Monday, February 18, 2008

Catch up

Just got home from my first Bikram yoga class in a month! Not as grueling as I expected - just grueling enough. For those of you who don't know, Bikram is also known as "hot room yoga." It's a 90 minute class, a series of 26 asanas (poses) in a room that is heated to about 105 degrees. With it being a national holiday, the morning class was the most crowded I've ever been in - about thirty people - and that really increases the temperature. The idea is that the heat relaxes your muscles and increases flexibility, while detoxifying your body through sweat. Which you do. A lot. Seriously, by a half-hour into class, I'm like a seal.

Anyway, thought I'd catch up on a few meals, including .... dun dun DUN, my first trip to Whole Foods! I know, "how is that possible?" you say. But the nearest whole foods is about 40 minutes away, and I knew how expensive it is. Plus, I'm still sort of conflicted about it, ethically. From what I gather, it's sort of the foodie equivalent of WalMart. I recently read a fantastic book, "Omnivore's Dilemna," and a fifth of the book is devoted to investigating the industry of organic foods, specifically Whole Foods. The conclusion the author draws seems to basically be that, yeah, you can get organic asparagus in November, but it's shipped from Argentina and leaves a hell of a carbon footprint.

But this little excursion was not for my own shopping needs, but rather, it was the umpteenth round of my 22nd birthday celebrations. One of my best friends, a fellow veggie, knew I'd never been, so she took me to dinner at the buffet. As cheezy (haha, cheese...cuz we're vegan...oh, nevermind) as that may sound, it was awesome. And I have never seen so many different kinds of soymilk in one place! Some random guy even tried to pick us up in the faux meat aisle. He didn't seem to understand that the way to our hearts would not be by telling us about how he USED to be a raw vegan, but now eats meat. It was very awkward, and I kept staring at the Yves Sausage in an attempt to indicate that this was NOT going to happen. But he was tough to shake.

But despite this, we had a lovely dinner, pictured here.
My plate above includes (clockwise from the top) a green salad with vegan caesar dressing, some strawberries, multigrain tabouli, red pepper tofu salad, vegan potato salad (this stuff is the SHIT, I took home more for lunch the next day...yeah, I ate potato salad for lunch, you got a problem with that?), some barely visible sweet bulgur salad, and a totally invisible dolma. Yum. We also split a moist and delicious chocolate cake. Unfortunately, there is not picture because, well, we ate it. Immediately.

The next day, J and I were at CSU Los Angeles all day, since we were partners in an acting competition (does this seem like an oxymoron to anyone else?) for The American College Theatre Festival. We were in East LA and there was NOTHING for me to eat. But I will confess what I shame. My lunch before we left was the aforementioned potato salad, and then I had a scoop of dacquiri ice in a cone from Baskin Robbins and for dinner....McDonalds fries. I can't remember the last time I ate there. My body was SOOO not happy with me.

The next day (being yesterday) J and I started back on a healthy regime after a week of birthday food, Valentine's dinner/dessert, and nasty takeout. I finally made the Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon (which my lovely sister and her husband gave me for my birthday). I am going to include a picture of the breadcrumbs, just because I was very proud of my first homemade breadcrumbs. They are made from leftover whole wheat French bread. Here they are sitting atop the cookbook that gave them life...
I went the baking route on the cutlets (delish, btw) and served them with steamed asparagus and Vcon mustard sauce.
Our table, looking so pretty with V-Day flowers:
And the gratuitious close-up..
After forking out four bucks for a tiny jar of capers (I'm cheap and I am not ashamed!), I didn't think the sauce really needed them. I'm sure I'll be using them on Vcon Seitan Piccata in the near future. The sauce was great all the same, and went really well on the asparagus. Tonight's dinner will probably look suspiciously like this one, considering that there are leftovers in the fridge that need consuming.

I know this has been a dreadfully long post, but I want to wrap up on a sad note. Today, I came across this news article/video online, and it broke my heart. Apparently, undercover film reveals horrible cruelty to "downer" cows (cows that are crippled from disease) at a slaughterhouse in nearby Chino. The meat from this slaughterhouse supplies public school lunch programs. Subsequently, the FDA issued the largest beef recall in US history. I've included the video, for anyone who wants to see it for themselves. (Warning: this is pretty graphic and will probably upset you)

What is so upsetting to me about this is the fact that this is only one of the hundreds of slaughterhouses across the country, and do they really think this is the only place where such horrible abuse is happening? Apparently, people have to see the atrocities with their own eyes before they think about what they're eating, and even then, they just send the meat back and make it disappear so they can feel absolved or something. Does that mean that, if we put cameras in every slaughterhouse in the US, people would stop altogether? I doubt it. I don't want to sound anti-omnis, I'm really not. It's just so infuriating to me that people can see this, feel sad and sick, and then go out and grab a burger.

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