Perfection

It’s okay to not be perfect. I’ve eaten food thinking everything was vegan, and then later found out that it wasn’t. Or, sometimes decisions are made only to be questioned later. ┬áThis has most often occurred at restaurants, of course.

On one of my first trips back home for a wedding, I ended up eating at a Mexican restaurant at which I frequently visited for years before becoming vegan. I ordered the vegetable fajitas and asked them to not cook it with butter. I ate it, along with plenty chips and salsa. I consumed 8 ramekins of the salsa at a minimum because I was so hungry from not being able to eat much at the wedding (and from all the free wedding drinks)! I later found out that both the beans and the salsa (the salsa!!!!) were drenched in lard. Who puts lard in salsa? Therefore, I went out of my way to avoid eating any animal products at the wedding only to have a PIG FAT FEST afterwards.

Another example: I ordered a veggie burger when I was out eating in Houston with my visiting family. I asked questions ahead of time, and found out I couldn’t eat any appetizers due to the milk and eggs in the batter of all of the fried foods, but could have the burger (no mayo) and fries. I patiently waited for my burger and fries, getting hungry, watching everyone eat a bunch of appetizers like fried pickles and fried mushrooms. Finally, all of the main dishes started coming out. But then, the owner came to the table to let me know that the burger bun and the spinach aioli dressing that goes on it were both not vegan. The burger bun was made in house (so it was the only bread available) and contain both eggs and milk, and the aioli was made with butter. She said they were remaking the burger without the aioli, but what did I want them to do about the bun situation? I wavered for a bit because at this point I was so ready to eat, and I had “burger” on my mind. I ended up getting the bun. I beat myself up about this for a while, but all I can do is bring my own bun the next time I go to the restaurant.

Another example: I went to a crawfish boil for the last time this year. First point to make is that a strict vegan wouldn’t go to a crawfish boil. This has been a difficult situation to avoid as I’m from Louisiana. I’ve been to about 8 crawfish boils since becoming vegan, and it’s been terrible and it sucks, and I’m now trying to quit as much as possible. I obviously haven’t eaten any crawfish or vegetables boiled with crawfish, but it’s the mere fact of participating in this ritual. Anyway, I’ve learned to request that the veggies be boiled before the crawfish, that way I can eat more than just crackers at the crawfish boil. So at the last boil I went to, my friend boiling went through all of the trouble of boiling the vegetables first (even though he only was boiling one sack of crawfish). My partner even had picked up what she thought was vegan sausage for the boil. I looked at the ingredients, saw there was egg in it, so I threw it away (because nobody else wanted it of course). Boiling is a long process, so we all sat around, drinking, talking, and waiting. Finally, the veggies were ready! I even had brought peanuts so I could have hot boiled spicy peanuts! I went look in the pot and my friend had put regular sausage in the pot with the veggies ­čÖü I was incredibly sad to see it, as I thought my friend would have understood why that was not ok, especially after he saw me throw away the non-vegan sausage. Again, I had to make a decision. I ended up eating the veggies, but I won’t ever allow that to happen again. I’m going to watch everything going into the pot. When he boiled a few weeks after, I stayed home. Again, I will try my best to not go to crawfish boils as much as possible.

I do consider myself a strict vegan, and I know situations demonstrated above in which I bended would be considered not strict (and not vegan). Veganism isn’t a cult or religion or the law. You can decide how you want to live your life and you shouldn’t have to fear the vegan police. I do the best I can. There have been times when I haven’t asked whether fried restaurant foods (like fries, tator tots, mushrooms,etc.) are fried in the same fryer as meat and seafood, because there is nothing else for me to get on the menu that would be satisfying. This is definitely an ethics issue that I struggle with. Sometimes I might mess up, but overall, my “little protest” is saving the lives of animals and reducing animal exploitation overall. Before becoming vegan, I was eating an abnormal amount of meat. ┬áOne thing I will never bend on is eating a slab of meat. That will never happen on purpose.

Some vegans are very aggressive and I get it. Once you go vegan and do research, it begins to pain you about all of the violence against animals in the world and you become less tolerant of the mass murder around you. However, at the same time, this aggressiveness can scare off potential vegans from becoming vegan. This is honestly the daily struggle.

Burning-Mouth Fogging-Glasses Painful Spicy Fajitas

I’m from South Louisiana and I like spicy food. Cliche, I know, but I don’t just like┬áspicy food…I like painfully spicy food. No, I don’t have a death wish and I’m not a masochist, but spicy foods provide me with an adrenaline-pumping shot to my entire being that makes me feel alive and happy. I always know I’m at the right heat level when my glasses fog up. My dining mates find it funny to watch when this occurs, but it’s hard for me to see them laughing at me through my completely fogged up glasses or hear them laughing over the sound of my pounding heart, so I don’t mind.

My favorite food is Mexican, and Mexican food also happens to be one of the most vegan-friendly foods (when you replace or remove the cheese, sour cream, butter, lard, and meat, of course). With Mexican, you can easily add avocados and/or use a cheese or sour cream substitute to give any dish a creamy taste, as I did with this recipe. You also can add some type of umami flavor to replace the flavor that animal meat would add such as mushrooms, soy sauce, vegan steak sauce, and vegan Worcestershire sauce (regular Worcestershire is normally made with anchovies).

I discovered a love for cooking after I stopped following recipes. So, no recipe, and I can’t really tell you how much of each thing I put in it. It’s more fun and liberating that way. You don’t even have to keep reading at this point. Just go in the kitchen, saute vegetables of your choice, and then put it in a tortilla with toppings of your choice. Easy.

My no-recipe recipe:

Please note first, I like my vegetables cooked very, very, extremely well and caramelized for fajitas. This is a personal preference and not recommended, but does explain the very dark color of my fajita “meat”.

How I made it:

Added coconut oil and olive oil to a cast-iron pan. I ended up adding more of both oils as it cooked, but don’t get crazy like me because I added more than necessary on accident.

Sauteed onions and chopped peppers (Used┬ámulti-colored bell pepper pieces, jalapeno pepper, habanero pepper, anaheim pepper, and canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce). I didn’t discard any of the seeds of the peppers except for the anaheim pepper because it’s not a spicy pepper so I didn’t see the point.

Added spices including cumin, garlic powder, paprika, ancho chile powder, salt, and pepper.

After this cooked down and began to caramelize, I pushed it to one side of the pan, and then used the now free side to saute sliced portbella mushrooms in vegan Worcestershire, soy, and steak sauce. You can and probably should just do this in another pan, but I didn’t so I’d have less dishes to wash. Again, personal preference. I also added the same spices to the mushrooms for no apparent┬áreason.

Fajita Meat
Fajita Meat

Heated up a tortilla on my gas stove burner. Heated up canned black beans.

Made guacamole by mixing one avocado with the juice of one lime (I really like lime. Do not add this much lime.) Added generous salt and chopped red onions.

Finally, I placed all the finished products on the tortilla and wrapped one side like a burrito for easy eating. (Added a bit of vegan sour cream and Tabasco’s Chipotle Hot Sauce on top before wrapping.)

Fajita Wrap Before Wrapping and Devouring
Fajita wrap before wrapping and devouring

 

Last thing I see before I lose my sight
Last thing I saw before I lost my sight

 

D….F’N….Licious

Veganism

I live a vegan lifestyle. Wait, don’t leave yet! I know it’s the dreaded word. I used to feel the same way. I heard the word vegan and I shut down and ran away. I couldn’t understand how someone could be so dumb to deny themselves delicious, life-altering, and deeply satisfying food. It was mind-boggling and I felt sorry for their lack of understanding of living a good life.

I have long considered myself a foodie, and others also have recognized my knowledge and passion for food. When I first made the change about three and a half months ago, my coworkers and friends laughed because surely I must be joking. Once they realized I was serious, they kind of backed away because surely I must be a having a mental breakdown or have been abducted by aliens or influenced by a cult. Finally, after a few weeks, it was accepted, but understood by everyone that this was a quick experiment, and it would be over soon, even with my insistence that I didn’t feel that way.

My family has taken it the hardest, but it’s understandable as they live in and I was raised in Southern Louisiana, where animal-based food is ingrained and celebrated in the culture. I moved to Houston over 6 years ago, so they blame the “big city” life for the change. My grandpa said my little personal protest won’t help anything, and how can I turn my back to the way I was raised, but he and other family members have now accepted it, even though they don’t understand it.

Every since my grandpa mentioned it being my “little personal protest” I realized he’s right. I know he meant one person can’t affect change, but I have to admit that I haven’t been extremely vocal about it (in order to not offend anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable). However, it gets harder literally every day┬áto hold in my relatively new realization and not tell the world about it in hopes that I can affect a greater change, even if it is just one person.

Hence, if this blog can reach just one person through a google search of a random topic, and change that person, this would be the ideal purpose of me taking the time to write this blog. It takes a lot of buildup to make the change, but once the connection is made, it can’t be undone (or rather, you don’t want it to be undone).

Refresh Reboot

This blog is for those who have a desire to continuously grow, learn, and develop on their life journey. This means to question everything, be open to change, and hold ideas to be theories rather than absolute facts.

This is what is means to refresh and reboot. Continuously refresh your beliefs and experiences, and if an idea strikes you so incredibly…you then can reboot.