So this may be embarrassing, but I’ve been thinking about pizza a lot lately, and I’m well into my vegan week experiment. While it hasn’t really been difficult to stay away from animal-derived ingredients (I was vegetarian for several years until I gave into omnivorism before graduation, so it wasn’t too dramatic of a dietary shift), my brain is wired to focus on the one thing I can’t really have. Obviously, I know you can make vegan pizza, that’s not the point. It didn’t really help that my dear and darling boyfriend scarfed down his decidedly not vegan pizza leftovers right under my nose last night. Love is a battlefield.
Anyway, on Memorial Day my friend Neil and I cooked up some vegan things on his grill. Tempeh, onions, squash and zucchini on toasted buns with veganaise; all of it was a lot tastier than you’d probably imagine. Mostly, I’m glad to report that vegan mayonnaise is actually quite nice — perhaps even preferable to regular mayo, and is way healthier (duh). I bought my own Nayonaise (a different brand than what I had at Neil’s, but essentially the same taste) at Sevananda, the local healthy food co-op in Little 5 Points.
I have an automatic aversion to a dry sandwich. As a quick side note: I’m not into non-baguette-y bread, and the thought of eating dry sandwich slices grosses me out (unlike one of my exes, who would just eat slices of wheat bread out of the bag; for clarification, this is not totally one of the reasons it didn’t work out). With all this in mind, I went home for lunch yesterday to put Nayonaise to the test.
First of all, the cold, questionably goopy truth about Nayonaise v. Mayonnaise is that, surprise! “Fake” mayonnaise is nutritionally superior, without sacrificing taste. How the numbers break down for Nayonaise (the specific brand, FYI):
I think it should be noted here that I am in no way a health nut. Prior to this week (and my most recent obsession with working out), I would say that I ate more unhealthy food than otherwise. Look, as I’ve said before, I could legitimately eat pizza every day, have been known to eat (and enjoy) scrapple at my favorite hometown diner, and have a particular fondness for that beacon of horribly processed dinner concoctions and sodium paradise, Tuna Helper (I just found that blog by Googling “tuna helper unhealthy,” and the entry sums up my own childhood experience with, and subsequent continuous craving for, The Helper). Anyway, all of that is to say that my appreciation of vegan mayo has very little to do with its comparative health benefits. What matters to me, and probably to anyone looking to switch from omnivorism to veganism (however briefly), is the taste factor. In that regard, my transition from normal fatty mayo to its healthier step-sibling has been nearly seamless. I may even stick with it, post-experiment, to the inevitable delight of my arteries.
So, yesterday’s sandwich, to paint a clearer picture of a practical application of Nayonaise: the mayo spread on two slices of wheat bread, with some garlic hummus mixed on one slice; a few slices of Tofurky ham; lots of organic baby spinach and tomato slices; a few baby portabella mushrooms. A word about Tofurky, if you’ve never had it: it is seriously so good. Even when I was eating meat, I preferred Tofurky over the questionable “real” lunch meat options — the taste is deceptively similar to the “real” stuff. To further illustrate my point, I once made my very vegetarian-unfriendly grandmother a “turkey” sandwich using Tofurky. She didn’t even notice that it wasn’t real meat; instead, she remarked that the sandwich was particularly tasty. I rest my case.
In other news, my habit of working out is going surprisingly well. I can now run 2 miles, bike 8, and lift heavy
ish things all in one workout, without wanting to crumple in a pathetic, sweaty, gasping mass. Progress is progress. The only problem with working out, and particularly being a vegan exerciser, is how hungry I become. As a previously unhealthy person, I am trying not to counteract my exercise with eating ALL OF THE THINGS (which I want to do after being so physically productive). Anyway, I’m still trying to work around that one, and figure out interesting, healthy snacks that satiate. To be continued …
Anyway, perhaps more vegan blogging tomorrow. I haven’t really gotten around to fulfilling the point of my vegan week mission, which was to cook new things and jumpstart a new way of looking at food, but I have gotten a little better at chopping an onion. My goal is to make a vegan shepherd’s pie by the end of the weekend, much to the eye-rolling chagrin of my omnivorous significant other. When that happens, I’ll post the recipe and anecdotal evidence that I made something more complicated than black beans and yellow rice. And successfully avoided the non-vegan pizza craving.