May 5, 2009

Things are going incredibly well with this cleanse—who knew I’d enjoy going vegan so much? Well, until I look at pictures of Sunday’s Pig Out at Coffee Bar. Anyway, life without my morning espresso is actually easy when I haven’t been up late carrying on, eating too much, and drinking. I have been missing wine with my meals, though. One funny moment: a sommelier friend wanted me to taste a wine, suggesting I just put it in my mouth and then spit. I demurred—the whole point is to forget the taste of wine for a while. Can you imagine? The spitting food writer?

It’s funny, a friend said he was going to light a candle for me, fearing that this cleanse would make me irritable. “The Irritablehopper.” I died laughing.

It’s been so grounding to be preparing all my meals—god bless Heidi Swanson for her fantastic cookbook Super Natural Living. I’ve enjoyed the recipes in it for some time, but now the book is my best friend.

When I’m not making my own vittles, here are ~FIVE OFF-THE-SHELF PRODUCTS I AM TOTALLY LOVING~ this past week (yes, I have been trolling the aisles of Rainbow):


~ I was already totally hearting the kimchee from the Cultured folks months ago (wonderful chunks of daikon and carrot in it), but now it’s my preferred condiment for all my brown rice dishes, lettuce wrap-thingies I’ve been eating, and even straight out of the jar. The khitchari kraut with Indian spices is the latest one I’m digging. And they’re local! Check out their great video series on Chow.com.

~ Guess what that kraut has been delicious with? Yup, these Field Roast vegan “grain meat sausages” I found. Scary amount of sodium, but since I’m barely eating any salt elsewhere in my diet, I’m letting it slide because they’re tasty and satisfying the meat-eater in me.

~ The first couple days on this thing, I was getting crazy hunger pangs that vegetables were not satisfying. Enter faux meat product number two: Primal Strips. They sound hardcore, but they’re actually just seitan. I got the jerky with teriyaki flavor. What’s cool is I can just eat a few pieces and it’s like having a chunk of cheese—totally tides me over at 11:30pm when I’m getting snacky. And the ingredients are pure—no MSG or fakey flavors.

~ I have been missing my pita bread—there are only so many times you can use lettuce and carrots as a delivery mechanism for hummus. A friend gave me these crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers) from an event gift bag, and what a great discovery. Not only are they freaking delicious, but bonus, they’re organic, wheat-free, and gluten-free—exactly how I’ve been eating. Meow.

~ Since I am now a tofu queen, I was looking for some different flavors than the usual savory or teriyaki profile. Enter the international selection from the Tofu Shop: the spicy chorizo was fantastic in my Swiss chard soup. It was dense and springy (but not rubbery) so it stood up to the soup instead of falling apart. Can’t wait to try the Thai and Tandoori flavors.

I wanted to forward along this site of a very impressive woman who had to give up much, much more than what I’m doing these three weeks: how about a life of NO SODIUM? ~SODIUM GIRL~ was diagnosed with Lupus five years ago and ended up having renal (kidney) failure. As a result, she now has a very restricted diet, but it has allowed her to be less dependant on drugs and treatments (she was able to go off of dialysis and avoid a kidney transplant). She has also transformed it into a real passion for food, as well as a real passion for helping others with health-related dietary restrictions successfully meet their needs. She started her blog a couple months ago (www.sodiumgirl.blogspot.com), which is about making sodium-free food (doing the impossible in your own kitchen); finding/buying/procuring sodium-free food (sodium free products, like salt free Kettle Chips!); and dining on sodium-free food (restaurant reviews). So to help her in her goal of getting the word out, I thought I’d pass this along.