The Peanut Butter Revelation
It's probably fair to say that, in general, I'm pretty aware of what's in my food. I know ingredients, nutrition qualities, vitamin sources, and fat contents of most of my favorite foods without looking at the labels. So how did I not know that peanut butter is actually vegan? Maybe it's because I crave milk when I eat it (which was never all that often anyway), but I always assumed it had some kind of dairy. In any case, since this journey is about way more than just the rules of strict veganism, I decided to look a little deeper into peanut butter, because I realised that was something I've never done.
I knew peanut butter had some good and some bad, so I learned about palm oil, which is an ingredient in most peanut butters, like my favorite, creamy Jif. Turns out, that's the "bad," it's much higher in saturated fat than other oils, but it's also what keeps this yummy treat from separating. General advice from what I've read says to pick up a "natural" branded PB, although you still have to read the label, because you want a peanut butter that lists its ingredients literally as only peanuts and salt. I picked one up at the store and, yeah, it tastes a little different. But on a cracker it still tastes awesome, and this stuff looks much better to cook with.
I like this method of rebuilding what I eat from the ground up. I know how my food was affecting my body long before I started this project, I was just ignoring what I knew. Taking a step back, reading books and health blogs, and analyzing every decision I make is really eye-opening.
Phase I of adding beans to my diet went over well! My vegan chili was really good; the girlfriend even got seconds! I won't lie, I so badly wanted to drown it in cheese, but I resisted and the result was, I think, probably the healthiest chili one could ask for. I won't share the recipe I used, because I think it was way out of whack on some of the ingredient amounts (1 tsp of chili powder for 4 cups of beans? Yeah, I used five times that much just to get it to "mild"), but maybe when I make it again, I'll keep track of what I did, and make my own recipe.
Having leftovers for lunch the next day was fantasic as well, because lunch is the one thing I don't have figured out at all yet. Lunch had always been a sandwich--turkey, American cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato--something I really don't think I'd ever get sick of. But I'm not crazy about the wraps I bought to replace my bread, and I'm not crazy about having only veggies in it. So lunch has been a lot of salads, and I get hungry pretty quickly after. Still working on that part.
Anyway, here's a picture of the chili! [The bits of lime were suggested by the recipe, the tomato was my idea.]