Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What I Learned at the Vegan Potluck

Remember those over achievers , Sharon and James (go here to read how amazing they are), who pestered Roland to change his lifestyle?  They invited us to a vegan potluck. Usually I worry about what to wear to a party with people I don't know. But this time I worried about what to bring!

These people have been eating vegan their whole lives, right? What if I put something in the food that offended them? What if I said the words, "ribs" or "styrofoam" on accident? What if they thought I was a poser for only being vegan 3 months? What if they didn't like me?


Turns out that they are really nice people. Super fit, uber healthy nice people. They were kind and encouraging and didn't laugh when I bragged about running 3 miles. I bragged about that to a man who ran the Leadville Ultramarathon 4 times. The Leadville Ultramarathon is a 100 mile high altitude race (you have to run it in less than 30 hours. really.). One of the guys there holds a record for the Leadville race. The potluck was full of ultra marathoners, marathoners, competitive racers, competitive bikers, and real life exercise freaks.

And they all eat vegan.

When I apologized for only running 3 miles one of the men said, "Hey, I had to start too. We all have to start someplace."

This is what I learned at the vegan potluck: they all had to start someplace. They haven't been vegan their whole lives. Most of them have only been vegan for the last 5-10 years. They weren't born athletic. They work hard at it. It didn't come easy. It doesn't come easy.  They use to eat meat. And sugar. And dairy. Just like me. And just like me, they stopped. They just stopped 5 years before I did.

Its so easy to look at a fit person and say, "Oh, that's easy for her, she's in good shape, she loves healthy food, she's always been that way". But that isn't true. She had to make the decision to take care of herself. Like I did.

So I had something in common with those vegan pot-luckers. I started, just like they did. I wanted to suck up all their stories, all their wisdom. They were more than willing to share.
One day I hope to be like them.


Oh - what did we eat? Pizza (gluten free), wild rice avocado balls, pumpkin hummus, lasagna (gluten free), Chinese cabbage salad, fruit, my chickpea curry, cookies, and fruit pie. It was amazingly delicious and satisfying. It was the healthiest meal I have ever eaten with the healthiest people I have ever met.

I think it is time for me to plan my own vegan potluck!


Jessica said...

Have you read Born To Run? It talks all about the Leadville race. It blows my mind that you met people who've run in it!

Great post, as always.

Melissa said...

Very cool Robin.

I've just invited a vegan to lunch next week. please plan me a very very very easy meal to make for her and our kids... And think cheap too. ;)

Robin said...

Oh. A vegan for lunch. Easy.

I’m not sure how expensive the chickpea curry is. I think it isn’t too bad. The coconut milk is probably the most expensive thing. I pay about $2 for a can of coconut milk and you only need one can. Serve it over white rice as brown rice is expensive. A simple green salad on the side topped with a sliced up apple and cucumber. If you have nuts on hand toss those in too - what ever nuts you have (almonds? Walnuts? Pecans?) but if you don’t have nuts don’t buy them, raisins are nice too. Wisk up a simple dressing of oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic or onion or dill.

I made this banana bread – it is vegan and pretty good! http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/06/blueberry-banana-bread.html - you can use honey instead of agave nectar (super expensive) or even just sugar.

If the curry is not what you like Рdo the refried bean burrito with sautéed peppers and onions. Serve with sliced avocado. Add some salsa and chips and that same salad.

Or how about spaghetti and instead of meat add mushrooms, zucchini, carrots - what ever you have. Add a side of peas.

Hummus is cheap cheap cheap if you use dried garbanzo beans. Don’t worry about tahini – you don’t need that. Just garbanzo beans (chickpeas), olive oil, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper. Cumin is good too. Serve the hummus with French bread, veggies, or crackers or even toasted tortillas!

Call me if you need more ideas.

The Mitchells said...

I so jealous you got to meet all those ultrarunners! I would love to pick their brains. Like how do they not get injured?!!!! Thats my problem. I LOVE to run but always get held back by injury.
And btw, brown rice is actually cheaper per ounce than white, they just sell it in smaller packages. At least that is true at Walmart, I checked. :)

Sally said...


For reals, yo.

Yay me!!

the wrath of khandrea said...

i need to find the line between vegan and non-vegan... but i want to be on the side that eats more natural foods.

keep it up, robin. you are so refreshingly real here, and i love it.

Linda said...

melissa: the cauliflower crry sald is fab.
Sally- yay !
Vegan potluck: let''s do one this summer at the cabin!

Linda said...

can you get the recipe for wild rice avocado balls???

Michelle said...

Just found your site. LOVE your story, love the way you write. Thank you for being so honest, having such a great and easy-to-relate-to perspective, and for sharing it. You are inspiring many!!