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Day 115: The Day I Officially Stop Doing This Daily

For the second time in a row I have been AWOL from my beloved blog and from you. The reason why is the last blog I wrote was long, and it was factual, it was funny, it was good, it was deleted and replaced with a draft for a different piece when I pressed publish. I was not amused, and I did not have the time to re-write. Several days later (aka now) I have officially decided that I don’t want to this every day anymore.

Well I do, but, I have found one personal issue with doing so – the blog feels rushed. Not enough time in the day to properly research a subject, make sure it’s funny and informative and proofread before posting. It is mainly for this reason but also those above that I am only going to post when I have something truly worthy of your gorgeous, intelligent eyes to read. I will also be doing posts of just pictures on occasion. This may lead to more than one post a day. It’ll be so worth it, if I may say so myself.

Brace yourself, awesome posts are coming.

Summer Tay.

In other news, I just found out there are recipes for making tofu taste like real bacon. Trying really hard not to get my hopes up but oh dear holy angels who art on heaven let it be true. (Damn I miss bacon. And cheese. Vegan Cheesy Bacon I will find a way and I will make you and you shall be delicious.)

Day 108: When at War (D106, D107)

Hello my dear readers! No I have not forgotten you, I have simply been internet deprived for several days. How I survived I do not know.

The reason why I was internet deprived, I went to war. It was harrowing. There were many casualties and I for one got hit in several places. Mostly the legs, a fair few to the back, and whoever shot me on the butt 3 times I don’t know who you are, but I will find you, and I will kill you. I’m still walking like Vince McMahon a little bit.

Never-the-less, my full day introduction to paintball was wonderful. I learnt that war is fun, that McDs offer English muffins with jam for breakfast and that this is the only vegan option around at7.30 in the am and that sometimes, on occasion, I can be bad-ass.
Being a derp I just assumed there would be a canteen with chips on offer for a vegan lunch. Nope, vegetarian pizza for $10 or bring your own. My friends brought criskets, so I snacked on that. For those of who don’t know what a *crisket is it is air solidified into a thin rectangular shape. Literally. I highly recommend if you’re on a strict anorexic diet.

Obviously all this took place in the bush in the middle of nowhere and no reception. Once back in civilization you’d think the internet would work on my phone. It did not. I have had no internet for several days and unfortunately no way to write daily. To make up for it, I will make extra posts during the next week to make up quota. There will be adorable pictures.

To playing war and catch up,

Summer Tay.

*A crisket is a cracker. I assume we were meant to put things on top of it to give it flavour, but stuff it, plain crisket air ftw!

P.S. The bruises, oh gosh the bruises. I can barely move my legs. I was told going vegan there would be no bruises. It was a lie 😦

Day 73: Handbags and Salads

Hello dear readers 🙂 I have had 2 things to blog about today, and the one being completely unrelated to the other in almost every way, Ive separated the topics to make it easier to navigate to the part you’d find interesting. To some up the parts: part 1, monacle handbag, part 2, Speedy Von Salad.

Part 1: Handbag shopping

About 3 weeks before going veganish I bought a gorgeous, designer, $800 leather handbag. Now before you go calling the nice doctors in the clean white coats, there was a sale. A big one. I’m not cray cray. 3 weeks later I decide to become vegan. Well, shoot.

Shopping for handbags, again! I hate shopping for handbags. They are impossible to find nice ones in the right colour with the right style and the right space and don’t break after a few months (I have a skill) and all the things! Looking for faux leather was my first hit. These would certainly be nice looking, and not so expensive as real leather.

The first website was all mens, the second was super expensive and ugly, as were the few rest. Until I found this.

ImageThere is no price too much to pay for such a bag, only prices so high that I cannot  afford to pay for them.

…As much as I wanted this and only this (for a while anyway) ended up buying  a new handbag and wallet from Kate Hill to a grand total of $35. Why the new wallet? Because sale, that’s why.

Part 2: Salad Recipe

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For lack of a better name I dub thee Lazy-Ass salad, for I am a lazy butt, and you, you are a salad. Here is how I made my lazy-ass salad:

Grab a vegan chicken schnitzel ($7 for 4 from Coles enclosed fridge section). Cook that sexy crumbed beast on a small fry pan that just holds it. This will compact the vegetable oil (or whatever oil you use). Whilst that is cooking grab a bowl.

Grab the bowl, grab a handful of lettuce randomly from a big lettuce formation in your fridge, wash it, chuck it in the bowl.
Grab a thin slice of red capsicum and cut into teeny tiny pieces, a fresh as fudge sliced mushroom, a thin sliver of red onion cut into miniscule dust specks, and olives, halved. This should take 4-5 minutes.  This is the part where you get to go crazy with the spices.

Shift your attention to the chicken, now to me, now back to the chicken.  Add oregano to your uncooked side of the chicken. Flip that chick. Cover the cooked side with turmeric and add lemon pepper to the oil around it. Mush that chicken all around the fry and soak up some of that delicious lemon pepper.

Once sufficiently cooked remove chicken from fry pan and cut into 1cm x 1cm pieces (or whatever size you want) and add to salad. Mix that sh*t. If you like add a salad dressing. I’d recommend something creamy.

Eat that salad like you’ve never tasted salad so good.

This salad took me about 10 minutes tops to prep, cook and eat. This could easily be made to feed up to 8ppl without majorly affecting the amount of time it would take to make.  Unless you make your dressing from scratch. Which if you notice from the name of the salad in its true nature, and you’d have to rename your version. The sanctity of my salads name must be preserved and all.

Hope you enjoyed my partitioned blog piece.

Summer Tay

Day 71: Hipster Vegan Hangout

I’m writing on my phone for the first time so this post is going to be short. Today I was taken to a trendy hipster type place I never knew existed.  It consists almost entirely of food. The exceptions are a clothing store and a live band. They weren’t too shabby. But back to the food.

They had everything! All the kinds of food including wood fire pizza, Korean, Vietnamese, Hungarian, Vegan. The vegan one had a whole bunch if different fresh salads, a hot pot, falafel, some weird and tasty seaweed roll thingy and a couple of desserts to choose from.  I had a massive craving for potato so went with a potato salad.

Where to find this?  Every Saturday from 4pm you’ll find this place of awesome and wonderment at the industrial estate in Miami, QLD (Australia). The Miami Marketta.

I want to add a picture, but the phone is being a b-hole.

To the next step: becoming hipster! (But not really if I do that please just shoot me).

Summer Tay.

Day 58: Fortified Foods Versus Nutrient Supplementation (and the longest comment response in history)

The questions to be addressed today are:
1. To fortify foods, or to not fortify foods?
2. Fortified foods Versus Supplements?
3. What is fortification of foods anyways?

Fortified foods are foods that have vitamins and minerals added to them that are not normally present otherwise, for example vitamin B12 in coke. Similar to this is enriched foods, where foods are given an amount of a vitamin or mineral already present in the food. This is done to restore vitamin and mineral levels of a food after it has been processed/altered in any way. An example of this is vitamin C enriched orange juice.

Are fortified foods healthy?

If a food is unhealthy pre-fortification, then it is still unhealthy post fortification. The added nutrients may or may not make a difference to the bodies nutrient levels depending on several variables.

Variable 1: The ‘carrier’ or original item (lets say, coke) carrying the nutrient (VitB12) is not a food item that works in conjunction with VitB12 therefor the effect on your bodies level of this vitamin after drinking it is likely minimal none. However, in a carrier that has some nutritional value, fortification can be successful, for example dairy. Not the healthiest option, but if you gorge enough on it you’ll get some calcium. Fortify dairy with Vitamin D and the calcium will be absorbed faster and more effectively. Though it still doesn’t beat getting it from natural sources.
So in other words part of the effectiveness of the fortification depends on the fortified item – does it have a ‘supportive’ relationship or an ‘I’ll tolerate you’ relationship with the nutritional addition?
Another way to look at it: red Bull advertises it includes Vitamin B12 – a much sought after vitamin by many people, but especially vegans. Should we start drinking red bull as a daily health tonic for nutritional sustenance? I think not.

Variable 2: The fortifying nutrient – which version is being used? Consider Vitamin B12; Methylcobalamin is the healthier and less used version of Vitamin B12, versus Cyancobalamin, the more common yet less effective source. Hydroxocobalamin also exists, but doesn’t appear to get used much if ever. Packaging of fortified foods will often tell you the vitamin added but not the specific type thereof, and this difference can make all the difference in effectiveness of the product as a carrier.

 

So does this mean fortified foods are bad? No… not exactly.

Fortification has had positive effects. One of the first instances of this dates back to the World Wars and fortifying bread with commonly deficient nutrients and was regarded as highly successful. A more recent, Australian-Aboriginal example would be the addition of iron, thiamine, niacin and riboflavin to bread in the Bourke region (New South Wales). The fortification was successful in helping the people in the area improve their levels of those specific nutrients. The process was stopped after it was given media attention and a subsequent negative backlash, the latter being displeasing to the bakery owner who consented to fortifying his bread. According to the article, the critics gave what appear to be generalistic conjecture that did not do the study justice. Feel free to view the article for yourself here https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2006/184/12/repeating-history-objections-fortification-bread-and-alcohol-iron-filings-folic.

Governments world-wide have been looking to safely fortify different foods effectively to combat issues that have affected their regions of the globe. Considering what the critics mentioned in the article (risks including potential overdose on certain nutrients), and the implications and morality of fortifying foods, I personally feel it is important to keep a good eye on just what the government is doing in that area. For example fluoride in our drinking water. But I will save that for another post, on a day where I feel like a good, strong, anti-government (and also informative) rant.

Fortifying foods can be an amazing and beneficial thing when done right, but it can be dangerous when done incorrectly. Regulations for packaging and supplying sufficient information to consumers about the version of the nutrient involved I feel should be put in place. Following/in conjunction with this, more research and public accessible (and easy as pie to find) information should be available on the different ways of fortifying different foods, as well as the effectiveness of each items providing fortified nutrients. If each product were forced to prove via independent study that their nutrient fortified product actually increased a persons health and nutrient benefits there-of before being allowed to advertise it on their product, that would be great. Also, any unhealthy product which has been proven effectively fortified, should be obligated to have a disclaimer or similar reminding people that their product is not recommended as a main source of that nutrient and will not be sufficient in providing all of that nutrients needs, and is still a junk food. At least that’s my opinion.

Basically what I’m saying is that if an unhealthy product claims to have health benefits due to fortification, ignore it. Feel free to drink fortified with VitB12 diet coke of course if that is what you want, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s doing your body any good – it’s still is and will always be coke.

Now for the fun-cooker: provided the product/carrier is a healthy item, and the correct version of the nutrient has been added in a way that is safe and effective for the human body, then which is the better option for nutrient intake; Fortified foods, or supplements?

I’m going to go with, why be mutually exclusive? Each has their good and bad points.

Fortified pluses

  • The nutrient is compatible with the carrier food, there for is more readily absorbed by the body and more effectively.
  • You will not have to create a meal to eat with the nutrient, the nutrient is already in the meal.
  • On a grand scale, it is more effective in solving a deficiency problem of an entire section of people (like solving an iron deficiency of an entire country for example)

Fortified negatives

  • The packaging does not say which version of the nutrient being used
  • The product does not promise effectiveness of the nutrient, just the promise that the product itself has it in there.
  • Higher risk of overloading on the nutrient. The product does not have to specify the amount of the nutrient.
  • On a grand scale, can be used for unethical purposes. (fluoride, water, another time, another post).

My personal recommendation: If you have a specific deficiency, particularly if it has gotten quite bad, or if you simply could do with an extra hit of a particular nutrient then yes, fortified foods would be a great choice. Unfortunately it is a good idea to do research into the particular fortified product/s you wish to buy in order to ensure you get ones that will be effective and not have negative side effects or overload you on the nutrient.

In terms of it becoming a trend: provided the people maintain a vigilant eye on the government as they do it I think it is a great idea and would like to see more of it. Except for the fluoride in the water. We have not paid enough attention to that. But again, another time, another post, another rant.

As for supplements,

Positives:

  • You can monitor exactly how much of each supplement you are taking (how many grams).
  • More likely to notice if you haven’t kept up with a particular vitamin or mineral.
  • They are more highly regulated for safety and effectiveness.
  • More research is currently available to know what you’re getting yourself into and the potential side effects (whilst side effects of fortifying are still in theory and conjecture phase).

Negatives:

  • You could overdo your intake on them. Calcium and heart issues are a trending world concern currently.
  • You will have to eat something, otherwise it won’t work (or at least not very well), and you’ll feel ill.
  • They tend to come in round bottles that are easy to knock on the floor which then roll far, far away from you and you have to go chase them around the dining and living areas then bend over all embarrassed because everyone heard them hit the tiles and someone jokingly yells out “see, this is why we can’t have nice things!”.

Supplements are still fantastic, and for now I would personally advise for these to be used for general nutritional health assistance.

Well this was a very long blog. I have tried to minimise it as much as possible. I hope this has been enlightening and informative for you. If anyone knows more about fortified foods or have other examples (good or bad) of this, whether from the process used to the ethicalness of any part of the subject or anything in between, feel free to add any time. This topic is definitely by far under-researched and very interesting. The depth in health, global issues, global community and the ethics of all this. I look forward (I think) to seeing where this goes.

One thing I’d like to mention before signing off, other countries seemed hesitant to fortify raw foods, and as yet I haven;t come across proof that they have yet – except for Australia. Mushrooms have been fortified with vitamin D since Sept. 2010. This happened. I see no mention of this at the grocery store, and feel like it ought to be mentioned next to the price or something before purchasing. Is there a non-fortified version out there and can I buy that as easily? Is it really wise to, in a sense, force people to eat fortified foods? I hope it’s a good thing because I love my mushies.

Anywho, apologies again for the length of this blog. Thank you to the person who got me onto this topic, I hope this helps your own research on the subject/s.

To finally giving my hands and your eyes a break,

Summer Tay.

P.S. For further fortification study (particularly but not exclusively for the USA) try here: http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/CAT87209052/PDF

Day 52: Carnivore Quiz

Some say humans are carnivores. That we evolved to eat meat. If we did, then we would have the bodies of a carnivore. The speed, the internal organs, the jaw, and the ability (and desire only) to eat raw meat. We are the only species that eats meat cooked. We are physically incapable of eating raw meat – not without getting extremely sick, if not dieing. That after so many centuries of eating meat we still haven’t evolved into a raw meat eating species I personally feel proves that not only have we not evolved into a carnivorous species, but that we also never will. If you’re a believer in evolution (like me) you might say this means that eating meat would not be an evolutionary step forward for humanity, hence the not doing so. We just weren’t meant to eat it. We just like to, some of us. 

On my search for more fors and againsts I found a few comparison tables, the most informative I hope will appear below. If not I’ll add it as a link as I mutter expletives about a certain blog hosting site.

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In my surfing of the web I also came upon a rather adorable video, narrated by a very intelligent pig. He will explain how to tell if you are a carnivore. Anyone who doesn’t want to be bothered with graphs may prefer this version.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05zhL1YUd8Q&NR=1

Next time someone comes at you with the “we are meant to eat meat -it’s healthy, it’s natural, we evolved to eat meat”, show them these and explain how not healthy meat is, how as a species we have not devolved to eat meat, and how clearly not healthy it is for our bodies based on these things and so much more evidence being out there.

Really, if you choose to eat meat, fine. I’ll leave your diet alone if you leave mine alone. If you start the topic though, and you start with your carnivore logic, then you’ll get a lesson or two. If you really want to talk about the healthiness of veganism and carnivore diets, learn about it first. Don’t enter the conversation ignorant and then maybe you won’t feel so “judged” when I give you the facts I have that justify my diet. Or maybe, just maybe, your research will lead you to change your mind too and give up the meats and things. Of course if you’d rather stay ignorant, then fine, just don’t enter a serious conversation about diets and health if you are going to deliberately choose to remain ignorant. Oh yeah, and, hearing from someone who heard from someone that  some vegans lack fiber does not constitute being knowledgeable on the topic.

It’s amazing how quickly other people become experts in your health when you become vegan.

Well, that is my rant. So many more things I want to say, but it just comes out negative. Like why do people think that because we take note of our vitamin and mineral intake (and take supplements) that we are less healthy? Everyone should be doing that, it’s just more common among vegans and vegetarians, because we actually give more of a damn about it. And why act like we are preachy lecturery meanies when we try to tell you that your red meat is going to give you a heart attack? We’re trying to help. Heart attacks are not fun, and I know how to have you not go through one. Sigh.

Everyone treats me like different person now, yet I feel kinda the same, but it makes me wonder if I have changed, even though this decision seems like a natural one that I should take. Apparently I have already smashed through the amount of time several people thought I would last on the no meat no dairy issue (the 1 slip-up not being counted). The longest anyone has on it is 3 months. Thanks for the vote of confidence guys! I am so going to be better than that. This started out as just a health thing, but it’s become so much more. In case it hasn’t become obvious, I’m officially adding animal ethics to my reasons for doing this (hoorah!).

Ok now my rant is over. Thanks for reading!

Summer Tay.

Day 43: Howdy Partner

Today I did not turn Avocado into wedges as intended. Instead I went to a friends place and watched the last episode of Sherlock. It was awesome. After the episode I enquired why a section of their lounge room was looking something similar to a tip, and they responded by giving me a hat. Not just any hat, a chip n dip dorito hat.

Image                                              Pete Campbell eat your heart out.

It was going to go in the bin otherwise, so I got to have it. When I make my wedges, this hat will sit on my head as I eat them from it. Whenever I make foods for my family I will prepare something with dip so I can use this hat. I will probably replace the dorito part though. I’m thinking of going with this:

Imageor maybe this:

ImageNot sure what I’ll cover the dorito logo with. But I don’t eat those so it has to go.

Too bad the hat is a little big on me, otherwise I’d be wearing it all the time outside. It’s the perfect hat: it protects me (from the sun), feeds me, never talks back and looks cute on me. Who needs boys?

On a different topic, after Sherlock and hat giving/receiving, a group of us went to Grilled (burger place). Noticed their menu had a “how to turn our veg burgers vegan” mini guide. It was a nice gesture, but the guide simply seemed to say to remove all the things that make the burger unique to grilled (their special sauces) and remove the cheese (duh, but still, their cheese helps make the burgers). As tempting as it was, the burgers were $13. I couldn’t bring myself to part with $13 for a burger with neither sauce nor cheese. Chips cost extra.

Maybe next time though. I kinda regretted not being able to write about the “Grilled vegan burger experience” on this here blog, and sitting eating chips whilst everyone else ate epic burgers was lame. I’m really getting over the eating chips/wedges when everyone else is eating a normal/appropriate meal at every food place we go to.

 I’ll give Grilled another try when feeling rich or have someone with me who owes me a dinner.

To awesome gifts!

Summer Tay.

Day 31: Love Thy Handles

Still alive, still not in jail. The cyanide in VitB12 would not be enough to harm you. Cyanocobalamin, the cyanide version of VitB12, is also found in fruits and nuts as well, such as almonds, soy, spinach, bamboo, apple seeds, etc. It turns out I am not the only one to have figured out and become surprised by the whole cyanide thing. Some sources say the Cyano VitB12 is fine, whilst others will mention the other option and say you’re better with the Methylcobalamin one. Hmmm, I shall finish the supplements already bought, then be more careful next time. No more cyanide!

To mark the end of the first month of this diet attempt, someone pointed out I have lost weight. He made sure before making the comment by jiggling my (slightly diminished) love-handles. Joy.

To the end of a month of blogging,

Summer Tay.