Tag Archives: Food

Sunday food

3 May

I’m very much aware that I’ve been writing a lot more about what I’ve been eating since getting the wires removed. At first, this seemed backwards. I thought that what I ate on the more restrictive liquid diet should have received more attention because it was more abnormal. Having thought about it some more, though, I think there’s a pretty good reason for the way things are. On the liquid diet, I ate pretty much the same thing every day, so there wasn’t a whole lot to say. I’d have several smoothies, a serving of Vega, and a can of soup. Now that I have more options, of course there’s more to write about.

With that said, here’s a summary of today’s meals:

  • Breakfast was the usual oatmeal, but today I increased the portion, starting with a cup of dry oats rather than half a cup.
  • Lunch was a soy yogurt plus variations on a couple of things I’ve eaten in recent days. One was chinese noodles with miso. I decided to try this as a substitute for ramen after I realized how salty ramen is. The first time I read the label of a package of ramen a few days ago, I was impressed to see that it  had less than 200 milligrams of sodium. However, I took another look yesterday, and I realized that I had read the wrong line, confusing the number for potassium with the number for sodium. In fact, a single serving has over 1000 milligrams of sodium, so I decided to do something a little different today. As with the ramen, I added some silken tofu. This time I used firm silken tofu, which has the advantage of more protein. I had no difficulty swallowing it without chewing. The other half of lunch was a can of refried beans with shredded tortilla bits. I realized after the fact that I ate the refried beans much more quickly and comfortably than I did on Thursday.
  • Dinner was a bowl of tamarind lentils from last night.
  • Dessert was Purely Decadent soy ice cream with Latchkey Lime Pie, from a recipe of Isa Chandra Moskowitz at Post Punk Kitchen. I actually made it last night, but it finished too late for me to try it. I used a graham cracker crust (Arrowhead Mills brand) because I was looking for something crumbly. It was a great pie, although the texture is a bit more gelatinous and less creamy than a typical key lime pie. This was fine with me, but it’s not something I’d serve to an omnivore to prove that vegan food can be normal. Or maybe I just don’t want to share my pie with anybody. I ate two slices and a couple of tiny slivers, altogether adding up to about a sixth of the pie. For what it’s worth, I think the graham cracker crust worked very nicely. It crumbled in my mouth as I had hoped, and the lime filling infused it with a very nice flavor.
  • A while after dessert, I remembered that I had four mangoes, which were on sale at Whole Foods last weekend. I decided to try one which seemed ripe. It was good, but perhaps not as ripe as I should have let it get before eating it without chewing. I tried, with varying degrees of success, to crush little pieces of mango between the roof of my mouth and my tongue. It all went down, but I think it would have been better to wait a little longer for the mango to soften. The remaining three mangoes will wait a bit longer.

Incidentally, I think today is the first day in four weeks that I haven’t eaten any smoothies. I actually like smoothies, but enough to be make me want to have as many as I had while wired, so this is something of a milestone.

Saturday food

2 May

I tried a few different foods today. In the afternoon, I had a mixed a shredded tortilla in with some peanut butter and jelly. It tasted pretty good, but it was hard to get the peanut butter to mix. This probably wouldn’t have been a problem had the peanut butter come from the top of the jar, but the last few spoonfuls in a jar are always hard. (If you’re keeping track, I finished that 28 ounce jar seven days after opening it, compared to six days for the last one.)

For dinner, I made the tamarind lentils from Veganomicon again. This time, I used green lentils and allowed them to cook for considerably longer than the instructions. The result of this was that the lentils ended up nice and soft, so that I can swallow them without chewing. I multiplied the recipe by a factor of approximately four, so it should last me a while. I used my largest pot (which is actually only 5.5 quarts), and the quadrupled recipe very nearly filled this. I’ll have to put the pot in the refrigerator (when it finally cools) because I don’t have any other container big enough.

I also made a dessert today, but I’ll write about it tomorrow after I’ve tried it.

What a difference a trip to a grocery store (or three) makes!

1 May

As I slurped my oatmeal breakfast this morning, I struggled to think of anything to pack for lunch. I knew that I could fall back on the supply of Vega in my office if I needed to, but I wanted to celebrate my ability to open my mouth with something a little more conventional. Having run out of soy yogurt and frozen fruit, I didn’t think I could make a smoothie, so I settled for a can of soup, pureed in the blender.

I ended up leaving the office shortly after lunch and returning to my apartment before heading out to do some grocery shopping. On my first trip, I went to Berkeley Bowl and Whole Foods Market. I go to Whole Foods frequently, but trips to Berkeley Bowl are a rarity for me. I’d always found it to be expensive for some of my staples, things like non-dairy milks and tofu. This time around, I did find a few things on my list that were cheaper than at Whole Foods, such as silken tofu, but I doubt I’ll be returning regularly.

I returned home from my first shopping trip to eat my first dinner, which started out consisting of a package of ramen with half a block of silken tofu. For all of the jokes about students living off of ramen because it’s all they can afford, I actually really like the stuff. Somehow, though, this was the first time I’d had it since I started graduate school, and it may even have been the first time since I started college. Fortunately, I bought a few more packages, so I’ll have some to feed later in the week, too. The silken tofu was a nice addition, too. I had been somewhat concerned that it wasn’t going to be soft enough for me to eat without chewing, but it really was a perfect food for me, given all of my dietary restrictions. In a sheer display of lack of willpower, after finishing the ramen, I cut up the remainder of the block of tofu and slurped it up with a little bit of teriyaki sauce.

I then embarked on my second shopping trip, the destination of which was Trader Joe’s.  There, I acquired some hummus and whole wheat tortillas, which became the basis for my second dinner. To make my second dinner, I started out by just cutting and tearing a tortilla into small pieces and then mixing those pieces with some hummus. Some of the pieces of tortilla were large enough to make it feel a little bit weird as it went down, and I realized as I finished that I could have used my blender to break up the tortilla. Of course, I couldn’t wait for tomorrow to try this, so I took out another tortilla, tore it into large pieces, and then shredded these pieces with the blender. After removing the shredded tortilla from the blender, I mixed it into several tablespoons of hummus. The second tortilla went down much more easily. In all, I probably used about half a pound of hummus tonight, so I’ll probably end up making my own hummus some time soon in order to keep the cost and the number of trips to Trader Joe’s under control.

My dessert today was the same as the last two nights: brownies and Purely Decadent soy ice cream. I actually finished the brownies today. A few people did take one at the office on Wednesday, so I didn’t eat the whole recipe myself, but I’m sure that I came pretty close.

I very much enjoyed my two dinners tonight. While they admittedly weren’t exactly what I would be eating if not for my accident, they compared favorably to the smoothie and soup diet that kept me going for three weeks. I’ll probably get tired of this diet soon enough, but for now, I like it.

More eating wirelessly

30 Apr

I had a nice breakfast of oatmeal today. It was probably the closest thing to a normal meal I’ve had in a while. I did cook it for a little bit longer than the package directions so that I’d be more comfortable swallowing it without chewing.

As I slurped my oatmeal and tried to plan my next meals, I realized that my refrigerator and cabinets are badly prepared for this diet. I bought several bags of pasta last weekend in anticipation of my upgrade to wireless, but with my no-chew diet, those will have to be blended. This is not to say that it can’t be done, but it will take some time. Somehow, I also allowed myself to run out of soy yogurts, even though I usually keep those on hand  regardless of my diet. My supply of Vega, which I had not intended to continue using after the wires came out, is also very low.

For lunch, I packed a smoothie. Not having soy yogurt, I used soy protein powder, almond milk, peanut butter, and frozen berries. It was a very chalky, which I attributed to the soy protein powder, although I don’t recall the powder doing that to the smoothies I made before my supply of Vega arrived. I also planned on using a serving of Vega upon my arrival in the office. With the smoothie and the Vega and a few leftover brownies from yesterday, I made it through the long teaching day. I was certainly hungry when I got home just before 7:30, but not unbearably so.

For dinner, I had a can of refried beans. Yes, I had the whole can, and I ate it directly from the can with nothing to accompany it. It took almost 40 minutes to eat the can of beans because I can still only open my mouth wide enough to take very small spoonfuls. Occasionally, upon sucking on a spoonful of beans, I’d feel a little bit of pain in my left jaw. I washed the beans down with another smoothie, this one containing almond milk, frozen blueberries and mango, and peanut butter. With my dinner, I also started taking the calcium supplement I bought before the surgery. I didn’t take it while I was wired because I figured I was getting enough calcium between the Vega and the enriched milks. Now that I’ll probably be taking less of the Vega, and I can swallow tablets, I decided I might as well take the calcium supplement.

For dessert, I had some more brownies leftover from yesterday and a whole lot of Purely Decadent. The brownies seem to be getting a bit harder, so I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to eat them. I really don’t have all that many left (perhaps a third of the recipe), but I don’t feel the slightest bit ashamed of my gluttony.

Whole grains, at last

28 Apr

It took me until my last seventeen hours wired, but I finally got some grains into my diet. I poured some pasta sauce into my blender and then added a bit of whole wheat pasta. I don’t remember the exact amounts, but I think that it probably about a cup of cooked pasta (rigatoni) and perhaps a little bit less sauce by volume. I turned on the blender for several minutes before adding a little bit of water to thin it out. I tested to see that it would pass through a straw and into my mouth before adding a little bit of nutritional yeast and blending for a few more seconds.

The taste isn’t great. The tomato flavor is very much stronger than I would like because it’s more sauce than I’d usually use for this amount of pasta, but I’m glad to have solved the problem of how to imbibe some whole grains, even if the practical significance is minimal at this point.

It seemed like a good idea at the time

27 Apr

Lately, I’ve been having trouble catching buses that will get me to campus in time for my 8:10AM class. The general pattern is that I spend too much time blending things for breakfast or to take to the office with me, causing me to miss the last buses that come through the hills (lines 65 and 67) that will get me in on time. These buses only run every half hour, so if I catch them, they’ll get me there with at least 10 minutes to spare. As I said, though, I’ve been tending to miss these buses lately. The result is that I have to walk down the hills to other buses that run more frequently but require more walking on both ends.

Today, it occurred to me that I could save a bit of time by packing my breakfast smoothie in a container, catching the earlier bus, and then drinking my breakfast when I got to the office. In practice, it didn’t work out so well. I ended up missing the hill buses anyway, and when I got to the stop at the bottom of the hills, I saw a bus pulling away. I ended up getting to class six minutes late and hungry.

I still think the problem is more with the execution than the idea itself, but I’ll only have one more opportunity to get it right, assuming I don’t need to blend everything after Wednesday (and I don’t have an early class on Tuesdays). Even Wednesday, I’m hoping I won’t have to pack a full day’s worth of liquid food, since I’m getting the wires off in the middle of the day.

Three week update

27 Apr

Sunday was three weeks after the update, so I might as well post an update on things.

  • I’m no longer wearing any bandages on  anything. This is good because I was almost running out of bandages. The abrasions on my hands and elbows are all but healed, with only small scabs left behind.
  • I still haven’t been successful in shaving my face completely, but I haven’t put much effort into that.
  • The pressure in my left ear has faded considerably over the last few days, which I suppose means that the swelling around the site of the fracture has subsided.
  • I bought a hand blender on Saturday, thinking it would be useful when I was having trouble getting all the lumps out of something with my full blender, but I haven’t found anything to use it on yet. At this point, it was something I could have done without, but I had become somewhat frustrated with having to put things back in the blender to get the last few lumps out.
  • I still haven’t even started looking for shoes to replace the ones that were splattered with blood in the accident and were  falling apart even before that. This is one thing that veganism makes difficult. If I recall correctly, I found my last pair on a site that seems to no longer have its vegan shoe section.
  • I keep forgetting to mention that I was somewhat succesful in pureeing a veggie burger last weekend. It was a Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods California Burger, which I had previously noticed would fall apart if microwaved. Usually, of course, I don’t want my burgers to fall apart, but for pureeing this seemed ideal, so I microwaved a burger before throwing it in the blender with some water. It didn’t blend perfectly, and there were plenty of chunks caught in my wires when I finished, but most of it found its way into my stomach. I probably won’t try that again, but I wouldn’t consider it a failure.
  • I continued my streak of masochism by attending two more Earth Week events with vegan food on Thursday. I also had to turn down food samples at the city Earth Day celebration on Saturday. My jaw will be ready for Earth Day next year, though!

Cooking

25 Apr

Today, I cooked for the first time since the accident. I made Tamarind Lentils from Veganomicon. Of course, I have to throw them in the blender and water them down before I could consume them, but it was nice to have a home-cooked meal, and nice to be able to take control of the sodium level in my food. I think I made enough so that I’ll have some leftovers to eat when I’m actually able to eat again.

Challenge update

25 Apr

Yesterday I stepped on a scale at Bed Bath & Beyond. I weighed 156 pounds. This weight includes my sandals and a few things in my pockets. In any case, this reading doesn’t suggest that I’ve lost any weight yet, so I’m on track to succeed in my challenge. I’m not going to hang a “Mission Accomplished” banner just yet, but it’s a good start.

In a possibly related development, the 28 ounce jar of peanut butter that I opened on Monday is now empty.

The quest for whole grains

24 Apr

In the nearly three weeks since my injury, the one thing that I’ve been completely unsuccessful at getting into my diet has been whole grains. The day after my surgery, I had my failed attempt at oatmeal. A little less than a week later, I dropped some fine cracker crumbs into soup, only to have them expand after absorbing moisture. For dinner today, I made an attempt at something that I really thought would work, but I was disappointed.

I made some whole wheat couscous and added a few spoonfuls to some vegetable broth, hoping to just drink it like a soup. The couscous seemed to get through the straw without any trouble, but most of it didn’t get past my teeth. I made a brief attempt at trying to blend the stuff before giving up and pouring it down the drain. I still have quite a bit of couscous left, but it’ll have to wait in the refrigerator  until I can open my mouth again.

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