One of my teachers, Gina Norman, talks about how when you start doing Yoga, all of a sudden your vices stop being fun.
When you eat something that you know is bad but tastes good, you feel awful, and eventually you start making different kinds of choices. I am not sure why it happens, and I was competely sure when I started practicing that it wouldn’t happen to me… But it did, and I have watched it happen to many of my students over the years. Something shifts, and all of a sudden they are juicing beets and carrying small bags of almonds everywhere they go.
It was all well and good for me to start slowly, over time, moving towards a plant based diet, and thinking about things like seasonal and locally grown, but I have a family. My kids are eaters, ever since they were little we exposed them to different flavors and foods. They love all foods, well, most foods. My husband (who grew up in California with a mother who made pesto mayonaise that while tasty, was a very bright green. Needless to say, other kids were not clamoring to trade lunches) is open to the idea of a vegan diet, is also be happy to down a large diet coke and a hamburger for lunch if need be.
Below are some of our meals over the last few months. Most of the recipes I improvised, via a blending of my recreational reading of the Joy of Cooking with the Candle Cafe cookbook, and tons of vegan blogs. I will make a list of my favorite books and blogs in a separate post.
Some tips for cooking vegan food for your not vegan family:
1. Keep it simple
2. Don’t take it personally if they hate it
3. Figure out a few staples and then vary them a little, ease in new flavors and textures
4. When in doubt, ask yourself if you would have eaten it as a kid…
One other wrinkle for my family, not only do I prepare vegan meals, they also have to be gluten free… I get jealous of people who can use regular bread in a rice cheese sandwich… Rice cheese, and gluten free bread is a horrendous option. So, I don’t make meals that use processed approximations of something that the indutrial food industry can make way tastier than I can.
Take cauliflower florets, I used two heads of medium sized cauliflowers. I filled the Vita-mix half way with raw florets and just shredded them enough to look like rice. This would work in a food processor as well. I put the shredded cauliflower in a pan with a little bit of water, salt, pepper and some crushed garlic to taste. In a second pan, I sauteed onions, black beans and some sliced red and yellow bell peppers, in olive oil and a littlle lime juice.
After the beans are cooked add them to the cauliflower and saute it all together. When everything is blended together, I chopped fresh avocado and cilantro and added it in. It was good in a bowl, with a little jalapeno for me, but for the kids I put it in a taco shell, and they chowed.