Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vegan Junk Food vs. Vegan Fast Food

"What's the difference?" you ask. Well, from my point of view, vegan junk food is food which I do not know to violate vegan principles, but which likely may. Vegan fast food, for me, is simply vegan food that is easily and quickly thrown together in less time than it takes to go through the drive-through.

Here are examples of each:

This delectible pizza was ordered at Campania, a new, Neopolitan-style restaurant in Alpharetta. This establishment boasts an authentic ceramic pizza oven all the way from Italy, "Double Zero flour", a warm, dark wood interior, and a lovely wine list, all in the incongruent location of a strip mall. "Coins and Firearms" is right upstairs and "Auto Zone" is next door. Seriously, though, the restaurant is worth a visit. The food is phenomenal and different from your average pizza joint.

This fabulous pizza, to me, is vegan junk food. The rare and coveted "Double Zero flour" is still white flour, which I try to avoid, and I have no idea what else the recipe for the dough contains. For my health, I cannot eat dairy in its basic form, but my system has not been bothered overtly by dairy that may exist in baked goods. Still, I usually try to avoid it. So the crust, as gourmet as it is here, is junk to this vegan. All the rest is fabulous, while lacking in basic grains and greens.  This lovely establishment has a very small menu with specific pizza creations. Each item on the menu is so special that I got a little nervous asking for this pizza without the meat and cheese. I could see a thought fleet across the mind of the server for a split second, but then he thought better of following through by speaking it, which I really appreciated. In the past, elsewhere, I have actually had servers try to talk me into eating meat and/or cheese, as surprising as that may be. Once, I have even had a pizza I ordered without cheese brought out with parmesan cheese all over it. When I pointed this out to the server, the response was, "No, that's not cheese, that's parmesan," (!) I had to come off my high horse a bit to gently, patiently, explain that parmesan is, indeed, cheese. Everyone else was finished by the time I received my pie.

I chose to eat this divine vegan junk food because my family and I went out to dinner together and we all wanted to try Campania, of the famous zillion degree oven (roughly) that bakes each pizza, one at a time, in 90 seconds flat! I'm glad I did -- it was delicious! I left the crust ends untouched though.

Vegan fast food is much more common for me, and it normally begins with leftovers. After my yoga class today, I was so zen that I wanted the feeling to linger, so grains and greens it was! I dipped into my already-prepared amaranth and onions from a couple of nights ago, and warmed it with baby kale leaves on top, then drizzled an artisanal olive oil on top and sprinkled it with Gomashio (sesame seeds ground together with sea salt). It took me three minutes to assemble and warm my delicious lunch. That's fast food to me. Sadly, there is no photographic evidence of my fast food lunch since I gobbled it all up without thinking.

To compensate for the missing photo of my vegan fast food, here's a bonus shot:

I harvested these Chinese longbeans in my pajamas this morning before waking Wynne. Forgive the cell-phone graininess. I get a batch-o-beans like this every couple of days or so now. They really grow quickly. These legumes could feed a village. I've pulled out my barren tomato plants already, but left the wire cages for the bean plants to enjoy.  They are entertaining to grow -- always very busy -- so it would be fun to grow these with young children. I don't really get tired of these beans. I have made them into soups and stir fries, I've grilled them in a pan with other veggies and fresh herbs, I've sauteed them with ginger and seaweed and pickled them with ume plum vinegar. It's a great crop.

Each vegan comes to the lifestyle from a different perspective. Some of us were primarily motivated by health concerns, some by compassion for our fellow earthlings, and some by a combination of both. Whatever the case, the lifestyle must be doable. To this end, I choose flexibility occasionally, in the form of a cheeseless pizza. Wholesome, whole food, fast or not, will always be my first choice since the most important thing for good health is to directly tend it most of the time. So for this girl, "vegan fast food" trumps "vegan junk food" but I'm still gonna have that pizza from time to time!

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