Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 227- Veggie Food Is Healthy?

Or, I Can Haz Deep Fryer?

So I had a meeting yesterday morning. It did strange stuff to my eating/sleeping schedule. Actually, my sleeping schedule's doing weird stuff to my eating/sleeping schedule.

Anyway. During the meeting-thing my eating choices came up. For some strange reason, people seem to think that cutting out meat, eggs, most dairy means eating healthy. All the time.

Sure, there are no chocolate-dipped, bacon wrapped deep fried twinkies in my pantry. No triple-stacked bacon cheeseburgers. No magic mystery meat of the hotdog-type. But on what strange universe is all junk food meaty?

Anyone who's been reading here for, oh, more than a week will know I have a serious junk food habit. Between that and the diet soda thing I've got some serious unhealthy going on. Taking the animal stuff out of a junky diet doesn't do anything except maybe (only maybe) lower dietary cholesterol and increase fiber intake.

Just sitting here I can think of a dozen things to eat that are in no way healthy but are either already vegan, or easy to veganize. Things like regular Lays or Ruffles potato chips. French Fries. Chocolate "milk" shakes, fritos, Sour "cream" based dips, tasty white bread, cupcakes, choco-chip cookies, chili-"cheese" fries, veggie hotdogs topped with that same stuff.

Heck, "hotdogs" stuffed with vegan cheese, wrapped in crescent rolls and dipped in mustard and catsup (sooo on my "if I had $100 for junk food" list).

The guy actually *said* "what's left to eat?" Like all I can have is dry boring lettuce, or something.

Really? Take out the meat, cheese, eggs and there's nothing left to eat?

I admit, on my budget interesting food is pretty sparse. Just because *I* can't afford something doesn't make it not there.

I'm kinda floored by this actually. Most people *see* me eat before they know *what* I eat. I don't run into this kinda deal all that often. I mean, it's tough to think a chick with a bottle of soda, a bag of Frito's, and a can of bean dip is really on a healthy eating kick. Breakfast of champions, that...

Begin Actual Food-

Food-wise, yesterday was dull. With my 8 hour "nap" in the middle of the day, I ended up finishing off the (by then stale) pancakes for breakfast, and cooked up an oven full of "fried" zucchini for dinner. I tried oven baking them. Ok, that's a lie. I pan fried them, re-breaded them, *then* tried baking them.

I dream in technicolor deep fryer. I really really do.

The oven baked/ pan fried zucchini was kinda floppy, never got really crispy, and went from undercooked to risking fiery death with no real "yum, this is good" stage in between. Some were actually both undesirable stages *at the same time*.

End Actual Food

Really, though, am I *that* confused? Am I that out of touch with "normal" eating people? Is this a "southern" thing? Or should I just go out and happily munch dry lettuce like a good little rabbit?


  1. You're not out of touch. I think when people hear "vegan" they see specially made food things. Or someone subsisting entirely on veg, fruit, and tofu. They don't think far enough as to ingredients in things or why aren't Gummi Bears vegetarian/vegan?

    Such stereotypes when it comes to food. I don't think it will change much. I don't think it's a Southern thing, rather people who don't think twice about what they put in their own mouths.

  2. I bet it is definitely part regional, but I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that most people don't a)know what is in their food and b)don't have any idea what healthy eating is.

    But if you live in an area that has a strong food culture that isn't vegan, it can be a bigger issue. I live in the heart of BBQ country, and while I know some vegetarians, I've yet to meet a vegetarian or vegan who grew up here. Since people only understand what they see . . .

  3. I don't know if there *is* anywhere, really, with a strong food culture that's vegan. I mean, you're more likely to run into vegans and veggies in big cities and in more "liberal" states, but generally, it's not common in the US.

    I do agree, that most people either don't know or don't care what they're eating. I've freaked more people out with the gelatin thing than I can count. And several people my sister knows will swear up and down that they eat nothing by meat... while chomping on fires or chips, or covering their cheeseburger (and bun) with catsup.

    Heck, even roommate #2, who has *seen* me cook and eat junky crap, thinks my food is somehow magically changed to healthy, just because there's no meat. Sure, pancakes and breadsticks are a step up from McD's, but so's taco bell...

  4. Haha. I have to agree, when people hear vegan (which I've only met/heard of two in this side of the shore), they think of someone extremist’ically healthy and complicated.

    A lot of my friends are very against a vegetarian diet because they think vegetarians are people with nothing better to do but deprive themselves, and are sickly people. I’m not sure where the reason is in those arguments, but ok. I do agree there are a LOT of options for both vegans/vegetarians, but it isn’t something most people are familiar with. And they don’t really care to get to know either because of the stereotypes out there…

    What’s this gelatin thing?

  5. gelatin comes from bones. It seems to freak people out. As in "there's *bone* in my (ice cream/ sour cream/ jello)??!" Which isn't quite accurate, but close enough.

    I actually had a friend freak out at me when I first told her I was veggie. It was almost like she expected me to fly across the country and throw away all her meat. I think people are afraid of stuff they're not used to, and they get angry or negative about it to cover. Or else they really do eat nothing but meat.

    I'm always amazed that more people don't get scurvy...

  6. There's bones in my jello?!

    I remember reading about that before, but never connected the whole bone thing with it being an animal product. Interesting.

  7. Yeah, gelatin is derived from bones (somehow, I'd actually like to know the process, you know, not to just freak people out but just to know in general). That's why when you have a good soup made from bones and you put it in the fridge it will go all jello'y when cooled.

    As for the deep fryer, when hubby and I were getting married we had a deep fryer on our list - we basically had everything we needed when we got married so one of the things we never had was a fryer - so we have one tucked in the moldy basement. I would like to break it out, but in this apartment with super sensitve alarms I can picture every alarm in the place going off if had the fryer come up to temperature. It would make cooking so much easier when making fried eggplant, that's for sure.

    Love vegan food. I'm kind of addicted to bean burgers and I say if you have a good recipe, stick with it. Looking for more vegan recipe type foods. I so want to try kimchi (asian style fermented cabbage and chili paste).

  8. Actually, pretty much all the vegans I know personally also have that misconception about veganism. As in, they think they are now automatically totally healthy, when in fact their diets are total crap. No, lettuce and tomato is NOT a salad, and it is NOT a complete meal. Of course, most of the vegans I know personally are hipsters, but none of them eat as healthy a diet as I do. The ones who know what healthy eating would be can't afford it on vegan standards, but those in the know are in the huge minority.

    It's pretty scary when dietary choices become trends and clueless people pick them up like a new pair of shoes. The raw diet people worry me a lot.

  9. Sorry, it seems that this doesnt allow the coding "< >". I typed a < / sarcasm > after my first line, haha.

    I do hate when dietary choices become trends and fads... people do things blindly without actually knowing what they're doing.
    (Such as people that grass on lettuce and tomato as a 'vegetarian' 'lifestyle'.)

    A deep fryer would be so very nice... I don't eat fried foods often, but when I do, I sure would love it done the deep fryer-way.

  10. Worse than there being bones in your jello, this means that there is JELLO in your BONES.

    But that's old school, bone free gelatin is all over the place now.

  11. Nice one Kim ;) "Worse than there being bones in your jello, this means that there is JELLO in your BONES" I so LOL'd on that one!

    Bone free gelatin? Hmm.

  12. Actually, now that I think about it, there is kosher gelatin made out of fish bones, and then alternative gelatin-like thickening agents like guar gum, but I'm not sure there is actually a vegan brand of jello type gelatin.

  13. There's some stuff I've seen at Whole foods, but I don't know how well it works, or what it's made of. It's just advertised as vegan jello.

    MrsQ- I *am* actually planning to do some (non-fried rice) cooking soon. My pantry's getting a little strange, though, so I've no idea what it'll be.

    Deep fryer makes so much stuff faster- fried ravioli, and spring rolls, and chimi's and home-made taco shells... Used to have a totally enclosed one- all that came out was steam. It was pretty cool.

    There are, I suspect, more people on any diet who don't do it right than do. I'm thinking atkins and even the standard American diet. It takes *a lot* of time, energy, and research to learn to eat right. Then, once you know how, you have to *actually do it*. That's the tough bit.

  14. LUBS deep fried ravioli and then dip it in tomatoe sauce. Da bomb!

    Strange pantries are always interesting ;)

  15. I think this is an issue of lack of knowledge about how many things are already vegan foods. I really can't imagine why someone would think vegan = healthy. The LEAST healthy eaters I know are the vegans I'm friends with (or know but am not friends with). They also make up about 70% of the most obese people I know. Which is kind of weird because one would expect it to be the meat eaters who refuse to eat most of their veggies.