I don’t like labels.

Last weekend, I went to DC VegFest. It was totally cool hanging out with all of those vegans and vegetarians. ¬†The Veg community¬†is a very friendly group, and most wanted to know my story. I was asked by a couple different people, ¬†“What brought you to VegFest today? Are you vegan?”

My answer to that questions is…

No. I don’t feel it comfortable or necessary to label myself as anything. I don’t want to follow rigid rules of any kind, when it comes to food – I am too much of a foodie to be so restrictive and disciplined. I simply want to eat a healthy well balanced diet – full of color, flavor, and texture. And although, I eat and cook mostly organic plant based, I¬†am opened minded, adventurous, and willing to explore all different types of food lifestyles.

I recently found my new favorite blog called, My New Roots. When reading Sarah’s (the owner of the blog) About page, I thought to myself, ” Wow! She nailed it. This is exactly how I feel.”

Sarah says, “The only label I‚Äôll slap on myself is ‚Äúwhole-food-lover.” Nothing makes me feel better, think better, and look better than whole foods! And the big bonus? I¬†never¬†count calories or worry about my weight because I know that if I eat this way, my body will be in a perfect state of balance and health, naturally.”

I agree with her 100%. Although, my diet is mainly plant based, consisting of veggies, fruit, grains, beans, quinoa, nuts and seeds, I still can not label myself as vegetarian or vegan.¬†There has been weeks in which I have gone meatless, but there are days you can find me eating a greek yogurt. ¬†I absolutely love eggs and eat them a couple times a week. I also can’t live without fish. My favorite thing about summer time is eating a Maryland crab feast or a Lobster bake on Martha’s Vineyard.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, your main priority is eliminating all animal products. But the most important thing to me is that everything I eat is organic and whole. It is a very rare day, if you find me eating something that is not organic. I avoid GMOs and processed foods. I try to buy everything from local farms, and eat seasonally. If I am eating eggs, they are from cage free hens eating an organic feed. When I eat fish, I only eat wild caught. And on the rare occasion that I eat dairy or any other animal product, it must be treated as humanely as possible, free of antibiotics and hormones.

There are times in which I love labels, and there are times in which I hate them. There are some labels that are simple, while others are more complicated. The times in which I love them is when they are simple and define ones identity. The times in which I hate them are when they are complicated and become stereotypes.  I can label myself as a marathon runner, simply because I run marathons. But, I can not label myself as vegan or vegetarian, although I often cook and eat that way.

I bought this pendant from a vendor at VegFest…

 

Plant Strong 2Plant Strong

 

It says, Plant Strong.

So if I must come up with a label, Plant Strong is a pretty awesome one. I also love the label that Sarah from My New Roots came up with РWhole Food Lover.  Add organic to it and slap it on me.

What’s your label?¬†

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

super natural every day

Does anyone else get super overwhelmed with Christmas shopping? It should be fun, right? Because my family is childless, the idea of adults buying presents for adults seems kind of silly. However, I am a knitter, so I almost always hand make most of my gifts. But this year, I found myself on a desperate hunt for that special something, which holds the qualities of unique and creative, but also thoughtful and useful. The problem was I kept finding that special something that would be unique and useful for me…

For example, I was in Anthropologie and I found Super Natural Every Day, a cookbook written by Heidi Swanson. She opens this book telling us about her home San Francisco. Her descriptions are so lovely, it made me want to move there asap. She also gives us a peek inside her cupboard and pantry. She tells us where she shops for food, as she teaches us the ultimate definition of Natural.

foodbook

As I said before, I was in search for something unique and useful. This book meets those qualities because in this country every day is a challenge to eat organic and vegetarian.

Changing the subject now…

My New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to eat one unique exotic food I had never tried before, every week. This made me on a constant quest to seek knowledge on these new foods I discovered. It forced me to go to local farmers markets, my favorite one being the Crystal City Farmer’s Market. I would rush over there on Tuesday, during my break at work. What I loved most about this market is that it was on a weekday so most of the time the farmers were there themselves working the stand.

farms

farmstomato

farmsorganicI also started to explore some of the organic grocery stores, becoming a regular shopper at Whole Foods, MOM’s Organic Market, and rarely, but sometimes Trader Joe’s. Although, they are expensive, my health is worth the money, (and so is yours!)

10392_10100905332643176_561693244_nWhen it comes to Whole Foods verse MOM’s, Whole Foods is much bigger and has more options. However, MOM’s has less imported things, most of their products are more locally grown. It is smaller, but their selection is more exclusive. When it comes to Trader Joe’s, I like it, but I feel like the store has a lot of packaged items, which is not really my thing. I don’t snack much, and although packaged products can be organic or vegan, I much rather get the whole food.

back to the book…

So lets get back to the fabulous cookbook, Super Natural Everyday. The title of this book says it all. This is the way I want to eat, cook, live. Every attempt, I have made at being vegetarian has failed in the past because I simply didn’t feel full with out animal protein. This September when I decided to give it a try again, I decided I am not going to label myself as anything. I simply decided to ease into it by having meatless and dairy-free days. Now I am buying fabulous cookbooks like this one, and learning how to cook more vegetarian/vegan meals.

The meal I decided to try was her stuffed tomatoes, but instead of using six tomatoes, I used three tomatoes, two green peppers, and two portobello mushrooms. I actually ended up liking the portobello mushroom best.

foodSimply wash them, and clean out the insides only saving the tomato insides. Put those a side in a large mixing bowl.

food2Add shallots, garlic, basil, harissa, olive oil, salt, yogurt, couscous. Stuff the vegetables to the top and cook them for 50-60 mins in a 350 degree hot oven.

foodstuffed

Now this is what I am talking about! This is a must try delicious recipe, and the best part is that it is a filling satisfied vegetarian dish.

For more info on Heidi Swanson you can check out her personal site here. You can also purchase her book, Super Natural Every Day, at Anthropologie.

© 2012 sweatdaily