Low-humidity water

Look! Vegans have processed food too! (Photo: Shala Howell)

Look! Vegans have processed food too! (Photo: Shala Howell)

One of the benefits of packing up your family and moving 2000 miles away from everyone your daughter has ever known is that in this highly disruptive moment you can totally rethink your kitchen and your family’s habits around food.

In Norwood, we had a well-established treat cabinet where we stashed candy, cookies, and all those other shelf-stable sometimes foods. I did not move this cabinet to Chicago.

I have no place to keep treats anymore, and consequently, nothing to remind me to stock back up on cookies every week or The Six-Year-Old to have a treat everyday on coming home from school. It’s been lovely.

The other change we’ve made since moving to Chicago is adopting Mark Bittman’s Vegan Before Six lifestyle (for the parents at least). I am highly unlikely to ever become a vegan 24/7 for a number of reasons–the main one being my mom’s pepper steak–but I can wrap my head around being a vegan at breakfast, lunch, and snack.

Sometimes, though, I just want a turkey sandwich. What’s a girl to do? The other day, while wandering through America’s Most European Supermarket™, I came across LightLife’s line of Smart Deli faux sandwich meat products.

Mark Bittman puts processed vegan foods like these on his DO NOT EAT list. And I’m sure that he has good reasons for putting them there. But he’s a professional chef, and he’s not here to whip me up a succulent alternative to my turkey sandwich.

So, since his VB6 plan gives my husband the flexibility to continue putting milk in his coffee every morning, I figured I could have a slice or two of processed vital wheat gluten in my sandwich every once in a while.

Which is how I found myself this week, sitting around the kitchen table with Daddyo, with my first faux turkey sandwich on my plate.

Mommyo, chewing: “Wow. Vegan turkey is kind of good.”

Daddyo, dubiously: “Doesn’t seem like it should be.”

Mommyo, informatively: “They make vegan bologna too.”

Daddyo: “That’s like making low humidity water.”

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About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book, Did Dinosaurs Have Belly Buttons?, is currently planned for release in 2018. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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4 Responses to Low-humidity water

  1. Tamara says:

    Even before Mark’s book, my friend Kassi (after watching Forks Over Knives) decided that if being a vegan was so good for health (of us and of the planet) then being a 66% vegan was a good start. To that end, 2 out of 3 meals a day were to be vegan. I followed her lead and mostly do the same. I have decided that for me, eggs and greek yogurt (plain) do not count, though, so I am vegan plus eggs (real, free range ones from our neighbors) plus greek yogurt for at least 2/3 a day–often for all three.
    I wish you good luck in this, and in all your new Chicago adventures…
    Tamara

    Like

    • Shala Howell says:

      That’s very similar to my approach. I don’t worry too much if my meal ends up actually being vegetarian not vegan because I used honey to make it, for example. I tend to not like yogurt, so no hardship giving it up. I do miss eggs and cheese, somewhat passionately, so I’ll often cook myself some eggs or include cheese in my dinner. The rest of the dairy cabinet though, I can pretty much do without.

      One of the surprising things about doing this vegan thing is that I’ve realized that I’m actually lactose intolerant. I’d been ignoring all the signs of it for years thinking that was just how my body was. Turns out, not really. Yay!

      Like

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