Thursday, December 8, 2011

Veganizing Thanksgiving + Transitioning Thoughts

My very first time ice skating!
Thanks, Idaho Ice World.
"Go with the flow" is very cliche, but great advice nonetheless.  Tough obstacles will come just as often as we experience "miracle" situations.  The way in which we handle these situations says a lot about us.  Everything happens for a reason, when and how it should.  Sometimes we may question why, asking outside sources and end up frustrated when we are left without a proper explanation.  The solution to this uncertainty in life is to look within, follow your gut and stay true to yourself.

I've found that when we are honest with ourselves and pursue what moves us, happiness is inevitable.  Letting go of what keeps us from our goals and learning how to delay gratification will make the rewards we seek much more obtainable and sweeter.  This may not be easy at first, but when you notice your productivity levels increasing and inspiration flourishing you'll start to feel a lot better about making bold choices in favor of future accomplishments.

As long as we are clear about our mission and believe in ourselves, taking action should come naturally.  It shouldn't feel like so much like work, but a "happy place!"  I've always wanted to be my own boss, work for myself and live out my dream.  The problem was, I couldn't pin point what that was.  I went through many moments of frustration trying to figure out what my niche was and why I wasn't there yet, staring it down.  For one reason or another it simply wasn't my time.  I trusted that in time, I would go through life, the good and the hard times to realize what matters to me.  In the meantime I stuck to my hobbies:  making art, watching hockey, running, journaling and of course, my main love cooking.

The change for me came after a very inspirational video I found, called, "Breakthrough - An Inspiring Raw Food Documentary."  I wasn't looking to go raw, I wasn't even thinking about going vegan at the time.  I just wanted to see food from a different perspective.   I decided to give this video a try and it was nothing short of inspiring.  I decided to become a vegan that evening.  I had been so moved by this sustainable family who grow their own organic vegetables, live off of the land and eat a raw vegan diet.  I knew this was going to be a radical change for my once cheese-and-other-dairy-loving body, but that my mind was made up, after being so inspired by this family there was no turning back.

       Watch "Breakthrough - An Inspiring Raw Food Documentary"
The movie that changed it all for me.

What I realized from this documentary was that I wasn't just not eating meat anymore.  I was adapting to the lifestyle.  Being a vegetarian for 10 years, I hardly looked at it beyond the absence of beef, poultry, fish or any other animal flesh.  Now, my world and diet has had a complete transformation.  Not only do I not consume any animal nor animal by-products but I have grown a major interest and following for organic farming, buying local goods, natural and unpackaged products, the green movement, holistic healing, raw foods and alternative cooking and baking.  

It doesn't have to be a drastic step.  In fact, I hardly recommend that anyone make major changes.  I find that I was able to become vegan without looking back because I moved slowly and did my research through books, articles, videos and more.  With each tiny transition I was making huge changes for the better.  Learning about the alternatives or substitutes for non-vegan items that I may every once in a while crave, keep me in check and on the vegan road to happy health.  

My Veganized Thanksgiving complete with an Adri-made Fauxfurkey
 and mushroom + herb stuffing,cranberries, sweet potato, veggies and
my guilty pleasure - Mom-made (but vegan) not so gluten free bread roll!
Veganizing has become my favorite thing to do and my Thanksgiving meal was no exception.  It sparks creativity and I turn into the Veganator (a specialty master veganizer)! I absolutely come alive!  Thanksgiving was a field day for me.  I took on one of the most honored items of Thanksgiving traditions.  The turkey!  I call mine the "Fauxfurkey!" Similar to the tofurkey but a homemade seitan version!  My Thanksgiving meal wasn't very gluten free friendly, but with every year I improve the quality of my meal.  Last year marked the first year with an alternative turkey.  I bought a frozen Tofurkey log from the Boise Co-op and this year I decided to go sans packaged food and make my own from scratch modified from this recipe.  Next year, I am looking into substituting the turkey, Tofurkey and fauxfurkey with my most beloved meat substitute:  the mushroom!  A savory stuffed portobello mushroom? Yes, please!

My very first Adri-made Vegan Fauxfurkey.  
It was quite fun to prepare my first fauxfurkey.  It was recommended that I prepare my fauxfurkey a day in advance as the texture and flavor improves over time.  After mixing, blending, kneading, setting, kneading, setting, kneading, setting once more, baking, refrigerating and baking again this bad boy was ready to be enjoyed!  The flavor was great, though different from that of a real turkey.  I wrapped the fauxfurkey with bean curd, otherwise known as yuba prior to baking for the second time.  However, in the end, I found that without the bean curd (most of it fell off while carving) the outside of the fauxfurkey was crispy and delicious on its own, very similar to what I can remember from my non-vegan turkey eating days.  I was able to cook, carve and sit down to eat my own culinary creation with my family without any sense of deprivation.  Let me tell you, this son of a gun fauxfurkey made great leftovers as well, from sandwiches to fauxfurkey tacos, salads to the reheated thanksgiving day meal...I enjoyed every last piece!  A few years ago, I wouldn't even know that there was such a substitution out there.  With the beginning of a thought, the interest, research and passion to drive me forward I didn't see roadblocks in my diet, rather cones to swerve around (weee!).

Proudly presenting my first made Vegan Fauxfurkey!
Self discovery is one of the most powerful happenings in one's life.  The unveiling of our true selves, just like anything else starts with a thought.  I've been so inspired with what is important to me.  I encourage you to think about what moves you!  You'll find out that you won't need a lot of outside influence as it is a gift you have from within.  Celebrate what moves you.  Be fearless and take action.  You never know who you will meet, reach or have the biggest impact on.  Answer that with open-mindedness.  Broaden your influence horizons by seeing things from another's view, thinking beyond your own thoughts, and accepting that there will be the familiar and unfamiliar, it is up to you how you approach it!  I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving with much to be thankful for.  This holiday season, love those around you, give gifts of compassion, thought and understanding, including yourself! 

Limitations become less possible if you can learn to ask how, this is true for food as well as life.

Warm dishes + many thanks until next time!
Besos, Besos  Adriana

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