Vegan Month of Food – Day 1- Love for Oats

Today begins the first day of VeganMoFo.  This month long vegan writing project is a takeoff from NaNoWriMo for the vegan folks who might be more likely to blog a recipe or their love of seitan than write a novel.  It’s also a great way to get more vegan eating information “out there.”  You can read more about Vegan MoFo at http://veganmofo.wordpress.com/

I’m not sure exactly what I will text about all month.  I suspect some days will be recipes and other days will be vegan cooking and nutrition.  Do you have any special requests, dear readers?

For today, I want to just give a little shout out to the grain wonder that is oats.  People frequently ask me, and once in a while I ask myself, “what do you eat for breakfast?”  Now, truthfully, many breakfast foods either are vegan or can be made vegan, but I understand what they are asking.  They are thinking of the uber filling big hot eggs and bacon and biscuits kind of breakfasts.  And, generally speaking, that stuff isn’t vegan – though I can make a kickass tofu scramble with faux sausage when I’m in the mood.  That having been said, I don’t do that most days, so when I want a filling breakfast that isn’t leftovers from the night before, I tend to go with oatmeal.

Oatmeal – YUM.  It’s some seriously good stuff and there are so many ways to have it.  Instant or quick oats are perfectly good.  Slower cook oats take more time, but are also delicious and have a somewhat chewier texture.  And then there are steel cut oats for the chewiest most filling oat of all (these also have the advantage of being quite reheatable).

Part of the good of oatmeal is that it can be served up with a lot of different flavors.  Maple syrup, brown sugar, agave, raisins, apples, pecans, walnuts, almonds, dried cranberries, peanut butter, cinnamon, faux butter, a little soy milk, vegan chocolate chips, peaches, strawberries – seriously, almost anything sweet goes with oatmeal and a good number of savory things as well (in fact, you certainly can make a more savory bowl of oatmeal).

And (AND!) they keep you full for hours.  I had mine t his morning before 7:00 and I still have a warm full belly 2.5 hours later. 🙂  Plus, they are good for you.  They are full of fiber, magnesium, and vitamin B1 and have a significant amount of protein.  They help lower cholesterol and can contribute to weight loss.  Go oats!

Let me know if there are particular vegan issues or recipes you would like me to cover and happy VeganMoFo.

L

Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup

Ingredients

3 cups fresh cooked and pureed pumpkin
(or 1 large can prepared pumpkin)
1 can coconut milk
1 onion
2 T olive oil
1 T red pepper flakes
4 T vegetable broth powder
2 T curry powder
6 cups water
1/4 cup garbanzo (or other) flour
sea salt to taste

Process

Saute onions in olive oil with ginger, red pepper, salt, and curry.  When soft and somewhat carmelized, add flour and stir until smooth.  Add vegetable broth powder and mix in. Slowly add water and bring to a boil, stirring frequently (it should start to thicken up).  Let simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Add pumpkin and stir smooth.  Let simmer slowly until about 5 minutes before you are ready to serve.  Add coconut milk and stir.

Serve with fresh bread.  Delicious and has a nice bite!

Losing Your Voice

A voice cannot carry the tongue and the lips that gave it wings.
Alone must it seek the ether.
And alone and without its nest shall the eagle fly across the sun
~Kahlil Gibran

Sometimes it’s easy to let your voice be heard, and sometimes it’s not. Where those moments appear is different for each person, and even changes for each person over the life course – from time to time, from relationship to relationship, from setting to setting, from topic to topic, and so on.

Photo by Yugenro

We spent a lot of time with ourselves (all of it, right?), so we may think that we know what kind of instances are easy for us to find our voices and what kind of instances are difficult. But, as with everything in life, sometimes there are surprises.

I’m, to put it bluntly, a big mouth. I have thoughts about most everything and I’m usually not afraid to share them, in written form or oral. Friends who have met me online before meeting me face to face have been surprised that I’m not bigger than I am and that my voice isn’t deeper, because my “voice” in terms of being forceful in my communication is strong. This week, however, I had two different specific experiences where I felt like I lost my voice. One fell into the category of a predictable loss, while the other was quite unexpected.

The first event related to my job.  I found myself needing to support someone’s right to speak an unpopular opinion.  Being a communication scholar, I’m rather fond of the First Amendment, so I would have not expected it to be difficult for me to find my voice about this issue.  But, because the opinion that had been expressed was very counter to my own beliefs, it was shockingly difficult, and even more so because what I needed to say went against the reactions of some others in the organization.  It was tricky and I noticed that, though I would begin an interaction with some degree of confidence, I kept quickly losing my voice and really needing to work to find it.  Interesting.

The second experience was more expected for me.  I love music, a lot.  But, I don’t sing.  I was told at an early age that I’m tone deaf, and though I don’t even really fully understand what that means, it has become a part of my understanding of myself.  I also had a friend, who I love dearly, tell me a few years ago that I sound like Minnie Mouse.  The combination of those two things has pretty much assured that I will never sing in public.  I don’t karaoke.  I don’t sing happy birthday at a party (unless I can basically just talk the words).  I don’t sing the alma mater at university events.  I do not sing in public, with the exception of at rock concerts where it is so loud that I know no one can hear me.  Thus, I was not shocked to find it extremely difficult to find my voice for chanting in Sanskrit during yoga teacher training.  I could hear the rhythm and the words in my head very clearly, but as soon as I opened my mouth, the voice that came out was soft and timid and very unsure.  Over the course of the class, I got more comfortable chanting with the group (again, hard to hear my voice mixed in with the others) but when time came for me to lead a chant, my voice disappeared again.

Having a voice, not necessarily in the physical sense but in the psychological/relational sense, is important in our well being and in our relationships in the world.  When we butt up against obstacles in finding our voices, we need to think about what is keeping us from finding that voice and what we can do to set it free.  For these two events, I’m pretty sure that the issue is my worry about how others will perceive me.  I know it, but I haven’t been able to let it go – yet.

Where do you lose your voice?  What do you think causes it?  What are you “doing” about it?

Namaste,

L