Welcome to Day One of VeganMoFo 2016 at Ovenbird. This is my first year as a participant, and I am delighted to have a new impetus for blogging about vegan eats. What started two years ago as a companion blog to the more literarily-inclined Thoughts Like Birds is back after a long dormancy, and with less lofty aspirations. Ovenbird was originally intended to be a blog about eating and reading. Truly, these days I’m doing well to feed myself, let alone read something and then write about it.
While reading and writing have (once again) taken a backseat to gainful employment and child rearing, a new passion/release has entered my life: running. I started last March with the Couch to 5K app and have continued to work on building my base, entering several 5K races this fall. I’m not fast, but I’m determined. I’m also 50 years old, so I don’t expect to ever be at the front of the pack. I do plan to keep running, though, as long as my body will abide, inspired by vegan runner Ellen Jaffe Jones, who took up running in her fifties and who, at age 65, has placed in her age group in more than 100 5Ks.
While I’m a relative newbie at running, I have been vegan for 25 years–half my life. Let me assure you that, as a vegan, I have never known privation. Vegan options–including comfort foods and sweet treats–have always been pretty easy to come by, and a quarter of a century on, I’m floored by the ingenuity and creativity of my fellow vegans. I need never go without a cupcake or ice cream (non-dairy, of course) or pizza or reasonable facsimile of mac ‘n’ cheese, but actually, I could stand to go without those and many other vegan delectables for a very long time. I’m generally in good health, but a bit on the, shall we say, zaftig side. And I’m pretty sure I could run a bit faster if I lost some weight.
So VeganMoFo 2016 marks a return to blogging and a simpler way of eating for me, with more whole foods and less sugar, white flour, and oil. I should note that I don’t have it all figured out, and at present I’m not particularly organized about meal planning, which means some of my meals this month will probably look like this:
It’s all good. Really. I’m vegan for the animals, and not contributing to animal suffering will always be my prime motivation. But I also know I feel better when I’m preparing my own food, eating more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, with minimal added oils.
So let’s start with breakfast. I’m a toast and jam girl at heart (with the occasional toasted everything bagel, topped with Kite Hill or Follow Your Heart, or good ol’ Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese). But I find it’s just as quick and easy to microwave a bowl of rolled oats with some frozen berries and peaches–I think the addition of frozen fruit keeps the oatmeal from bubbling over in the micro–topped with a handful of walnuts, pecans, or sliced almonds and a smidge of brown sugar (just as I probably will never go completely oil-free, I don’t expect I’ll ever give up sugar completely). Obviously you don’t need me to tell you how to make oatmeal (there are numerous variations, from slow-cooked to no-cooked), but maybe if, like me, you’re struggling with feeding yourself first thing in the morning, I can nudge you just a bit in the direction of making yourself a nice hot breakfast. Your mother will thank me for it.