12 of My Childhood Favorites—Veganized

First, a primer on my past love-hate thing with food, and a bit of personal nostalgia and other rambling.

I was big into food as a kid, even before my dad owned a popular Italian restaurant just outside of Los Angeles in the 1960s. We always had lots of tasty foods in our life and even more so from the restaurant which we all spent a lot of time at, along with our friends. See the 🍝 items below for those favorites inspired by my dad’s restaurant fare. All their recipes were invented by him and his brother, and they certainly had a way with the food!

Here is the only mention of the restaurant I can find online; search David B.’s comment and his mention of “Reggio’s”: http://maps.latimes.com/neighborhoods/neighborhood/monterey-park/comments/. Note that our restaurant wasn’t actually in Monterey Park but was on the Montebello side of its border, and David B. says it’s a Chinese restaurant now but actually it’s a Chinese laundromat and boba/smoothie bar.

Here’s an old pic of the restaurant’s namesake, the region of half my roots, where my dad was born and lived for a short time before the family immigrated to the USA’s east coast:

Reggio Calabria, Italy, 4 years before my dad was born.

So, as a result of all that tasty food and more, I had a chronic weight problem starting mildly at about age six; obviously the love for good food didn’t quite jibe with my raging fat genes. Two aunts and both their parents on my dad’s side were very obese and had hearty appetites, and the aunts loved to cook and have family gatherings. Well, yours truly was often an eager guest at those family food fests, then it would carry over to my home life since I and my mom liked to cook and eat, and she had developed a weight problem too, after having children.

Food was a main expression of love and thus a comforting “drug” in our rather lost and dysfunctional family, a drug with quite the destructive aspects. Thus the love-hate. I had a serious struggle (mostly on the losing end) with being very fat for much of my life, as did my younger brother. The family’s judgement and condemnation were further destructive…but they later came to regret the way they’d been, and were forgiven, at least by me.

Veganism at last came to my rescue, as well as that of all those animals I’d have downed…

Since going all the way and ending the dairy/egg cheating, and being strictly vegan starting in 2009, I got down to merely “chubby”—about the middle category in following illustration as opposed to the far leftI’d like to be the one just to the right of middle. But for the first time ever, I’m pretty comfortable with my weight and it’s been stable for years, no longer fluctuates hugely due to going from bingeing to starvation diets.

I’m no longer a target for mean, nasty, rude PsOS out there like I once was either. “Hey fatty!” and “Jenny Craig!” and other such sweet things would occasionally be hollered at me from nasty faces in cars rolling past, and other such sickening incidents. I’ve seen this happen to other people and always have to wonder what sort of creeps find it necessary to embarrass people like that. I’d rather be 200+ lbs than be that sort of creep.

Too late for a tangent alert? Well, here’s more…

Anyhow, I only love veganized versions of old favorites, no more hate. I’ve pretty much learned how to avoid the temptation to overeat, mainly by not having the more decadent foods regularly on hand at home, instead concentrating on healthier, non-fattening stuff. On top of that, I simply don’t have the huge appetite I once had, probably because what I do eat is mostly nutritious and satisfying…all plant foods. Where before I would remain hungry and keep on eating rich treats, more and more and more until sickly full, badly bloated, sluggish, and guilty about gaining ever more weight.

There was no “shutoff” on the appetite except for no more room for any more food. It wasn’t pretty, a miserable cycle of self destruction. But good tasting. First-World problems, I know, but no less real.

Casein, the mild opiate and appetite stimulant—for infants.

I believe dairy foods’ casein is behind much of the obesity out there and is only one more reason to quit dairy products, aside from the horrible animal cruelty involved, which should be the primary motivator.

My eating and weight problems were partly hormonal, since after “the change of life” my food & weight problems lessened significantly, as opposed to most women (mostly non-vegans) who have the opposite going on. But I do believe a big part of my lifelong problem was the casein in dairy products and its appetite stimulating and slight opiate effects. Cheese, sweet yogurt, ice cream, etc., were always a big part of bingeing. (I say “bingeing,” but I’ve always been a slow eater, so my “binges” weren’t the fast & furious things most bingers are known for.)

On a side note, meats are said to be nutritionally dense and satisfying (by advertisers and the well-programmed public), but I always found meats to be a catalyst for gorging on decadent desserts and things afterwards, aside from lots of other refined carbs like white biscuits and such that accompanied meaty meals. All in all, a high-calorie, obesity causing nightmare, for those many of us with “bad” genes.

So there’s my thing with tasty food, I love the stuff. Who wouldn’t?

But these twelve, in random order, are extra special because they’re compassionate versions of nostalgic childhood treats. These are all homemade, mostly from scratch, so are for those of us with time and patience to make some complicated recipes. But these all seem guaranteed to be worth the fuss. Just click on the links for full recipes and if you make them, enjoy!

1) 🍝 http://www.pastabased.com/spaghetti-and-meatballs/

Vegan Spaghetti & Meatballs by Pasta Based

2) http://blacksgoingvegan.com/crispy-spicy-popeyes-chicken-style-vegan-fried-chicken/

Vegan Fried Chicken by Blacks Going Vegan

3) http://namelymarly.com/vegan-drumsticks/

Vegan Drumsticks by Namely Marly

4) 🍝 http://ahouseinthehills.com/2014/12/04/chickpea-minestrone/

Chickpea Minestrone Soup by A House in the Hills

5) http://namelymarly.com/vegan-big-mac/

Vegan Big Mac by Namely Marly

6) http://www.theflamingvegan.com/view-post/Easy-Vegan-Black-Bean-Tamales

Easy Black Bean Tamales by The Flaming Vegan

7) http://www.forkandbeans.com/2015/01/15/vegan-chickpea-omelet/

Vegan Chickpea Omelet by Fork and Beans

8) https://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/the-ultimate-vegan-chocolate-cake/

The Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Cake by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

9) 🍝 http://namelymarly.com/vegan-new-york-style-cheesecake/

Vegan New York Cheese Cake by Namely Marly

10) 🍝 https://www.exceedinglyvegan.com/vegan-recipes/mains/vegan-pizza-cashew-cheese

Pizza with Cashew Cheese by Exceedingly Vegan

11) http://namelymarly.com/vegan-lemon-meringue-pie/

Lemon Meringue Pie by Namely Marly

12) http://veganyumminess.com/creamy-vegan-mac-and-cheese/

Vegan Mac and Cheese by Vegan Yumminess

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You Know What? Veggie Burgers are AWESOME!

WARNING! The following images are graphic, not suitable for those who aggressively abhor “fake meat,” who turn their noses up at fantastic sandwiches simply because they contain no abused, slaughtered animal products. Those who call veggie burgers “processed” as if they cannot still be real, healthy food. Those who imply that they religiously shun actual processed, unhealthy foods (hah!). Well, those people will lack the maturity to handle the truth about good food.

So keep out, you! Do not scroll, just go away!

In case it’s not clear yet: That means you persnickety clowns who say “ew” to veggie burgers or to anything “soy,” but not to ground-up dead carcasses, blood, gristle, poop (yes there’s poop in virtually all ground meat: http://www.motherjones.com/food/2015/08/poop-ground-beef-superbugs-antibiotic-resistant/). Then there are the bone chips, cow hair, tumors, etc., all processed into a nice reddish slush. All that makes “real burger” lovers drool and their little faces light up, in obedience to all those creepy commercials.

Well, much to their horror, in came tasty, filling, compassionate burgers…

Most burgers are made delicious by the spices, condiments and veggie garnishes, so why not a patty made with beans, seeds, nuts, soy, grains, mushrooms and so on? With veggie burgers we have the added greatness of kindness, as well as their being delicious and healthy (more so than blood burgers anyways).

I enjoy the occasional fantastic veggie burger, sometimes even on sprouted whole-grain buns (no flour), imagine that…oh, the horror. A personal favorite is just about any good brand of vegan burger, grilled and topped with coleslaw (made with vegan mayo) and tomato & pickle slices on a sprouted-grain bun. A bit of hummus or melted vegan cheese makes it even richer and tastier.

Following are ten scrumptious looking veggie burgers that should silence all the nasty hype against the veganizing of popular foods…but of course slaughter lovers will keep on carping. So just ignore them, go and make you some great burgers, and enjoy…

1) 

Cheeze Stuffed Bella Burgers with Figs, Rocket, and Herbed Vegenaise | by Vegan Feast

2) 

Burger Made with Quinoa & Carrots, etc.

3) 

Vegan Fourth of July Feast! by Troy Tolley on flickr

4) 

Black Bean Burger with Home Fries

5) 

Vegan Burger by Shpernik088

6) 

Beyond Meat’s Vegan Cheeseburger

7) 

Sunshine Burger’s Quarter Pound Original

8) 

Hilary’s Eat Well Burger at Native Foods Cafe

9) 

Veggie Burger with Sweet Potato Fries at Lodge NYC

10) 

Lentil Burgers – Great even all by themselves.

Then there’s this guy 🙂

Veggie Burger Speed Eating Contest

Non-Vegan or Anti-Vegan, That is the Crux

To vegans:

People often accuse us of being nasty or judgmental towards non-vegans, turning them off from even attempting to be vegan in their not wanting to be associated with such hateful, vicious people. After all, if that’s how being vegan makes one feel, all angry and venomous, then they want nothing to do with it, would rather remain happy eating bacon and burgers with all the normal well-adjusted people. That’s how the story goes anyways. But it’s a crock load of nonsense, like all other anti-vegan brainwashing.

I treat non-vegans with respect and politeness, same as they treat me; but I treat anti-vegans with disdain or no regard at all because that’s what they deserve, at the very least.

A distinction that should be obvious

As with legal and illegal immigration, there is a huge difference between non-vegans and anti-vegans. Still, a more middle-ground non-vegan may have anti-vegan views developed by learning from media and elsewhere that vegans are to be despised and pitied for our “stupidity and lack of nutrition,” but those are the more neutral and reachable sorts of non-vegans, as they don’t have a vested interest in some sort of animal product industry, or they’re not overly emotionally charged with regard to what they like to eat. They are willing to listen to the other side of the story.

The anti-vegans, however, who actually deserve much worse than the worst vegans have to offer, are those venomously anti-vegan, obsessed individuals who often seem to make it their life’s mission to destroy veganism and for “humanity” to remain existing in slaughterhouse-based “civilizations.” They already know the vegan side of the story and they cannot tolerate it. These rabid anti-vegans want no vegans in the world, they often tell us to kill ourselves and other such hateful heckling; they’re basically just frothing with hatred for all things vegan. Those are the people many vegans are “bashing” or otherwise being “aggressively judgmental” about. The difference between non- and anti- is clear, although muddied up and obscured expertly by the usual suspects.

Cartoon by Zach Weinersmith 2008

That’s not to say some vegans aren’t annoyingly priggish and pushy at times, but they’ve got their reasons, are rightfully upset or angry. Consider how no one would accuse anti-pedophilia activists of being priggish and pushy, except for pedos, that is. If you’ve a problem with comparing animal slaughter to child molestation or other violent crimes, then you need to examine your real reasons for that reaction…get fully honest with yourself. Everyone knows that those ruthless/violent towards animals are 99% the ones who will treat people likewise as soon as the opportunity arises. Please realize what you are nurturing by embracing such speciesism.

How to deal?

So, when critics of vegans are tone-policing us to make us feel bad and wrong for speaking up, for treating decent people like shit and being counterproductive, destroying our cause, realize what’s going on there. It’s all lies based in more lies with a foundation of subhuman cruelty. Think of your own lives and how you treat family and others based in their respect for you and treatment of you; remember how you are not this self-righteous scourge whom everyone dreads running into for fear of your attacking their plates of food and screaming at them, etc.. Or if people do dread you, it’s about something else, not your non-use of animal products. But it’s often about their own guilt and shame which they, not you, have brought to light simply due to you’re statement, “I’m vegan.”

Case in point: I have a neighbor who I only mentioned to once that I’m vegan as a hint, because she’s been giving me holiday gifts with animal products which I’ve had to donate elsewhere, and I didn’t want that anymore. No, I didn’t tell her I’ve donated her gifts or in any way mention them…I’ve only thanked her for them in the past. So recently, when I ran into her carrying a plate of food from the barbecue area, she actually tried to hide it from me. I could only say a friendly hello and be perplexed and keep on walking. We’re both very mature women and this seems like such childish behavior. But that’s what happens to people when this particular “nerve” gets struck in them, just from the simplest mention of someone being vegan.

Now, to the tone-policing vegan basher out there, the above incident would be further proof of vegans being self-righteous pricks and “no wonder everyone hates us” and all that nonsense, all based in the strange ”I’m guilty and you’re bad for making me feel this” reaction of the triggered meat lover, based in my doing nothing at all inappropriate or in any way impolite. I simply didn’t want to get any more non-vegan gift items. By the way, last Christmas, her idea of vegan was still milk chocolate and other animal products. So there you go…I attributed it to her husband buying the gifts and not knowing any better. Off to the homeless center the unwanted items went. Sigh.

So, if you as a vegan have been letting yourself feel put down and guilty for simply existing and not being silent about your ethical concerns and your grief for the animals, try to not let that happen anymore. Try to make clear out there the difference between non- and anti-vegans and whenever necessary, don’t let the latter get away with the usual deceitful tactics. Realize what’s going on and that you’re not to blame. You’re not destroying any cause by fighting fire with fire (as in “ammo” not blazes) at times and you’re not responsible for people “eating a hamburger right now” (and a 2nd one for extra spite!) or any of the other nonsense people will pull out of their nether regions. A lot of it is gaslighting, which I wrote about in an earlier article.

In closing, simply don’t ever let yourself feel like a wrongdoer for grieving and fighting to end the torturous lives and ruthless killing of these helpless, highly sensitive beings: