. I sure hope it was a case of opening day craziness. Or else the good sandwich placeheld below won’t last…(EDIT – photo added)

Lea Michele and Vegan Lasagna

For those who don’t know, Lea Michele is Rachel Berry on Glee. This girl:

Anyway, I had an article sent to me the other day, that says she is hungry for vegan lasagna. Here is the article:

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Entertainment/20110820/lea-michelle-vegan-110820/

Now, when Glee first came out, I was a fan. It was funny, and something different. I know the criticisms that people have of it, but whatever. Over the second season, I have slowly stopped caring about the show, and am now out. But that being said, I do know who the actors are, so when an article comes up, I have to check it out.

The jist of the article is that she has been vegan for a few years, and misses foods. I get that. I miss foods all the time.

Then came the part of the article that I love, and then hate – the same paragraph says that being Vegan has given her lots of energy (which is true). But she misses Lasagna. So her Mom taught her to use Soy and Tofu to sub the meat and cheese.

She then goes on to say she has fake eggs with fake cheese for breakfast. Anyone who reads my blog knows my feelings on faking foods.

If Lea Michele ever googles her name, and comes across this blog, I have a suggestion for you when it comes to Vegan Lasagna – try this one – you won’t miss the meat or the cheese!

https://frankvsveganism.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/vegan-lasagna/

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