Learning To Love New Foods

We’ve been cooking new recipes finding what we love and what we like. Some dishes are good enough and satisfying enough while others delight the senses and make us want to rave about it to anyone willing to listen. We are constantly teased by friends and family about how vegans never shut up about being vegan.  We try our very best to not bring it up unless someone specifically asks us about it. Maybe they are just being polite and hoping that we will give them a simple, “it’s going fine/good/bad/great” answer. Unfortunately we don’t give them the simple answer. We actually tell them all the exciting things we’ve been up to food wise and how it makes us feel. We are both excited  to share with our loved ones something that is a huge part our life right now. We’ve also been asked the question, “How long are you going to be vegan??” And the underlying message I feel that is implied is really, “how much longer do we have to hear about this.” My answer is, “I don’t know.” And usually the other person (if they know some of the reasons why) say, “once you are knocked up right?” But honestly it is my hope that I stay whole foods plant based no oil as long as possible (read the rest of my life) and most especially when I’m pregnant, breastfeeding, and raising my child(ren). And during the times that we have slip ups and mistakes as well as this new beginning learning curve we are in, then we would eat a vegan oil diet.

We are officially one month into this way of eating. I do feel like my taste buds are slowing changing.  I used to dress up everything with a sprinkling or ten of cheese. And just about anything I cooked at home had some kind of oil in it. I find my self starting to be completely satisfied with salt and pepper as a seasoning/topping and using water to saute and cook my foods actually allows me to appreciate each vegetable and starch for their own unique flavor in and of itself. I don’t miss cheese, eggs, or meat the way that I thought I would. I thought I’d long for them and dream about them constantly. It hasn’t been like that (perhaps in part because we have been quite naughty off and on with the oil?). I went out to eat last night with my sister at a Mexican restaurant. I never cared much for salsa and would always order a cup of cheese sauce to dip my chips as an appetizer. And my typical order of a chimichanga would include a heavy dose of melted cheese sauce on top along with beans and rice covered in shredded cheese. The meal she ordered last night was the typical American Mexican restaurant food you would expect. One that had oodles and oodles of cheese everywhere. Meanwhile I had enjoyed the chips and salsa (I even added some Tabasco which is totally unheard of for me if you’ve ever met me I’m a heat wimp), and a veggie fajita that had peppers, onions, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and cactus as the filling. With a side of rice and beans with no cheese and a small guacamole salad topping. My food was awesome! I had no complaints it was delicious, very filling, and satisfying. And when I looked across the table at my sisters meal I acknowledged the fact that yeah it would be nice to eat some cheese dip it wasn’t a battle of “ignore! You can do this! Restrict yourself!” It was more like a passing thought of your first love. “We had some amazing times. It would be nice to relive a moment or two of our time. But truthfully I’m happy with my new love, my real love and we didn’t last for good reasons.”

Another thing I have learned is that suddenly I’m so much more willing to experiment with new foods. I’ve never been a very picky eater. I’d eat anything that someone else cooked for me. If a member of my dining party wanted to eat somewhere “exotic” I’d be more than willing to give it a try. But while at that exotic new restaurant I would always find the one thing on the menu that I was most familiar with. Lately, I’ve been excited to try new foods that I never would have been willing to try before. For example last weekend we went to a Nepali/Indian cuisine restaurant called Himalayan Yak. Everything we ordered was something I had never tried before and actually it was things I had never even heard before. All of it was outstanding! I know we only live in Fargo, ND but the restaurants and food we have in town could rival if not surpass any big city.

The amazing food we had at Himalaya Yak: veggie samosa, veggie pakora, chapatti bread, vegetable jalfrezi, and gobi manchurian (the favorite of both of ours) served over white rice.

Whole wheat linguine with creamy garlic “alfredo” sauce and mushrooms, spinach, and peppers.
I think I have perfect my oil free no beef and broccoli recipe! Easy go to for supper.
Meal planning
I love Brussels sprouts so freaking much! I paired them with marinated mushrooms over quinoa.
Date night at the movie theater about to watch Beauty and the Beast. Also, did you know most movie theater popcorn is vegan?! Yes, even the “butter” topping. Healthy (not at all that’s a LOT of oil) but good to know it’s a vegan option if I’m craving it hardcore.

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