Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lemon and Kale Inspiration Brightens Up My Leftovers

Kimberly Wilson, the founder of my yoga studio and home away from home, Tranquil Space, has a wonderful blog called Tranquility du Jour.  Recently, she added a new feature to her blog, Meatless Mondays, that features a vegetarian friendly dish every, well, Monday.

This Monday's recipe was Kale + Quinoa Pilaf, which looked scrumptious.  Since I've been promising my husband to make better use of our leftovers, I decided to incorporate the flavors from the pilaf into a dish that used the farro I made earlier this week.

First, I made a dressing with one finely chopped shallot bulb, the juice of half a lemon, two tablespoons of olive oil, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.  Next, I chiffonaded some tuscan kale into ribbons.  Once the kale was ready, I put the farro in the microwave for one minute to warm it, stirred in the kale, and microwaved it for another minute.  I then poured the dressing over the hot kale and farro and stirred it well until it was well combined and I could smell the lemon.

The lemon and olive oil dressing is extremely simple and makes a huge difference in flavor!  It's bright, crisp and light, and made our whole kitchen smell like lemony goodness.  Husband ate and enjoyed as well.  Note to self - use lemon and olive oil dressings more often!

This dish is a great example of how you don't need a ton of time to prepare a healthy meal.  It took a whopping five minutes to put together.  Having the some farro pre-cooked definitely helped, but if I had made this with quinoa, it wouldn't have taken much longer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I Have Found Shangri-La and it is Vegan Cream Cheese

I love bagels and cream cheese.  I'll just throw that out there.  They may very well be my desert island food.  I love me a good chewy bagel and a huge schmear of cream cheese, the thicker the layer the better.

So, needless to say, when I decided to follow a vegan diet, I missed my bagels and cream cheese.  I'd have bagels and Earth Balance or bagels and hummus.  But, it wasn't the same.  And, since most vegan cream cheeses, if not all, are soy-based, with my allergies, I resigned myself to not having them.  And, to be honest, bagels and cream cheese were what usually made me fall off the vegan wagon.  They are my vegan kryptonite.

However, with my recent discovery that I can tolerate non-GMO soy products, I decided to check out Galaxy Nutritional Foods' Vegan Cream Cheese.  While it's not a dead ringer for cream cheese, it hits the spot enough for me to not miss the dairy variety.

Nutritionally, the Galaxy is neck and neck with Philadelphia, so if you're looking for what's "healthier," it's a draw in terms of fat, saturated fat, protein, and sodium.  So, you might choose the Galaxy if you don't eat dairy for ethical reasons, or if you're lactose intolerant or otherwise sensitive to dairy.

For me, this product is a perfect example of how you might use processed foods in moderation to make a plant-based or vegan diet more manageable.  I still absolutely believe that a healthy plant-based diet focuses mainly on . . . well . . . plants.  Today, I had a big bowl of avocado and tomato for breakfast, a ginormous spinach, carrot, broccoli, onion, cucumber and sunflower seed salad for lunch, an orange and peanuts as my pre-yoga snack, and leftover farro alfredo with carrots and broccoli for dinner.   But, if eating vegan cream cheese on my (whole grain!) bagels makes me less likely to throw up my hands and start eating dairy again, I'm all for it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Vegan Farro Alfredo

I was all set to just do a quick concoction with my farro and whatever I had in the fridge.  But, right before I left work, I saw a Facebook post by Made Just Right by Earth Balance for Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo that looked absolutely delicious.  I had a number of ingredients already in the fridge at home, so I decided to do a farro alfredo.

I followed the recipe fairly closely, with a few changes.  First, I cut the tofu a bit smaller than the recipe suggested, and broke it up with a spatula as I cooked it.  I used Nasoya's Extra Firm Tofu Plus, which is fortified with B6, B12, D and Calcium.  It never hurts to get extra of these vitamins!  There's only 8 grams of protein per serving, which surprised me, especially compared to last night's Gardein dish, which had 17 grams.

Anyhow, I don't think I drained the tofu as well as I should have, as it didn't brown as much as the picture did.  I did also elect to season it with white pepper and sea salt before adding the veggies, rather than wait to season at the end as the recipe suggested.

I also omitted the peas, as I am not a pea lover.  In retrospect, I could have upped the broccoli and the carrots to compensate, but it didn't occur to me at the time.  Since I had pre-cooked the farro last night, I added it into the veggies with a few minutes to go to warm it through.  Also, I used unsweetened almond milk instead of soy milk, since I had an open carton of almond milk in the house.  I also used Italian Seasoning rather than just basil, and I reseasoned the whole mix with sea salt and white pepper after adding the sauce into the veggie and farro mix.

I was definitely happy with this dish - it was creamy and flavorful, but perhaps a bit on the heavy side for a weeknight dinner.  Granted, it was a lot lighter than the non-vegan version of an Alfredo.  To lighten it up a bit, you can probably omit the tofu.  Also, the husband was even willing to try it and pronounced it good and repeatable.  I have some leftovers in the fridge, so we'll see how it reheats!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Am Jack's Human Science Fair Experiment: Or How I Learned That I May Not Be Allergic to ALL Soy Products

When I was diagnosed with a soy allergy in the early 2000's, I assumed that it was something I randomly developed.  After all, as a kid, I lived on terriyaki chicken from Yanagi Too at the Cherry Hill Mall Food Court.  However, when I was reading John Robbins' Food Revolution and Diet For a New America, he mentioned that in the late nineties, a new variety of soy that was genetically modified came on the market. 

The timing of the "new soy" piqued my curiosity.  Could I only be allergic to certain varieties of soy, just like I can't tolerate walnuts and hazelnuts, but I have no trouble with other tree nuts?  It's not impossible to follow a vegan diet without soy, but being able to eat the occasional soy product would sure be helpful.  So, I made a note to one day test this theory that I'm allergic to the "new soy," but not the "old soy."

Last weekend, I finally decided to bite the proverbial bullet and try some organic, non-GMO tempeh.  To be safe, I cooked it separately from some veggies, even using a separate spoon.  I ate it and had no reaction.  Not even a runny nose.  It didn't taste so hot, probably because I burned it a little due to my inexperience cooking tempeh, but it was improved the following night when I reheated it in a homemade tomato sauce.

Tonight, I had experiment #2 - Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick'n.  I was excited to experiment with Gardein because I've seen it on a number of restaurants vegan menus and I wanted to see if it might be an options for me if I eat out.  Gardein has both fresh and frozen vegan meet substitutes, and the ingredients actually aren't so scary - soy protein isolate, vital wheat gluten, pea protein, carrot and beetroot fiber, etc.  It's also got 17g of protein and 20% of the DV for iron.  On the sodium side, it's not too bad either - 260 mg without sauce and 325g with sauce.

I prepared the Gardein according to package directions, sauteing the Chick'n in oil on medium high heat.  The package said to use a non-stick pan and I definitely will do that next time, as a lot of the crust stuck to my stainless steel pan, but a little bit of wine and the sauce packet helped remedy that.  Unfortunately, that did mean that the breading came off my Chick'n, so I'll use our non-stick next time.

It wasn't bad at all - it reminded me of the chicken you get with Chinese take-out.  Granted, it's been about four years plus since I've eaten chicken, so my memory might be a little fuzzy.  More importantly, no sneezing, no wheezing and no upset stomach and other unpleasantness, so we can mark Gardein on my safe to eat list! 

Needless to say, I have been a bit like a kid in a candy store over the past few weeks, bookmarking recipes I had normally written off as unattainable (Tofu Scramble!  Tofu Lasagna!  Tempeh Bacon!).  Yeah, it's great that I've found food that doesn't make me sick, but I do know that a lot of the soy-based products, GMO-free or no, are still processed foods.  And, we're still not sure if I'm going to have a bad reaction to other soy products I haven't tried.  However, being able to eat organic/GMO free soy does give me a lot more options, especially when eating out at restaurants.  Also, in my mind, it makes it especially easy for me to really kick dairy products, which make me almost as miserable as the "new soy" do, but I tend to eat when I felt a yen for "comfort foods," like a bagel and cream cheese.  Case in point - I found a GMO-free soy cream cheese by Galaxy Foods that'll be checking out this week.

I am going to allow myself some minimal indulgence for a week or two, but also stick to my diet of whole, plant based foods - whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. I reminded myself of that tonight by having a small amount of Gardein and a big side salad of spring mix, red and yellow tomatoes and olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  And tomorrow, I'll be having farro and fava beans with some veggies.

I'll try and keep everyone posted on other discoveries!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Vegetarian on the Road: A Vegan in a Dallas Steakhouse

Greetings from Dallas!  I'm here for my professional society's annual meeting, and I have a week full of education and networking events in store.  With networking comes food.  The joke is that the organization's acronym, ASAE, is short for "Always Standing, Always Eating."

My first get together last night was a reunion dinner of colleagues who had served at one point on the Membership Section Council.  It was at Bob's Steak and Chophouse at the Omni.  You might think the odds of me finding something vegan friendly at an upscale Texas steakhouse was going to be a tall order.  But, this is an excellent case of "it never hurts to ask."

The restaurant provides contact information for the manager on the website, so I sent him a quick email earlier this week asking about vegan options and noting the time of my group's reservation.  Less than three hours later, I got a very nice email from the manager noting that the chef could make me "Julienne carrots, mushrooms, asparagus tips sautéed in garlic and white wine, tossed in fettuccine pasta."  Sounded good to me!  He also said they would make a note on the reservation so the server would be aware that there was a vegan diner in the party.

When we got to the restaurant, I noted that I was "the vegan" and the server was very friendly and said he did have a note that I was in the party.  (I contrast this to the time I went to Proof in DC for my bachelorette party and asked if I could have a pasta dish without ham.  The waiter's answer?  "Unfortunately, you can.")

The server did note that Bob's is known for large portions (my colleagues' steaks were, in fact, enormous).   And the pasta dish definitely fit the bill!  I think it might have been an entire box of fettuccine in there.  It was a nice, light dish.  There was just a ton of food, and I couldn't get through more than a quarter of it.  If I had a fridge to store leftovers in, it probably could have fed me for a week! 

I'll consider it good fuel for today's activities. I had a nice, light breakfast in the executive lounge (toast with peanut butter and fresh fruit) and then I'll be using my free gym pass to take a yoga class shortly. Then, it will be off to the convention center to pick up my badge and head to the North Texas Food Bank to volunteer for a few hours.  Then, more receptions and an opening party at Cowboys Stadium.  More food pictures and notes to come!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Day of Eating in Reverse - Pete's A Pizza, More Whole Foods and Java Green

 Yes, I ate out for three meals today.  Not my normal routine, but with a early morning doctor's appointment and a date night before I fly out of town for a week, that's what I did to make the day work. 

Let's work backwards from dinner.  Since I'll be gone for eight days for back to back work trips and we had a hectic weekend last week, my husband and I had a date night tonight.  Husband knew I was dying to try the vegan options at Pete's-A-Pizza, so we went to the Friendship Heights location.  As an AU grad, I'd say it's more in Tenley than Friendship Heights, but it's equidistant from both metros, so I won't quibble too much over the description.

I had known about Pete's since their Columbia Heights location opened a few years ago, but never got around to trying it when I was still eating dairy products.  They're known for "New Haven Style" pizza.  I figured I had missed the boat on trying their pies, but then the Washington Post ran an article about the DC's essential vegetarian eats that mentioned Pete's Edge of the Woods Pizza.

After reading that article, I did some more research.  Pete's website is very vegan friendly.  There's a whole section of their website devoted to vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.  The website also notes that the owners' son has been a vegetarian since he was five, and that their chef and co-owner has a history of working with special diets.  To be safe, before we went to the restaurant, I called to make sure they were indeed able to make the vegan version of the Edge of the Woods pizza, and the manager confirmed they had everything on hand to make it that evening.

I did have one funny moment when we actually ordered the pizza.  When I asked for the vegan version, the woman said to me "Do you still want the eggplant?"  I asked her if the eggplant wasn't vegan for some reason.  "Well, it's fried."  My immediate response?  "Was it fried in an animal?"  After a good laugh, I let her know that when I called earlier, the manager said all the ingredients were vegan friendly. 

The pizza was very good.  The pie was topped with daiya, as well as caramelized onions, spinach and the aforementioned fried eggplant.  The eggplant was so thinly sliced that it reminded me of a potato chip.  I forsee some fun with the mandoline and "eggplant chips" in my culinary future.


I had a craving for Whole Food's Kamut Citrus Salad for lunch today, but, alas they didn't have it on the prepared foods bar.  So, I made do with the pictured mishmash of various items off the salad bar.

Starting with the upper left, we have a vegetarian samosa, creamy kale, mango, raddicchio, cucumbers, kamut, black beans and raw shredded beets.  It is a curious mix of foods to be sure, but I enjoyed all of it, particularly the creamy kale!


I mentioned earlier in this post that I had a doctor's appointment.  It was my annual physical, which meant bloodwork, which in turn meant fasting, which in turn meant no breakfast.  I knew from my regular lunch stops that Java Green serves breakfast, so I decided to pick up something there after my appointment.  I went with the vegan grilled breakfast sandwich, which is essentially a grilled cheese sandwich made with daiya.  Although the menu didn't specify it, it the woman making my sandwich added some tomato.  I was pleased, but those who dislike fresh tomatoes beware. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Product Reviews: Almond Non-Dairy Yogurt and Seitan Piccata

After recently trying So Delicious' Coconut Yogurt, I was curious to see if I'd be able to find another vegan yogurt I liked better.  So, when I saw that our local market had Almond Dream Mixed Berry Yogurt, I decided to give it a shot.

Boy, was that the right decision.  I really liked this product.  The texture was thicker and creamier than the So Delicious one, and it had a pleasant berry flavor.  Also, the list of ingredients are a little more palatable on the Almond Dream product, with less artificial ingredients.  I will definitely be trying the other flavors!


One day, I'd love to go to the Candle Cafe in New York City.  I read about it in Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet, and the food sounds delectable.  Needless to say, I was intrigued when I spotted Candle Cafe vegan entrees in the Whole Foods Frozen Foods section.  I decided to try two of them, the Seitan Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce and the Vegan Macaroni & Cheese.

The Candle Cafe meals are almost all certified organic (the mac and cheese being an exception), non-dairy and non-GMO.  In addition to the two I bought, there's also a Tofu Spinach Ravioli and a Ginger Miso Stir-Fry.

Since I'm getting ready to head to a conference on Friday, I don't have a lot of me-friendly food in the fridge right now.  So, I decided to try the Seitan Piccata.  It was a mixed bag for me.  Now, I'm familiar with food styling, but I was surprised how little seitan there was in the dish compared to the picture on the box.  Also, I should have heeded the package directions and stirred the meal midway through cooking, because the sauce wasn't really evenly distributed.  Occasionally, I would get a huge hit of lemon.  I will say that I liked the texture of the spinach and rice blend.  Though there is a small amount of soy in this, I'm passed the window for an allergic reaction at this point, which means it was a small enough amount to be tolerable, or that my theory that I can tolerate non-GMO soy is correct (we'll be testing that theory soon!).

From a nutrition standpoint, we also have a mixed result.  We've got 12 grams of protein, which is good.  However, we also have 920 mg of sodium, which is 38% of the DV.  Now, when you consider the DV is based on a 2,000 calorie diet, and that some experts are saying that the previous 2,400 mg daily value is too high, that's a big sodium hit.  Sure, I know that processed foods are going to have a higher sodium level than home cooking.  But still - ouch.

Also,  after a pretty vigorous yoga class tonight (lots of core work and balancing!), a 210 calorie meal isn't really enough to satisfy me.  So, I'm off to forage in the fridge to supplement it.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Road's End Organics Dairy Free Shells & Cheese

A busy weekend filled with family activities, coupled with a rainy Sunday afternoon, left me craving comfort food.  For me, that's always been macaroni and cheese.  Fortunately, there are a number of vegan friendly macaroni and cheese products on the market, including a number of products made by Road's End Organics.  (For my gluten intolerant friends, they make two vegan-friendly, gluten free products made with brown rice pasta).

Tonight, I tried the Dairy Free Shells & Chreese Cheddar Style pasta dinner.  The "chreese" sauce is made by combining a powder of nutritional yeast and seasonings with either water or a non-dairy milk.

To make the sauce, I used some of the coconut milk I had in the fridge.  I also took the box's suggestion to add a teaspoon of buttery spread and added in some soy-free Earth Balance.  Since I remember some boxed vegan mac and cheeses not being as creamy and cheesy as I prefer, I also added in a quarter cup of cubed daiya cheddar style wedge.

Making the cheese sauce is a bit more unwieldy than making traditional boxed mac and cheese.  After draining the pasta, you take the empty pan off the heat and whisk together the powder, the milk and the butter (and, in my case, the daiya) until the nutritional yeast power has completely dissolved in the milk.  You then bring the sauce back to a medium hot burner and stir in the pasta shells until the sauce completely coats it.

I actually thought the taste and texture of this was pretty good, and it hit the spot for me in terms of my mac and cheese craving.  Adding the daiya definitely helped give it a little more "cheesiness."  I definitely prefer it to the frozen vegan mac and cheese products I've tried before.

So, why might you choose a vegan mac and cheese over a traditional boxed brand?  Well, if you're not eating dairy because of ethical reasons or a lactose intolerance, this type of product will be a good fit for you.  On the nutrition side of things, it's also a slightly healthier option.  Granted, mac and cheese isn't exactly a health food, but let's play "eat this/not that" for a second, and compare the nutritional facts between the Road's End Product and traditional boxed mac & cheese.

Nutritional yeast is a great source of Vitamin B12, and, according to the box, one serving of the Mac & Chreese provides 40-50% of the DV for B12.   All humans need B12 to help maintain their metabolism and central nervous system.  Because of how sanitized our food system is, it can be difficult for vegans to get enough B12.  You don't get B12 from traditional boxed mac & cheese.  I'm not advocating for Vitamin Mac and Cheese, but it's nice to know this product has a good source of B12.

Nutritional yeast also is a good source of protein, and thus you get 13g of protein per serving of the mac & chreese, plus additional protein from your non-dairy milk. Traditional boxed mac & cheese has 10g of protein, plus whatever you have in the milk you combine.

Iron, calcium and fat are comparable, with the Road's End product having a slight edge on saturated fat.  There's also slightly less sodium in the Road's End product (380 mg vs. 580), and slightly more fiber (4g vs. 1g).

If you're concerned about food additives, the Road's End Organic might be also something you're more comfortable with.  It's certified organic, and the color and flavor come from annatto, garlic powder and mustard seed.   Unlike traditional boxed mac and cheese, there are no artificial colors.
So, if you've eliminated dairy, or are just cutting back, and craving the occasional mac and cheese, dinner, give this product a try!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Daiya Cheese Wedges and Home Yoga Practice

I've used daiya shredded cheese quite a bit in my previous cooking adventures, so I was super excited to when the daiya wedges came available at Whole Foods.  I decided to try both the jack and cheddar flavors.

My thoughts?  It's a mixed bag.  I was thinking I'd like this unmelted on crackers or in a sandwich, but I don't particularly care for it unless it's been warmed - something about the smell and the texture.  It's definitely closer to a velveeta than a block of monterey jack or mild cheddar.  I also had trouble using my cheese plane on it.  That said, it melts extremely well, and makes for a less messy vegan grilled cheese or a vegan open face toaster cheese sandwich (like the pumpernickel one I had for breakfast this morning).   But, I think I'll stick with the shreds in the future, though I will try the "jalapeno-garlic-havarti" wedge if I do eventually see it.


If you know me well in real life, you know that I'm passionate about regular yoga practice.  I've practiced at Tranquil Space in DC for about eight years.   While my practice was sporadic in the beginning, over the past few years it's become very regular, to the point where I find my self in the studio 4-5 days a week.  I completed the level one teacher training course in 2010, and I am seriously considering the level two teaching course for this fall, which would give me a yoga alliance certification to teach (!).  My work travel schedule can make a commitment like this challenging, so I'll have to think about it over the next few weeks, but I am hoping to make it work.

So what does my yoga practice have to do with this blog?  I can tell you that I sincerely believe that regular yoga is the reason I eat a vegan diet.  Part of it is likely from learning more about ethical vegetarianism, but I think it's more than that, really.  Yoga has taught me to stop and listen to the signals my body is sending me and to honor them.  Some people describe it as "mindful eating." This Yoga Journal article describes it more eloquently than I do:

"As you continue to practice yoga, an intuitive sense of what is right for your own body will emerge . . .Just as you'd modify a favorite recipe to fit your own tastes as you prepare it repeatedly, so you can adapt a food system to support your practice." 

Without yoga, I wouldn't be eating a plant based diet, and without a plant based diet, there'd likely be no blog.  SIo, you may see more posts that include some musings on my yoga practice, like today's.

After the aforementioned breakfast of pumpernickel vegan cheese melt with a side of raspberries, I had a strong desire to do a home yoga practice.  Part of my dilemma with home practice is my tendency to criticize myself.  Am I doing this "right?"  Is this sequence "right?"  So, in addition to home practice being a practice of asana for me, it's also a practice of self-compassion.  Today, I just got on the mat, cranked up my playlist, and went for it. I didn't plan what I was going to work on in advance, and the only thing I made sure to keep track of was that I was giving the same amount of attention to both sides of my body.

And, boy, did I have fun, and worked up a good sweat!  My favorite moment was doing a transition from half moon to reverse half moon - wild!

What really makes home practice click for me is a carefully curated playlist.  Similar to the playlists at the studio, I run mine for about 75 minutes in a "bell curve" - slower, mellower songs in the beginning, with more energetic songs in the middle, and then mellowing out again at the end.  At home, I do tend to practice to some louder and crazier songs than I hear in the studio.

I'm particularly pleased with the playlist I used for today's practice, so I thought I'd share that with you all for your home listening pleasure, and perhaps your own home yoga practice!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Two Days of Vegan Deliciousness

I've had two days of really delicious meals to share.

As I've mentioned before, our local market has a number of neat food options.   One of my favorite things about it are the variety of snack options that are friendly to my allergies.  When I popped in to pick up a few things last night, I noticed a new product, Beanitos Black Bean Chips

These chips are vegan, and they're also gluten-free, which makes them a great option for folks with celiac and other forms of gluten intolerance.  They also have 4g of protein and 5g of fiber per 10 chip serving.  If GMOs concern you, also note that this product is verified as Non-GMO.

The chips are light and sweeter tasting than your average tortilla chip.  My guess is that the sweetness comes from the brown rice.  They paired well with the avocado, tomato and sea salt you see on the right.

I know for sure that I've mentioned my love of Whole Foods many a time in this blog.  Today, for lunch, I visited the Foggy Bottom store and enjoyed a number of items off of their prepared foods bar.  I particularly like getting prepared foods at Whole Foods since they clearly label their allergens, as well as which items are vegan friendly.

In the picture to the right (left hand corner clockwise around), you'll find Quinoa Ranchero, raw dandelion, beets, kamut citrus salad and carrots with ginger.
This is my second time eating the kamut citrus salad, and it continues to be a favorite. The kamut has a chewy, nutty texture, and it's a good source of protein and fiber.  The carrots were even more delicious than I was expecting.  It was also my first time eating dandelion greens.  Like most greens, they are an excellent source of vitamin A & C.  They weren't as bitter as I expected, and I actually thought they were good mixed in with the kamut.

Changing gears.  Sometimes, in the middle of my yoga practice, I get strong food cravings.  Since part of yoga is listening to signals from my body, as long as the cravings are healthy, I listen to them. In my pre-vegetarian days, my cravings were for the fancy McDonald's burger with the red onions and a large fries (the fact that there is a McDonald's across the street from my yoga studio may have contributed to these cravings).  However, as I embraced a pescetarian diet, and then a lacto-ovo one and now my plant-based/animal product free/veganesque one, I noticed that my cravings gradually became for healthier and healthier foods.  For example, I might crave a large salad from Sweetgreen or falafel (or, better yet, the Sweetgreen salad with Falafel).
Today, my craving was for vegan pizza.  Yes, specifically, vegan pizza.  This was big for me.  It's been about 19 days since I had my last serving of cheese.  Yes, I fell back on the cheese wagon pretty hard last February.  Recently, I decided it was time to eliminate it again.  That is the subject of another post.
If that sounds like the terminology of an addict, it's a fair point.  Dr. Oz and Dr. Neal Barnard back me up on this subject, and these guys know their stuff. I know that dairy and I don't get along - it upsets my stomach, makes me break out, gives headaches, makes me congested, you name it.  Also, I tend to eat much larger portions of food when the dish has a dairy component.  Plus, there's the whole ethics of vegetarianism that makes me pause when I think about dairy products.  
That said, if you put cheese it in front of me, I can't stop eating it.  So, it's best that I just kick it out of my diet altogether, and get my protein, calcium and Vitamin D from other sources.
So yes, the fact that I wanted vegan pizza, in my mind, was a good thing.  I'm lucky that there are three good options for vegan pizza near our place:  Pete's-A-Pizza, Z Pizza and, you guessed it, Whole Foods.   Since Whole Foods is the closest to our apartment, we opted to go there.  Their vegan pizza is always excellent.  Rather than using daiya or another cheese substitute, their vegan pizza is cheese free and loaded with veggies like peppers, spinach and mushrooms.  It's a little heavy on black olives for my taste, but those are easily removed.  

The good news is that I didn't crave my husband's cheese pizza, so I am guessing that's another sign that I have kicked my desire for dairy.  I'm looking forward to checking out more vegan pizza options in the near future! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Snack Review: So Delicious Coconut Blueberry Yogurt

When I was a little kid, I was a big fan of Dannon Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt.  My favorite flavors were dutch apple and blueberry.  As I became more health conscious, I got into the Fage Greek Yogurts, specifically the ones that came with a little side of fruit puree that you could combine into the yogurt cup.

Since I've been back to going dairy-free, I haven't really been craving yogurt.  But, I was intrigued by So Delicious' Coconut Yogurts.  Today, as my pre-yoga snack, I had the blueberry flavor.  It doesn't have the "fruit on the bottom" type texture that I liked in my yogurt, and it was not as thick as I was expecting.  I did like the flavor - you could definitely taste the blueberry and I caught a hint of coconut.  My co-worker noted that it smelled delicious as well.

From an ingredient standpoint, it has some positives and some things that may give you some pause.  On the positive side, it's fortified with B-12 (30%) and also isn't a bad source of calcium (15%).  It also has active and live cultures, just like your typical dairy yogurt. Plus, there's even 3 grams of fiber in there!  However, if you're a "clean" eater or wary of additives, the ingredients may read like a chemistry experiment.  That being said, if you aren't eating a traditional dairy yogurt for ethical reasons, or if you're having trouble tolerating dairy, I think this is fine as an occasional substitute.

Tonight, my fellow yogini and food blogger, Valerie, posted a review of So Delicious' Greek Style Almond Yogurt.  She raved about it, and I look forward to checking it out!