A few days ago, a fellow teacher asked if she could talk to me for a minute. I got nervous for a second, since she sounded serious and I hoped I didn’t do anything wrong! I said of course, and then she proceeded to sit down next to me and ask me all about the best way to go about transitioning to a vegan diet.
I was sort of taken aback because I don’t consider myself an expert in veganism by any means. First of all, I am not even vegan. Second, I never talk about food or my blog at work– in fact no one knows about it there, so I wasn’t quite sure why she was coming to me for advice.
As I started to talk to her, I quickly realized there was a lot of information I could share with her. When she asked me about nutritional yeast, aka “nooch,” and how the heck to use it, I told her all about the cheezy sauces she could make, and directed her to Emily’s delicious broccoli and “cheeze” soup recipe.
When she told me she bought seemingly vegan rice milk that ended up having dairy in it, I told her all about the magical melting properties of Daiya. I told her how raw nuts could work as the basis of many tasty things, from cashew creams to nut pates to homemade larabars, and even wrote down for her the name of Gena’s blog. I told her about Kristin Carr’s book, since my friend is a cancer survivor, and I even informed her how she could test the waters with tofu by buying it pre-marinated and baked, due to the fact she told me she was scared of the “white blob.”
We had a really great discussion, and I truly feel like I was a helpful resource to her on her journey to veganism. All of my knowledge, acquired through years of interest in healthy living, and a few years now of heavy blog reading, finally was put to good use. I realized the degree I truly have a passion for the subject of vegetarian/vegan living, though I am not a committed vegan. When I asked her how she knew I may have some knowledge on this topic, she noted that my lunches, consumed in the teacher’s lounge, always looked vibrant, fresh, tasty, and vegetarian or vegan. In other words, just the food I eat was enough for someone to be interested in learning about how I eat, which truly made me proud for the food choices I do make. It is so easy for me to over-analyze my own diet, and say it is not healthful/colorful/veggie-licious/nutritious enough, but now that I have the ability to see my school lunches through someone else’s eyes, I realize I do pretty darn well in eating healthy, balanced, interesting, and delicious packed lunches at work, and honestly, I am quite proud of my efforts! Not only that, but I am so happy that my interest in vegetarian and vegan foods is a hobby that can help others wishing to adopt a lifestyle without meat!
It’s only appropriate then, that I highlight my lunch from yesterday, right? Well, it wasn’t vegan, but it was definitely full of taste and nutrition! I layered some olive hummus from Whole Foods, cucumber slices, baby tomatoes, (unpictured) baby greens, (unpictured) sprouts, and goat cheese on top of two mini whole wheat pitas, which I then squished together to form one hefty sandwich. The reason the greens and sprouts didn’t make it to the pic is I knew once they were piled on, the greens would keep falling off unless I immediately placed the other pita on top, which is not good for open-faced picture-taking!
I paired this with some mango slices and called it a meal!
Do others ever ask you for health/nutrition/fitness advice based on what they perceive your lifestyle to be?