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Clues that there may be a vegetarian in your household

It occurred to me that anyone on the standard Australian / Westernised diet (and by diet I mean pattern of eating, typical modes of consumption, not “weight-loss”) would probably find my pantry and bookshelves a little odd. We have four vegetarians in the house, adults and children, and as we journey along the path of plant-based eating, we have progressed to the point where our cupboard is full of some interesting grocery items. These are things that I had never heard of when I first gave up eating meat back in 1995. Since then I have learned a lot more about eating well as a vegetarian. Part of that has meant adjusting to eating foods I may not have considered in the past.

With no further ado, here’s a little photographic tour of some parts of my house, that may be the giveaway that vegetarians live here. I took all the photos on 19 July.

Clue, Number 1:

A box of fruit, veggies, sprouted bread and raw chocolate is delivered to your door by a guy from biodynamic produce suppliers.

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Organic and Biodynamic Veggies

Clue, Number 2:

There are bits of animal rights paraphernalia scattered around the house.

Sea Shepherd Badges

Sea Shepherd Badges

Clue, Number 3: 

Everyone’s kindle contains vegetarian and environmentalist books.

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Moby Duck, Kindle

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Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day – Kindle

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Artisan Vegan Cheese – Kindle

Clue, Number 4:

The milk compartment of the fridge only holds oat milk, soy milk and/or almond milk. The egg compartment contains plant-based food colourings and containers of dairy-free probiotics.

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Plant Based Milks

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Plant Based Food Dyes, Probiotics

Clue, Number 5:

One of the members of the household successfully made vegan cheese based on the recipes in the Artisan Vegan Cheese book. It is a fascinating process involving sprouting legumes or grains, forming a culture, and using cashews or other nuts.

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Homemade Vegan Cheese

Clue, Number 6:

Malt extract and peanut butter on toast is considered a valid snack option.

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Malt Extract

Clue, Number 7:

You went to university with the intention of getting your degrees in school teaching and journalism. You came out with a degree in environmental sociology, instead.

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Environmental Sociology

Clue, Number 8:

Your bookshelf has books on plant-based nutrition, animals, food gardening, and the environment for fun – not for the aforementioned university studies.

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Books on Food

Clue, Number 9: 

You actually read the ingredients on wine to make sure it wasn’t filtered through animal products… (It’s really common to find fish, milk or eggs in the early stages of the wine-making process.)

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“Suitable for vegetarians and vegans” Wine

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Yalumba Wine

Clue, Number 10:

Your pantry has these sorts of ingredients and dietary supplements… Raw sprouted protein powder (also a clue that at least one athlete lives here), quinoa, Celtic sea salt (a good source of minerals), yeast flakes (nutritional yeast), lentils, agar, maca powder, apple cider vinegar, algal omega 3 (why eat fish when you can just eat the food that the fish eat?), chia seeds, organic cold pressed coconut, methylcobalamin spray (it’s a B12 supplement that the body is able to absorb more readily than cyanocobalamin B12, so I’m told), seaweed sheets, quinoa energy bars, and organic and Fair Trade herbal teas.

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Vegan and Vegetarian Ingredients

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Vegan and Vegetarian Ingredients

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Vegan and Vegetarian Ingredients

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Organic Chamomile Tea

Clue, Number 11:

Bowls of sprouting legumes can usually be found in the kitchen at any given time.

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Sprouting Lentils

Clue, Number 12:

You realise you’ve subscribed to a number of e-newsletters and video channels with names like NutritionFacts.Org, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Dr McDougall’s Health and Medical Center.

  • As we read in the 2013 edition of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Dietary Guidelines (Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, page 35), appropriately planned vegetarian and vegan diets are considered valid eating patterns for healthy Australians at all stages of life. (Accessed 19 July 2013.)

Books shown here include:

  • Slaughter of the Innocent by Hans Ruesch.
  • Creation – Chance or Design? by David Tyler – an interesting Bible study about the Biblical book of Genesis. Shown here because it has a good chapter on a Christian framework for environmentalism.
  • Food For Life by Neal Barnard.
  • The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone.
  • Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli.
  • Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal by Rosemary Stanton. An Australian nutrition book, not strictly vegetarian.
  • Big Vegan by Robin Asbell
  • Thrive: The vegan nutrition guide to optimal performance in sports and life by Brendan Brazier
  • The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates and Linda Schatz (not vegetarian, but a useful guide to probiotics)
  • The Death of Nature by Carolyn Merchant
  • Environmental Sociology by John Hannigan
  • Ecofeminism: Women, Animals, Nature edited by Greta Gaard
  • Ecofeminist Philosophy by Karen J Warren
  • A Whale Hunt by Robert Sullivan
  • Nature and Social Theory by Adrian Franklin
  • Moby Duck by Donovan Hohn
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Insanely tight budget cooking with someone who cannot cook, Part 2

1. Potato and pea soup, during cooking

2. Potato and pea soup, after cooking

This soup is pretty straightforward. The leek is fried in olive oil first and then the various ingredients – peas, potato, celery, thyme, vegetable stock – are added, it’s all boiled to a mashable state, then puréed. Served with garlic bread (the garlic bread is made with olive oil and crushed garlic).

[Edited 29 August 2012 to correct a spelling error.]

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Insanely tight budget cooking with someone who cannot cook, Part 1

Cooking and I simply don’t mix. I’m more than happy to eat (within my fussy boundaries as someone with some weird food allergies and a preference for dairy-free vegetarian meals); it’s just that creating the food in the first place doesn’t come naturally.

However, the necessity and burden of cooking has been circumstantially placed upon me for the duration of a three week period in which I have to feed three people on an absurdly tight budget.

To help me juggle the insanity of suddenly cooking for the household, I have been following some basic rules: choosing recipes for the week in advance; only shopping with a shopping list; trying to only go to the shops twice a week (to save on petrol and to reduce spending). It hasn’t been easy. To be honest, it’s been downright difficult. But it’s a chance to grow and there isn’t really another option.

To make things simpler, less expensive and satisfy my environmentalist-animal-loving-health conscious self, I decided I would cook vegan food. It’s just better. And, with the combined forces of three vegetarians, two of whom are already allergic to dairy, veganism covers all bases (as long as I don’t include any allergenic fruits in the meals – because two of us have different fruit allergies, meaning bananas, paw paws and kiwi fruits are out of the question).

So, in order to prove to people that I have, in fact, lived up to the challenge, I started taking photos of some of the meals I made.

Here are photos of some of the meals thus far.

1. Roasted potato, red onion, and red capsicum served on salad.

2. The salad – baby rocket, red kidney beans, and chopped flat parsley with a dash of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

3. A week’s worth of dinner ingredients.

4. Noodles with soy sauce-marinated organic firm tofu, red and green capsicum, bok choy, celery, all tossed together in a wok with cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.

5. Tofu and vegetable salad with peanut satay sauce.

6. Enough vegetables to provide three people with at least four meals.

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