Thursday, February 24, 2011

Family Feedback and Sweet Coconut Rice

Today's afternoon snack is Sweet Coconut Rice with Fresh Peaches.  Our family loves the Thai coconut rice we get at restaurants, so I thought I'd give it a go at home.  Two thumbs WAY UP for this one.


SWEET COCONUT RICE
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
1 ¼ c. water
1 T. sugar
1 pinch salt
1 ½ c. uncooked white rice (Jasmine is best)
1 t. vanilla
Fresh sliced mango and/or peaches

In a saucepan, combine coconut milk, water, sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in rice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20-30 minutes, until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.  Stir in vanilla and serve with sliced fruit on top of rice.

I've been talking with my family and getting their feelings and feedback on "this vegan thing" that I'm doing. 

My 2-year-old Gracie seems to be the one having the most trouble.  But I think that's because she is going through an anti-food phase in general.  She loves the fresh fruits and veggies, and she eats the hot meals I prepare.  She just does it with a wrinkled up nose.  But, you have to remember, she's 2.  She wrinkles her nose at the whole world right now.

My 8-year-old (sorry, 8 1/2 -year-old) Eli is loving it.  Eli always leaned towards the vegetarian side of life (even as a toddler), and he is truly embracing this.  He asks most days to take a vegan lunch to school.  He told me that his friends are asking him about his lunches and talking to him about vegan stuff.  He asked if we can buy soy milk in little cartons to take to school so he doesn't have to drink the cow's milk anymore.  He eats a ton of the food I make, and is really enthusiastic about meal planning, prep work and cooking.  But to be honest, I knew he would be on board from the beginning.  This is his kind of food.  He's a health nut to the core.  I would have been shocked if he reacted any other way.
My husband Buzz has also been very supportive and encouraging of MY voyage to veganism.  But he is NOT embracing the lifestyle change.  He eats vegan meals here at home--and he's "liked everything so far" and has no complaints.  But his lunches and meals out include meat and dairy and eggs.  He is only vegan WITH ME.  When he's not with me, he's a carnivore. (He is the same way with soda pop--we don't have it in the house, but he drinks it when he's out and about.)  I think his major concern is that I will eventually ask him to stop hunting.  That will never happen.  I know that he loves hunting and the time spent with his buddies.  I would never ask him to give up his favorite hobby. I love him too much for that.

But really it shocks to me to know his isn't "all in" because Buzz is the one that sees a real difference.  He has lost almost 6 pounds in less than two weeks.  He is looking slimmer and says he feels a lot better.  He's only half-vegan, but still reaping a lot of the benefits.  Even though he eats animal products, he is making an effort to cut back on them by controlling portion sizes.  He actually enjoys the food I cook, and he likes being able to eat huge amounts of food. It's just difficult to get over the mindset that a meal is a meal even if it doesn't include meat.

Buzz is also excited about the summer/growing season.  He is a green thumb kind of guy and plans on planting some good sugar snap peas here at the house.  We are hoping to help my extended family with some gardening, and we want to get involved more with farmers' markets. We are looking forward to a better variety of fresh produce. We've talked about the CSA (community supported agriculture) group we joined a couple years ago and have considered doing that again.  We loved the idea of getting a box of veggies and making it work.  He really is enthusiastic about that (and it makes me wonder if this wouldn't have been easier on him if I had started this voyage in the summer months).  I really believe that, with time, Buzz will lean further and further towards veganism. But I'm not going to push him.  I will do my best to encourage him to be healthy and happy.  And I guarantee that hunting will continue be part of his life.
I'm the last one.  And, honestly, I haven't really been affected in any negative way.  I've made some minor changes--soy milk instead of cow's milk, skipping the cheese on top of everything I cook.  But I was pretty much a vegetarian when I started this process.  I ate meat, but not all that often.  I would often cook a couple veggie/vegan side dishes to go along with a meat main dish.  I just didn't eat the meat.  So I don't feel like I'm giving up anything, but I do feel like I'm gaining health benefits.  I've lost 3 1/2 pounds in the last two weeks.  I've lost over an inch and a half off my waist.  I feel so much better.  No bloating, no uncomfortable "full" feeling.  My skin is clearing up more than it ever has.  I'm happy with this and intend to make it a life-long choice.

What I'm really concerned about is YOU!  I'm worried because I was already halfway down the road when I started this journey, and I don't think that's fair to you.  I believe the most difficult part is that first step--making a decision and then laying out your plan.  I would love to help you with that process if you want.  No pressure.  I just don't want anyone to think that a major life change is going to happen over night.  Baby steps are good.  Just cut out one thing--maybe replace milk with soy milk or cut out one type of meat.  Maybe just try adding vegan side dishes to your hunk of meat.  Or have a "meatless Monday" at your house. Baby steps, Bob.

I said from the start that I don't intend to push this on anyone.  But if you are inspired to take a baby step, let me know.  Maybe we can talk over a soy latte sometime.

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