Tuesday, November 16, 2010

the dark side

There was a little girl
    Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
    When she was good,
    She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.
I love that poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It's how I feel most of the time, in the sense of good and bad days I mean. One minute I'm completely secure in my decision to head in that uniquely undefined direction of my dream career destiny. And the next, I'm doubting my apprehension with taking the ever-popular "college to full-time office job" highway. To add to that, my varying workload and income doesn't exactly relieve the uncertainty. Nor does the current gray sky and fog. Still, as much as I'd love to dwell on the gloominess that is today ;) I have far too many things to get done before my just-for-fun dinner plans tonight.
So, I've decided to share a guest article with you by Sasha Britton for Gym Source (treadmills, ellipticals and other fitness equipment for over 75 years), followed by another from this month's Natural Health magazine. And all the while thread my pictures of a typical plant-based day of eats; it's going pretty well, by the way. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the material:
Important Nutrients for Active Vegans
Vegan athletes have to pay more attention to dietary choices and food combinations in order ensure the absorption of enough high-quality protein (necessary for the recovery and rebuilding process after exercise.)
What May Be Missing
In addition to protein, vegans may be missing the following nutrients in their diet: iron, calcium, vitamins B-12 and D, and zinc.
Iron is quite important for building muscle and endurance. If you aren't going to get this from beef, you're going to have to make sure you're eating the following on a regular basis:
-      whole grain cereals fortified with iron
-      legumes (beans, peas and peanuts)
-      dried fruit (especially raisins)
-      cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage)
In addition, you will want to combine these with foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and berries; this will aid your body in absorbing and utilizing iron.
Calcium & D
In lieu of dairy products, instead load up on fortified dairy-replacement products as well as leafy greens to keep bones strong with sufficient calcium: mustard, kale and chard are powerhouse foods in this regard, as well as dried figs. Sesame seeds are also a decent source of calcium; a unique form of nut butter made from sesame, called tahini, is a main ingredient in hummus and also available in many international foods aisles on its own. The easily absorbed calcium and vitamin D pairing is almost always present in Calcium supplements- a great addition to a mindful diet, especially if you’re a woman and over 40 or if you don’t get outside for a walk in the sun to absorb some D.
Protein & Zinc
Rice and beans together make a complete protein – or almost any combination of grain and legumes. However, peanuts (which are actually legumes, not nuts) and soybeans provide complete proteins that are of the same quality as that derived from fish, poultry, dairy or eggs. Most tree nuts are also good sources of protein, and provide the additional benefit of healthy oils, such as omega-3 (also found in olive oil). Zinc is mostly present in protein sources, and is vital for healthy respiratory and digestive function. Although a main source is animal products, almost any vegan protein- and especially pumpkin seeds- will provide good amounts of zinc.
Vitamin B-12 is essential for metabolism and making use of the energy stored in food. Unfortunately, the only reliable source of this nutrient is in animal-based foods. Whole grains cereals and soy milk are often vitamin B-12 fortified, but one would have to consume a great deal in order to get this nutrient in sufficient amounts from these vegetable-based sources alone. Therefore, vegan athletes may need to take B-12 supplements.
There goes wonderful guidelines on nutritional necessities, but how about culinary pleasures? "When it comes to wine pairing, you know that red goes with meat and white goes with fish. But how to choose when your diet doesn't include either?" Dun, dun, dun. Enter: Vino for Vegetable Lovers. The editors at Natural Health magazine write, "Think flavor, not color, says Francesco MacAaron, general manager of haute organic vegan restaurant Candle 79 in New York City." After a bit more information, they inclide four of MacAaron's top four vegan vino picks to pair with vegetable dish favorites. Pairings such as:
  • Shiitake or portobello mushrooms with an earthy red wine.
  • Asparagus or artichokes with a white wine that has herbal flavors.
  • High-acid foods, such as tomatoes, with a spicy red.
  • Buttery-flavored chanterelle mushrooms with a fruit chardonnay.
Mmm. No matter how impossible the situation may be, apparently there is a solution to every problem. Maybe one day I'll figure some of 'em out myself :).


  1. heheh that is the cutest poem!

    wish this weather would clear up.. sooooo gloomy.

    i feel ya on the traditional job path thing.. that's where I messed up a few months ago. Just remember to choose something that you KNOW aligns with your passions! no settling :)

  2. Ooh that pasta in the last photo looks divine.

    Great info on vegan nutrition.

    My thoughts on the indecision is that you've got to head down a path before you know if it's the right one for you. It's scary - but look at the travel adventures you've gone on! You're a world traveler! You're capable of anything you put your mind do :) And that includes exploring different jobs and doing what feels right for you.

  3. Shannon, Tropical Eats: Thanks for the perspective, darling. Good luck to us both :).

    Sagan: Thanks, it made for a wonderful dinner. Thank you so, so much for the encouragement! I can do this... I hope :).

  4. love your meals!! esp. the glass of vino! ;)


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