Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cooking Fellow Bloggers' Recipes

I have a package of split yellow mung beans I've been wanting to cook with, but really didn't know what I wanted to do with them. So I searched my favorite blogs and decided to make Wine Braised Lentils posted by Laura of Eden in the Kitchen, which can be found here: http://myedenkitchen.blogspot.com/2006_10_01_archive.html. Since I had yellow beans, I used white wine and no tomato sauce. I also discovered that I didn't have any fresh greens, so I added in edamame instead.

The lentils cooked in 25 minutes. I ended up with a sweet, delicious dish. Thanks, Laura!

While the lentils were cooking, I had just enough time to make another dish. I had been very anxious to roast sugar snap peas after seeing the recent post by Crystal. Her recipe can be found on her Vivacious Vegan blog http://vivaciousvegan.blogspot.com/. I also roasted carrots and used just a tiny bit of olive oil and a little salt and pepper. I think sugar snap peas were the only veggie I hadn't roasted. Very tasty, highly recommended. Thank you, Crystal!

I finally used the remainder of the world's largest zucchini, whose title may be in jeopardy after Vegan Ruthie's post, in a simple mixed veggie saute.

I love this free recipe exchange!

Now I must take a moment to vent and at the same time hopefully vindicate myself after being publicly chastised by Leslie of Eat Peace Please. I commented on her recent post about how wonderful her soup recipe looked and also mentioned I had received a flu shot. She basically told me the shot was not good for me and that I had forfeited my status as a vegan. I left a subsequent comment the following day stating that I was in the high risk category for getting the flu and, given the choice of receiving a flu shot or winding up in the hospital and being subjected to all sorts of nonvegan pills and food, I did what I had to do. I asked her not to be so quick to judge and told her I was being the best vegan I could be. She did not have the courage to publish my comment. I posted another comment this morning asking her to please let me defend myself, but it is not published either.

I believe that veganism is compassion for all life, mine included. If I don't take care of me and respect my own life, and if I beat myself up (or let others beat on me) because I have to take prescription medications that aren't vegan, how can I respect the lives of others? Who would respect me if I chose to suffer or die rather than take care of my own health and well-being in the name of veganism? I think I'm a better promoter of the cause as a living, healthy vegan. Sometimes choices must be made that aren't vegan. If my son is being eaten by an alligator, am I really supposed to have a hard time deciding what the right thing to do is? And if I save my son, am I supposed to feel guilty about it? I wish the world we live in could accommodate us as vegans, but I have too many responsiblities to be a martyr.

I don't apologize for taking the flu shot because I know I am being the best vegan I can be. I'm not a perfect vegan, are you?


Jul said...

Sounds like you made a well-thought-out, informed choice with the flu shot.

People who use their diet/lifestyle as a way to feel superior to amd belittle others must have very little self worth. I've seen a lot of it in the vegan online community (I'm in the process of considering becoming vegan myself), and it turns me off just as much as judgmental religious fanatics do. My goal is to avoid them and seek out the positive people out there.

Okra Mary said...

I have to take medications everyday due to some illnesses that I'll have for the rest of my life - and I'm sure they aren't vegan (in fact, I know), but I'm not going to kill myself and avoid taking them to stick to a diet. I'm just hoping they come out with some better formulas that don't contain animal products.

Gotta do what you gotta do!

bazu said...

I want to start off by saying that I love your blog and I love Leslie's blog, you are both creative and talented vegans and cooks.
I don't think that Leslie was saying that you forfeit being a vegan for getting a flu shot, because as you said, none of us are perfect, and perfection isn't even the goal.
I take birth control pills, which I don't think are vegan, but I'd like to think that when all is said and done, I'm doing more good than harm to animals.

That being said, your food looks wonderful! I'm also greatful to all the fabulous blogs with recipes out there, and I wish I could live long enough to try everything!!

madeinalaska said...

I love your line "I believe that veganism is compassion for life, mine included" I think that pretty much sums it up. bravo! I am glad you are educated and aware enough of your own health to make inform decisions.
For me, I will be the first to admit I am still in a transitional period to veganism - Life is a journey and I am NOT PERFECT.

When I took care of my grandmother who had many health issues her nurses use to give me the flu shot as well, it would have been detrimental to her health if me or the kids gave her the flu and that was something I did want to be responsible for. (you are right that would not have been very compassionate)

It is a give and take kinda world.

My daughter is allergic to dairy (not, anaphylactic) and her shots never made her react which makes me think the concentration of albumen is very low.

oh by the way all of your colorful dishes look great!
take care

Vivacious Vegan said...

First, I must say that I'm so happy you roasted the sugar snap peas. Your addition of carrots looks really pretty. This morning I got all excited because I decided to do a small Thanksgiving dinner at my house. I normally wouldn't do anything but my brother and his wife are going to come over and I figure if I cook, it might spare the life of a turkey. I'm going to roast a bunch of veggies and I was practically giddy just thinking of which ones I would choose.

I have to comment on the flu shot because I'm rather opinionated. But first, I must also fully disclose that I really like both you and Leslie and this is not meant to be a personal attack on anyone.

I have mixed feelings about vaccinations and I think a lot of it is because I haven't done enough research on them to decide one way or the other if they're right for me (shame on me, I know).

I went to the doctor two weeks ago and when I was there, the doctor asked me if I had a tetanus shot within the past 10 years. I hadn't and the Dr wanted to give me a combo tetanus, diptheria (heart and nerve problems), and pertussis (whooping cough). I was at first going to wait and try to read more info on it but then I changed my mind and had her give it to me. My mom got whooping cough volunteering at a migrant worker's preschool. She has been battling with it for over a year (although the worst symptoms only lasted 3 months or so). She coughed so hard she even bruised a rib. She has trouble sleeping at night and because of that functions poorly throughout the entire day. I wouldn't wish whooping cough on my worst enemy. So, because of my fear of getting whooping cough (which may or may not be rational), I decided to get the vaccination.

I was plagued by self-imposed guilt for a long time. I did a lot of research and was relieved to see the vaccine did not contain mercury and that it isn't likely to kill me or do any long term damage (thank goodness).

We all have to make difficult decisions that we feel are right for us personally and individually. I think in this very unfriendly vegan world we live in, most people are going to have to make some concessions at one point or another. Just to name a few - medicine, plastics, brake fluid, and asphalt all use some animal products either to manufacture them or in the final product. It's nearly impossible to avoid these items but that doesn't mean that we aren't still compassionate vegans.

erica said...

Oh, damn. I left a comment earlier but I guess it didn't take.

I wanted to say, I know how it is, and can sympathize. I have some health problems, and my naturopath prescribes me supplements packaged in gel caps. This, I resigned myself to living with, as I can't heal without them. I could probably empty the gel caps into liquid, but I still paid for them in the first place so the damage is done. But then, three days into taking a new (but thankgfully short term) probiotic, I looked at the label and read lactose was one of the ingredients. (My boyfriend's reaction: "SON of a BITCH!!" it was priceless.) Even though I hated taking them, I did it and swallowed my guilt along with the pills. Sometimes you must choose the lesser of two evils, and that is how life is. It's not always perfect and cercumstances aren't always what we'd like them to be. I try the best I can to be animal friendly and all the food I eat is vegan, but I can't afford to replace all the non-vegan items I own, and I am sure that in some people's minds this detracts from my efforts to be vegan. But I am human, and humans are imperfect almost by definition, so all I can do is try, and hope that what I am doing makes an impact in some small way, and feel good about trying my best, even if it isn't perfect.

(Wow, that grammar was horrible, but you get my idea.)

aTxVegn said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. It seems we all agree that the best thing to do is not to criticize, but to encourage and celebrate each other for all the good things we do. And I've seen you all doing some really great compassionate and charitable things. There really is so much we can do, and when we each do our own little bit, it has a huge impact. Each of you is an inspiration to me.

seattlegal said...

I so relate to your comments on the flu shot and the problems with defining ourselves and others with labels - like vegan. Although I referred to myself as a vegan when I started following a plant based diet 5 years ago, I don't any longer. Instead I say that I follow a plant based diet and sometimes I add that I'm a "practicing vegan." Practicing vegan came from a recent podcast on Animal Voices where a long-time animal rights activist discussed the problems with the finite nature of the label vegan. I mean really, who can totally eliminate all dependence on animals? And even if you could, which I don't think you can in modern society, would that be enough? My personal rule is that I always cook plant-based at home, am not neurotic about fish sauce or table sugar or butter when dining options are limited, try carefully not to use products tested on animals, don't wear fur, try not to wear leather although I'm susceptible to leather shoes, don't support zoos or circuses or that kind of thing, and otherwise try to make a choice that is compassionate towards animals and the earth when I have a choice to make....see how nuanced just one person's label can be? Labels are a convenience, its true, but they tend to be too simplistic, fostering a false sense of superiority while polarizing others - and those others count! Piety, judgment, and exclusivity have no place in the animal rights movement and every choice a person makes towards helping animals helps animals, right? Can't we all just be satisfied with defining ourselves? Okay, that's all :)

Eat Peace Please said...

First of all, I wish you could have personally contacted me and not written that you had commented to me twice after and I didn't have "courage" to publish it. Why such hostility and quick to judge *me*? I publish all comments that are written to me, so instead of quickly judging me, I wish you would have either tried to re-comment or contact me about why I never got the comment instead of assuming I just never posted it (and got it).

Secondly, you blew my response way out of proportion and I don't understand the hostility nor the emotional impact that it had on you. I simply said, "Atxvegan, a flu shot?!?! NO!!! They are made with eggs. Well, they really are used to manufacture the flu virus and besides not really being that good for you, it is totally not vegan. Good luck with that. As for your comments on the soup, I appreciate your comments. The soup worked wonders (he's not sick anymore, he really was for a day or two). I appreciate your kind comments."

So, I said that the flu shot is made using eggs, hence not being vegan. I never judged you, I don't care that you got it or not, everyone makes their own choices. I choose not to whether the shot is vegan or not, so it doesn't even matter.

I wish you really would have contacted me instead of creating a dramatic rant on your blog, but that is also your decision and your blog. I never even made a personal reply back to you, so I don't understand why you feel this way (based on my comment). So much of what you said in this post is BS and I feel confident that I don't need to defend myself (of nothing).

Eat Peace Please said...

I just commented but then read the above comments. I must chime in again and say that besides my quoted response above, I never said that it didn't make you vegan, I never said anything personal about you, I just said the shot was not vegan. It was only you who was talking about perfection, judgment and critisism. It really sucks that you feel this way and took it so personally. I'm sorry you took it way out of context, words and proportion, but I'm not sorry for what I said because it wasn't about you. It was about the shot.

aTxVegn said...


We've each had our say and I would like to move on. I will continue to read your blog and look forward to your wonderful recipes and food pics.


Candi said...

Hi Diann! Your dishes look great! I never heard of split yellow mung beans. Looks great though! I love beans that cook up quickly!

Roasted peas and carrots look great too. :P I love roasted veggies and want to learn more about cooking with roasted fruit! Our local co-op had a cooking class on that, but it was full. :( Maybe next time!

I know what you mean about the recipe exchange! I love blogger for that, and for idea exchanges too. Plus, the personalities that go behind it are always fun to discover. I love peeking in on people's lives! Lol!!

You asked if I am a perfect vegan... yes, I am. And a total liar too! LOL! I don't know any perfect vegans, and I don't worry about it. We do the best we can, and that's all. I don't think Leslie meant that you were not a good vegan; I think she was just opposed to the flu shot. I think it was a misunderstanding, and I hope you are not still upset.

Oh, and if a croc attacked my Britty...I think I'd forget I was vegan for a moment. Lol!!

Gaia said...

I want to comment about the croc ! LOL
I'm a vegan (a "Best Vegan that I Can Be" sort of Vegan :p) but I'm a mom first !
The croc would protect her baby like I'd protect mine.

I give you and Leslie a hug. Communication is hard ! At the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves if we are the best Communicators that we can be ;-)
I know I suck at it sometimes...

Eat Peace Please said...

Diann, thank you for the peace. I appreciate that you would like to move on, as would I.

springsandwells said...

I have spent a lot of time grappling with the question of how much violence I am willing to commit in the interest of self-preservation. A long time ago I read an article in a yoga publication about a woman who was raped and refused to fight back because of her total commitment to non-violence. This was not a decision that she regretted, either. I can't imagine that I would have the same response, but as long as she is at peace with it - that is what matters ( and that efforts are made to stop the person from attacking again). Currently, there is one act in which I very consciously hurt another creature - when I find ticks on my dogs I flush them down the toilet. I don't feel good about this, and have recently started trying to look for the ticks before we leave the park. The question of subtleties like this, and medication, and vaccinations are part of the path toward living in a way that is filled with conscious intentions & decisions. Even if our goal is peace of spirit, often we may choose to create agitation in our spirit if we believe that the cause is worthy of that cost.

After we went to India a couple of years ago, I was very moved by how simple, preventable diseases were killing and destroying the lives of so many people (especially children). In the liberal community where I live, many parents choose not to vaccinate their childen. I don't have kids, and being a vegan-yogi-hippee myself - I might make the same choice if I did. Still, I was struck by the fact that this is not a choice that parents in much of the world have the luxury of making. In some ways, choosing not to vaccinate oneself or ones children relies on others in your community taking that risk for you.

Anyhow, I could go on... but these are some thoughts that came to mind from reading the post and the comments.

As vegan practitioners, we are all committed to not harming animals, which includes other bloggers, ourselves, and farm animals. Yet, as people, this is not easily done - so I'm glad to see that there was honesty about the disagreement and hurt feelings, and also that there was an earnest desire to settle it.

Candi said...

LOL!! I loved your comment today! The ending made me laugh. ;)

Candi said...

PS- RAWvolution only uses lots of nuts in his desserts and the few cheeses. The soups, salads, appetizers and entrees have far less nuts than I thought! I see mostly pinenuts used, but many recipes have none at all. :) I was surprised!

laura jesser said...

Diann, I'm so glad that you used that recipe as inspiration! I took it from kaji's mom and adapted it... and you adapted it again! It's been through many makeovers!

Ruthie said...

Working in a pharmacy, I see so many disgustingly sick people that I think that any method taken to prevent an illness is worth it. I mean people coughing up blood, sick.

Even if you take a flu shot with egg product in it, if you're a hundred times less likely to have to take any antibiotic (they all contain gelatin) or wonderful cough syrup (refined sugars, alcohols and who knows WHAT else!) I would totally take the flu shot. Russell and I have a simple rule. If it's a health issue, and there is no other logical option (i.e. gelatin free vitamins), our health has to come before anything. Because how hard can we work to be passionate environmentalists/vegans if we're chronically sick in bed, or dealing with some other problem? We both take daily medications that most likely aren't vegan. (BC pills and ADHD medication)

I think people have always used this advice. Imagine: insulin for diabetics and medication used to improve clotting in hemophiliacs used to come from the pooled blood of corpses.

Oh, and please vaccinate your children. If its really not in your personal philosophy then don't, but take a good look at pictures of children with diseases such as polio, rubella, tetanus and diptheria before you make up your mind.