Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sweet No More

One of my husband's nurses wanted to learn how to make an apple pie. So I taught her. In the end, her pies turned out better than mine. How is that fair? And even worse, I've no appetite for them anymore--or any other kind of sweet. Has that happened to you?

The strangest thing has happened. On my way to being a full time vegan, I lost something I've had with me all of my remembered lifetime. I didn't realize it was gone until last week. I have looked everywhere for it. Under the tables, beds, chairs, between the cushions, inside every cabinet and drawer, even inside my closets. Nowhere to  be found. My sweet-tooth has vanished into thin air.

Is this something common to vegans? I have no idea. Maybe it's just me. At any rate, no more chocolate cravings, no more pie, cookie, or cheesecake visions dancing in my head. I can watch TV ads for Sara Lee temptations, cooking shows and all manner of exotic dessert trailers and not begin drooling. What on earth is going on?

Tell me if you know.

What I do know is that in the nearly four weeks of being vegan, the intestinal disease has calmed down to a livable aggravation. I'm thinking that if I just keep going, it will become null and void--and all without the major surgery I've gone through before. I know I wake up each morning feeling better than the day before and energy is seeping back into my body. I'm praying that I'll get so healthy I can toss out my blood pressure meds and my arthritis meds and every pain medicine the doctors of years past have put me on in order to dull the continued abdominal pain. None of which worked all that well anyway.

As for me, I'm grateful to the new doctor the hospital called in to see me this last go around of a twisted colon. For all of the times I've been hospitalized for just that reason (and twice operated on), I've always been sent home to a diet of clear liquids, then semi-solids, then a slow introduction of regular food. Every time the pain has come back and the vomiting would begin again. This new doctor told me to go home and eat a diet high in fruits, veggies, and grains. I thought he was crazy. I gave it a lot of thought and decided I had nothing to lose. None of the other doctor's advice had worked, so why not give this a try? Personally, I really thought it would put me right back in emergency. That's how confident I was.

I'm so thankful that I live in southern California, where the produce is year around, fresh, vibrant with color, and nowhere near as expensive as meat. Any market I choose has table after table and bin after bin of fresh things so appetizing it's difficult not to buy some of everything and bring it all home. I stop myself from loading up though. The market is so close and fresh is better eaten within a day or so. I don't want to find zucchini or bell peppers with fuzz growing on them. So I get out a little more often than usual. It's good to smell fresh air and feel the sun warming my body. It's like a little bit of heaven here on earth. At least to me.

Most of all, I'm grateful to the Lord whom I serve. For many weeks preceeding this last hospital stay, I would be praying to get well and what I'd see in my mind was fields and fields of leafy greens It made me hungry to think of them. Yet previous doctors had warned me away from eating raw fruits and vegetables--too hard to digest. Others had said I could only imbibe of canned fruits and veggies or well cooked frozen ones. Yet what I wanted were those greens: beet greens, swiss chard, spinach, kale, collard greens, and all manner of everything else growing in that imaginary field in my mind.

I remembered that when the new doctor changed my diet. That was the main thing that convinced me to become a vegan. I'm not about staying away from animal products. I believe God put food on this earth for us to enjoy, but in my particular case, if some of that food is like poison to me right now, I'm more than willing to give it up. What I hadn't expected to leave my palette was the longing for rich, dense, carmel topped ice cream sundaes or the delicate crumb of a home made chocolate cake covered with fudge frosting.

Maybe those desserts are gone from mind because by the time I finish my vegan meal, I'm too full to think about anything else. I'm not sure. The only thing I can attest to is the fact that I've now become a deliberate stalker of tangerines and oranges. My sister came to visit last week and brought me a huge basket of oranges freshly picked from her trees. I never believed I could eat them all. But I have. So maybe my sweet tooth isn't gone. Perhaps its just changed venues.

B-B-Q Veggie Sandwich

Saute over medium heat until the onions begin to brown.
2 tsp. oil (I used olive)
1 med. red onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped

While the onions are browning, cut into thin strips 1 large red or green bell pepper,  1/2 pound of crimini mushrooms, and 1 medium zucchini. I used the vegetable peeler for the zucchini. It was easier and made perfect thin strips.

Add the above to the onion mixture and saute for a few minutes or until the zucchini begins to wilt.

Now add 1 cup barbeque sauce of your choice. I used Hickory Chipotle. I was delicious.

Saute until the whole vegetable mixture is equally covered in the sauce.

Slice 4 wheat rolls in half and divide the barbecue between the warm rolls. Top with coleslaw.

Makes 4 good size sandwiches.

I intended to serve these sandwiches with oven french fries. However, the main dish was so filling, I had no room left for the potatoes.

The meal is messy, but so worth fixing. And eating. Happy Vegan.

This recipe is adapted from The Complete Vegan Kitchen by Jannequin Bennett. 

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