The Accidental Vegan

An inspiration for this post comes from noneuclideansofa blog. I enjoy his observations on life and living.

An inspiration for the vegan traveler is the Cook the Beans blog: Ubud on a Scooter and Punkin Soup are recent posts.

I should probably create an entire blog about my journey and transformation into a Vegan.  Devra Gartenstein already wrote a recipe book called Accidental Vegan. It is hard to know where to start, what to tell, and how to avoid boring my audience.

Growing up in a small town in Minnesota in the 1950’s and 60’s, pizza and McDonald’s were exotic foods.  Here are some memories and influences.

  • My mother teaching me how to eat with chop sticks when I was 12 years old.
  • My introduction to tacos and Tabasco sauce at a Foreign Exchange Student conference.
  • Katherine Gustafson and all the friends from around the world who met at her house on Saturday evenings.  Many interesting foods.
  • Frances Moore’s Diet for a Small Planet that taught how to get complete proteins from grains and legumes.
  • Living a year without meat.
  • Traveling the world and discovering oysters, raw fish, uncooked steak tartare, and cannibal toast made with uncooked pork.
  • Finding more vegetarian and natural food restaurants in America. I’m thinking of the Mud Pie on Lyndale and Seward Cafe on Franklin.
  • Discovering Asian vegetarian cuisines in Japan, Malaysia, along with India.
  • Discovering I am allergic to eggs; later finding that I’m less sensitive to duck eggs (The difference between jungle fowl and waterfowl).
  • Reducing meat and cheese in the diet to control gout.

In Turkey this July and August, my joints began really hurting, first pelvis, then shoulder, then toes, then wrist.  In Ankara, the good doctor diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis. Her prescription: Some vitamins and no more meat, chicken, fish, or milk products.  Not even fat free yogurt. Eggs were OK, but with my allergies: I’m a Vegan.

Ethically, I’m happy with the result.  Physically, all the pain is gone, only an occasional tightness in the shoulder.

In the past 6 months, it was easier to find Vegan options in tourist areas: Siem Reap Cambodia, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in Thailand, Amman Jordan, Cairo Egypt, and Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Myanmar/Burma, Mongolia, Turkey, and Tunisia were hard. Many Vegetarian options have eggs or cheese. I’m flexible when necessary.

Here are some particularly delicious meals:

 

Answers from previous post:

  1. For leeches, a little salt makes them fall right off.  A mixture of liquid soap or detergent and salt rubbed on the shoes makes a good prevention.
  2. For first aid, Wife always carries bandages, neosporin ointment, airline wetwipe packets, a Swiss Army card with scissors, tweezers, toothpick, file.
  3. We did not enter the Buddhist Sri Dalada Maligawa Temple, Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. We walked around the outside looking for hiking trails and viewed it from a distant hill.

Some Vege trivia:

  1. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Playwright?
  2. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Political Activist?
  3. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Saxophonist?
  4. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Beatle?
  5. Who is my abhorred Vegetarian Fascist?

Cairo: Coffee with Cardamon

After Amman, Jordan we continued on to Egypt to see the pyramids.  Booking a hotel for three days in Giza with a view of the pyramids included free airport pickup.   Giza city on the eastern side of the Pyramid Necropolis does not feel like a big city.  With horses and camels in the dusty streets, it felt like we were exploring a little village.  The pyramids are magnificent.  What I enjoyed most about our day exploring them was meeting some school boys aged about ten or eleven.  They climbed 30 or 40 meters on the great pyramid and took photos of each other.  They were headed higher when some official yelled and they decided to come down.

After Giza, we booked a place in the center of Cairo.  It was an easy walk to the Nile and the Egyptian Museum.  September is still hot in Cairo so we spent the whole day in the museum.

I love Egyptian coffee.  It is brewed like Turkish coffee but they roast it with cardamon.  Almost every other block near our Cairo hotel had a coffee roaster. In the evenings, we could find them by the coffee cardamon smell in the air. Unfortunately, the Internet has not evolved yet to allow me to post the aroma.

Answer from previous post:

I don’t know yet.  T E Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia certainly captures the imagination of the 14 year old school boy inside me.  As a traveler, it’s Gertrude Bell who inspires.  Maybe, I will have an idea after reading Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom and Wallach’s Desert Queen.

Some Egyptian Trivia:

  1. Why was a rope of thirteen knots useful in constructing the corners of the pyramids?
  2. Where was the Rosetta Stone stored by the Ottoman engineers building the Fort of Qaitbey?
  3. We did not eat at the El Hawary Restaurant, but it is an interesting neighborhood.