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It has been a long, hard, cheese-less September, and we survived!  we laughed, we cried, we lamented, and now we are delighted to share with you our Best of Vegan September list.

Best Vegan Restaurant Overall

Nuba – we love you for your vegan soup of the day, your Najib’s special, and your diversity (we can bring our non-vegan friends to dine on your organic, free range meat)

Best Samosas

Sweet Cherubim

Best Vegan Treat

Sweet Cherubim Chocolate Macaroon

Best Tastes Like Chicken

Campagnolo Crispy Ceci (or as Bridget calls them kentucky fried chickpeas) for having that addictive KFC flavour.

Best Soy Latte Deal

Continental Coffee – we challenge you to beat 160z for less than $4

Best Late Night Drunken Eats

Falafel Town (on Granville near Davie).  Close second Fritz veggie poutine (on Davie near Granville), don’t forget to bring your own vegan cheese.

Best Vegan Benny

Bandidas Taqueria (on Commercial near 12th)

Best Yet to Try Restaurant

3G on Cambie – our little vegan cousin Brooke swears by their vegan lobster

Bridget’s Best Vegan Moment

Turned down an audition for a McDonald’s commercial where she would have had to eat a Big Mac.

Jessica’s Best Vegan Moment

Resisting the temptation of 10 pizzas laid out on the counter at Jay’s house, including the BEST VEGGIE PIZZA IN VANCOUVER.  “Maybe I’ll just pick off the cheese.  That would be okay right?  I can call Martini’s to see if there’s dairy in the dough…”

Jen’s Best Vegan Moment

Dinner at Nuba since living in White Rock does not afford such luxurious vegan options.

Best Baba Moment

Baba: “So for dessert, we’ll have some vegan ice cream.  There’s no dairy in it”

Bridget: “Really?”

Baba:  “Yeah, I checked the label, there’s no milk.  Only yoghurt.”

Bridget:  “But Baba…”

Best Clueless Server Moment

Jessica:  “Can I get some non-dairy dip with my fries please?”

Server:  “Yeah it comes with garlic mayo.”

Jessica:  “Yeah but mayo is made with eggs.”

Server: “Right.”

Best Vegan Invention

Bridget’s ‘cream’ of cauliflower soup.

Big thanks to all our readers, supporters, and haters alike.  For those who do not know, we will be launching a website soon, featuring videos of our vegan exploits.  In the meantime we will continue to blog and tweet our little hearts out.

We’re taking bets on who you think will be the first of us to fall off the vegan train.  All fingers are pointing to Jessica and her well-known, torrid affair with cheese.  Throughout all of this we will continue to maintain a vegan kitchen.

Stay tuned for more exciting developments from the Vegan Project.

Love  Bridget, Jessica, and Jen

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it’s been a while since i’ve written, i know.  been pretty busy with the final touches of our website splash page and helping the boyfriend move.  contrary to my vegan counterparts, who have both felt that they’ve lost weight this past month, i feel that i’ve gained a couple pounds, or at least lost some muscle tone.  i attribute this to the lack of yoga in my schedule lately (no correlation, just sheer laziness) and a greater devotion to food and eating and consuming more than i normally do.  i have never had a huge connection to food and can often times take it, or leave it.  i’ve found that this month has brought more focus to what i ingest and i’ve had to be more mindful of my dietary requirements, thus consuming more calories (i think anyways. as jess mentioned, we don’t have a scale so this is all speculation).  i have pledged to myself to get back on the yoga train for october to nip this in the bud-though i’m sure the consensus among most would be that i could use a few extra pounds 😉  

ahh, now that that’s out of the way i wanted to share a bit of vegan wisdom that i have picked up along the way, the first being the title of this post…

1) blurring the meal lines-i struggled so much at first with the loss of eggs in the a.m. but never missed them any other time of day.  once i let go of the cultural aspects of dining, what to have and at what point in the day, a weight was lifted.  i began to have a protein, carb, and lotsa veggies whenever i sat down to eat and eventually breakfast transformed into simply the first meal of the day.  nothing more, and free of preconceived notions of what that meal should be.  samosas, soups and beans are some of my favourite morning nibbles now.

2)no cream – creamy-dairy has a an indescribable sumptuous texture, flavour and lasting memory.  how can a dairy loving vegan duplicate this blessed food group?  easy!  blend, blend, blend!  the food processor is a vegan’s third arm.  so many foods, once blended become ‘creamy’.  nuts, seeds, artichokes, avocado, a simple marinara put in the blender, tofu, just to name a few.

3) yay falafel!-i’d like to pay homage to that lovely little deep-fried chickpea nugget.  falafel is fantastic and has definitely contributed to my vegan success.  in fact, i’ve found middle eastern cuisine in general to be quite conducive to the vegan lifestyle.  try it and love it today 🙂

4) getting some help from supplements-now i don’t take pills, but i do lean on nutritional powder mixes, effervescent vitamin pouches and all natural electrolyte drinks for a boost in energy, vitamins minerals and essential nutrients.  some may poo-poo this and prefer to get all their essentials from food, and to them i raise my vitamin water and toast them and their efforts…i need a little help from my friends 😉

5) stay cool-what i mean by this is just that.  i have been blessed with incredible support from friends, co-workers and strangers and been able to engage in exciting and thought-provoking discussions regarding vegan food, the vegan lifestyle, animal rights and ethics.  i have also been met with ignorant f**** that for some reason or another take my eating choices personally and have an inability or  blatant disregard to examine where their food comes from, or at the very least, understand the vegan side of the fence.  i’ve remained cool, remembering to pick my battles.  i suspect that  as we become more aware as a society of the negative effects of the meat industry on the environment and our bodies, that some of them may have a change of heart.  and maybe one day they will look at a farm animal as an equal with it’s own intrinsic rights and not an object to be utilized.  i give credit of that last sentence to my cousin brooke, innately vegan, defending animal rights every day with a vengeance! xo

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i want miso soup. i want lime tortilla chips. i want a raspberry white chocolate scone, extra crispy, toasted, with 2 little packets of butter. i want an americano breve, not misto. that means with steamed cream, not milk. i think.

alas, as much as i am going through what i hope are final withdrawals resulting in an absence of craving for the rest of my omnivorous life, i am feeling pretty good.

my muscles are strong. standing series in bikrams class today was so good, i was feeling my muscles contract and they still had more to give. my skin is very clear, and the size 4 dress i tried on in RW today was too big. although the girl was quick to assure me that their sizes do, indeed, fit small.        bitch.

i find myself now pitifully snacking on (choking on) plain sundried tomatoes, reading jess’ blog, and wondering what the hell she’s saying about wine and beer?! don’t even go there!

sure would be easier if i lived in vancouver. now to go for a bite to eat, and struggle hard to find something i can ‘eat’ with my smiling happy face.

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i’m not sure if it’s my new hairdo, or the fact that i’ve stopped eating cheese that has resulted in several independent sources commenting on the fact that I look slimmer.  bonus!!  i don’t own a scale so I wouldn’t have known otherwise, although my pants are fitting a bit better and my bra is getting a bit looser.  all this time I was beginning to wonder whether my increased ingestion of french fries, pasta, bread and beans would have an adverse affect on my vegan muffin top.  only gripe about this is the fact that the first place i tend to lose weight is in the chest region, meaning that weight loss is sort of bittersweet for me.

Anyhoo… in honour of the last few days of vegan September, I thought I’d recap all the surprising things we’ve learned along this journey.  There are many things we’d assumed were vegan, but were shocked to find are NOT always vegan.  Here’s a list:

>veggie burger patties

>soy milk

>rice cheese

>wine

>beer

>sugar

>flour

>veggie flavour instant thai noodles (bridget was pretty pissed about that one)

>lime tostitos

>banana bread

8 days to go…

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i’m getting to the point where i don’t mind skipping the cream in my americano (the thought doesn’t even appeal to me at this point) and dodging the obviously buttery muffins and scones. but i am starting to get frustrated at not being able to eat things that aren’t supposed to have dairy in them. for example, jess and i have a particular..well, love for lime tortilla chips. they are just sooo yummy. and as i sit here, on my orange couch, with my loving boyfriend munching loudly beside me, i must say i’m looking forward to october.

jess and i were talking about the theme for october the other day, and she proposed with almost overwhelming enthusiasm “Cheesy October!!”. (woah! Fromo!)

after this month, i think i’m good without the literal application of animal products to my food, but the sneaky milk ingredients that i find at the very end of a long list of ingredients…i think i may make concessions.

the enjoyment i get out of eating those chips on occasion far exceeds the potentially de-moralizing act of eating a trace amount of sour cream. i’m not feeling the guilt at this level of my veganism. perhaps i’m only in vegan grade one.

and as i smell the tangy synthetic lime on my love’s fingers as he caresses my cheek and tells me i’m pretty, i’d have to say i’m ok with that.

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first and foremost, i am proud to announce that the Vegan Project fooled baba!  the other day jessica made some delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies.  i had to pop down to baba’s place to give her hair a trim (jess and i live only 4 blocks away from her) and i brought two cookies with me to put to the test.  they were still warm from the oven which was a big seller.  she took a bite and said “mmm”.  she noticed that they were different than her version and that jess uses those mini chips, doesn’t she?  i said sheepishly “yes, i guess so”.  but she liked them and ate them both and there was no discussion as to the dairy/egg content of these delicious little treats.  voila!

yesterday i had a very amusing/hypocritical day on set.  i was filming a commercial for some snack crackers(which are vegan by the way) and had a scene that i had to take a bite of said cracker with a big hunk of cheese on it.  everyone found this amusing, as the discussion of my vegan month had already come up over breakfast and lunch.  i did not actually have to eat the cheese thanks to the spit bucket provided, though i do think a few morsels made their way down the pipes.  and my sincere gratitude to the the catering truck that made me a yummy wrap in the morning and provided several vegan salads and side dishes along with a rockin’ chickpea korma!  so, at christmas time when this commercial should be gracing your boob tubes, and you see that vegan girl, and think, hey is that her eating cheese? just remember that yes, that may be me, and yes i sold out, but it is in order to fund more ethically sound endeavors, and for now it sits well.

and as jen so eloquently put it, i didn’t swallow!  bridget 🙂

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i am amazed by how much energy would be saved if more north americans were to eat a plant based diet.

the energy used in producing and distributing food accounts for roughly 60% of the total energy north americans use. from shipping, production plants and processing to delivery, packaging and selling. of that 60%, over 85% is generated from the burning of fossil fuels.

although there is, of course, energy required to maintain, harvest and distribute plant-based crops, it is far, far less than that what is expended on the production of animals and processed foods.

eating a plant-based diet feeds you primary nutrition, energy straight from the source. there is very little processing and preparation required before consumption. incredibly superior in efficiency as far as the environment goes, eating plant-based foods also requires less energy for our bodies to digest, assimilate and eliminate. we get more nutrients from less food, effectively giving us more energy to live our lives beyond just survival.

veganism is not a trend. it is part of the solution to the sad reality of our environmental state.

oh, meal of the day: nori wraps! breads, vegan or not, slow my digestive system (that’s polite for making me constipated). so i wrapped quinoa, tomato, grated beets, butter lettuce and lots of avocado with some spices and pumpkin seeds in nori and they were terrific. quinoa is awesome, and tomorrow i will have it with some home-brewed lentils. yum.

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