Friday, March 26, 2010

Vegan Thai Green Curry Tribute Dish for Jamie Oliver (Get off The Sofa!)

This Thai Green Curry dish with asparagus and sugar snap peas is topped off with a homemade lime curry sauce that Jamie offers in his cookbook, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. This incredible curry and veggie combo is then sauteed in lowfat coconut milk. I let my dish share the spotlight with Match Meats crab-ettes (just small Match crab cakes). In Jamie's version, he used shrimp. I added my own "seafood" jolt by crumbling nori seaweed into the Match mix--giving this a fishy flavor. In Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution cookbook, an entire chapter is dedicated to curry recipes. I love it! Making the green curry from scratch for this dish was the best part! 

I have a tribute post today in honor of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution show airing this evening at eight central time on ABC. I have a little idea about what to expect--town folk with resentment and resistance and hopefully capitulation. It is entertainment. But I have a deep respect for what Jamie is setting out to do in Huntington, West Virginia--a town ranked one of the unhealthiest in the nation. Now the question is, as it is with all "healthy" cooking shows--if you build it, will people come or will they "buy" it? I hope they buy it. I really do.

My tone for this post today may run on the more "serious" side. If there is another cause besides animal rescue I feel as strongly about--it is the obesity epidemic our entire nation is facing. Grant it, I didn't bill myself as a vegan blog that is just about calorie counting and fat free eating. I bill myself as a "good grub" vegan eating site. I figure if somoeone (especially in the Midwest) is considering a vegan lifestyle option, I'd rather they feel good (and not deprived) about what type of vegan cooking can happen when you take off down this road. Any major life transition like, dropping the carnivore lifestyle, will undoubtedly leave some feeling a bit lost, perhaps even fearful of how one sustains on a plant-based diet. I was skeptical at first, too--but followed my heart. I was worried I was joining a mass of eating disorder folks (being one myself--I know all the classic symptoms--trust me)--who also happened to feel strongly about the ethics of eating. Not so. I evolved into the "ethics" of eating part over time. I was vegetarian for fourteen years. I struggled as an early vegan convert seeing cookbook after cookbook that offered strange/bland ingredients (I am not a beans and grain kind of gal--if that is what a cookbook offers, it better offer it dressed up so my husband and I will actually eat it). I try to make all of my vegan food posts accessible. And if something I've posted contains an ingredient that might be "new" or "strange" I really try to point out where you might be able to find such food stuffs.

Additionally, I promote excercise as well as cruelty-free food choices. Does being a vegan automatically guarantee you will not ever have to worry about weight? No. If you eat a vegan meal that's 1000 calories, well, that's nearly an entire day's worth of calories in one sitting. You better get moving! I eat healthy so I can eat dessert. Anyone who's ever read this blog knows I love my cake!

Studies have shown that our propensity for "watching" food television and cooking has not impacted our health in many ways at all. We simply watch. You would think the opposite would be true with all this fascination and "entertainment" found in food. But sadly, we are not getting up off the sofa, marching into grocery stores and thinking for ourselves. We sit, we watch, we go out to eat--and please don't count on restaurants to offer palliative "weight loss" relief--they are in the business to build their following--and create a "craving" desire for the food they peddle in the first place. Very sad.

It pains me to watch obesity transform our nation's health. It is disturbing and it is a scourge on our society. I understand genetics. I also understand our sedentary lifestyles, our apathy and our savage fast food mentality is much to blame--as are restaurants, again, who offer massive platings of food that our ancestors would have scoffed at. I have had my own struggles with weight gain in my lifetime. I was lucky in that my genetic makeup had assisted with my being able to shed the pounds I once carried. I was on medication for depression and what it did to me mentally was simply "numb" the core of my emotions. What it did to me physically was a nightmare. I watched my physique deteriorate to such an unhealthy mass of flab, I did what most folks do who are relegated to taking such meds to "cope" (and then see the pounds build up)--I stopped all meds cold and began to move again. I have no regrets. Do I still get depressed? Yes. Do I still go up and down in my weight? Yes. But I now make a conscientious choice when I eat so that the moments when "food" pacifies, my body gets moving (and no, it is not always easy for me to "get moving"). In truth, being aware of the need to exercise while you fight depression is like trying to walk through quick sand and keep your balance. It is very hard. But who said life would be easy.

So I do get the ill fate many face when either genetically they are predisposed to having weight control issues or when they have no other choice but having to "take meds" to ward of illnesses of any kind--while at the same time deal with the tremendous life-changing side effects such as weight gain. Ideally, my hope is that pharmaceutical companies might help relieve some of this "medical weight gain" by advancing their research to create less traumatic side effects in new drugs for "diseases" sans any "weight gain" side effects. Whatever the "trigger" is for food craving and carb craving, let's attack it from a different angle. Promote healthy eating, offer healthy eating options. (Hello, let's first start in our urban areas and not allow a store billed as a "quick stop shop" to exist unless they carry a full and well-stocked produce section). I watched a report recently where this man took up the "bringing veggies to the city" cause by creating a sort of  book mobile approach to giving access to families living in city blocks who don't have transportation access to more lushly stocked suburban grocers, but must rely on these horrible "quick stop" sort of places for their food purchases. The reporter covering this showed a young person--early teens, stopping by and seeing for the first time several new food items. Sort of amazed me because this truck load had carrots, letuce, peppers, oranges, apples and pineapples--yet this child had never laid eyes on some of these foods before--never had it brought into his home.

Here's what it boils down to--this obesity and unhealthy life did not happen overnight. Nor will it be fixed overnight. Losing weight and making lifestyle changes is as big a committment as any a person may have to face. It's no laughing matter. It can be downright hard. But to soften the blow of negativity on the matter, we simply need to support each other in our food-obsessed society and help get our friends, neighbors and loved ones on track to a healthier life. . . one meal at a time.

5 comments:

  1. Great post, you are a terrific writer. Ever think about being a freelance writer for a women's magazine?

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  2. I appreciate your posts for all of the above reasons, but especially because of your kindness toward animals and delicious (and sometimes caloric) recipes. :)

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  3. What a great post...
    My daughter had a sleepover a few weeks ago, and I made vegan blueberry pancakes with a side of fruit. Pineapple was on the plate, one of the kids had never eaten pineapple before! PINEAPPLE.
    I was shocked! They didn't eat the fruit and didn't like the real maple syrup either.
    It saddened me to think these kids have been raised on sugar and clearly have no idea what real food tastes like. My daughter later told me that her mom makes hamburger helper at least 3 nights a week. What has happened to our society?

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  4. I'll definitely have to look for Jamie Oliver's show! I saw the TED talk that he did, and it was inspiring. It's going to be a difficult transition for our nation, but I am hoping that we start to move in the right direction. I know that it definitely opened my eyes when I started shopping at the farmers market and saw so much more variety than what is found at the supermarket!

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  5. Hi ladies! Thank you so much for your comments on this post! I really appreciate the stories you shared. Kirsten, that one about the kid and the pineapple, unreal. Makes you want to slap some sense into said parent, or makes "me" want to. You're very kind to feed the neighbor children and educate them along the way, too. Ewww. Hamburger Helper. Ewww. Okay, Jeanne--I am so glad you got to catch a glimpse of Jamie's talk. I did not see that. I am also happy you've had an awakening from Farmer's Markets--they are wonderful places to shop! Thank you Amanda--you are too kind! And my friend, veganhomemaker--Thank you so much for that nice comment! I'd be lying if I said I never wanted to write an article or two--but I don't take the word "no" really well. One of the main reasons I began my blog--to keep the old "word horse" and "chatty Cathy" in me in good practice! (Chatty Cathy. . . who says that anymore?--well, it just fits me, is all!)

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