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Category Archive for: ‘Vegan’
Do You Need a Label?

Some people can’t do anything unless there are rules and a label on it.  And others, like myself, feel that if, say, I’m trying to be a vegetarian but I fall off the wagon, I’m not a failed vegetarian, I’m a Flexitarian in good standing.  If you are one of those people and it gives you peace, see if any of these eating categories is a better fit for you:

P.S. – For inquiring minds, I’m still a Vegetarian – for 3 weeks now – Jug.

Vegan: A person who doesn’t eat meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, or dairy. They usually avoid honey and foods processed with animal products like gelatin, lanolin. Often, vegans avoid wearing animal products like leather, silk, down feathers, and wool. Vegans are sometimes called “strict vegetarians.”

Vegetarian: A person who doesn’t eat meat, poultry, or fish, but does eat dairy products and/or eggs.

Pescatarian: A person who doesn’t eat meat or poultry, but does eat fish; they may or may not eat dairy products and/or eggs.

Pollotarian: A person who doesn’t eat red meat or fish, but does eat chicken; they may or may not eat dairy products and/or eggs.

Lacto-ovo Vegetarian: Someone who eats eggs and milk products, but is otherwise a vegan.

Lacto Vegetarian: Someone who eats milk products, but not eggs, and is otherwise a vegan.

Beegan: A vegan who eats honey.

Dietary vegan: Someone whose diet is vegan, but who doesn’t avoid all non-food animal products, like for clothing and toiletries.

Flexitarian: Someone who primarily eats vegetarian food, but allows for exceptions occasionally.

Omnivore: Someone who eats both plants and animals.

Carnivore: Someone who consumes primarily animal material

Herbivore: An organism who has adapted to eating plant-based foods, not the same as vegetarian.

Lessetarian: A person who tries to reduce their consumption of animal products, but doesn’t necessarily eliminate them.

Grits

As I write this post I am enjoying a bowl of stone ground grits.  Not the instant grits found so often, but real stone ground grits with the little black flecks in it.  Killer good cooked with just milk and butter and slowly boiled to a creamy consistency with the grits left just a little firm or al dente (to the tooth)

What the heck are grits?

Wikipedia says that grits got their origins from the American Indians.  I say thank you.   Grits are coarsely ground flint or dent corn, which is grown hard on the cob.  The kernels are dried on the cob and then soaked in baking soda, lime or wood ash.  The soaking causes the hulls to soften and swell.  Then the kernels are hulled and de-germed using friction methods and dried further.   Hominy is the dried corn or maize that has been treated with a weak lye (alkaline) solution to break down the niacin in the corn which also effects the protein balance, decreasing it.  Even though the protein decreases, the lysine and tryptophan are increased.  Even in the South, most people have never tried Hominy, which look like large, soft swollen white corn kernels.

The best grits, in my humble opinion, are stone ground in the old fashioned way.  You really can taste a difference.

 white hominy   fried hominy

How do we use Grits

Grits can be savory or sweet.  I prefer savory, but I’ve had some very good grits mixed with brown sugar and chunks of fruit that were great.  Without getting too detailed, grits are basically white polenta, the European version of grits which is made from ground yellow or white cornmeal.

Both polenta and grits are cooked to a porridge like consistency then embellished with anything from sugar or honey to cheese, butter, sausage, bacon, ham and even spinach or kale.  Both make a great side dish for any meal.

Additionally, grits or polenta can be placed in a container or glass and cooled or frozen then sliced into rounds and fried in oil or bacon fat.  Delicious!

  

 

Stone Ground grits are available through the Fat Farm Store or click here  – jughandle

Plant Based Diet Progress Report

Three Weeks

It has been close to 3 weeks since I ventured into the realm of meatless eating.  The results so far have been surprisingly good.  I’ve told a few people that I’ve been meatless for 3 weeks and they instantly laugh, like that is no big deal.  Try it, I respond.  I’ve even been able to cook meat for other people without craving it myself.

Where’s the Beef

I haven’t missed meat in the very least.  I’ve been posting meatless recipes lately with the help of my followers and they are very good, not to mention, filling and satisfying.  Finding recipes and adjusting our family shopping habits has been more difficult than not eating meat.

System

My system has changed, and without becoming too graphic, suffice it to say that I am now very regular and seem to process my food very efficiently.  I actually like eating this way.  I’ve been drinking Matcha Green Tea, which has most definitely increased my metabolism and I still drink copious amounts of filtered water.

What foods I find to be Good

I have been eating a lot of beans and gourds.  We have found at least 5 different types of dried beans which have been the staple of my diet and we’ve eating at least 4 different types of squash.  I eat lettuce or cabbage at almost every meal.  I haven’t worried about being vegan since about the 3rd day, but I still avoid eggs and cheese when I can.  For snacks I’ve been eating dried fruit, like cherrys and cranberrys and also roasted peanuts. I have found tofu and other soy products to be “good eats” when prepared properly.  Flavorful sauces  and dressings are very important.  I am developing a bean and soy based burger patty and when I get it right I’ll post the recipe.

When will I Quit

You know, I’m not sure when I’ll ever revert.  If I do it will be to only add meat once or twice a week or only on special occasions like Thanksgiving or when invited to someone’s house.  I’m trying to clean my arteries of plaque and improve my chances of living longer by avoiding cancer causing chemicals.  I’ve had cancer twice, I’m avoiding a third strike.

Should You Do It?

No.  If you have to ask that question then you probably aren’t ready.  Eating a plant based diet is a life style choice.  If you are obese, like I am, and you show signs of other problems, like I do, then you shouldn’t be asking this question, you should be doing it for you and your loved ones.

Weight Loss?

Have I lost any weight?  I really don’t know, because I haven’t weighed yet.  I feel better and I feel smaller and people tell me I look better, but I’m not going to weigh until November 1, because that is not the main reason I started this “life style” change.  I don’t want to be disappointed if I haven’t lost weight.  I’d rather make the transformation first and worry about the results later.

 

Any Questions? – Jughandle

Such a Buzz

Follow up

This is a follow up to yesterday’s post “Turbo Tea”.  There have been several questions I’d like to answer:

  • What kind did I get – I got two kinds so I could see what the difference is between them.
  • I got a $11 – 1 oz  – “The Republic of Tea” brand, Supposed to be ceremonial quality Tencha which I’m drinking today
  • I got a $32 – 1.06 oz Do Matcha Brand tea, Green label Organic  – which is what I had yesterday
  • tools – I didn’t get the whisk or the strainer but I used a metal whisk I had at home (you’ll need it)
  • I didn’t sift the powder, but I bet it would help dissolve it in the water
  • Could I tell a difference?
  • Yes, the expensive stuff has a more subtle interesting flavor – not quite as “dry” tasting, maybe a little sweeter?
  • The good stuff didn’t have the dry after taste that the cheaper one had.
  • I really hate to say it, but the DoMatcha Organic at $32 was way better than the Republic of Tea Ceremonial at $11
  • Maybe it is like “they” say, you get what you pay for, especially in Matcha Tea.
  

BuZZ

Yesterday I got the most amazing tea buzz from the Matcha.  It might have been a caffeine buzz from drinking the Lapsang first, but my increased energy level lasted almost all day, plus I was mellow and in control at the same time.  I’ll let you know if there is a difference between the affects from the cheaper one today.  FYI about caffeine.  Matcha tea  caffeine is on the same level as black tea, which is the strongest of the teas, but only about 1/2 as much caffeine as coffee and the affect is spread out over 6-8 hours because of the tannin in tea.

Conclusions

You really need to do your own experiments to determine which flavors you enjoy more.  I’m doing the Matcha because of the HUGE health benefits.  The flavor of Matcha isn’t what you’d call normal beverage flavor, but you can mix it in other things and I don’t think you’d ever taste the tea.  Consider that I like strange and different things, like peaty single malt scotch, etc., I enjoy the grassy flavor of green tea. 

Both of these tins are supposed to last 30 days.  If I stick to the good stuff, that would be a buck a day.  I’ve spent more to get less, so that isn’t terrible.  I like the energy boost, but I’m very sensitive to chemicals and my reaction might be more than someone else’s.  As I write this line I’m finishing the last of my first cup of the cheaper Matcha and I must admit, the flavor doesn’t compare favorably to the better tea.  I’ll be using the cheaper tea for coloring in mixed drinks and foods.   The experiment continues – Jug

Matcha Tea

Matcha Tea has been Acquired

I don’t think I’ll need a razor blade and a hundred dollar bill to consume this Matcha tea, but it looks like a green version of the stuff the “older guys” warned me about.  My first cup of Matcha – Green Tea is ready to be enjoyed as I write this post.  Generally my day starts with a pot of my favorite black tea, Lapsang Souchong  which is a very strong flavor, possibly tainting this review a little.

Matcha Tea Price

Yes, Matcha tea is expensive.  I just paid over $30 for 1 ounce of the good stuff.  I’ll let you know if the cheaper Matcha tea is a better deal when I do the math.  I only used 1/4 heaping tsp in my first 8 oz cup of tea.

Differences in Quality

My research has found at least two (2) different catagories of Matcha Tea with variations on those.

Ceremonial Grade and Culinary Grade matcha are the main Grades determined by the quality of the appearance, processing method and ingredients.

Within these grades inspectors look for, color, quality and texture density of the product.  Next the makeup of the powder is determined; e.g. was it made from stems or leaves or a combination?  Finally the coarseness of the powder is considered, the finer the better.

Once the quality of the product itself is judged, the handling of the product is considered.  Has it been exposed to oxygen for any length of time?  What method was used to grind it and how was it treated prior to processing.

Ceremonial Grade Matcha is the finest and therefore the most expensive grade.  It should not be mixed with anything else but enjoyed on its own.

Culinary Grade had five (5) levels within the grade.  It is a less expensive product making it more affordable to being used daily or mixed with other ingredients.

For a more complete description and explanation of Matcha and its grades, please visit “Epic Matcha” on line.

The Ceremony

As with many of life’s guilty pleasures, half the fun is the ceremony.  The cigar has it’s ceremonial clipping, smelling and lighting.  Wine has the ceremony of viewing the label, smelling the cork, decanting the bottle, “nosing” the wine while swirling the glass and looking for it’s “legs“.  The older guys tell me about a ceremony involving a white powder chopped with a razor blade and snorted with a rolled 100 dollar bill, but I digress.

The Matcha Tea ceremony is no less involved.

 

First Impressions

I think I was expecting a very strong green tea flavor.  You know, something that may be an acquired taste, but that isn’t the case.  I taste a somewhat grassy subtle undertone on the front of my tongue with that familiar green tea full mouth taste.  Reviews say that Matcha tea is naturally sweet. That may be so, but the sweetness isn’t sweet like sugar, it is more like the sweetness of coffee with just a little cream in it.  The flavor I detect is really more the lack of bitterness more than sweet.

Finish Notes

As the Matcha tea cools off, I detect a stronger “grassy” flavor.  I’ve just noticed that even though I used a whisk to mix the tea there is still at least 1/2 of the 1/4 teaspoon on the bottom of my cup undissolved.  Note to self – stir Matcha tea for longer than 15 sec in the future or use the stick blender.  I do notice that unlike some tea that tastes like tea in water, Matcha tea has the full body of a beverage that stands alone and doesn’t taste watered or dissolved in water.

Final Impression

I LIKE it.  I may even love it considering that the health benefits of Matcha tea are said to be equivalent to 170 + cups of regular tea.  I’ll give you more in-put over time, but for now, I’ve stashed my tea in its air tight can and put it in the refrigerator. – Jughandle out

 

Tea

Have you made the change from coffee to tea yet?

Don’t like that dry gritty feel that tea leaves in your mouth?

Not a fan of tea flavor in general?

You know all the health benefits of tea, both green and black, but just haven’t found the tea for you?

Go no further Fat Farmer

Things I’ve recently learned about tea other than the same old same old:

  • tea is best when brewed from loose tea leaves
  • there is no right or wrong as to how strong or how long to brew your tea
  • If you like cold or ice tea, any tea flavor will do, you can even mix flavors
  • tea leaves can be brewed several times
  • most teas do not have a shelf life like coffee
  • most tea does have caffeine but the tannin in tea makes your body absorb the caffeine over a longer (6-8 hrs) period of time.  No spikes like coffee
  • tea can mellow you and “even” your mood
  • you can add cream and sugar or honey or flavored syrups to tea – go figure – it is darn good that way and takes that tannin feel away from your teeth
  

My Favorite Tea

A couple of years ago now, I reconnected with a grade school friend that I haven’t seen or heard from in over 45 years.  As life does to all of us, Spencer changed from the mild mannered soft spoken “smart” guy I used to know into a brilliant, composer of amazing symphonies and other such incredible things.  We shared the story of each of our lives and he told me of the tea he keeps as a constant companion.

That tea was Lapsang Souchon.  I don’t expect many if any of you have ever heard or tried Lapsang (as I now refer to it).  It can be a strong tea, but it most assuredly has a flavor and aroma like no other tea.  The smokey almost peaty aroma and taste are reminiscent of a fine single malt scotch.  It is Sherlock Holmes’ tea of choice.

The Story of Lapsang  Souchong

Briefly from Wikipedia, the story goes that the tea was created during the Qing era when the passage of armies delayed the annual drying of the tea leaves in the Wuyi hills. Eager to satisfy demand, the tea producers sped up the drying process by having their workers dry the tea leaves over fires made from local pines.

The smoke from those fires flavored the tea and the rest is history.

I will drink other tea, but I don’t really like it as much as coffee.  I brew my Lapsang in an iron tea pot and sometimes use the leaves as many a 3 times.  I’ll start drinking as soon as the hot water is poured over the leaves and continue to enjoy 3 or 4 more small cups as the tea brews and gets stronger. See, no rules.  If there is any tea left in the pot, I have been known to drink it cold.

I love Lapsang.  Oh, I forgot to tell you, Spencer is a Tea Pusher man or better put a “Johnny Appleseed of Tea”.  I’m now completely involved with the flavor and mellow of Lapsang Souchong – thanks Spencer.

If you don’t have a regular source for tea try the Fat Farm Store.  Lapsang Souchong tea is available here.

Get healthy, drink tea – Jughandle

Also see – Matcha Green Tea

 

 

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