Midnight Impulse

learning experiences and impulsive decisions


Leave a comment

Off the Vegan End, Part 2: The Diet

I’m going vegan for the duration of lent!  In a BBQ-obsessed country!  With minimal soy products!  Sound scary yet?

Lent, according to the Catholic calendar, started on Wednesday.  Today is my fourth day on it.  No huge temptations or major slip-ups so far.  Last week, I was terrified of the lack of food I’d be allowed to eat.  I researched and researched recipes and foods that I could eat.  A majority of my searches yielded soy-based meals.  The problem?  The Republic of Armenia does not stock much soy products.  Aside from soy milk, soybeans are no longer imported and tofu is nonexistent.  Don’t even ask about soy cheeses and meat substitutesAs I previously mentioned, I’m not doing lent for religious reasons, but rather for personal ones:

1) I needed a reason to stop eating the greasy and overly carb-focused school lunches

2) I wanted to see for myself if being vegan is as awful as I condemned it to be

3) Going vegan would force me to learn how to cook and rely on myself for sustenance

And the added bonus, 4) I’ve noticed that I started losing weight.

Something red, something green, something leafy, something lean

 

The day before I started my diet, I went to the supermarket.  Tuesday is as good a day as any to stock up on vegetables.  And behold, vegetation there was.  As silly as it sounds, I never realised the abundance of options available to me.  Turns out, nature has a lot to offer by way of non-animal products, even here, where fruits and vegetables are only seasonally available.  I grabbed whatever caught my eye: something green, something red, something leafy, something lean.

 

I decided that everyday, I’d make dinner for two and eat a portion of it that night and save the rest for the next day to eat at school.

 

Day 1

Except mine was without the dollop of sour cream.  And hold the dill, thank you very much.

Except mine was without the dollop of sour cream. And hold the dill, thank you very much.

My first day of lent, I took a bowl of borsch, which is a Russian beet soup, along with some bulgur to school with me.  In the morning, I had a yellow apple.  That night at home, I got fancy making myself dinner and packing the next day’s lunch.

 

Day 2

On my second day, I had faux bolognese wraps.  I used this recipe for making the bolognese sauce, ditching the Parmesan cheese and substituting the beef for a mix of jumbo white and oyster mushrooms.  With a bit of spicing and herbs, the bolognese sauce smelled just like the real thing.  On the side, I had an orange and arugla salad, having added walnuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, and dried blueberries to the mix.  I think I had a banana in the morning.

At home, my mom, who is also doing lent (as she has been since she was my age), had made falafel, so I made a sandwich out of those with tomatoes and onions.

 

Day 3

Since we had Friday off this week, I didn’t have to bother preparing my lunch from the day

before.  Instead, I took my time making vegetable broth.  I’d been looking at a lot of recipes that require some sort of stock, and since I’d never seen

any sold at supermarkets here, I decided to make some myself.  The recipe is very low-maintenance; it just requires you to chop up the veggies and throw them in.  While cooking that, I realised just how fantastic a mix carrots, onions, and celery really are.  I ended up washing and cutting up some more and then made an onion, leek, celery, carrot and mushroom stir-fry with spaghetti.  Serve immediately, topped with tahini.  I also made that same orange and arugla salad before the leaves went bad.

On this day, my chocolate cravings were acting up.  I was getting a little tired of eating peanut-sugar bars (the ex-Soviet nation equivalent of nut bars) and

sesame paste.  Then I found this recipe for vegan brownies 😀  While waiting for those to cook, I also made some fruit salad.

On Friday, I had a dinner date with some girl friends.  We were going out to have sushi.  Thankfully, I’m not the only one going vegan in the country.  Many go on lent in Armenia and restaurants and cafes start offering menus that accommodate the demand.  I ordered miso soup, an avocado roll, and a vegetable roll.  For dessert, we went to a bakery that served vegan napoleons.  Foodless, irritated guest avoided 🙂

That sums up my meals for the past few days.

Thanks for reading,

∆ Adelaide

 


2 Comments

[Not My] Graduation Part II: Young’s Advice

The male graduate’s younger brother and I (who also happens to be my classmate) drift into a political conversation, discussing race and nationalism-based hatred of these races.  I hear out his opinion on the matter, but eventually, I burst out with, “No, I’m sorry, I just can’t see it that way.  I could never hate a Turk or and Azeri just because they’re Turks and Azeris.  I just can’t do that.  Especially after the whole–insert nationality at issue here*–situation this year.”  The younger brother (we’ll call him Young) and a cute guy sitting nearby bursts out, “What –insert nationality at issue here–situation?”  In true, utter surprise.  I proceed to retell how this year, what with the addition of the two new INISH sisters, I’ve been having problems with them that I’ve never faced before.  The older sister continuously glared at me from the first day of school and yelled at me the first time I spoke to her.  The younger sister never behaved that way until I got fed up with something the older sister had done and, in anger, hurt, and pain, went to my favourite teacher (who also happens to be the most anti-racism one in the school) and let her know about what had happened.  She agreed to show a sheet of paper previously signed by all students in high school stating that they must “respect all students, teachers, and staff.”

This was, APPARENTLY, not the right thing to do.  It backfired and only ended up making the younger sister hate me as well, whom had been previously alright with me.  As I vented this all out to Young, who happens to be a close friend with the younger INISH girl.  Being the genuinely kind and thoughtful person he is, he gave me advice on how to deal with the issue.  He believes I should go and apologise to her at the start of the next school year (since this one is over) but not to expect anything back.  This was something I’ve actually been mulling over for a long time now.  I acted like a bitch by snitching and I shouldn’t have provoked the older sister in the first place, so an apology is needed here somewhere.  Not to the older sister, of course (I still hate her for hating me for such an ignorant and idiotic reason), but to the younger sister, who, according to Young, like me, “refused to hate someone if they hadn’t done anything wrong to her personally.”  So on that note, I definitely will be needing to make some peace agreement.  I truly hope she will listen to me when I try to talk to her though.

Meanwhile, while I was getting advice from Young whilst helping him clear up the mess the drunk guy had created (the trash part of the mess.  We didn’t even bother with the vomit that now covered the carpet and sofa) Tsunami was standing in the doorway of the guesthouse asking me to come with her to the main house to get her stuff.  Three times I repeated that I’m talking to Young about something important till she said “ok then” and left.  I immediately got this feeling of anger in me over how unsupportive she was being.  I hated the fact that she was trying to interrupt me from something so important to me, even though I’d several times told her how much this INISH situation was getting to me.  I hated how she’d previously stated that she’d “totally go to the older INISH girl’s birthday party because she’s rich,” and how just today Tsunami had commented on how pretty they are. I realise I’m only playing the card that those two girls are playing, but I just can’t stand hearing my best friend positively commenting on the “enemy’s” good aspects.  It kills me on the inside and always sends me into a bad mood.

I headed back into the main house after finishing cleaning up (well, most of it at least) and getting advice from Young.  I found Tsunami at the entrance of the house.  At this point we’re all waiting for our taxis to come.  After a friend smartly figures out he should leave the room to let us talk, she asks me why I’m so mad.  I accuse her of not supporting me when it comes to the INISH girls.  This is refuted with the fact that what she’s said isn’t anything major and that’d she’d already previously stated how she totally disagrees with the racism going on, but this doesn’t do it for me.  Fearing I’d start tearing up, I walk into the kitchen to get water with a murmured “that settles it, then.”  I coldly walk out the main entrance to the gate where the taxis are waiting, despite Tsunami’s call and suggestion to walk with the group rather than alone.  I shrug this off and continue on my way.

*I felt like adding in the exact nationality of these two girls in here is making it much too easy.  I don’t want to be spreading hatred or stereotypes or identifiable clues to my identity, so I’ll be leaving this blank for now, for you the readers to imagine what countries have issues with whom.  From now on, the shortened version of “insert nationality at issue here” will be INISH.

(cont. in Part III)

(for Part I, click here)