Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Vegan Monologues

Mmm... burgers.
Some years ago, I wrote a bit about my second attempt at Alton Brown's four-list diet. Ultimately, it, like all diets, was difficult to stick to and it fell by the wayside. Time passed. I got separated then divorced, my career picked up, I started teaching more, and life just generally got in the way of intentional, “good” eating. I gained back some weight. Now, with my teaching schedule significantly reduced, and finding myself with more flexible time to prepare my own food, I felt it was time to give another type of diet a try.

Food writer Mark Bittman released his book VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health... For Good in 2013, and I picked it up almost immediately. I dabbled with its precepts at the time, but I adjusted his vegan requirement to be vegetarian, since I loved (and still love) milk too much to part with it for two thirds of the day. I was already eating a lot of vegetation regularly, being married to a pescatarian, and so, of course, I saw no noticeable difference in my health or weight.

Times, as I've mentioned, changed. I'd been eating a lot more meat, for one. So I'm thinking this time around I'll see some real differences. And, indeed, I have. I've had more consistent energy throughout the day, and, at last check, I've lost a few pounds.

There are still a few foods I'm not huge on, most notably beans. I'll eat them, but I don't ever seek them out. I wasn't raised on beans and rice (probably because I didn't like them even then) and I don't usually keep them around the kitchen as one of my staples. It was time to take another leap, last week with chickpeas and some delicious falafel, and now with some black bean burgers.

Mark Bittman's Simplest Bean Burgers (from his How to Cook Everything website; the vegan option is below the main recipe—the one in VB6 uses oats)

Ready for the chopper.
In VB6, Bittman leaves the options open for the type of bean and even the seasonings. I made a double order so I could reheat for time to come. I think I over-mixed the ingredients and the burgers came out a bit on the soft side. Also, I decided to use Penzeys Berbere seasoning, which was far more potent than expected, so be conservative with your own spicing. But, it ended up being quite delicious and satisfying—a good addition to my growing list of lunch options.

Title inspiration: The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. Premiered at the HERE Arts Center in New York City on 3 October 1996.

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