Yesterday and today’s Vegan challenge…

I think this is the first day in four days that I haven’t sported a headache…I am not sure whether this is because of my new change in diet or whether because I had a fairly good nights sleep last night – so much so that I was able to pull my ass out of bed and go for a quick run. The run wasn’t particularly successful, nor was it outside (I’m not a big fan of the treadmill) but at least I did it. I need to find myself another challenge for my fitness regime. But I digress…

I’ve been thinking a lot about veganism. I’m not particularly familiar with the history of the movement but I suspect it began when animal products began being produced en masse. Leather, milk, dairy, meat riddled with chemicals because people want to produce MORE. Its all about greed, really. Now, I am really not going to be one of these people who bash meat eaters – on the contrary, I do believe that healthy meat is good as part of a balanced diet. This is the problem though – our meat ain’t healthy anymore. Even organic meat – do we really know how these animals are being treated before the slaughtering process? What is their life’s journey really like to the end? And why, oh why is good quality food expensive? Why is it cheaper for a working mother of a family of four to feed her children shite from Frozen food stores than it is to feed them good quality, healthy, chemical free stuff?

I joined a group on Facebook called ‘Vegan, Muslim and Proud’. As many people know, as Muslims (yes, I am Muslim but more of the progressive kind – see Muslims for Progressive Values for information http://mpvusa.org), we are supposed to eat meat that is ‘halal’. This means that a) it’s the meat that Allah said we’re allowed to eat (which can be found in all 3 holy books) and b) it’s been slaughtered correctly to ensure all the blood is drained and its been done in the name of Allah.

This group suggested that, although the meat may have been slaughtered in a halal fashion, was the life of the animal before slaughter halal? Bloody good point. And I am guessing more than likely not.

When I first moved to Dubai, I wondered why the chickens were so small…the largest I have seen in this country is 1600 grams – the smallest is about 800 grams. Does this suggest that perhaps the chickens here are not pumped with hormones to make them so large that their legs cannot support their own weight? I don’t know, but I really would like to think that Dubai is doing something right.

I am currently reading Jordan Rubin’s ‘The Maker’s Diet’. This guy suffered severely with Crohn’s disease and by following a diet based purely on the 3 holy books, he recovered. A lot. It is a really good read. I haven’t finished it yet, but it makes some excellent points. Basically, we are eating a whole helluva lot of shite, y’all.

He talks about why certain animals are here and why we shouldn’t eat them. Pigs – they’re here to eat waste and to basically keep the farms clean. Crustaceans – they’re here to keep our oceans clean. Everything has a purpose for why they’re on the planet. It kind of makes sense.

Now, like I have stated time and again, I am not against eating meat. And these two weeks are a trial – which I have to say, I am enjoying immensely. And so is my little family. What I am against, is the treatment of these poor beasts and their en masse production, which is wholly unnecessary.

Humanity has lost their way – whatever happened to keeping it simple? Why do we feed ourselves with crap? When did this all start? I think of Wall-E…and the cruise ship, where are the people are morbidly obese and are being carted around on hover beds…that is where we are.

I will be the first to admit that I am a comfort eater – and it is something that I find so difficult to control. But, with the grace of God, I am getting better at it. Junk food is so readily available. It affects our brains and bodies – people eat because they are sad and it makes them feel better. Then they feel sad again because of all the shite that is in the food that they just guzzled. Vicious circle.

Keeping it simple – it’s the way forward – humans used to have to work for their food. We don’t really do that anymore. And then, after all the ranting and raving that I have done and that others do, I think to myself: is it too late? Can we change the world? How did we screw it up in the first place?

Humans are such greedy creatures. Everything that has happened to our world is because of greed. For every action, there is a reaction. We blame the Almighty for huge storms, changes in the weather, tsunamis. What a load of crap. If we hadn’t fucked with the world, none of this would happen in the first place. If we boar into the earth and rape her of whats inside, then we are going to get a reaction somewhere.

All of us are looking for answers to living in the most complicated of places. We seek out different religions, move to different countries, find ways of escaping. Jesus said “the Kingdom of God is inside you”. I am not a Christian but I totally get what he meant now.

So, what did I eat yesterday?

Well, the day before yesterday I made vegan brownies. OMG. I am so sorry that I made the full batch because I cannot stop eating them. Even my husband likes them – and he can be very fussy. So, I will make them again, but I need to use unbleached flour and raw sugar.
The recipe is 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar, 3/4 cup of cocoa powder (obviously a powder sans dairy!), 1 tsp of baking powder and a tsp of salt. Mix all that together. Then add your wet stuff which is: 1 cup of veggie oil (I actually used coconut oil and it was amazeballs!), 1 cup of water and 1 tsp of vanilla essence. Mix, put in a baking tray of 9″ by 15″ and bake at 175 degrees (preheated) until firm and slightly gooey – takes about 30 minutes.

Anyway, yesterday:

Breakfast – pineapple with strawberries and a bit o’ salt.
Snack – peach tea (Twinings – om nom nom) and a cucumber
Lunch – wholemeal wraps stuffed with avocado, olive, tomato and fresh coriander mash.
Snack – another cucumber and PB ‘n’ J on bread.
Dinner – aubergine and chickpea stew served with brown basmati rice. This was a HIT! Even my little daughter loved it and my husband likes it too. I think I will make this again next week.

Here is the recipe. I should have taken a photo, I will endeavour to do so in the future.

Take 1 large aubergine and cube. Put in a colander, sprinkle with salt, swoosh around and leave for bitter juices to run out for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile – fry up (I used a large stew pan) one large onion with a diced clove of garlic (I put in two) in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until onions are soft.

Add the aubergine to the onions and mix. Pop the lid on and leave for like 20 mins, stirring occasionally.

Then add 1 tsp of ground cinammon, 1 tsp of ground cumin and 1 tsp of ground coriander. Add a tin o’ chickpeas (the ones that are already cooked) and give it a stir. Then add a tin of chopped toms and leave to simmer for 20 mins or so or until the aubergines are totally soft.

Serve with Rice. Yum-tastic!

So today, I have promised myself not to eat any brownies or bread cos I really have been overloading with them…yikes.

Breakfast: rice cakes with a little bit of PB and a plum; peach tea.
Snack: a little cucumber and a pear.
Lunch: leftover stew from yesterday with a bit o’ rice.
Snack: apple
Din-dins: I will be making stuffed peppers and toms. Can’t remember the recipe so will post tomorrow.

I need to plan out the menu for next week also so will be working on that today. That and a new exercise programme which includes more weight bearing.

That’s all for now! If you have any tips or comments, feel free to share!

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