Archive for the ‘Jesse & Janine’ Category

Day 7 – The End

Monday. Back to work and back on track with the vegan challenge. We owe it to ourselves to finish this thing right and go out with a bang. I pack a lunch of last night’s leftovers, some fresh cut fruit and a box of roasted ‘sea laver’ which I found at T&T in the snack aisle.

It’s a paper thin seaweed snack that has a fishy salty ocean taste, mmmm. This keeps me full and satisfied throughout my work day until its time to go home and prepare a scrumptious dinner, cheat free.

Even though we had some major cheats on the weekend (oh ya, I forgot to mention we had pho for lunch on Sunday! I was embarrassed to disclose it on the last post because the experience was so much more worth it than the sushi but I feel ok with admitting it now) I think overall the diet/challenge was a success. We didn’t have any objectives really with the challenge when we first started out, other than just doing it for a fun new experience, but we definitely learned a lot. It gives you a new perspective on what you eat and why. Once I got past my bad attitude on the diet’s restrictions and tried it out for a few days I realized that its really not that different from how we were already eating. However, by just making a few simple changes and substitutes, I did notice some major physical changes.

The first of course was the effects of detoxifying. Anytime you have changes to your diet, it will affect your p- – ps. Both Jesse and I had gas that rivaled our fowl little Fartston Terrier. We had to keep 2 fans going in the house at all times to avoid asphyxiation at night. Also, when you gotta go, you gotta go now. I publicly apologize to the people whose bathrooms I defiled in my time of need. Truly. Deeply. Utterly.

I also got a breakout of pimples and oily skin, which surprised me. This wasn’t a huge tragedy or embarrassment but let’s just say fine lines and pimples don’t really mix so I’m happy to have my skin back to normal again.

The end result: Well, we will continue to eat and enjoy animal products but not as the main focus of our diet. We proved to ourselves that we could live for a week (well, most of the week) without meat and that we actually genuinely enjoy vegan cuisine. It was fun using our creativity to come up with new recipes and trying new ingredients. Now that we know we don’t have to eat meat every meal, I think we will make more sustainable choices as well, like only purchasing organic, free range, ocean wise, etc. If everyone cut back on animal products and made more sustainable choices, just those few small changes we all make could make a difference for the environment.

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Saturday.  A day we sleep in and relax and do as we please.  I get up to walk the dog and prepare a giant feast for breakfast – a pear/banana/nectarine smoothy, hashbrowns, tofu scramble with mushrooms, onions, jalapeños, and tofu breakfast sausages, and toast with vegan butter.

Jesse wakes up and declares, “I’M DONE WITH THIS VEGAN $ #!% !!!”  “THROW MY BREAKFAST IN THE GARBAGE!”

I urge him that we only have 3 more days to go, let’s finish it…. Besides I just spent the better part of an hour figuring out how to make tofu taste and feel like scrabbled eggs and making the rest of this bloody breakfast! (no pun intended)

He complains that he’s hungry all the time.  I can relate.  Not the sense of being hungry, but just not that satisfied feeling when you’re finished eating.  That sense of, “Mmm yes, I have just consumed something delicious and I feel full.”  Now its more like, “my stomach understands that it contains nutrient with which to process and provide energy for the rest of my body’s operating systems.”  It’s a noticeably big difference.

Somehow I convince him to eat my breakfast which he enjoys immensely and I enjoy the compliments much more than the food itself.  Something is different this time.  That sense of satisfaction and ‘fullness’ has returned.  We both feel it while enjoying our breakfast.  Maybe we had finally adjusted to this new diet, or maybe it was just the large amounts of fat I introduced into the meal to make it tastier than usual.  Either way, something was different about this meal.

I left to go run my errands and didn’t get hungry again for another 4 hours.  Incredible.  After this monumentous change it is so utterly disappointing what happened next….

I’m not sure who’s idea it was originally but all signs point to Jesse, but we got it in our minds that we couldn’t live without sushi for dinner.  Jesse had had enough and I was not able to resist the temptation of cold sashimi with burning wasabi and the tiny explosion of fish-liciousness of fish roe popping in your mouth.  I wanted this sin to be worthwhile so I looked up reveiws online for the best sushi money could buy in our neighbourhood and went out to get it.  When I arrived home with my Styrofoam prize pack of shame, I wanted to make the experience last so I prepared a homemade miso soup and some edamame so we could have some vegan elements to mask our lies.

I first popped a chopped scallop roll in my mouth.  Hmm, its ok.  The salmon (I paid extra for the wild stuff) tasted like it had been frozen and thawed more than once and the tuna wasn’t as good as I remember.  The California roll (of course with real crab) was nothing much either.  What had happened?  Why was this sushi not tasting like the best thing in the world?  The lust factor of breaking the rules alone should have made it incredible, let alone being deprived of it.  I was confused…

Had we somehow magically turned vegan for good?  The beloved meat we missed so dearly was actually just a good tasting exaggeration?  I couldn’t figure it out.  Needless to say, we resumed with the diet after our little indiscretion.The highlight of Sunday was a butternut squash mac and cheese casserole with a friend’s apple and kale side dish.

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Born and raised in a small town in Sasktachewan, Janine grew up in a farming family and is no stranger to the production and processing of animals.  Her family farmed Herford cattle and pigs for several years and grew 90% off their own produce in their garden.  Anything store bought was considered a luxury for the years while they farmed.  She was involved in every process of farming from a very young age. From working the land to planting of crops such as grain and hay to feed the animals, to medicating and castration of the cattle, delivering calves, feeding the (sometimes very dangerous) pigs, and of course the slaughter of the animals.  Even at the tender age of 6, you can understand who it is that ended up in your casserole for dinner and how they got there.  Growing up, meat was not something you just eat – it is a way of life, your livelihood, what buys Christmas presents.  Being a vegan was something that was unheard of until Janine left her small town at age 17.  She knew she was destined for something greater than becoming a breeder herself, and left to go pursue her dreams in the great beyond and find a place to fit in.

After many years of traveling, exploring & growing she finally found her place in Vancouver.  A place where the folks from back home would describe as full of freaks, hippies, various racial slurs, and faggots – she knew she was home at last!  This was a place not only diverse in ethnicity, beliefs and lifestyles but also diverse in cuisine!  Having an adventurous palate, Janine was delighted to explore things like dim sum, pho, matar paneer, bi bim bap and so much more.

Now Vancouver is home for Janine and she spends her time with her talented and charming boyfriend Jesse, hanging out with her cute-as-ever dog Rambo, and working on her business, Fresh Out, which is a members only pop-up fashion sale.  This fashionable business woman now is ironically returning to her roots so to speak and is taking more and more of an interest in where her food comes from and how it was produced.  For so long she took her food from her childhood for granted – most people don’t have a freezer full of homegrown organic meat and vegetables.  Many cannot afford to buy organic and have to eat commercially produced and processed foods.  Being a big believer in ‘you are what you eat’ Janine has decided to get back to basics and have a healthier diet.  She and Jesse now have a small garden plot and buy organic whenever possible.  And now the ultimate challenge – the Vegan Project….

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Woke up on the second day of the vegan challenge all chipper. We both had the kick-ass scones that BB made us, and they are delicious! I covered mine in some vegan butter which tastes way better then butter. Also had some fresh fruit, skipped the smoothy and had a massive black coffee. All in all breakfasts are pretty much the same around my house.

However i forgot to pack a lunch which made the adventure of finding something vegan to eat challenging. I headed up and down Davie street trying to pick something that was going to work. It’s all the little things that seem to confuse me. I settled on a sandwich from Mr Baguette. I ordered the vegetarian and asked the cook if there was anything on it that is not vegan and he alerted me of the mayo and the cheese and told me i should add avocado and pickles to make it better, which i thought was cool. It’s nice to know that people will actually help you make a better choice based on your diet.

This however was not the case with dinner with my friends who are baffled at this decision. Let’s just say if you’re vegan do not go to Earls-EVER! Super unhelpful. They sent Janine and i out tacos with lettuce and hot sauce, then decided to remove everything off them as per our request as if no cheese meant no avocado salsa or tomato salsa? Janine almost attacked the server because she was so hungry (Janine is usually a joy, so this was weird). We sorted it out with some pasta (which the noodles were probably not vegan) but we had to eat!  We just had it with a vegetable sauce with olive oil, which was nice.
All in all i think it’s taking its toll on my energy a bit. But i’m assuming this will change with time. To be a true vegan you really need to know the ingredients in everything, ever, which makes it tough. But i enjoy a challenge!

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(By Janine)

Starts with a coconut milk and raspberry smoothy which tasted kinda weird.  I think I will try coconut water instead.  The only thing is I’m not sure which of the coconut water’s is a sustainable product and not the one being marketed by the guys who originally started Sobey’s beverages. I met a marine biologist who is the brother (ironically) of one of the executives there and he tells me that they exploit third world countries and steal their resources like water, coconuts, whatever, then pump and dump their new revolutionary ‘health’ drink, make millions and then move on to the next project.  Maybe I will just use some soy milk instead.

So anyway, I get a sick stomach all morning at work from this shake and Im feeling gross and tired.  It might have something to do with the binge of McDonalds I had before I started the challenge.

Lunch consists of a salad from my own garden and stuffed fake chickeny thing which would have tasted so much better if everyone else around me wasn’t consuming delicious smelling grilled meats with fatty sauce.  I’m really looking forward to the end of the day and  having a nice dinner out with my boyfriend.

We arrive at the Wallflower for vegan pizza night.  I’m so excited for this – its got to be good.

I walk in and instantly know the girls at the bar are who we are meeting.  They must be the vegans because they’re skin is so healthy and glowing .

(Jesse takes over)

This is where I describe the meal I guess. So just like Jammer I’m starved and the Wallflower did not disappoint. Really the best moment was when Janine asked for a vegan caesar. Boy did that blow the servers top. Big thanks to miss burns for the care package of blueberry scones, granola, vegan cheese made out of astronaut something (Daiya), kelp, & yeast powder. Oh I guess we should describe the food.

Mac and Cheese with vegan weenies – tasty stuff here, and smooth creamy goodness.

Pizza  – I loved the veganroni! It tasted amazing and the gluten free crust was interesting if not a magical feat.

Thunder Fries – yummmmmmm. This was probably my fave. I’ts better than chili fries with out the death farts. Yummy.

The best part was I left energetic and happy. Thanks Vegan Project!

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We are delighted to report that our friend Jesse James Bannister is going to try a vegan diet for 1 week beginning tomorrow!  He has been provided with a customized meal plan, corresponding shopping list and all the recipes needed to ensure an easy transition.

Jesse James is 29 and a Graphic Designer/DJ who claims to be “allergic to bad attitudes and ugg boots.”   He will be sharing his experience with all of us over the next 7 days which we will be sharing with all of you! So bookmark us and cheer Jesse on as he embarks on his very own Vegan Project.

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