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Monday, November 15, 2010

Vegan Mofo Day 15: Quinoa Flatbread

I love complex recipes, but sometimes I'm not in the mood to put any more effort into a meal than absolutely necessary. Bitt posted a link to a recipe for gluten free quinoa bread, which you can view here. I decided to give it a shot and was pleasantly surprised. Sometimes quinoa is overpowering in baked goods, but this really worked for me. It is simple and pairs well with a wide array of foods. Today I had some with some sauerkraut and garlic sauce topped with spinach. The day before I had some with spaghetti squash topped with vegan Alfredo sauce.

On bleach free baking paper, fresh out of the oven
Now, you know I can't just take a recipe as is, so I substituted psyllium with ground chia seed (about 2 Tbs). I've added thin sliced onion, garlic powder, and a little cumin seed to the batter before flattening it on baking paper over a cookie sheet. I kept the cook temperature of 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Quinoa flat-bread with onion and cumin seed

I've heard Quinoa flour is much too expensive, but I have an easy penny saving tip for you. I went to Target and bought an $8 coffee grinder, and I use the coffee grinder to grind my millet, quinoa, and amaranth into flour. I don't use a lot of quinoa flour, but what I do use I buy from the bulk section at a greatly reduced price that the flour you find in the baking section. That $8 coffee grinder has paid for itself many times over.

Quinoa is a fantastic super food with all of the amino acids we need. I'm trying to work a little more into my diet.

Why I Started a Vegan Diet

I mentioned that sometimes I am not in the mood to make complex meals. This happens to everyone for a variety of reasons. Mine happens to be a chronic illness. I struggle with systemic lupus, and some days are a little more difficult than others. I am really blessed with a mild case, and I work very hard to maintain an extremely healthy diet and keep up with whatever exercise I can manage. Most days I feel really normal and take on a little too much. Today I felt like I was drunk all day - it was hard to piece together coherent thoughts, much less verbalize them. My husband has to drive me home on days like that. I'm afraid I'll start playing bumper cars.

When I got my very first lupus flare, it was a very frightening experience. I did as much reading as I could online. Some of it was helpful, some of it frightening, but most of it was a mystery. Doctors didn't really know caused it and had a lot of medications to "treat" the symptoms. I decided that I didn't want to settle for a life of steroids, so I went on a mission to improve my diet and lifestyle. People gave suggestions on what I should try, and I admit I probably tried more than I should have.

My diet was the first thing to change. I discovered my childhood allergies had come back and were manifesting in new ways. I eliminated dairy, eggs, potatoes, soy, corn, gluten, apples, cranberries, blueberries, tomatoes, peppers, and many other foods. I started reading about the evils of BPAs, GMO foods, high fructose corn syrup, additives, and coloring. I realized that what I was using in my house to clean or on my own skin was just as important as what I was eating, and got rid of anything with parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, or fragrances. It all helped, but it really wasn't enough.

In my reading, it became apparent that a diet void of animal proteins would be a more suitable fit for me, but I thought that would be impossible. I'm highly allergic to soy and believed that vegans absolutely needed soy with every meal. I also was allergic to eggs and milk, so I couldn't ease my way into it. One day, I received a package from my sister in law. It was a book by Ani Phyo. At first I was going to shove it aside, but something made me look closer. As I went through the book there wasn't a single recipe with gluten. Very few even had soy! I started reading more on raw veganism and two days later I switched cold turkey. The detox wasn't fun, but after the first few weeks I had more energy than I'd had in years. It was AWESOME.

Why I Started a Vegan Lifestyle

I tell some people I adopted a vegan diet for health reasons and they get ticked. They feel I'm not in it for the right reasons. I ask those people to reconsider being critical and angry. Realize that someone has opened a door into an area they may not have otherwise explored. Next time someone says they were vegan because of X, try to encourage that person standing in front of you. The longer I was eating vegan, the more I was reading, listening and talking vegan. While I was researching what was wrong with the food I was eating, I was horrified.

Because I didn't start out an ethical vegan, I admit I wasn't living up to the label. I was pretty clueless and I fell of the bandwagon a few times. I let doctors talk me out of it, and there were times when I was horribly ill and willing to try anything to feel better. I'm still very new to this lifestyle, but I love it. I like that I don't have to worry how the clothing I'm buying started out. I like that my food takes up a tiny fraction of the resources compared to factory farmed. I love that I'm starting to really put a lot of effort into buying local and reducing my carbon footprint. It all started because I felt like crap, but now I have a little more to be happy about in this world.

I know it's weird, but being ill increased my appreciation for the resources we are all given. I still don't like labels, but it feels really good to be making some very positive changes.


  1. Love reading your thoughts on this. You have an interesting and unique story. I think people probably might get mad because they see a lot of vegans for health reasons go back to eating meat. Or wear fur coats but eat vegan. But it's nice to know a vegan diet makes people feel good, it's another reason to get people to eat less meat and/dairy if not fully commit.

    Glad you liked the flatbread. We tried it with chia too when we were out of psyllium husk but Chris says it didn't work as well, it was stickier. I thought they both tasted good.

  2. I've been wanting a coffee grinder to grind spices.

    Thanks for posting your vegan story. I think it's really important for people to understand there are many paths we take to reach our goals, and we should be encouraging and accepting of everyone's needs. Scorn and irritation are not very useful forms of encouragement.

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