Wednesday, November 21, 2007
A Vegan Thanksgiving
People have asked me what a vegan eats for Thanksgiving. Today's menu includes
Salad: Warm heirloom beet, carrot and edamame salad - a simple mixture of freshly boiled vegetables placed on a bed of baby greens and drizzled in balsamic vinegar
Protein: Tofurky - a tofu and grain-based roast available from Turtle Island Foods . I do not typically eat meat substitutes since I enjoy the inherent food qualities of tofu, tempeh and seitan, but a Tofurky is great for family holiday entertaining.
Harvest vegetable medley -brussell sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, fingerling potatoes, leeks, carrots, parsnips, garlic, bell pepper and fresh herbs roasted at 450F
Red lentils - simmered in vegan low-sodium bullion and flavored with cumin
Fresh roasted chestnuts
Mashed yukon gold potatoes (no butter or cream added, just a bit of soy milk)
Wines: Louis Roederer non-vintage Champagne, Chassagne Montrachet Maltroye 2001
Dessert: Vegan cranberry apple pie, Gyokuro Asahi green tea
I really look forward to those fresh Tofurky sandwiches after Thanksgiving!
Although the focus of this blog is IT, here's a brief personal word about my own vegan experience. In the 1990's I had a body mass index of 30 (that's obese) . I lived the all stress diet of a CIO: Starbucks grande lattes, supersized fast food, and business meals at the local steakhouse. I kept a bottle of Tums and Motrin on my desk. In 2000, I visited my primary care physician for the first time in a decade and discovered that my HDL cholesterol was low, LDL cholesterol was high, and blood pressure was borderline hypertensive (140/90).
I was offered the possibility of Lipitor, Ace Inhibitors, Beta Blockers, Nexium etc. Instead I changed my lifestyle. I first eliminated caffeine. Other than two weeks of headaches, sweats, irritability, tremulousness, insomnia, and fatigue, it was no problem. Without caffeine, I no longer craved the afternoon Krispy Kreme and all gastric reflux symptoms disappeared. My emotions and blood glucose became stable 24 hours a day. I no longer craved morning coffee and slept naturally instead of waking to caffeine withdrawl.
I then stopped eating fast food, fried foods, and beef. From there, I ate only chicken and fish. Then, I eliminated all meats and fish. As my 14 year old daughter would say, "I no longer ate anything with a mother". From there, I eliminated all animal products - no dairy and no eggs. I ate tofu, fresh vegetables, rice, and legumes, losing 65 pounds (before and after). That was 5 years ago and the drop in weight has enabled me to become more active. Today, I do not miss animal products. However, when I travel (especially in Eastern Europe) being vegan is challenging, so I may have vegetarian meals that include eggs or dairy. The end result of my years as a vegan is the data from my most recent primary care visit:
Body Mass Index 21
Cholesterol (mg/dL) 130
Triglyceride (mg/dL) 80
HDL (mg/dL) 47
LDL (mg/dL) 60
BP Systolic (mm Hg) 116
BP Diastolic (mm Hg) 72
Pulse rate (/min) 53
No Tums, no Motrin, no medications of any kind. I have extended my vegan lifestyle to eliminate animal products from my wardrobe, including all leather. My current clothing is entirely rayon/polyester with a bit of cotton, and shoes made from polyester microfiber. I feel I've done my part to reduce my carbon footprint, minimize my healthcare costs, and maximize my longevity. I do not attempt to inflict any philosophy on my friends and colleagues, but I can recommend vegetarianism/veganism. It worked for me!
Posted by John Halamka at 2:35 PM