Free Of Nothing; Full Of Nutrition

Posted on May 14, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I had a sobering thought on my run today. I hate “veganism”. “What? But I love all my vegan meals and recipes.” That was my next thought. But I kept going back and realizing I really do hate the label, “vegan”.

So then I asked myself “Why?”

Local Hereford Beef

Local Hereford Beef

*Note: I did not eat this today, or any meat. The only non-vegan things I had were a yogurt at breakfast and brownie made with eggs in the afternoon*

Frankly, I’ve known too many people going vegan or vegetarian to avoid certain things for “health”, things like cholesterol and animal fats. And then once a year–probably on their birthday–, they’d have a big juicy steak. “Once and a while won’t kill”. Well of course it’s not going to kill you; but no one can say the same for the cow.

I think there are a lot of ways you can be healthy without strapping on the vegetarian label and shunning things out of your life. That’s not why I eat vegan at the meals and times I do. Rather, it’s to bring certain nutrients in.

Black Beans, Daiya, Avocado, Salsa, And Spinach

Black Beans, Daiya, Avocado, Salsa, And Spinach

My lunch wasn’t healthy because of the absence of animal products; it was healthy because of the abundance of plant-based foods. That, to me, is what veganism is all about: The emphasis of a plant based diet. As much as I’d love to think that way 24/7, I’ll undoubtedly slip up sometime and look at something for being “dairy-free” or “free of animal by products”. What I really wish I could see 100% of the time is how something is free of nothing, but full of nutrition.

Gluten-Free Brownie With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Gluten-Free Brownie With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Of course, allergens play a role in this, too. But I would count those as a separate case. A lactose-intolerant person would eat coconut milk ice cream for a very different reason than a vegan. I’m–well–I’m neither. But I love how this tastes and feels, and do try to avoid dairy to some extent for better digestion.

Willoughby's Local Gluten-Free Brownie

Willoughby's Local Gluten-Free Brownie

And the brownie was likewise free of dairy and gluten(an allergen I do take care to avoid).

Vegan Tiger Fudge

Vegan Tiger Fudge

Desserts in general, though, I would say get a pass on ever being “healthy”. No matter how you cut it(a fudge joke), my microwave vegan chocolate fudge and microwave vegan peanut butter fudge are full of sugar. That doesn’t mean they aren’t full of flavor, either, or that you shouldn’t make them 😉

9 Miles

9 Miles

That fueled me to run around my neighborhood 8 times for a total of 9 miles. Perhaps my legume love isn’t such a terribly beneficial thing since I needed to make a pit stop into the bathroom after lap 6. At least I was close to home and didn’t go on a road run like I was thinking.

Organic Fuji Apple

Organic Fuji Apple

Organic Baby Carrots

Organic Baby Carrots

Afterwards I refueled with my lunch posted earlier, and when that wasn’t enough I added an apple. Later on, at the grocery store, I grabbed a bag of baby carrots to eat in the car(or the walk out of the store). If you went through a list of the allergens raw fruits and veggies are “free of”, we’d be here all day; it’s better to think of all the nutrition they’re “full of” in my mind. And tonight was “full of” recipes:

Sweet Potato Fries


  • 1 medium sized sweet potato
  • 2 teaspoons EVOO
  • salt to taste

Cut the ends off of a sweet potato. Slice all the way through horizontally. With the cut side down, make strips 1/2-3/4 inch thick. Cut those again lengthwise to make into “fry” shapes. Repeat with the other 1/2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Add the fries and EVOO to the pan and massage with your hands until completely covered. Preheat an oven to 350 and bake for 60 minutes. Season to taste.

Vegan BBQ Bean Poutine


  • 1 serving sweet potato fries
  • 1/2 cup vegan BBQ beans
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella style Daiya
  • 2 strips tempeh bacon(optional)
  • 3 pieces fresh basil

Cook the sweet potato fries according to directions. Pile on a plate, and add on top the BBQ beans. Heat in the microwave through for about 2 minutes. Add on the Daiya and heat another 30 seconds to melt. If using, cook the tempeh bacon through until crispy according to manufacturer’s directions. Cut into small pieces and crumble on top. Garnish with basil.

Organic Pickles

Organic Pickles

Served with a side of organic pickles. Such a simple and delicious meal for one(I’m the only one home tonight). What are you full of today? I would have to say that I’m full of beans!! and also joy that I got so much on my to-do list done. The only thing I hope for this weekend to be “free of” is stress before my last final, because that’s been giving me plenty of that.

If you enjoyed my What Would You Do moment, the actual show is on at 9pm tonight on ABC so watch that!

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17 Responses to “Free Of Nothing; Full Of Nutrition”

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I think labels are for people who need the world folded neatly into little boxes. Yes, I eat a vegan diet, no I don’t live a vegan lifestyle. I don’t know what that makes me, I don’t care! I’m so with you.

I was a vegetarian for 8 years until I got sick and had to “un-become” one. Now that I have a much better hold on what I can/can’t eat and what my body needs, I’ve toyed with the idea of being a vegetarian again because that makes up about 95% of my diet, but I don’t really need the label, and you know what? Sometimes I just want meat!

you’re making me want ice cream…
ABC tv show look interesting!

it’s been way too long for me and sweet potato fries….

hear, hear. even i’m against labels, and hate defining myself as “raw vegan” even though many would call me that. i eat all plants 95% of the time, but that does not mean i define myself by what i DONT eat.

today, i am full of kale chips! mmmmm

I don’t like labels or when people make decisions to cut out stuff because of health reasons. They definitely should concentrate on putting in nutrients like you said instead of cutting out the bad.

This is such a great post Evan! Very well-said! Even Mark Bittman said you don’t need to eliminate animal products or whatever that you like – just include more vegetables and stuff into your diet. I hate when people label themselves or have certain food “diets/labels”…I don’t know. We constantly evolve. And our food preferences definitely will.
I am NOT vegan…but I love coconut milk ice cream AND Breyers’…I also love cow’s milk and almond milk…

And I LOVE your ice cream/brownie dish ;)…ahhhh

Hi! I just found your blog and I wanted to let you know I am adding it to my google reader because I really enjoy your posts!

I agree I don’t like the label either. I eat meat when I feel like it, but I naturally love eating lots of plant-based foods. I also drink almond milk/eat coconut milk ice cream because it is easier to digest as well.

Love your philosophy Evan 😀 I’m vegan for more than nutrition reasons so I can see both sides to the story. If you tell yourself you “can’t have something because it’s bad for you”…you’ll only want it more. But if something causes you G.I distress or is genuinly sickening to you…then it’s different.

I’m full of…pineapple lol

Last post
Banana Rum Pineapple Jam and that the bottom was even sweeter…give it to me now!

This post. One of your best ever!!!

Looking at this as plant based and not “free of” AND also not trying to be vegan b/c you are trying to avoid things, but rather to gain.

I HATE HATE that my blog is a vegan blog. I feel so restricted sometimes. I am 99% vegan. Trace dairy creeps in and frankly, I dont care. I dont see it out but i dont care. Others do. And they flip out.

I also Detest! labels but sadly for the masses, we are forced to label so people arent “confused” and it’s the quickest common denominator to just say high raw GF vegan even though i hate it, i feel it has some purpose.

The pickles. Boy those are incredibly phallic looking. LOL

The dessert. That dessert isn’t ever “good” for us, but some are better than others. I get 25 commetns a week of people thinking i eat 1 cup of salad per day and a slab of fudge, like a half pan. Seriously that’s what people think and i have to say umm not excatly!

Great post Evan 🙂

Seriously wanting daiya…

I do eat a plant based diet but sometimes I have to say vegan to make sure they are aware. Tonight I was out for dinner and they asked me if I was a vegan when I ordered split pea soup and broccoli rabe to make sure the chef knows. I choose not to eat chicken broth, etc and they had already said all the soups used veggie. It doesn’t hurt to mention because lots of time restaurants (especially in cities) aren’t offended and I am definitely not trying to be difficult.

even if I wasn’t eating a solely plant based diet, I would prefer to eat coconut milk ice cream!

hahah I think i would be full of tomato sauce today. i had it over EVERYTHING. broccoli, meat balls, even sweet potato fries. 🙂 YUP i also had sweet potato fries today like you, but mine was lazy and came from the TJ’s freezer section. Holy moly it was delicious though.

P.s. Come check out my strawberry basil jam and blueberry merlot preservers giveaway!! 🙂 I think you’d enjoy ’em!!

There’s something so absolutely perfect about that scoop of vanilla bean coconut ice cream. I’ve never seen one quite like it lol! You must be a talented ice cream scooper.

Great post, as usual. It really is so much more important to think about what we ARE putting in our bodies as opposed to what we AREN’T. If we make a conscious effort to put whole foods (usually without labels themselves) into our bodies, we need not worry about it! 🙂

Lol I am full of work today 😦

I love your philosophy on veganism. I know what my body needs, and it wants meat in moderation. Haha. A little grass fed beef won’t hurt me.

Interesting post, Evan! I think that, if the vegan “label” is accurate (and I define accurate as, if you avoid all animal products routinely — the “routinely” part makes a little space for a vegan having a spot of butter or cheese in a restaurant once in a blue moon, or eating a piece of bread that was baked with eggs), then there’s no reason not to use it. It’s accurate, thus appropriate. If your attitude is more nuanced, which MANY people’s attitudes are, then it’s best to leave the label at home. Both, in my mind, are fine. I say I’m a vegan because I meet the criteria above, and because I feel that the ethics attached to veganism are ones I share, but I understand that for many, that’s not fitting.

And you and I are 100% on the same page about the idea that veganism’s main health benefit is to increase plant-based nutrition. Add first, then subtract. 🙂

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