Tag Archives: Veganism

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.

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Mandible liberation

29 Apr

I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited to go to a dentist as I was today. As I walked there, I started to feel nervous, though.  What if I were to open my mouth for the first time in three weeks and hear my jaw break again? I tried my best to forget about this thought.

When I got to the oral surgeon’s office, the receptionist recognized me and was ready with a waiver for me to sign for the procedure. I signed the waiver, which warned me about a number of things, many of which should have been irrelevant to this procedure (i.e. dry socket). A woman whom I hadn’t seen in the office before took me back to a room with a dentist’s chair and asked if I had any questions. I asked what my diet should be like with the wire off, and she said I should stick to soft foods, which didn’t surprise me. She had me sit down in the chair and asked if I wanted nitrous oxide. I asked if I needed it, and she said the surgeon would need to numb me for the procedure.

Just then, the surgeon walked in through the door, and said, “No, I don’t. She’s lying.” He explained to her that he was only taking off the wires fastening my jaw shut, and not the “arch bars”, which I gathered were the braces on my upper and lower jaws. He assured me that the procedure would be painless, and he wouldn’t even have to touch my gums. He went on to add, “You know what is going to hurt? When you try to open your mouth.” He explained that this was because I hadn’t used the muscles in my jaws for three weeks, and he compared it to the pain of getting up off the couch after sitting there without moving for three weeks. I didn’t tell him this, but I felt that the analogy was a failure because I had never sat on the couch for that long. He did, at least, tell me that it would get better relatively quickly, and I wouldn’t need to do any jaw exercises.

In any case, he looked into my mouth, and told me he was impressed  by how clean it was. “Hygiene is important,” he said, “It plays a big role in how you feel about yourself.” My self esteem has never been tied to my oral hygiene, but perhaps that’s because I don’t have a degree in dentistry. He then cut off the wires, and told me, “You’re a free man.” I started to get up out of the chair, but then he said, “You can open your mouth,” and I realized what he had meant. So I opened my mouth nice and wide, and somehow it didn’t hurt. Then I opened it a little bit wider and it hurt quite a bit, so I closed it again. I opened my mouth again, this time stopping before I felt any pain, and then slowly closed my mouth again. On the left side, my teeth felt soft against each other, but I hoped that this was just because I was unaccustomed to my top and bottom teeth moving relative to each other.

The oral surgeon explained that my bones will be considered to have healed in three weeks, and for the intervening time, I’ll have rubber bands in my mouth. As for eating, I’m not allowed to chew; the rule is that if I can slurp it, I can eat it. He warned me against Wonderbread (in which I have no interest, even not knowing whether it’s vegan) with peanut butter and jelly because that requires chewing. He listed a number of foods I can eat, including refried beans and rice, pasta, and mashed potatoes. I’m skeptical of his claim that pasta and rice can be eaten without chewing (unless blended), but I should be able to find enough to eat without his suggestions. After three weeks, I’ll be able eat some foods that require chewing, but apples will still be too hard. I’m also free to have my dentist repair my chipped teeth now.

The oral surgeon had his assistant give me toothpaste and a children’s toothbrush and instructed me to brush my teeth and my tongue while he went and did something else. The toothpaste, of course, was the non-vegan Crest, but I used it because I didn’t have my own toothpaste with me. I brushed the outsides of my teeth as I have been doing for the last few weeks, but when it came time to brush my tongue and the insides and tops of my teeth, I realized that I wasn’t able to open my mouth enough for the toothbrush (even being a children’s size) to fit through. I ended up having to settle for cleaning those parts of my mouth by rinsing. I might be a free man, but only in the sense that somebody who gets out of prison and put on house arrest is free. I’m more free than in the immediate past, but I’ve had better.

After I had cleaned my mouth, the surgeon showed me how to hook rubber bands onto the braces, which he explained were to make sure my teeth are “in the right ZIP code.” I can take the rubber bands out, but only when eating or brushing my teeth.

He told me I should come back to check in with him in two weeks. He isn’t planning on doing anything except taking a look at my mouth then, but he said that he’d have to wire it shut again if my teeth were in the wrong place. I was relieved to hear that he’s only had to do that once, but it didn’t occur to me at the time to ask how many patients he’s treated with this kind of injury.

After a quick stop at the front desk to schedule my appointment, I was on my way back to my office.

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!

Level five vegan

22 Apr

I now have five different kinds of dairy-free milk in my refrigerator: soy, rice, almond, hazelnut, and oat. I’ve used soy and rice for a long time, and have tried almond a few times, but hazelnut and oat are new to me. I actually don’t think I’ll buy either again because they’re more expensive and don’t seem any better. Almond milk has really grown on me over the last few days.

Incidentally, I refer to these milks as “dairy-free” rather than the more common “non-dairy” because the latter term has been corrupted by the milk lobby. Unfortunately, “dairy-free” isn’t perfect either, but it hasn’t been explicitly corrupted.

I’m not sure why I do these things to myself

22 Apr

I went to a panel discussion earlier on food sustainability as part of Earth Week. Of course, food is the last things somebody who can’t eat for another eight days needs to hear about. Actually, the discussion itself wasn’t too bad in that respect because much of the discussion focused on some of the less appetizing aspects of food, but it didn’t help that they served vegan food there. I’m fairly used to going to events with (non-vegan) food and not eating, so going to an event with vegan food when I couldn’t eat was perhaps a little bit masochistic.

A food I don’t crave

14 Apr

This morning, my brother took me to Whole Foods so I could get a few more soups and soy yogurts before he flew home. In the checkout line, I noticed that the woman behind us was buying a “Bacon Bar.” This, apparently, was a milk chocolate bar with bacon in it. Even before I went vegan, I don’t think I would have understood such a food product.

Vega

11 Apr

On Wednesday, a few hours after my surgery, my concerned mother talked with my landlady over the phone about my medical situation. My landlady is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and she had agreed to serve as an emergency contact for my mother. After the phone conversation ended, my mother reported to me that she had talked my landlady out of buying cans of Ensure for me. Ensure is a dairy product, so I was grateful for this. This morning, though, thinking about the story reminded me that I had seen a vegan meal replacement at Whole Foods once. After a few Google searches, I determined that the product I was thinking of was Vega.

I could see on the website that the  nutrient content of Vega was very impressive. It also happens to be free of all major allergens, including soy. Since I want to have some sources of protein other than soy, this made it particularly worth trying. I purchased a few snack-size packets at Whole Foods today, and  I tasted two of the flavors. The taste certainly wasn’t anything special, but it didn’t taste bad, so I’ve decided to order a larger supply. At first, I hesitated because of the price (retail is about $5 per serving), but I decided that for something that replaces a whole meal, it really isn’t too bad, particularly given the circumstances. The best price I could find was at Food Fight Grocery, a vegan grocery store in Portland. I’ll order two large containers (which results in a substantially cheaper price per serving), and keep one in my office and one at home.

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