You can always count on Chinese food
Last night, my wife and I met up with good friends at the posh, people-watching mecca that is Lincoln Road on Miami Beach. We decided to go out for dim sum at Miss Yipps Cafe, assuming they would have some vegetarian options for me. We were in luck! I was able to order a vegetable stir fry, vegetable dumplings and even some vegetable wantons. This was one of those moments where I had to assume I was eating within the vegan limits, but there was no way to be absolutely sure. Dinner was delicious and the company was even better.
80% of your B12, who knew?
An odd observation I have come across during my research into vegetarian diets is the issue of B12 and the deficiency vegans can have due to their diet. B12 is only found naturally in animal products such as meat, chicken, dairy, etc. The lack of B12 in a human diet can have all sorts of bad side effects including dementia and anemia. Pregnant mothers who do not get enough B12 in their diet can put their babies at risk of brain damage as well. I have heard countless stories from people that say humans were not meant to eat meat based on our long intestinal tract and various other similarities to herbivores. I have also heard arguments from the opposition. I am sure the truth lay somewhere in between. But, one question remains. If we were not meant to eat meat, yet we can only get an essential vitamin such as B12 from animal products naturally, then does that make the argument mute or does it just mean our meat consumption over the years has built up the need for B12? Either way, it’s something that needs to be discussed and not overlooked for a fair and balanced documentary.
Ok, dinner was nothing to rave over, just leftovers from the night before. What is interesting is what I found at the grocery store that gave me pause and caused me to take a second glance… canned chorizo! Yep, that’s right, you read correctly! I was blown away. I had never seen it before. There is Spam and a host of other canned meat bits, sure, but chorizo? WTF?
What’s next, canned steak?
Filling, flavorful and fantastic!
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, ‘simple is almost always better.’ Last night’s dinner was no exception. It was a long day of work, interviews and even a little surf to blow off some steam. I was in no mood to sit in front of a stove slaving away at a complex or new dish. What could be quicker than a simple angel hair pasta with garlic, oil, basil and salt, accompanied by a cooked-to-perfection group of asparagus with soy and ginger? “Not much” is the answer. Its dishes like these that make us forget that we eat vegetarian all the time, and most of the time don’t even realize it. So, before you go reaching for that red meat sauce, before you go chopping up a sausage in tube form, think SIMPLE. It’s almost always better.
Who needs a fork when mommy's lap is a catch-all
If you don’t know how to spell Falafel, then you’ve probably never made it either. Though we’ve enjoyed this tasty ball of spices and herb-y goodness many times at various Mediterranean restaurants, I’ve never actually made them. I suppose, if you want to argue semantics, I still haven’t. No, these babies were conceived in a box and born in a frying pan. Toss a little couscous on the side and you have a meal that is not only tasty, but one your two year old daughter will dig in to with both hands… literally.
The more I research the topic of vegetarians and why people move toward a plant-based diet, the more I am completely baffled why it isn’t common practice. I suppose I know ‘why’, but I am no less baffled. We can list a million reasons why more Americans don’t reduce their meat and dairy consumption; from government officials in the pocket of industry lobbyists, the average person’s ignorance to the facts, to the simple fact that people don’t move until they are uncomfortable. However, when we look at the facts, the math is simple. A reduction in meat and dairy or moving to a plant-based diet completely, will result in a healthier population with less risk of heart disease and cancer, a healthier planet that produces enough food to feed all of mankind, and finally, reduced suffering and needless cruelty to animals used simply for our consumption of food and goods. My two year old daughter can understand that math.
Tastes as good as it looks!
After a long afternoon of shooting footage for the movie, sitting in the hot Miami sun and fighting the onslaught of marauding mosquitoes, the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was cook. Luckily for me, I have the most incredible wife imaginable. Not only did she cook for me, but she made an amazing meal! The pasta was perfectly cooked, slightly al dente, with a sweet basil homemade sauce. The spinach salad was absolutely fantastic! Chopped spinach marinaded in a balsamic vinegar, drizzled with lemon juice and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The tart lemon flavor married with the sweet balsamic flavor made this my new favorite summertime salad. I fell deeper in love with my dear wife with every savory bite. Sappy, I know…
Sometimes opposites do not attract
I will say very little about this meal, aside from it was uninspired and filling. When you haven’t made it to the market and the cupboards are bare, you begin to reach for just about anything you can come across. A suitable parring is not always possible. Thus, we get this experiment akin to something Dr. Frankenstein would have built in his lab; Tofurkey Italian Sausage and Potato and Onion Pierogies. Can you say, bland?
Complete and balanced
When I think of delicious comfort food, I almost immediately turn to some form of tapas. Mediterranean dishes are often perfectly suited for this type of meal as well. Which is why when we had friends over for the second night in a row, I went with the old standby that I knew would be a crowd pleaser. A simple arrangement of almond stuffed olives, spinach and artichoke hummus, grape-leaves and pita was a perfect start to a meal where conversation and good company would be the main course. I was able to score two bottles of vegan wine after a 20 minute, less than pleasing, excursion to find vegan wine. It was all worth it in the end, but not an optimal scenario for a simple task such as choosing a bottle of wine for dinner.