A lovely cool weather run

Today’s run: just under 7 miles (as in, 0.07 miles under). Had I plotted the course on gmap-pedometer prior to running, I would have made it an even 7 or, more likely, just over 7. I like rounding my runs to the nearest half-number, but almost always rounding down instead of up; I also like to run longer than I credit myself for. There’s no real reason for this; it’s just how I do it.

Anyways, today’s run was really quite delightful. I ran in the mid-morning instead of first thing before the kids got up; this was a real treat. I also ran a completely new route, listening to music that I hadn’t listened to in a long time (Elgar’s Enigma variations). It was below freezing when I woke up, but probably in the low 40s when I ran. I prefer cold temperatures for running. Here, 30s and 40s qualifies as ‘cold’. In my native New England, such would be warm, but alas, I’m trying to adjust.

Today’s food: breakfast was a bagel from yesterday’s batch. Lunch was leftover chili from yesterday (pictures soon!) and some pasta. Dinner was a really simple stirfry (lots of veggies, sesame-shitake salad dressing mixed with cornstarch as the sauce) and my husband’s version of paradise casserole from The Candle Cafe cookbook. The Candle Cafe is a fabulous, fabulous vegan restaurant in NYC. We first went with my uncle and his then-partner, now-husband (hooray!) in the late 1990s. We’ve only been a few times since then, but it remains a favorite restaurant for both of us. I highly recommend the cookbook. The recipes are fancy but easy enough to do at home, and the pictures are great. I also had some leftover cake from yesterday.

I am hoping to make this blog more about how to be a simple, non-trendy vegan in a largely non-vegan world, than about my daily runs and eats. However, I am going to try to track my runs here just out of convenience. I’ve done a few marathons and half-marathons, the last of which was the Atlanta half when I was pregnant with daughter #2. I’m working back up to a marathon (the Marine Corps/DC one, I hope) and having accountability on my daily runs will help towards that, I think.

I’m not a calorie-counter or super-strict about food, so I don’t really expect to treat this as a food log. I became a vegan back in 1995, after being a vegetarian for a year; my reasons for becoming a vegan were ethical and environmental, and those remain my reasons for veganism today. I’m sure I enjoy some health benefits from being vegan, but really those are incidental and secondary – I’m a vegan because I love animals and can’t stand the thought of them being mistreated.

That being said, I live in an area in which it is really hard to be vegan. It’s easy for me because I’ve done it for so  long and I like to cook (as opposed to eating out), but it would be really, really hard to find the support to start a vegan lifestyle here. I’m in the rural, rural south. No-one has even heard the word vegan here, and in the 6 years I’ve been here, I have not met a single other vegan. I’ve met a few (2, I think) vegetarians. I rarely go to restaurants, partially because of the expense but mainly because of the inconvenience of having to explain what I can and can’t eat, dealing with the bewildered stares of waitstaff, and then not really being certain that what I receive is actually vegan. I do think it’s important to eat out as a vegan in the rural south, because it is only through people asking for vegan options that vegan options will become readily available. It’s just hard to be the guinea pig 🙂

I’m a simple, but good, cook. I love to cook and create and read cookbooks for ideas; I rarely follow a recipe exactly. My cooking has always relied on ingredients that are easy to come by. Back when I became a vegan, even in the enlightened town of Ithaca, NY, where I then lived, grocery stores did not carry staples such as refrigerated soymilk – you could only get the kind on the shelf. Earth Balance did not yet exist, nor did the majority of the meat analogs that are on the market today. Ithaca did carry a wonderful, locally-made seasoned tofu called tofukan…..it was delicious, and the closest to a meat analog that was available. Of course, where I am now has very limited options in terms of prepared vegan food. So, I learned to cook vegan food using basic, simple, whole, unprocessed ingredients, and I continue to cook that way today.

Veganism is becoming somewhat trendy, which is great for the animals and enviroment, but also means that many of the vegan blogs and cookbooks rely on vegan versions of non-vegan items. Sure, I enjoy the occasional tub of Tofutti sour cream, but I do not rely at all on vegan analogs of any kind, except for soy milk and soy margarine. This is primarily due to availability and price – those items are just so expensive, and in my area, very hard to come by.

So the recipes I’ll be posting to this blog are easy to make, tasty, and use easy to find ingredients. I am a mostly-healthy cook, but I enjoy my fair share of desserts, so some recipes will be vegan but definitely not ‘healthy’.

I’m looking forward to finally having a place to write down all the recipes I create. All too often my husband will say ‘why don’t you make X again’ and I can’t remember how I made it. I hope this blog helps remedy this problem, and gives others guidance in how to live a simple, old-school vegan lifestyle.

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