Saturday, March 24, 2012

Recent meals

Spicy eggplant & tofu


    1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
    olive oil spray
    1 large eggplant, diced into 1 inch pieces
   125g firm tofu , diced into 1 inch cubes
    1-2 tablespoons garlic, minced
    1/2-1 tablespoon fresh ginger, shredded
    1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
    2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
    1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (I use Sriracha)
    2 cups cabbage, cut in half, turn on side and slice into long thin strips to get a “noodly" feel
    1/2 white onion, turned on the cut side and sliced into thin slices (again, for a noodly feel)
    1/4 cup vegetable broth
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    fresh ground pepper

I served this with brown rice and lots and lots of spice (hence the need for rice). It lasted for 2 1/2 days for 3 people (2 meals. 1 side dish)

1. Gently brown tofu & eggplant

2. Add garlic, chilli, ginger, vinegar, soy & chilli sauce

3. In another pan, spray with olive oil spray and add the onion.  Allow the onion to become translucent (about three or four minutes) and then add the cabbage and “no chicken” broth.  Use a fork to get the onion away from the bottom of the pan and mixed in with the cabbage.  Cook for about five minutes, then add salt and pepper and stir again.  Allow this to simmer until the eggplant and tofu are ready. 

4. When the eggplant and tofu are cooked down (they should be dark brown in color), take half of the cabbage mixture and scoop it into the bowl with rice on the side. The cabbage acts as noodles in this recipe.  Heap half of the eggplant and tofu mixture on top. 


Correction: all those grammatical errors from the last post plus irreconcilably vs 'I find comfort..'. Complete nonsense, but you know what I mean.

I am an on again of again vegetarian and vegan. (see last post. BORING!! Yet somehow I've been pretty committed to the skipping off the plan rather than sticking).

....and to continue... It's hard to justify the ‘off again’ status. A family that doesn’t understand. Not enough attention to getting the right nutrients meaning my health suffers a bit at times. Both poor excuses. Yet I recite them to myself too often.  

Every time I slip back into eating animal products, reality slaps me in the face. Recent example: I have just finished reading the latest Quarterly Essay – an amazing 25000 word (or so) journal published every 3 months (duh!) and written by an Australian on a topic of personal importance.

The current topic: “Us and Them: on the importance of animals” is beautifully explored by Anna Krien. She eats animal products I understand. Her essay is heart breakingly compassionate and delves into the befuddlement of our relationship with other animals and, as an aside, ‘other’ people. Mass market meat from a resource rich (and generally just rich) country consumed by our neighbours; hunting predators to protect sources of meat and income; meddling with the balance between species to make ‘nature’ safer for us; the human benefits and general travesty of animal testing; our wilful ignorance when it comes to understanding the pain ‘animals’ experience (note: this includes pain experienced by American slaves and indigenous Australians….’cause ‘once upon a time’ we thought them not human)  All I know are wrong and uncomfortable and all I know I support by just being here. I can lighten the load by my choices…… but not much.  Our society is based on an understanding that the life of a non-human animal is worth so little in any terms but economic. %$#@# (aka this makes me irreconcilably angry).

I find comfort in chipping away. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Going back to *mostly* vegan

Over the past 8 or 10 - maybe 15 - years I have dabbled in vegetarianism and veganism. Always been a bit icky when it comes to meat and dairy. I've long been - at least partially - aware of what the food industry is doing to the earth and its creatures. I've long erred on the conservative side of greener eating - free range eggs, kangaroo (which are culled here to manage their impact of native vegetation and fauna in its post white-settlement incarnation) have been pretty fine for long periods. Currently I'm veg most days (5 or 6 out of 7. The exceptions? Eating out & when blue vein cheese & wine (rarely vegan here) are forced down my throat. Fortitude is pretty much my middle name =)

Last year, coming home to Aust and wanting to fit back into the cultural rhythm (at least as I perceived it to be) of my not so well family, I lapsed (for convenience?) into a way of eating that hasn't served me well. Combined with a lack of exercise (= lack of connection with body) I sortta quashed the fact that I don't like meat - with a desire not kick up a fuss; I sorrta quashed the fact that I don't like dairy - with a desire to not kick up a fuss. When family friends showed love and support by bringing over pre-cooked (non veg) meals and invited me to dinner, I'd accept the meal and pick the veg from around the edges. Weirdly a slippery slide. "Not enjoying this but need to chew for acceptance in situation a"  ... which then becomes "in situation b" and "in situation c" 

So easy to put what I think others want from me before what I want from myself. Giving of oneself to honour others is a show of respect, I believe. Knowing your boundaries is something I'm learning. 

What my family, friends & society things I eat. Me: really should add a carrot or 2 into my diet . They're good 4 you right?

To distill - I'm moving back to my version of veganism - 'cause it feels right for me and my beliefs today. Let's see what tomorrow brings!! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pinning and doing

I am a recent convert to Pinterest - a haven for middle to upperclass women aged late 20s to early 40s (I pretend this isn't me but it sorta is. Just remember, we come in all shapes and sizes and have a suite of (not the most diverse but not necessarily uniform) world views.)

Over the past week I have been planning out my future via other people's 'boards' and pretty pictures on the internet. Wrong, I know..... BUT .... it is helping me be more future focussed. What do I like doing, being, making, viewing...etc? Thus, what should I focus on today? Less hung up on feeding my self protective obsessions. Not a massive deal, but echoing last post ... baby steps.

Ashamedly, I am a reactive soul far too often. Working to shape who I am, who I want to be (for me, for others) and proactively engaging with the world - well, that's the goal. Having a want based on what others' desire (i.e = Pinterest community) is a baby step. Setting goals around something that's not yesterday's experiences or an unachievable future is a super stride. Just you wait til I get there.

How was today's Oxfam Trailwalker training walk?

So glad you asked.

7:30 on the train to Frankston (It will soon become apparent that I am not an avid photographer and own only a bottom of the line shooter which I used for the first time in 6 months yesterday).
On the train to Frankston
Things started on an ominous note. Rolling, voluminous grey clouds. Intermittent fine mist like rain that soaked me through within the first hour.
Looking back towards Frankston
Each suburb I walked through was marked by a surf life saving club, most setting up for a nippers class, and a fresh set of beach boxes.
Sunny, summer shacks
Times have changed since my cousins lived along the coast in a modest, too small for a family of 6 house with a garden that opened onto the sand.

Money buys views (and solar panels, yeah!)
Things were on the up as I approached Rickett's Point. Would I power on past Mentone station to the next train station accessible from the beach - Sandringham another 10+km on?
Warming sun breaks through as I approach my old home

Calming seas
I went easy on myself (and my blisters acquired on last weekend's big hike). I left the beach here at Mentone. 28,773 steps completed, which based on previous walks is a little over 20km I think
A once-upon-a time pier?
All in all, a reasonable effort. A beautiful way to spend a Saturday morning (My finish time was close to 12pm). A beautiful way to spend time at the beach - a place I haven't visited much this summer. This year, I learnt yesterday, was a the coldest in 10, hence the lack of beach action on my part. It was however the hottest La NiƱa year on record.   

Friday, February 10, 2012

Not quite a Trailwalker

In late April, 3 colleagues and I will be participating in the Melbourne Oxfam Trailwalker.100km in some time under 24 hours - we're hoping. 

My fitness disappeared sometime back in late 2010 shortly after I arrived home - post 3 years on distant shores - and sunk into a 'poor me' phase. 

'Just getting back out there' seems to have been my cure all after all (or rather cure-quite-a-lot and notably not as easy as it sounds). Setting myself the goal of completing the Trailwalker and making myself accountable to 3 teammates is thus far working. After 3 tough-ish team walks and a couple of embarrassingly red face inducing PT sessions I am slowly on my way to moderate fitness - a stepping stone to genuine 10km run for fun health (OK - this is a stretch goal for me. In the good old days I would always have opted for back-to-back spin classes followed by a 1/2 hour abs session to the lightest of runs round the block. The idea of running is appealing to me. The reality is not.)
Why I'm walking 100km Source

Tomorrow is training walk #4. Just me this time and I've decided to walk home along the trainline. Hugging the bay from Frankston to as far as I get before getting too board/tired/sunburnt/<insert another excuse>. Wish me luck!!