About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Eating Green: It's Not All or Nothing

Blackbean and Tempeh with Quinoa and Brown Rice

Since Earth Day, my kid and I have made a significant reduction in our meat consumption- she more than I. It was really at her instigation. I don't want her to be militant or lose a healthy balance so she eats 3 meals of meat a week and the rest alternates between vegan and vegetarian. This provides her with flexibility and she doesn't feel like she is missing out if we travel for the weekend, or eat at a special place, she never denies herself (nor do I.) Eating this is so much more doable then being keto or gluten-fre (I couldn't fathom a life without beans or bread.)

Tempeh starter (根黴) on the left, frozen Tempeh onn the right
I was a pretty all or nothing vegetarian for 21 years (even when I was pregnant) and admit I was a major food snob. I looked down on people who didn't eat what I thought was healthy. In fact, I overdid it on the processed soy and after I gave birth had an underactive thyroid from perhaps too much soy (my estrogen levels were skyrocketed). Ever since, I've tried to avoid soy and to my doctor's advice started eating meat when my daughter was 3 months old. Since then I enjoyed eating meat. but lately feel guilty that my lifestyle has too much of a negative impact on the environment.

First batch tempeh

Black sesame chia pudding

Moving to Taiwan, we just started eating so much pork (I never ate it growing up), and so much meat (nothing like bone broth in winter with goji berries and mushrooms). We stopped eating sushi a few years ago (totally yum) because of overfishing, it just really lost its appeal. I became a vegetarian at age 14 because of the environmental impact and lately, I have felt the same nagging awareness that my choice is affecting everyone. So when my kid told me she wanted to be a straight-up vegan (to my shock) we talked it out, what her motivations were and we discussed being balanced because I don't want her to have any eating disorders or be OCD with food. That's we came up with our flexible system which so far is very easy to maintain.

BBQ Tempeh and couscous salad

I've had fun researching vegan recipes and started experimenting with making my own tempeh (Indonesian fermented soybeans which is extremely high in protein, minerals and doesn't mess up my hormones in its fermented form.) Thank goodness for local Indonesian grocery stores! One bag of starter is under 100NT and can make batches of tempeh cakes. I have thus far used black-eyed peas, chickpeas, green mung beans and of course soybean tempeh. We have experimented with using aquafaba (the foam you skim off the top when boiling beans), making matcha vegan ice cream and its just adding to her repertoire of recipes and baking skills as an egg white replacer.

menu from "Loving Hut"

We eat a lot more chia seed which makes me feel amazing and have started frequenting new to us neighborhood vegan restaurants. It feels good to be contributing in a small way to not selfishly eat copious amounts of meat and thus do our part to "save the earth", plus the added health benefit of eating "cleaner". However, I am still thankful for eating eggs on our vegetarian days because we get them fresh from our neighbors.

Black sesame, açaí and goji berry pancakes

Here is a list of recipes we have started experimenting with: Smart Vegan, Pinterest

My favorite Vegan Youtube sites:
The Minimalist Baker
Pickup Limes

Local (Yilan) Vegan Eateries: see Happy Cow

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