Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 14: Veganism Helps Me Be Fat, Also Pumpkins and Beer

Hello! Sorry about missing the day yesterday-- I had a craptacular day of non-stop homework and then I went out and visited a friend and drowned my sorrows in pumpkin beer. (More on that later.) There was no new food to blog about... all I ate were several more of those apple caramel oatmeal bars and three handfuls of Tings.

Oh boy, those apple caramel oatmeal bars. They set up perfectly after I let them cool all the way. (Amazing!) Very easy to hold in the palm of the hand.... verrrry very easy to eat. I'll definitely be making those again, but I'm going to try and save them for a holiday at least (maybe Thanksgiving?) because, wow, I'm not joking when I say that's all I ate yesterday and I still felt totally full at the end of the day. They're intense!

Tonight's sort of a half post as well, because I went out again to see another friend. (Two social calls in two days! This is rare for me.) No pumpkin beers this time, because I went to see my pregnant lady friend. We went out clothes shopping, and more specifically, pants shopping. Pants shopping makes me want to die. Pants shopping made me want to die when I was a size 5 and my bones all poked out funny. Pants shopping made me want to die when I was a very happy and healthy size 7-9. Pants shopping really makes me want to die now that, thanks to the 25lbs I've packed on since starting grad school, I'm back to a size 12-14. UGH.

It's hard to buy pants and not get sucked into the huge whirlpool of self hate I've spent way too much of my life wallowing already. I came home from the store (Ross, a.k.a. the cheapest place that isn't Goodwill) with 8 pairs of pants, fully expecting to have maybe 1 of them fit me. I was prepared for an epic assault on my self esteem. Happily, all but three of the pairs of pants fit me, and actually one of the other three fits but they're forking skinny jeans (which I hate within an inch of my life), but tell my brain that... by the end of trying these pants on at home in the comfort and solace of my bedroom, I was STILL staring in the mirror grabbing my tummy fat and thinking how freaking gross I look without my clothes on. I know it's ridiculous and I'll probably feel better tomorrow... this is just how these things go with me.

It wasn't always that I would've been so laid back about it, though. A couple of years ago, I'd still be in my bedroom sobbing about this and thinking about never leaving the house again because I was such a horrible whale thing. Though I think my mental shift away from this sort of hysteria probably helps me stay fat, I still think it's mostly for the better. And I think that it's due at least in part to the going vegan.

What? What does veganism have to do with being fat? Well, nothing really. (I ate plenty of baked goods before I was vegan, I can't use that excuse. Of course, there is vegenaise to blame...) But it has plenty to do with body acceptance.

For me, part of going vegan has been meeting and interacting with a whole lot of other vegans online. These people have taught me lots of things... how to cook tofu so that it doesn't taste/feel like ass, how to like eating greens, how to eat a cherimoya (maybe wikipedia taught me that), how to put garlic in your... nevermind. They've taught me a lot of things related to produce, anyway. But I think another thing that they've really shown me is how totally different people's bodies are.

Vegans come in all sizes and shapes: short, tall, malnourished, overnourished, totally normal looking, soft in all the right places, soft in all the places, etcetera, etcetera. Large vegans are large for all different reasons. (Vegenaise accounts for a lot of us, though. Seriously, I am breaking up with vegenaise as soon as this jar is done.) And large vegans are still awesome people, and generally pretty hot as well. They give me hope that I too can be a super hot BBV.

I also think (and this is snotty of me, but please, haven't I earned just a little bit of snobbery? I am so good about not being a snotty vegan most of the time) that I feel a little better about my size because I KNOW I'm not just eating crap all the time. Okay, maybe my pants give me a muffin top. But at least my muffin top isn't made out of chicken wings and cheez whiz. While I am doing my body no favors by being overweight, I'm still treating it as kindly as I can in the situation, giving it real food and nutritious food as often as possible.

And heck, if you are what you eat, then I am DELICIOUS.

Okay, moving on. Veganism has helped me not hate my body in a real and genuine way. That's great, right, but I know you're really here for the food. (That's what I'm here for!)

The friend I went to see last night is crazy about pumpkin beer. Crazy, I tell you. I like a good pumpkin beer maybe twice a year if that... I don't hate pumpkin beer, but it's not an everyday thing. We've tried a few together (of questionable veganness; I have been basically unable to find documentation on vegan pumpkin beers) recently, because she's looking for one to replace a beer that you apparently can't get anywhere on this coast. This got me thinking about combining pumpkins and beer, and I'm also thinking about reducing my chub, so I decided to do a lower fat version of the pumpkin sage cream sauce that I did last week.

Here's the recipe, though it's still cooking and I've no idea if it's going to be good or not. (The chunk of pumpkin I just ate was fabulous.) I'll try to post tomorrow about how it went.

Pumpkin Sage Beer Sauce
makes a LOT of sauce... maybe 4 1/4 cups?

2 tsps olive oil
20 fresh sage leaves, or a bunch of dried powdered sage
1 medium-small pumpkin, or 2 tiny pumpkins, peeled and cut into 1'' cubes
2/3 bottle of vegan beer
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the olive oil over medium-low.
2. When the oil is heated, add the sage leaves and fry, stirring constantly, for about a minute.
3. Add the pumpkin chunks and toss to coat them lightly with oil.
4. Pour in 2/3 of a bottle of beer. This shouldn't cover the pumpkin, but should come up maybe halfway to the top of it.
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, covered.
6. Remove the lid and, if the pumpkin is nice and soft, raise the heat to boil off most of the leftover beer.
7. Puree in the food processor (or with an immersion blender or a masher) and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta or grain of your choice.

Edited to add: I think both my spouse and I liked this, but we didn't love it the way we loved the pumpkin cream sauce last week. One big problem: I put whole sage leaves in, and the food processor didn't break them down entirely, so there are sort of twigs in the sauce. Yuckers. Definitely cut the leafy parts off of your sage! Also, I personally felt like there was something lacking with the texture... the flavor was spot on, but the texture was... grainy? Maybe next time I'll do half beer, half coconut milk for the liquid. That could work.

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