Lauryn Higgins is a native of the Tarheel State and currently a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is studying...
In today’s society, stigmas are attached to everything. It’s unfortunate, but true.
For example, I am a size zero.
I’m sure half of you who just read that sentence, rolled your eyes and thought, “Ugh, a size zero, what a skinny bitch.”
Or, I went to private school. That might conjure up a thought like, “Another rich Republican who skis on the weekends.”
And the reality is none of the stigmas attached to these realties are true. I am a size zero because I take care of myself and my genetics gave me not a single curve. My dad took out a second mortgage on my childhood home to ensure my brother and I would have a top notch education. Even if it meant we never went on a single vacation for five years. And if you were wondering, I voted for Obama last election and I’ve never put on a pair of skis. However, if you do ask one of my ex-boyfriends, he might say I am a bitch. Sorry, but he was a stage-five clinger, so I had to cut the cord.
Anyway…my point in all this is that we have to be careful what labels we force on others. In the last fourteen days of being vegan I have spoken to numerous people, and their biggest concern with me using the wonderful platform of Asheville Grit to tell my story is that I ensure people how normal vegans are. That being vegan is not pretentious or a religion, but a lifestyle focused on eating well and restricting animal products, nothing more. There’s a lot of stress and strife in this world. The people you surround yourself with intentionally, that you care about and share things with, should be adding to your morale not clouding it. So be mindful of what you think of others until you step into their mindset and see life their way.
So once again I will give you a quick rundown of what I ate this past week, and hopefully you can steal some ideas or modify to please your appetite.
Breakfast has been the same, nothing too hard. Just a piece of fruit and toast with agave or vegan butter. However, I have been enjoying a brown rice cake with almond butter lately. A quick tip for almond butter, sunflower butter or basically any nut butter. Spend the extra fifty cents or dollar and grind your own butter in your local grocery store. Whole Foods, Ingles, Harris Teeter and The Fresh Market have this magical machine that takes a handful of nuts, (almond, peanut, salted peanut, honey roasted peanut, sunflower and walnut) and in seconds turns it into the dreamiest spread, and there’s no added ingredients. It’s just nuts! (That was a pun.)
Lunch has consisted heavily of pasta and sandwiches this week. I have a mild love affair for angel hair with roasted grape tomatoes. It’s rather simple. Just place a handful of grape tomatoes on a cookie sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil, crush two garlic cloves on top and bake for twenty minutes at 350 degrees. When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle some sea salt and pepper on top and toss with hot angel hair pasta, and Mario Batali will be at your door in two minutes to join you because it’s so good. And a crusty baguette to soak up the sauce is always a great idea.
As far as sandwiches go, I have been loving red onion, tomato and Vegenaise on toasted whole wheat. I will say when I’m wrong and I am wrong. Last week, I harped heavily on the fact that I did not like non vegan foods being vegan, but I love mayonnaise and not having it in my life just won’t do. So, whether you’re a JFG, Duke’s or Hellmann’s person, and you want to try something a little healthier, the brand Vegenaise is a wonderful substitute for mayonnaise.
Dinner has been more of a challenge for me this week with my schedule being so crazy. So, I have been forced to eat out more, and in doing so I have realized how accommodating Asheville is for the vegan diet. Farm Burger has a wonderful vegan burger made with, red peas, smoked tempeh and black eyed peas, lightly breaded and cooked until the outside is just crisp enough to have a crunch. Load it with fresh veggies and sauces and it’s golden. And their French fries are a gift to us all, so get a nice helping of those as well. (It was so filling, I ate the rest for lunch the next day. Money saving tip.) Another place I’ve discovered is the Lucky Otter in West Asheville. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s a restaurant dedicated to organic, locally sourced, short order Mexican food. The price is right, and the staff was wonderful. Right up the road is Zia Taqueria and they too serve Mexican cuisine for a great price. From New Mexican Hatch Green chili stew to Portobello mushroom nachos, just let the server know your dietary restrictions and they will be more than happy to assist you. I would recommend their vegetarian rice, it’s so fluffy and filling, I wanted to lick the bowl. But that would be weird, even in West Asheville.
Lastly, I checked out the North Asheville Tailgate Market on Saturday, and it was incredible. So many great vendors and local produce was available for a fraction of what you would pay in grocery stores. I stopped by No Evil Foods on my way out and they are an exciting company with the sole purpose of providing ethical plant based meat substitutes.
And I learned more about Eden-Out vegan delivery, a take-out or delivery service, specializing in vegan meals. They have numerous seasonal meals that include southern squash casserole and a roasted beet, pumpkin, and massaged kale salad. Asheville has so much to offer by way of eating out and rest assured vegans have plenty of options.
Thank you so much for reading and putting up with my horrible sense of humor.