Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vegan cooking for diabetics - I need your help!

As some of you know, my brother has cancer and my Dad has diabetes. My brother has been on a predominantly vegan diet for the last year or so to try and beat his cancer. This has only reinforced my belief in the vegan diet and maybe even made me a bit vegangelical toward my parents because I really want Dad to get his diabetes under control.

Here was a skype conversation I had with my Mum a couple of weeks ago on a Friday afternoon before I went away to Bright for the weekend:

Niki: you know, even if you can tell the difference, it doesnt really matter. its not like you have to make stuff thats the same as meat/dairy. its just important that its nice, because really, if he can reverse diabetes in a month thats surely worth it.

Mum: sure is but dad's mind is fixed, working on it

Niki: fixed that meat/dairy is good for him?

Niki: right im off to Bright now. i really wish he could understand that he can actually be healthy, no meds, no diabetes and all that bullshit... is it really worth being sick for the taste of something??

And 3 days later my Dad had a stroke.

Obviously this freaked me out. 2 out of 3 diabetics die from strokes. These are extremely shit stats.

Luckily, Dad is ok. His left side is a bit weak and he has to rest a lot so his brain can recover and retrain. But I am worried about him. So I have (probably to the annoyance of many) become more adamant about them trying to go vegan to beat this.

And on Saturday I am flying to NZ to hang out with my parents for a week. It will be good medicine just to be there with them. But I will also be helping with lots of vegan cooking and getting them into it. And since I have been vegan I haven't really cooked for anyone but myself!

So what I really could do with from you guys is some absolutely tried and true recipes for dinner. My parents are only new to this and I know Dad doesn't feel like he's had a whole dinner if it's missing meat! I'm looking for recipes that are not too fiddly because I have to make sure they like cooking them AND eating them. I don't know about the availability of tempeh or seitan in NZ, or any other specialty ingredients so I really need it to be made of 'normal' stuff.

And, importantly, they will be for a type 2 diabetic, so gotta be careful of sugar and fat!

I will do my best to review each one I make and try and get photos too :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Animals Australia - National TV ad campaign

Animals Australia are releasing a new ad on TV to raise awareness about where pork products come from. It is all too easy for Australians to believe that factory farming is mainly in America and whilst it is heartbreaking to know that most animal products in Australia are in fact factory farmed, it is great news that this national TV ad campaign will be reaching millions of people.

Watch it here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Operation Chocolate Covered Kindness

Ok, I realise this is my fourth post for the day (but then again, I WAS away for 4 days too, so I'm gonna stick with that excuse).

I thought I better just sneak this one in as well because it's for such a great cause and because it's an easy way to do something good.

Katie is running Operation Chocolate Covered Kindness. So every click she gets to her blog this month will raise money for The Enough Project. Head over there to help her out and don't forget to
link her from your blog!

The no-shopping dinner menu

Having discovered I had completely well and truely blown my budget for the month I decided I would have to eat only what I have in the house for as long as possible - allowing no veg to go to waste and getting creative with what I had in the freezer and pantry.

And somehow this is the most fun and interesting my vegan cooking has been! AND actually quite delicious.

Tuesday: I started the week with teriyaki tofu steaks, with asian mushrooms and bok choi sauteed in garlic and ginger.

Wednesday: I was off to the pub so could get away with a meal consisting solely of two cobs of corn and a few crackers with hummus. Followed by a main course of a few pints of the finest vegan beers at Grumpy's.

Thursday: A quick stirfry of bell peppers, bok choi, asparagus, onions and mushrooms in Braggs, mirin and blackstrap molasses with tofu steaks on the side.

I then went away for the long weekend and came back with some leftover veg - and whipped up steamed asparagus spears and fried eggplant rounds with quinoa on a bed of rocket and red onion salad with cider vinegar and tahini dressing. (This was surprisingly great! The bitter rocket was great with the slightly salty eggplant and the nutty quinoa and the delicate asparagus, topped with the vinegary dressing. Or maybe I was starving.)

And last night was a few crackers in beetroot dip whilst waiting for my entree of steamed mushroom dumplings with sweet chili and soy dipping sauce, and a main of corn on the cob. Ok, not such an obvious combo but I was getting a bit desperate and determined to eat my fridge empty! I made up for it with dessert: Purely Decadent Cherry Nirvana soy icecream with grilled banana patties, maple syrup and cacao nibs. Divine. Even better if I had fresh strawberries.

And what's great is I think I can keep going through to next week also and use things I have bought but not got around to trying yet! So going by the success of this last week I think I will make this a permanent addition to my cooking: 1-2 weeks of eating the place bare.

Vegan cookbook - for beginners

My Mum is getting more into the idea of going vegan for Dad's diabetes so I am keen to encourage her and get her a vegan cookbook. Any suggestions? I would want something easy, quick, healthy, low GI, with pics, not too many weird ingredients, and preferably metric or cup measurements (not imperial).

Would love to hear your suggestions!

PS. She is in New Zealand, if this makes any difference on ingredient listings etc...

Costco in Docklands, Melbourne

I have been contemplating forking out the whopping great $60 membership to go to Costco in the vague hopes they might have some great vegan options, cheap.

Anyone been there?