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…and now a lesson on inflation

November 3, 2009

puffed_puffer_fishYesterday a metaphorical weight was lifted from my shoulders when I finally gave my notice at work.  I had been so hesitant to tell them due to the current economic climate and my own extreme desire to keep my private life private that I tended to overeat a bit.  Yes, you can get puffy on a vegan diet.  It’s the evil carbs I tell you! 

Even so, feeling a bit blue due to my bloat I knew that I needed to break the exciting news to my HR department and the three people who are my immediate bosses. 

Imagine my amazement when, after telling everyone (they were very happy for me), I felt not only as though a weight had been lifted but also that actual weight had disappeared.

I am, apparently, a nervous bloater – like those puffer fish with spines that used to hang from the ceiling at Trader Vic’s.   

Everything fits better today and it’s wonderful

The Three Fourths Vegan

October 26, 2009

The 3 month vegan has had it.  Here’s what has been happening.  I have been pretty fastidious in adhering the vegan philosophy but completely disregarding the skinny bitch aspect of it and, in doing so, completely missing the point of the whole experiment.  The point was not to reduce my carbon footprint or save cuddly bunnies and chickens from cruelty.  No, the point was to miraculously become model thin while feeling superior to everyone else for not eating meat.

This experiment has failed and I fully admit that the blame rests on my shoulders, like a furry non-faux mink stole, head intact, it’s eyes glowing with disapproval.

Some people can lose weight on a low fat diet, some on all vegetables, some on powders and bars. I, however, need to have a little lean protein in my life.  I think my main problem (aside from sugar) is that I am mildly allergic and not terribly fond of soy products, the bean and rice combinations to get a complete protein were upping my carb intake too, too much.  I am also sick of rice and beans and hemp milk and seeds.  Then I don’t eat them, then my nails peel. Then I have a day where I eat something totally non-approved – like hawaiian pizza, or a burger or frozen yogurt.

I will be 3/4ths vegan from now on.  It’s brilliant – it even has a 3 in it and it involves Kristen Math so that’s always a treat. 

Three meals and a snack a day – that’s 4 meals, three of which will be entirely vegan and skinny bitch approved (recap on that – vegan + no sugar and no white flour) – the fourth will have the addition of a lean protein.  I am going to go with egg whites or turkey as my foray into beef eating (see prior blog) didn’t really work out so well (too much, too soon).

It’s almost like how normal people eat – fancy that concept.

Furlough

October 22, 2009

Sometimes I like to nap during a massage and other times I like to talk. Luckily I have found an amazing therapist who understands this. The last few months I have fallen asleep on the table and just barely grunted if she torqued something a little too much during my weekly make my wrist normal session. Yesterday, however, I was chatty as could be.

Why?

We were talking about vegetable eaters (of the vegetarian and vegan persuasion) and their proclivity to cheat with, of all things, hamburgers. Having been a mostly good vegan for a few months and an almost vegetarian for months prior, I understand the need to have the kind of wildly inappropriate break from a regimen. It’s akin to soldiers on shore leave. I wanted a lusty hamburger all of a sudden, so I emailed a friend, the Burd, upon my return to the office.

The Burd is a culinary co-conspirator – a lover of food and fun and happy to accompany me to a greasy spoon for an equally greasy burger. I somehow felt the need to tell our waitress that I was going on a bender after 2 months of veganism and I needed a cheeseburger, stat!

She was happy to oblige and even suggested I have it on grilled bread, with sautéed onions and bacon. I then ordered a Guinness. You only die once and I happened to have a few bus tokens in my pocket for Charon, the ferryman – bring on the grease hell!

One quarter of a giant burger, half a Guinness, and about 10 mini packets of saltines later I recalled my talking about her vegetarian friend’s willful slips up with burgers and how she inevitably then pays the price through extreme physical discomfort – I had laughed at that, but I am not laughing now.

Smooth(ie) Criminal

October 19, 2009

Last night I went to dinner, alone – something I have never minded.  I do not understand the stigma of the solo diner.  Is it sad?  I don’t think so.  I enjoy my own company and my trashy gossip magazines inserted between the pages of an already-read Harper’s magazine. I don’t think I should have to stay home when I want someone else to cook and takeout is never an appealing option. If anything it’s the opposite of sad – it’s a celebration of self worth – or it can be, at least.

For some time now when I want to have a solo decent I-didn’t-cook-it-myself meal I will head to Midtown Café because it’s close and they do not pipe-in ridiculous music.  It is blessedly quiet, abuzz only with the murmurs of happy conversation and hushed mastication. I can have a glass of wine and make a meal of their vegetable sides and they are always accommodating of my desire for olive oil instead of butter and will even steam instead of  sautee – depending on my mood.  These are professionals and they know their clientele – a fact which, under normal circumstances, is laudable, but when you are willfully “cheating” on your diet not so much.

You see, they know me and they have, apparently, deduced that I am a vegan or at least a vegetarian so when I ordered seared ahi tuna last night I was met with a slight gasp and a mini-barrage of questions.

“But, wait aren’t you vegetarian …or….?” I take their visible confusion for nosiness and it is, because why should they care?  Small talk for the sake of small talk – can’t they see I am reading about the decline of the American newspaper (really, about Jennifer Aniston back with John Mayer)? 

I am mad because I have been caught – caught red handed, or red ahi-ed as the case may be.

It’s fucking fish – healthy, cancer fighting, Omega-3 fatty acid rich, sushi grade deliciousness and I am feeling chocolate éclair sized guilt….so I ordered key lime pie for dessert too. 

Key Lime Pie is practically a fruit smoothie, right?

Navigating the Office Breakfast

October 16, 2009

Today is Bosses’ Day – the day when we are asked to remember our employers and all they do for us, like pay us for the work we do and refrain from hitting us. I am pretty lucky in that I work for some pretty decent people and I love an opportunity to cook so I eagerly signed up for the Bosses’ Day Breakfast.

It’s a potluck breakfast buffet of sorts. Signup sheet, etc. I believe nearly an entire hog was sacrificed and 2 gallons of butter spilled to provide this morning’s spread. Sausage balls, pigs in a blanket and sausage biscuits sidled up next to cheese grits with bacon and mini quiche lorraine (frozen appetizers). A box of doughnuts snuggled next to 5 tubs of assorted flavored cream cheeses meant to spread not on bagels but on croissants.

The sole vegan offering was a bowl of previously frozen fruit salad that had been defrosted in the microwave 10 minutes prior to serving. It looked warm and bruised.  How appetizing.

Of course, I’d like to think the sole dietary as well as visually appealing standout were my corn muffins. While not vegan, at least they were not likely to give anyone a heart attack. Made with egg beaters and skim milk and filled with fresh corn kernels and green chile they were a big hit. 

The dregs of the breakfast still linger in the breakroom, with each passing moment gathering more and more potential food poisoning. Why is it then I have the strongest urge to snap up a pig in a blanket?

A call to the office locusts!!! Please (re)descend!!!!

Two months down one more to go

October 14, 2009

I have finally given my mother the web address for this blog.  Although I had read snippets to Ray and Sue I had never really unleashed upon them the full enchilada, so to speak.  Partially because my blog revealed I am (gasp!) carless and partially because I am a chicken when it comes to parental criticism.  The fact is, they are so often right.

First things first, Sue laughed.  Thank god.  I often think we are cut from the same cloth when it comes to our form of humor.  It’s a sarcastic weft and bitchy warp yeilding a lovely and charmingly off kilter jacquard.

Then she said it – the criticism I run from.  The ultimate truth I cannot face. “Kristen, all you do is think of food.” 

Since that sentence hit the air I have not been able to write for fear it would be too foody, too obsessive, too too.

Then I remembered another truism from Mom, “Get over it!” 

…and I did.

Looking back at the last two months I feel that only just now have I really hit my stride in regard to the veganism and attitude toward food in general.  As of the past few weeks I have cultivated a much less obsessive view on being perfect in the diet, planning meal after meal far, far in advance and defining myself and my self worth in relationship to whether I was perfect that day or not.

I’ve kind of relaxed a little and, perhaps, acheived a  modicum of zen.

on to the “Skinnerdome”

October 2, 2009

I will be home in Phoenix for the next few days to enjoy some parental bonding.  This will be my last trip to the ‘dome for a while – possibly not until 2011, if then.

Dilemma: Ray and Sue, proprietors of the ‘dome, are serious carnivores – so much so that they pretty much exclusively dine at steakhouses. Ray and Sue think it’s fine for vegetarians because “they have fish” which, I will admit, is a pretty common mistake as many “vegetarians” actually eat fish and while technically that makes them pescadarians, it all just gets too confusing so they opt for the vegetarian label.  Vegans though – vegans are pretty hard core and everyone should know it by now, that is except for Ray and Sue.  I find it oddly easier to stick to an extreme regimen in the presence of Ray and Sue (at least in the short term). 

So, I should be golden, however, the line up for this week includes dinner at J&G Steakhouse. I have never tried J&G and I am pretty excited since it’s Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s take on the steak house and it’s housed in what used to be one of the family’s former haunts, Mary Elaine’s.  I’ve perused the menu and can definitely make a meal of sides sans sauces, but I wonder if I should just chuck it all and enjoy myself as I will likely not eat this way again for a while or do I go with the vegan program which is weirdly enhanced by the proximity to the ‘dome?