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Author: Nate

I’m a blue-collar, no-frills, vegan cable guy trying to show the world
how health is not just relegated to those that can afford it, or for the
typical health nut. My cholesterol was once at dangerous levels, life
defying levels, and I made the change to a plant based diet. I started
running, quit smoking cigarettes and now, in my 40’s, I am in the
best shape of my life. The bonus is, it doesn’t cost what you think it
is, all it takes is commitment to a new lifestyle and giving a care about the world around you.

MEME Monday 8.28.2017

I’m sure you can all relate to the image but I LITERALLY felt like this the other day.

I went to buy bread at the local Stop And Shop. They were out of the stuff I like and that I have verified 1,000 f*cking times that it has no stuff in it because, well; I have to. Since they were out this meant I was now invested in some research.

I started reading ingredients. Milk in this one, honey in this one. Milk in that one, honey in that other one. Just for good measure, there was even some that still have azodicarbonamide in them as a levener, who does that sh*t anymore? Some had eggs. You know the drill, keep reading…

Finally I found a loaf from Arnold’s (not all of them from Arnold’s were “safe”) and was able buy some dang bread. It was an overwhelming sense of elation that washed over me. The sun had shone on this dark bread aisle and alas, I was able to walk away and make a sandwich.

What kind of sandwich you ask? Oh just a few slices of Tofurky Roast Beef, a slice of Follow Your Heart  Provolone, a little tomato and lettuce w/ some Just Mayo and a smidge of mustard. All was right with the world at that moment. And then I realized Trump was still president.

F*CK!!!

Review: Sanuk Admiral Boat Show

My closet houses upwards of 15-20 pairs of shoes; at least 18 of them are sneakers I’ve either purchased or have wear-tested for a few different companies. 2 of those pairs of shoes are old dress shoes. They are more formal than I chose to wear to a friend’s wedding in Brooklyn, NY. It was time to add another pair to the growing collection.

When I was looking for something new I wanted a boat shoe style but it was also important that they be ethical and made from only vegan materials. While not all of Sanuks designs are vegan, the few that aren’t use wool. Wool is the end though, they do not use any other animals products including in their glues, etc.

I chose the Admiral Boat Shoe and went with the brown. Amazon Prime is pure genius, and I had my shoes in two days after ordering. When I pulled them from the box I could tell how much care was put into them and that they were well put together. They were not heavy, were quite light as a matter of fact. The material did seem a bit stiff, but they hadn’t been worn. I think as they break in, also, that the sizing won’t be as big as they seem. I wear a 9 but think I could have gotten away with an 8 1/2 as they seem to be a bit larger.

After breaking them in a bit we went to the wedding.

Let me say how unbelievably comfortable the soles are. They are really bouncy and it feels like walking on air. While they still feel a bit big, because of the loosening of the material, I feel like they fit better and I can tie them a bit tighter to get them snug and comfy.

The only negative thing I have to say about them is they do not breathe very well. My feet were really sweaty after wearing them for a few short hours. I’m hoping as they break in more and more that this won’t be an issue.

All in all I love these shoes a lot and have been eye-balling the TKO model. Maybe those will be next?

You can check their styles out at http://www.sanuk.com/

Do you wear vegan specific shoes? What are your favorite brands?

Simple Brown Gravy

I made a Shepherds Pie for dinner a couple nights ago and wanted to come up with some sort of sauce or gravy to add to it and punch up the flavor. Years back I used to make a decent beef gravy, but haven’t tried to veganize it since going vegan; until now. This is a super easy recipe and I will go through it step by step. There are no photos, I wasn’t thinking of it at the time. Maybe if I make it again soon I will append this post.

Ingredients

2 Cups Veggie Broth
2 tbsp of A1 Steak Sauce
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 black pepper
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp corn starch

Start by boiling the veggie broth.

While you wait for that to come to a boil whisk together the water and corn starch in a separate dish then set aside.

Once the broth is boiling add the steak sauce, onion powder and garlic powder. Mix well.

Add the water mixture and whisk quickly as it will start to tighten up quite a bit. Take off the heat when you’ve reached the consistency you are looking for. Add salt and pepper, feel free to add more depending on how salty you want it. I find a tsp of each is fine though, especially with shepherd’s pie as there is a bit of salt in the mashed potatoes already.

There you have it!

Book Review: China Study Family Cookbook

Continuing on in the series of cookbooks based on the acclaimed, and essential book, The China Study; this one focuses on families. Rather than just be a cookbook though that is loaded with recipes and no tips, Del Sroufe makes the transition easy for all. There are not only cooking tips, but recommendations on items to stock your pantry with in advance so you aren’t pulling your hair out looking for an ingredient.

One section of the book that I loudly applaud is the inclusion of cooking with your kids. My wife loves to bake with my sons. Being more of the savory cook, I always thought it would be hard to cook with these guys but I feel ready to try and approach the idea.

The book is a marvel to look at. The pictures are as simple as the recipes and let the food show itself and not get swallowed up in a busy backdrop. The layout is clean and recipes are as straightforward as you get. What I really appreciate is all the tips on each page. Even if you are a novice cook, the tips will break down certain techniques to help you get the result you want with the dish. Some of the recipes have less than 5 ingredients, hows that for easy?

I’ve spoken with some folks lately that talk about how involved vegan/ plant based cooking is; this book shatters that belief. Most of the recipes can be made with ingredients you have in your home, or can go down to the local grocer to get. Most of them are not niche items and can be made by those of any skill level, such as the homemade corn chips, potato wedges, sweet potato hummus or sloppy joes. Heck, you can make the corn and black bean salsa for those chips nearly as easy as the chips themselves.

There are some that are more adventurous recipes though such as the Mediterranean Loaf which I can’t wait to try. I’m really looking forward to making some of these dressings and sauces though. I’ve been getting really bored with the usual and these will give me a little liberty when trying to create flavors I used to enjoy. I appreciate that companies try to make vegan version of things like thousand island dressing, but they are processed and have preservatives in them to make them shelf stable. The recipes don’t have that and are much more fresh because you make them. The plant based mayo sounds like it’ll be fantastic.

The things I’m really looking forward to try and make is the chorizo. I’ve been trying to perfect my own jambalaya and again, have been trying to do it with less processed foods. Having some roots down in Louisiana, spicy foods and heat are most certainly my thing, The ingredients here are all whole foods and this recipe is mouth watering.

You can find more info out about this book and order it at http://www.benbellavegan.com/book/the-china-study-family-cookbook/

Turning A Blind Eye For The Movement

A couple of days ago I saw a post on the Vegan Bros Facebook page that instantly stirred up feelings of anger, frustration and disappointment. It was simply captioned, “Everyone’s going vegan.”

Normally I am totally on board with the crazy, over the edge stuff that Matt and Phil promote. When a celeb goes vegan they lose their ever-loving minds. I understand why, that person has a huge following and fans so it helps to popularize veganism and expose it to folks who maybe just fluffed it off.

Am I fan of Kylie Jenner? Nope, but what she does is her own thing. Miley? Yeah I’m not a fan of hers either so her announcement that she went vegan didn’t elucidate more than just a “yippee” from me. Over time though, I give her credit, it hasn’t been just a celebrity fad thing for her and she seems to be really passionate about it. Don’t get me wrong about celebrity veganism, it’s great; absolutely great!! Again it raises the presence of the movement into the public realm and you can’t buy that type of advertising. But when does it go to far?

But when a character like Adrian Peterson talks about becoming an 80/20 vegan (because he can’t drive by a Church’s Chicken without falling off the wagon); I cringe. I cringe because this man, just a short time ago, perpetuated violent behavior toward his own son. These are graphic photos, but if you have not seen them CLICK HERE for proof of what a monster he is. I commented on the Vegan Bros thread about this and got this response from another person who follows them:

My comment was cut short, I forgot to expand it before grabbing the screenshot from my phone. I actually went back a few minutes ago to get a better screenshot but it seems my comment has been deleted. When I said up above I was disappointed, this is the reason. Rather than take down the post about this piece of sh*t child abuser, they took my post off.

Part of what I had said in my comment that isn’t shown is, what if Michael Vick all of a sudden went vegan? Would the community just forget what he did because now he has a voice for animals? I don’t think so. Everyone would lose their minds and condemn him. But somehow it’s ok for Adrian Peterson to beat his child and then be held up on a pedestal because he all of a sudden went vegan, but still eats chicken.

**eyeroll**

“He’s trying!”

**eyeroll**

Yeah, I hear you.

But I cannot, and will not get behind this man monster. I apologize for all the profanity, but this really, REALLY burnt my ass and I felt that I needed to get it off my chest.

Am I wrong here?

When do we stop making excuses for people just because they are vegan?

Seitan Ground Sausage

My kids just wanted plain old pasta and sauce for dinner tonight. That sounded super boring and I had just worked out for 1 1/2 and needed more than that. I didn’t have anything to put in it so I figured I’d try to make my own grounds; with more of an Italian sausage flavor. It was a process, but the end result was tasty as heck. It’s also given me the confidence to make my own grounds in the future.

The recipe is amazingly easy, it’s just a time consuming process. It’s why I started the first part while I was working out. Here is what you will need and how to put it all together.

1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp fennel seed (crushed)
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup water

Get a pot going with 4 cups of water and 2 cups of veg broth.

In one bowl mix all of the dry ingredients well then add the water. You will have a goopy mess and it will seem more wet than it should be; it’s not. You need to knead it for a bit to give it some elasticity. Once you’ve gotten there roll it out lengthwise and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Roll it a bit lengthwise so it kind of looks like sausage, this is just to help it cook quicker than in chunk form.

Once your water is boiling drop the pieces in, cover it and lower to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour making sure to check now and again that the liquid level hasn’t gone down too much.

When the hour is up, remove from the water and let drain onto some paper towels for a bout ten minutes. Grab your Ninja, food processor or whatever you use to pulse blend with. Put all the seitan in and pulse three to four times until you get the size crumble that you prefer.

One last step, I promise. Dump all the grounds into a frying pan and brown them up a bit.

That’s it. Well, you can add to your sauce now and what you use depends on your level of involvement there. I added this batch of crumbles to Trader Joe’s Marinara sauce and it was slamming! Enjoy!

Review: Revy’s Wallet

After making the transition to veganism, I’ve distinctly tried to not only keep animals out of my body; but also off of my body. I am aware and conscious of products made with wool, leather, fur, etc and stay away from them; obviously! One thing in particular that I had a hard time finding a decent replacement for was a wallet. I’ve tried all sorts of material, synthetics and whatever — none of them lived up to what I was looking for.

Until now that is.

It was either this past Christmas or the year before but I received a wallet that totally fit my needs. I’m a simple guy and just need a bi-fold wallet. It has to be able to carry my ID, credit and debit cards, as well as a couple other business cards or friends cards. Oh and of course it has to be able to carry cash, although I honestly never have dollar bills in it; I use my debit card all the time and couldn’t tell you the last time their was money in my wallet.

It’s a Revy wallet and if you don’t know what that is, I’m going to explain. Revy is a company based in El Salvador that makes products from recycled material. A good amount of what they do is make products that are made from recycled bike tires, like my wallet. I thought for sure after a good amount of time it would stretch out and my cards would be falling out all over the place. That is so far from the truth; it’s remained tight and firm. The workmanship is phenomenal and you can tell these are all hand-made.

Revy works with a variety of coops throughout El Salvador and believe in Fair Trade practices. From their site here’s is what their company stands for:

“All workers have the right of association to form their own coop, receive a living wage, and work without fear of abuse or their own safety. Economic justice and social justice cannot be separated.”

  • A fair price with cash advances and prompt payments
  • Collaboration on designs and production methods
  • Transparency by sharing costs and pricing
  • Long term relationships with job security

Have a guy or gal in your life that needs a practical and amazingly well crafted wallet? I can’t recommend these guys more than I already have here. I’m in the market for a new belt and will be ordering theirs soon, it looks just as amazing!

Website: http://www.revydirect.com/