Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Veg is the New Black


So I have something in common with the dear leader of the People's Democratic Republic of North Korea apparently. Hopefully the similarities end there (although I am very particular about how I like plates stacked in the sink – and don't get me started about the proper use of ciabatta bread; other than that, I'm not too dictatorial. )

Despite claims that it is the disease of royalty, gout is nothing more than a genetically inherited renal deficiency the effects the kidney's ability to process purines. Gout presents itself as arthritis because uric acid expelled back into the blood stream by the kidneys forms crystals in the extremities due to capillary action.

My grandfather had gout, and he certainly was no king. My mom tells me how he had to prop his foot up on a stool as my father gave his valedictorian speech upon graduating high school.

I never met him, he had a fatal stroke in his 50s, but I am told by many that knew him how much I remind them of my grandfather. I guess I have more in common with my grandfather than a deep, dimply smile, quick wit and easy charm.

Gout.

If you look at a list of my favorite food items (mushrooms, oysters, organs, fatty foods, asparagus, red meat and worst of all beer) they are all gout triggers.

That's pretty much all I ate when I was in New York City a couple weeks ago, and my feet are still sore.

I ran into my old friend D, a Reiki therapist, who has since sworn off drink, smoke, coffee and meat. Normally I find vegans and Veganism annoying, but D refuses to be "in your face" about her dietary choices. Her eating habits are full of charming rituals, like silently praying for the ginger that gave it's life to infuse her ginger ale. I found it endearing, but I also began to think about vegetarian diets and how adopting one might help me with my aches and pains.

There are lots of reasons to eat vegetarian: a diet higher in vegetable cellulose and other vegetable fibers provides better bulk material for your digestive track; vegetable fiber will make you feel less fatigued than eating a diet heavy on fat and starch (your typical meat and potatoes dinner); manufacturing meat protein en masse takes a heavy toll on the environment in the form on deforestation and fossil fuel use; and finally the vast majority of food animals are raised under cruel and unsafe conditions.

So I told D that I would be "mostly vegetarian" from now until the end of the year (ovo-lacto-). Mostly.

I mean, come on, Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up and I already have my ham on order from Drewes Brothers Meats.

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Eggs Poached in Broccoli Purée with Pasta:

Purée:
  • 4 cups of chopped, steamed broccoli.
  • 1 clove of garlic.
  • 2 cups of water, salted (about a tablespoon).
  • Cilantro, basil and thyme, chopped, to taste.
Bring to a boil and cook until broccoli is tender but still bright green, about 7-10 minutes.

Blend in a blender with with a stick blender to desired thickness.

This can be frozen and re-used, served as soup or used in sauces, as we will below.

Poached eggs and pasta in broccoli purée:
  • 1 cup of broccoli purée.
  • 1 cup of water.
  • 1/2 cup of dry pasta like farfalle or orcchietta.
  • 1 teaspoon of butter.
  • 2 large eggs.
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
  • Fresh cracked peppercorns.
In a hot saucier toast the dry pasta in butter until lightly browned. Add purée and water and bring to the boil, covered.

Cook for 7-8 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and crack eggs into the mixture. Replace cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve in a bowl, garnished with olive oil and pepper.

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Now I'm not going to slim down to skinny boy levels like Johnny Depp or Christian Bale (and if I ever do, y'all need to tell me to see a doctor), but I have a vested interest in being healthier – I owe it to the memory of my grandfather to outlive him; I owe it to my many "adopted" nieces and nephews.

Still, I'll always be thick, and I know that's what several ladies I know are into: all about that bass.