03 April 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #34: Vegetarian and Vegan in the Jaw

As winter turns to spring (ahem...hear that Mother Nature?  PLEASE stop snowing!), my thoughts also turn to salads over stews, grilling outside instead of baking, and cool foods to fend off warm days instead of the other way around.  I gaze longingly into my cookbooks, searching for good green things to eat while I wait for the fresh produce to start popping up in the yet-to-be-reopened farmer's market in Regina.

Since moving to Moose Jaw, Dave and I have become acutely aware of food, our bodies, and our planet.  My journey into this awareness began before I moved north during a conversation with good friends of mine over a locally-sourced dinner.  I was encouraged to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I haven't looked back.  Since then, I've devoured Mark Bittman's articles and blog posts via The New York Times, read and re-read Michael Pollan, watched Food, Inc. and Earthlings, and have become a reader of Veg News and PETA online (all links are below).  While Dave and I used to eat the occasional meat-based meal (we were never really big on it) we have since turned our home into a vegan-friendly abode.

We are proud of our choice to eat a primarily plant-based diet and while we may throw in the occasional egg (sourced from a friend of ours who lets her chickens run free around their property just up the road), we do not purchase any meat, fish, or dairy items for our home (with the exception of the birthday dinner mussels).  Why?  Well, let's just say that by educating ourselves we know that this is a much better choice for the animals we share space with on this planet, our environment, and our bodies.

All this being said, being vegan/vegetarian in Moose Jaw is not that easy...we can't always get locally sourced items to cook with, but when we can buy local and/or organic, we do.  We will be making a much more conscious effort this spring and summer to engage with the farmers who sell their products at the market and are eager to cook with their vegetables, fruits, and flours.  Dave and I know that a half hour drive to Regina to get some tomatoes is a much better choice than grabbing some off the shelf that have been shipped all the way from Mexico.

If you've ever considered going vegetarian or vegan...I say give it a shot!  At least one day a week, go meatless and see what it feels like.  There are a ton of great sites out there to help out and while going completely vegan may not be for you, maybe one day a week would work out.  Dave and I are having a lot of fun experimenting in the kitchen, coming up with ways to adapt recipes, and -- the best part -- eating the really yummy stuff we make!

In fact, I am hosting a book club tomorrow night and will be making a vegan raspberry crumble-cake for everyone to enjoy (I made a test run last night and well, let's just say there isn't any left today!).  You can try out the recipe yourself by visiting the Post-Punk Kitchen (one of my favorite vegan recipe sites)...check it out and take on the challenge!

Some of my favorite cooking sites:

Post-Punk Kitchen - vegan cooking mecca
The Kind Life - vegan recipes, tips, and tricks from Alicia Silverstone
What Katie Ate - gorgeous photos and beautiful food (not vegetarian or vegan)
Smitten Kitchen - again, just beautiful to look at and the writing is hilarious...we adapt a lot of her stuff to make it vegan

Some great sites and good reads:

Mark Bittman - his site explores good, simple, whole, healthy food as well as the politics of food and his articles and blog posts from The New York Times
Michael Pollan - his books include The Omnivore's Dilemma, Food Rules, and In Defense of Food
Barbara Kingsolver - her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was the one to start my wheels turning
Veg News - good recipes and good reads
PETA - their site has access to a free Vegetarian Starter Kit

Great movies/clips to watch:

Food, Inc. - a must-watch for getting familiar with your food
Earthlings - a free streaming movie online that asks us some tough questions
Supersize Me - wow!
TED.com - there are some great TED talks regarding food...check out the one by Mark Bittman

Have fun, experiment, educate yourself, and enjoy the good food!

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