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Dec. 31st, 2020 11:59 pm Blog privacy query: please read!

Edit, June 2010: I am reposting this entry, originally posted in May 2008, with a far-future date so that new readers of my journal will see it and can respond accordingly if they choose. Thanks!

Edit, Dec 2013: I am now openly genderqueer and transgender, and I no longer identify as bi, but am still "queer" with regard to sexual orientation.

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This message is public as it pertains to friends who read my journal but are not LiveJournal users. Comments are screened.

As most people who are more than very casual acquaintances know, I have what some call an "alternative" lifestyle. Specifically, I am bisexual and polyamorous (non-monogamous). I have become more open and vocal about these aspects of my life as I've grown increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the status quo of acceptable relationship structures in American culture. Hence, I occasionally blog about events or parties I attend that cater specifically to bi and/or poly people, or dates with people other than my husband (boyziggy). Any explicit sexual content (text-only; I don't post porn) is always protected as friends-only (I have no specific filters currently, if you're on my friendslist you get everything), but other such posts may well be public.

As I have some bi and/or poly friends who are not out about their lifestyles, I generally do not mention other people by name in these posts, public or private, unless I'm quite confident they're OK with it. But I do enjoy it when other people mention me in their blogs (in a good way, at least!), and so I like to acknowledge spending time with others if they are OK with it.

So if you have any doubt about what I know of your status and openness thereof, or have any preferences as to how and if I refer to you in my blog, now's the time to speak up. Comments are screened. E-mail me if you prefer, especially if you want a reply.

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Sep. 21st, 2014 08:31 am Race report: Beat the Blerch half marathon



This week, boyziggy and I traveled to Seattle to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary (a week early) by running our first half-marathon together: Beat the Blerch. We scheduled two days on either side of the race day, Saturday, to relax and enjoy the area. (I'll write more about the rest of the trip in a future entry.)

Friday we went to Road Runner Sports to pick up our race packets and get an autographed book from Matthew Inman, aka The Oatmeal. We arrived mid-afternoon and were able to get our race packets immediately, but the line for autographs was extremely long. We weren't in a hurry, so Ziggy shopped and did test runs in shoes while I stood in line. I had a great conversation with the woman behind me, a local who was also a running enthusiast and the same age as me.

After 2 1/2 hours (!) I reached the front of the line. Matt not only signed my book but drew a quick picture! I assume he did that for everyone, and must have had hand cramps by the end. Not only that but he would be racing on both Saturday and Sunday, and signing merchandise there as well!

Race day arrived, and we left early for the 40-minute drive (in a Zipcar) from Seattle to Carnation. It was foggy and in the 50s, but the weather forecast said the sun would emerge and the temperature soar later, so I didn't want to over-dress. I wore shorts, an undershirt, and my No Meat Athlete tech tee, and didn't bother with a jacket. Ziggy forgot his jacket, and was most freezing and quite unconvinced at my assurances that he would be quickly warm up.



We started right on time, 9:30 a.m. (quite late for a race, but befitting fans of The Oatmeal). The marathon runners had already started at 9 a.m. I'd lined up in the back (there were pace signs, but the slowest was 9 min/mile), as I didn't expect to run a fast race. I had no time goal, but thought it would be nice to at least average 12 min/mile. I vaguely remembered my half-marathon PR, at my birthday race last year, being 2:26-something, but had no expectation of beating that as I hadn't been training that hard. Ziggy had never done a race of this length, and we agreed to run separately so we could each go at our own pace.

The going was slow in the beginning, as the path wasn't that wide and I had trouble passing people. I also had trouble getting to the right side of the road and out of people's way for my walking break (I did my usual 5 min run, 1 min walk intervals). I finished the first mile in 11:44. But I was grateful for the slow pace so that I could enjoy the beautiful scenery. The race went through a forest on a trail, which had a few rocky places in the first mile but otherwise was quite smooth and flat, an ideal running surface.

The race featured several people dressed up as "the blerch", a fat cherubic creature taunting us with demotivational phrases. Slow down, walk, have some cake... There was also a sasquatch hanging out at the mile three aid station. He was behind a tree when I first saw him; on the way back, he was sitting on a couch posing with people for photos. Each aid station also featured Nutella and birthday cake, neither of which I ate (being vegan, and also not wanting to throw up). I stuck to Medjool dates and water.

I so enjoyed this run, I was going faster in the second half of the race than in the first. I had some soreness in my left hip but no other pain. In the last couple of miles I really picked up speed. I had only looked at my pace at each mile marker, but after mile 12 I saw that I was at 2:14:05 and realized I might actually be able to get a PR. So I cut out the walking breaks and just ran. I actually ran mile 13 in 9:15, which for me is almost unheard of. Of course, I haven't done much fast running since going on testosterone, so that's certainly a factor, but the ideal race conditions really helped.



I sprinted to the finish and indeed got my PR, by a full two minutes, finishing in 2:24:36. Even more surprising, I ended up in the middle of the pack: 400 out of 949 overall, 193 out of 344 males, 36 out of 70 for males 40-49. I expected to fare much worse in my first race signed up as a male, but Oatmeal fans are not really known for their athletic prowess. It's also possible more of the fast people ended up in Sunday's race, which is identical to Saturday's (Sunday was the original race day, but he added a second day of events when it sold out in under 30 minutes).

(ETA, Sep 22: Official results have now been posted. My finishing time is unchanged, but the field of official finishers is smaller and thus my place in the pack is a bit lower, which makes sense.)

Ziggy finished in 2:04:16, really great for his first half-marathon. We were both very happy with this race, and hope to run more destination races together.

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Sep. 19th, 2014 09:16 pm VeganMofo 2014 #15 - PB banana rollups



I mentioned in my previous entry that I've been attempting to use corn tortillas as an SOS-free bread substitute. Here's one example. A snack I've been enjoying very frequently in recent years is an open-faced peanut butter and banana sandwich. Normally I'd simply spread peanut butter on a slice of whole wheat bread, top with banana slices, sprinkle with cinnamon, and add a small squirt of agave.

When I started going SOS-free, at first I left out the agave and switched to salt-free peanut butter. But the few SOS-free breads I found were not at all tasty. I thought I'd have to give up my favorite snack. Then I decided to try warming a corn tortilla (or actually two halves of one, as my whole bag of tortillas managed to split in the middle) and roll up the bananas, peanut butter, and cinnamon that way.

It was... not bad. I actually imagined someone who was not SOS-free could try inserting a popsicle stick and deep-frying these. Or maybe they would need to roll the bananas in corn masa batter first. Sort of vegan banana corn dogs? Not to give anyone ideas....

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Sep. 18th, 2014 10:03 am VeganMofo 2014 #14 - Burgers and fries



I've never been much of a fan of veggie burgers. I ate burgers all the time before I went vegetarian (and later vegan), but the taste of the beef itself was never the big selling factor. As with hot dogs, I liked the form factor: A patty on a bun, convenient and fun to eat. As I found more and more tasty foods that did not resemble animal products either in taste or visual appearance, I gravitated to those. I now generally avoid anything that tastes too much like animal flesh, which I haven't eaten in over 22 years.

I do occasionally make something resembling a veggie burger at home. This recipe, Kidney Bean and Peach Patties, is from Conveniently Vegan by Debra Wasserman. While this cookbook focuses on packaged products, I usually buy fresh and make my own. So I used fresh peaches (from the Free Farm Stand where I volunteer) and home-cooked kidney beans instead of the canned equivalents. I also substituted oat flour (rolled oats ground in a blender) for wheat flour.

Since I've pretty much given up on finding any tasty SOS-free breads, I had no buns to put these on. I had one on a corn tortilla and another just on lettuce. I'm trying to use corn tortillas basically as a bread replacement, but they don't work well with all foods. The patties were tasty, regardless.



As for fries, I sometimes eat some when I go out with a friend, but try not to eat too many because of the oil. When we make them at home, we bake them, oil-free. I found a delicious recipe for salt-free ketchup and baked fries on the Straight Up Food web site. This ketchup is so good, it's totally spoiled me and I doubt I'll be going back to using a bottled version. I don't even use ketchup that often, and now I want to find more recipes that use it as an excuse to make this again!

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Sep. 17th, 2014 11:27 am VeganMofo 2014 #13 - Baked apple and pear dessert



Another very simple and sweet dessert, this one from the McDougall Newsletter. Though all of the McDougall recipes are oil-free, many contain small amounts of salt and sugar, so it's nice to see one that is SOS-free by design. This dessert consists of apple, pear, yam, applesauce, and cinnamon.

For this recipe I used a pear from a tree at the 23rd Street Garden and an apple from Alemany Farm, two places where I do volunteer work. Pears can be frustrating because they can take forever to ripen, and then once they are ripe quickly go rotten. Glad I got the timing just right!

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Sep. 16th, 2014 05:35 pm VeganMofo 2014 #12 - Sweet yam pudding



As promised in my previous sweet potato entry - a simple and delicious dessert from The Health Promoting Cookbook. Baked yams blended with orange juice and spices. Perfectly sweet, absolutely no sugar or other added sweeteners needed.

I recommend using garnet yams, with the deep orange flesh, for this recipe. I had some of this pudding warm, and some cold the next day. By then it had set into a firm custard and was even more delicious. Highly recommended.

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Sep. 15th, 2014 10:40 am VeganMofo 2014 #11 - That old chestnut



At the 23rd Street Garden, a block away from the Free Farm Stand, we've been harvesting chestnuts for the last several weeks. Until just this year I had no idea that chestnuts come inside green spiky pods. And I do mean spiky; the spines pierced right through my gardening gloves. Tree taught us to step on the pods and roll them gently until the chestnuts emerge.

Here's one volunteer doing that while another volunteer knocks down chestnuts from the tree. Tree planted these trees on the sidewalk outside the garden in 1982. They were only three feet tall then!



Not all pods contain a good-sized chestnut, but we did manage to harvest a fair number of them.



Tree told me that a couple of people walking by while he was harvesting said that it looked like a terrible mess and that he should just cut the trees down. He had to explain that this was actual food! We give the chestnuts away at the farm stand on Sundays. I was also happy to explain this to curious neighbors and garden visitors. It's wonderful to be able to connect to the food we eat in such a direct way.

Connecting with neighbors and helping with food security is what this project is all about. One man who walked by stopped to talk about how he moved here from El Salvador decades ago, barely spoke any English, commuted and worked and went to school for 18 hours a day so that he could make his way in the world. He now has his own business just around the corner, and does some free work to help poor clients. I gave him an avocado from the garden and he offered to donate a hammock to us.

Since we didn't have a lot of chestnuts I didn't take any for myself, but I wanted to make something with chestnuts. So I took some old ones I had bought over a year ago, hoping they were still good (they were packaged and hadn't passed the expiration date). I found a recipe in the Forks Over Knives cookbook for a soup that used chestnut puree. I found a recipe for chestnut puree online. (I used almond milk instead of dairy milk.) Unfortunately after I boiled the chestnuts I couldn't get all of the peels off, and the puree and soup ended up tasting bitter. It also looked unappetizing, so I didn't take a photo.

Oh well, I'll try again sometime. Roasting chestnuts will be lovely once the weather turns cooler.

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Sep. 12th, 2014 06:51 pm VeganMofo 2014 #10 - Sweet potato dal



This is probably my favorite savory dish of all time: Sweet Potato Dal from Everyday Happy Herbivore. I know I posted about it in VeganMofo 2012, and two years later I'm still making it all the time. The combination of greens (I usually use kale instead of spinach in this dish), sweet potatoes, and lentils is so tasty and filling, and the garam masala spicing - which I never used before getting the Happy Herbivore cookbooks - is just perfect.

Speaking of greens, we harvested over 56 pounds of chard at Alemany Farm today! I'm cooking some up tonight, with potatoes... and I have another delicious sweet potato dish which I'll blog about next week.

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Sep. 11th, 2014 04:24 pm VeganMofo 2014 #9 - Raw apple crumble



Especially since eliminating most refined sugar from my diet, I've been eating more and more fruit. At the Free Farm Stand this summer we've been getting a lot of stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots) from the Stonestown Farmers Market. And now we're starting to get a lot of apples, including some we harvest at Alemany Farm.

I found a delicious new way to use apples at the Straight Up Food web site: Raw Apple Crumble. I'm not big on raw dishes, especially for dessert, but this one was surprisingly delicious. The lemon juice added tartness (and prevented browning), and the dates and raisins added the perfect amount of sweetness. Definitely a keeper.

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Sep. 10th, 2014 11:44 am VeganMofo 2014 #8 - PB banana slugmuffins



This is Banana Slug. He came to live with us after a trip to UC Santa Cruz, where the banana slug is the school mascot. This is awesome, not because I particularly care for banana slugs but because I love bananas. So Banana Slug hangs out in our fruit basket, eager to welcome fresh bananas into our home.



Banana Slug is a little lonely right now because I took most of his bananas last night to make yummy muffins. I was inspired by a recipe on a fellow VeganMofo blogger's muffin roundup page. I decided to modify the original recipe, using oat flour instead of spelt, dates instead of sugar, and making a couple of other changes. My version is below.

PB Banana Slugmuffins
(no slugs were intentionally harmed to make these muffins)

3 large ripe bananas
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
6 tablespoons water
1/2 cup peanut butter (peanuts only; no added salt or other ingredients)
1 3/4 cup oat flour (old-fashioned rolled oats ground in a blender)
6 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Put the dates and almond milk in a blender, and set aside to soak for a few minutes.
3. Whisk the flaxseed and the water, and set aside to stand for a few minutes to thicken.
4. In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas, then add peanut butter and flaxseed mixture and mix thoroughly.
5. Puree dates and almond milk in blender, then add date puree and vanilla to bowl and mix thoroughly.
6. In a medium bowl, whisk oat flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
7. Add flour mixture to other ingredients and stir until just combined.
8. Fill nonstick muffin cups (I use silicone) with batter, 3/4 full.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

These muffins have four of my favorite things - peanut butter, bananas, oats, and dates - and it was hard not to eat the batter with a spoon before getting it into the muffin cups. It was equally hard not to devour all of the muffins as soon as they came out of the oven. Hope you enjoy them too! Thanks again to Lisa's Project for the inspiration.

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Sep. 9th, 2014 09:53 am VeganMofo 2014 #7 - Great greens



Greens are one of the foods I've included a lot more in my diet in recent years. Unlike just about every other food, there's virtually no disagreement amongst doctors and nutritionists that green vegetables are healthy for everyone and should be included regularly in the diet. Some people who know this but don't like greens try to hide them by blending them into smoothies with fruit or in other ways. But I feature them prominently in the dish.

Overcooked greens is one reason some people don't like the taste. For greens like kale, chard, and collards, I generally steam or sauté them for no more than five minutes. I always remove the stems from kale and collards (and save the kale stems to make vegetable broth), but for chard they can be included in the dish, as in the Happy Herbivore Rainbow Greens recipe pictured above. (It's not online, but available in one of my favorite cookbooks, Everyday Happy Herbivore.)

My volunteer work in gardening has also increased my respect for greens. When we harvest a lot of chard at Alemany Farm, I take a little bit home and often cook it for dinner that very evening. The taste of freshly-harvested chard, sauteéd until just wilted, is incredible. Kale is an even more frequent part of our meals; boyziggy particularly loves it.

I'm glad that through my food justice work I can make greens and other fresh produce available to more people who might not otherwise be able to afford it. It's a serious misconception that poor people - disproportionately people of color - eat a lot of junk food because they don't want anything better. The truth is that, because of food subsidies and other reasons, it's cheaper to buy fast-food meals than to eat healthfully in the US. We've had over 200 people lined up at our Free Farm Stand for our weekly sharings, and they eagerly take the fresh vegetables and fruits we offer, grown in local gardens and/or donated from farmers markets.

This produce, plus inexpensive whole grains and beans, can make very nutritious meals. That's why I've been offering links to vegan recipes alongside my information on ethical veganism at the farm stand. The recipes I share are all freely available online, and feature produce that we frequently share at the farm stand, including kale and other greens. We're revising the web site now, but I hope to have a page up with links to these recipes soon.

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Sep. 8th, 2014 09:30 am VeganMofo 2014 #6 - Not so Bravo



As I was getting into SOS-free vegan cooking and looking for more recipes, I decided to order Bravo! by Ramses Bravo, the chef at TrueNorth Health Center. I was concerned that the recipes might be more sophisticated than my usual cooking, but I figured it was worth picking up since I only had one other SOS-free vegan cookbook on my shelf (The Health Promoting Cookbook by Alan Goldhamer, also from TrueNorth).

When the book arrived, the recipes confirmed my fears; most were more complicated than the way I usually cook, and many required ingredients that weren't normally in my kitchen. Nothing terribly exotic, but I prefer to find recipes that fit what's already in my kitchen rather than shopping for specific recipes. So I chose recipes for which I'd only have to buy a few ingredients I didn't normally have on hand: shallots, leeks, and yellow split peas.

The first recipe I attempted was Yellow Split Pea Stew. In addition to the split peas it contained corn, potatoes (the recipe didn't specify what kind so I used Yukon Gold), and yams, which I love. I had not cooked with split peas before, and figured they would cook quickly, like lentils. But even after soaking all day in vegetable broth - and then using the broth in the recipe, which is not how I'd normally cook legumes - they were taking forever to cook. Much of it was my fault for not having good-quality cookware, and not paying enough attention to the stove to verify the peas were at a good simmer. My three-quart saucepans are good cookware but my larger pots are not. I've already put a high-quality seven-quart pot on my shopping list.

I ended up removing the stew from the stove before the split peas were fully cooked, as I was getting very hungry and impatient. It wasn't inedible, but I wasn't happy with it. If I cook with split peas again (which I should as I have a good pound remaining), I'll make sure to cook them thoroughly. I was also very gassy for the days following eating this stew; I normally rinse beans after soaking, which I think helps with that problem.

The next recipe I tried was Boulangere Potatoes. This one took forever, and once again, the main ingredient failed to cook properly. I probably should have used a mandoline to slice the potatoes more thinly, because after 25 minutes most of them still weren't translucent. The broth didn't all cook off before I put the potatoes in the oven, and even after baking the dish for much longer than suggested I ended up with a soupy mess that I didn't even bother to photograph. It was still edible, though I added black pepper and vegan parmesan to it; the parsley and thyme seasoning (same as for the split pea stew recipe) wasn't really to my liking.

So I think I'll give this cookbook a rest for now, and go back to the Happy Herbivore and Straight Up Food recipes that I love. Someone who is a more patient and better cook than I am would probably get more out of this cookbook.

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Sep. 5th, 2014 08:47 am VeganMofo 2014 #5 - Creamy rice cereal



As a kid, I remember enjoying cream of wheat and Coco Wheats. I really loved the latter, often attempting to make it myself and being frustrated by getting a lot of lumps in it.

I haven't had cream of wheat in a long time, but a couple of weeks ago, I found a recipe for creamy rice cereal on Cathy Fisher's Straight Up Food web site or Facebook page. I can't find the recipe online now, but it's basically just one part uncooked (dry) brown rice to four parts water. Grind the rice to a fine powder in a blender (I use a Vitamix with blades optimized for dry foods), bring the water to a boil and whisk in the rice. The trick is to whisk constantly to avoid those pesky lumps.

Then reduce heat to low and cook for five minutes. Since I have an electric stove, I had to lift the pan off the burner to stop the rice from boiling and splattering while the burner cooled down. I so wish I had a gas range.

I enjoy this comfort food with soy or nut milk and fruit. Came in handy when I ran out of my usual oatmeal and quinoa.

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Sep. 4th, 2014 07:09 pm 13 years and 13 miles



In preparation for the Beat the Blerch half-marathon that's coming up in only a couple of weeks, I scheduled a final long run of 14 miles with boyziggy for this week. He really wanted to run somewhere outside of SF, so today he got a ZipCar and drove us to Sunnyvale to run along the Bay Trail.

We didn't get started until after 11 a.m. It was sunny and the temperature quickly rose to 80 degrees. The roads were flat and we saw hundreds of birds, which was wonderful. But the heat (and occasional foul smells from the water) really got to both of us. Even with a stop to refill Ziggy's bottles, we both ran out of water before the end of the run. We also ate most of the ten Medjool dates we'd brought with us, though I was more thirsty than hungry as we'd had a good hearty breakfast (quinoa with peanut butter and bananas).

Near the end of the run I mentioned to Ziggy that this was the thirteenth anniversary of our first date. Back in 2001 when we met in Berkeley, I was about 45 pounds heavier and Ziggy probably had another 30 pounds on him as well. When we moved in together eight months later, we spent much of our free time eating stuffed pizza and chocolate, playing video games, and watching TV. Though I had already run a half-marathon myself in the year 2000, I was so out of shape by the time I moved in with Ziggy that I couldn't have dreamed we'd be planning to race together over a dozen years later.



We survived the run, which ended up being about 13.6 miles. Had a delicious mid-afternoon lunch at the all-vegan Veggie Grill in Mountain View. It was a departure from my SOS-free diet of late, but I'd planned that. I did have a salad entreé, but shared an order of fries and dessert as well.

Looking forward to our first half-marathon together, and my first out-of-state race. Hopefully it will be cooler in Seattle!

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Sep. 4th, 2014 06:49 pm VeganMofo 2014 #4 - Muffin mania



I love muffins and cupcakes of all kinds. Happy Herbivore has lots of recipes for them in her books and web site. But even the ones that are listed as "muffins" as opposed to "cupcakes" tend to have a lot of sugar. Her Apple Crisp Muffins, which she describes as her "My faaaaaaaavorite muffin recipe", contain raw sugar, brown sugar, and maple syrup in addition to apples and applesauce! Even before I went SOS-free, I thought this was too much sweetness.

So the other night I tried substituting dates for all of the added sweeteners. I pitted six dates and blended them with the applesauce, which I made from fresh chopped apples with the skins on. I wasn't sure that would add enough volume to the recipe to make up for the 3/4 of dry and 1/4 cup of liquid sweetener, but not being skilled at original baking recipes I wasn't sure what else to add (or subtract). So I just put them in the oven and hoped for the best.

They came out perfect in terms of sweetness, but a little dense in texture. That was fine, they were still very good. I had slightly better luck converting her Blueberry Oatmeal Muffin recipe, which contains a bit less sugar. Blueberries are naturally so sweet and flavorful that I got good results leaving out the sugar and maple syrup and using only two dates.

Looking forward to converting more muffin and cupcake recipes to be SOS-free, and finding more that are already that way such as the great Carrot Cake muffin (or donut) recipe from Straight Up Food which I got boyziggy to make for me to celebrate my nameday. The Happy Herbivore Oatmeal Muffin recipe is also already sugar-free by default, so I'll be making that again for sure.

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Sep. 3rd, 2014 09:04 am VeganMofo 2014 #3 - Fiesta couscous



Earlier this week, I was nearly out of my favorite starch staples: Oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and yams. Unable to make any of my usual breakfast options (other than tofu scramble), I turned to couscous. I rarely make it for breakfast as I don't find it as filling or nutritious as oatmeal or quinoa, and boyziggy doesn't care for it much, but it is simple and quick to prepare. Just use 1 1/2 parts water (or broth) to 1 part couscous. Bring water to a boil, add couscous, remove from heat and let sit for five minutes. Then fluff with a fork.

Couscous is a pasta, and like other pastas, I buy a whole wheat version. As with quinoa and brown rice, when I prepare it I use water only and make a lot so I can use it in other dishes throughout the week, both sweet and savory.

So after breakfasting and snacking on couscous with fruit, walnuts, spices, and almond milk, I had a lot of couscous left over. I knew I was going to stock up oatmeal and other starch staples in a couple of days, so we didn't need to eat couscous for breakfast all week. I remembered a dish from the McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook that I had made in the past, Black and Yellow Couscous. I decided to recreate something similar, without using tamari soy sauce (salt).

I created the following without consulting the original recipe, but looking at that recipe later saw that the main differences were leaving out the tamari in favor of vegetable broth, using lime juice instead of orange and lemon, and adding tomatoes. The amounts of couscous, corn, and cilantro below are approximate (I just eyeballed them).

Fiesta Couscous

3 cups cooked whole wheat couscous
2 cups cooked black beans
2 cups frozen sweet corn, thawed
2 tomatoes, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
3/4 cup salt-free vegetable broth
juice of one lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Whisk vegetable broth, lime juice, and cumin together.

Combine all other ingredients.

Pour broth over other ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Refrigerate for one hour before serving. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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Sep. 2nd, 2014 08:12 am VeganMofo 2014 #2 - Salad bowl spaghetti



I've loved spaghetti for as long as I can remember. When I ate it as a kid, it was always made with refined semolina wheat, usually covered with a store-bought tomato sauce (filled with oil, sugar, and salt) and Parmesan cheese (made with animal milk and more salt), and frequently accompanied by a salad with iceberg lettuce and bottled dressing (filled with more oil, sugar, and salt). When I made spaghetti for myself or with family or friends in later years, I often wouldn't bother with the salad.

Now that my knowledge and tastes have matured, I can enjoy spaghetti in a healthier way. First, I always choose a whole-wheat version. I've tried pasta made with brown rice and other whole grains, but I prefer the taste of wheat. I don't have a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance, so I see no reason to avoid it.

Next, I either use a homemade sauce or diced fresh (or salt-free canned) tomatoes and herbs. There are some oil-free tomato sauces on the market, but few are free of salt and sugar as well.

Finally, I always accompany my pasta with vegetables (or sometimes fruit, if the pasta is couscous), either mixed in or on the side. The other night I didn't feel like making a salad, so I just mixed some of my usual salad fixings into the spaghetti itself. (Though I used kale instead of lettuce, warm lettuce not being my thing.)

I sauteéd yellow onions, garlic, fresh oregano, and fresh basil in homemade, salt-free vegetable broth, then added the kale and cooked for a few minutes. Tossed in chopped tomatoes and chickpeas (both mainstays of my salads). Put the whole thing over the cooked spaghetti, and sprinkled with homemade vegan parmesan (usually a blend of blanched almonds and nutritional yeast, but boyziggy used some cashews in this batch as we ran out of almonds, and added garlic powder).

Hearty and tasty!

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Sep. 1st, 2014 12:28 pm VeganMofo 2014 #1 - Introduction and resources



Welcome to my VeganMoFo 2014 blog! I last participated in 2012. I didn't participate last year because I was beginning a major life transition, literally: I changed my name and sex. But I remain committed to veganism; in fact, even more so than before, as I am now more actively involved in vegan activism and food justice.

I believe that ethical veganism and a healthy, whole foods plant-based diet can and should go hand in hand. My food justice activism, primarily with the Free Farm Stand, has been focused on getting fresh produce - especially locally grown and organic - to people in need. While I believe a starch-centered vegan diet - focused on whole grains, tubers, and legumes - is the best way to feed a world of 7+ billion people, vegetables and fruits are also essential to good health. Getting access to healthy whole plant-based foods to all people, not just those who can find and afford fancy vegan cheeses or other "substitutes", is a win-win for everyone: Human and non-human animals, and the environment on which we all depend.

Of course, ethical veganism extends far beyond diet; I also avoid animal-derived clothing and other products as much as possible. But this project is about food, and so food is what I'll be focusing on this month, though I'll be blogging about food justice issues as well as recipes, nutrition, and cooking techniques.

Specifically, I'll be focusing on food that is SOS-free: No salt, oil, or sugar. I began eating this way recently (though not exclusively) and am excited to find that I've enjoyed foods without these additives. I was already avoiding oil for the most part, but didn't think I could live without added sugar and salt. I was happily proven wrong.

Here is a list of resources about whole-foods plant-based diets. Some of these are copied from my initial VeganMofo 2012 post.

The Free McDougall Program
- Summary of the starch-centered, lowfat diet style I prefer. Includes recipes. For those interested, all of the essentials are explained here; no need to buy any of the books unless you want even more detailed information and recipes. Many more free recipes available on the site.

The McDougall Program: 12 Days to Dynamic Health (Plume)
- My favorite of the McDougall books, and my initial introduction to the program.

The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good!
- Most recent of the McDougall books.

The Pleasure Trap
- Explores the reasons behind cravings for animal foods, sugar, oil, salt, caffeine, and other substances. Highly recommended.

Everyday Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Quick-and-Easy Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes
- One of my favorite cookbooks. Contains all McDougall-compliant recipes. Many more recipes available free on the Happy Herbivore web site.

Straight Up Food by Cathy Fisher
- All SOS-free vegan recipes. Highly recommended.

Fat Free Vegan Recipes
- Not all technically fat-free, but oil-free. Hundreds of free recipes.

Jeff Novick, RD
- Vegan nutritionist. Currently most active on Facebook and the McDougall discussion forums. Very responsive to questions.

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Aug. 25th, 2014 08:52 am VeganMofo 2014 RSS feed test

This is a test for the Vegan Month of Food project. Stay tuned.

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Aug. 23rd, 2014 08:09 am Happy nameday to me

One year ago today I officially announced my new name, Pax Ahimsa Gethen. Since then I've passed the following milestones in my gender transition:

- Began requesting gender-neutral pronouns (singular they/their/them), September 13 (I reluctantly accept he/him/his now also, but still prefer singular they)

- Began testosterone therapy, January 3

- Had my name and gender change court hearing, July 10

- Got new Social Security and state ID cards with my new name and correct sex, July-August

I haven't formally celebrated any milestones yet. But I want to acknowledge and remember them, even if only for myself.

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