Going Vegetarian (Plant-based) for Lent – Days 24/25: Much needed comfort food.

It was a rough week of feeling tired and not fulfilled from a food perspective.  I spend many hours this week researching the “why” and “how” to improve the non-meat diet.  Finding a piece of mind in dropping the labels that seem to negatively define this culinary frontier has definitely helped.  I am liking the concept of “plant-based” and will strive to expand on this concept.

How can this really work.  I know there are thousands of people that do make it work.  I also know everyone is different, and its all about finding the right combination that works for me.  I’m not a 2x Ironman finisher because I give up.  I have the ability to figure this out, and with the help of the endless resources now available, I realize its just a matter of time.

Every challenge has peaks and valleys.  Staying focused and working through the tough times has a way of paying greater dividends down the road.

I remember my first Ironman triathlon and every leg of the swim/bike/run I reached a point where I was done with that event, and ready to move to the next, with constant focus on just getting done.  That is the mentality of most first timers.  The second time around, I vividly remember reaching the halfway point of the swim (1.2mi) and thinking “wow, I’m halfway done with the swim, I need to enjoy the second half because it’s going to be over soon”.  Now, I had no fear of not finishing, and had a cold the week before, so I had realistic expectations for my perceived results.  The goal was to enjoy the experience and let the results fall where they may.  I totally enjoyed the day, was thankful for the opportunity to have the experience.

Thats where I’m at on this adventure.  Halfway to the finish line.  Time to step back and enjoy the final weeks and soak up as much experience and enjoyment I can.  The good news is, this adventure is not a race or fixed distance/time event.  It could go on for ever if I choose.  Or it could end up being another great moment in time that allowed me to stretch my mind, body, and spirit to experience something many have no idea their missing.

By Friday, I was “starving to death”.  I was telling my youngest daughter, I needed some serious calories.  She asked the logical questions, and all my answer’s were, “I think I’m starving to death”.  I was joking of course, but I was definitely hungry for some serious eats.

So, off to Spin Pizza for pizza and beers.  I told the order person “I’ll take the biggest all veggie pizza you have, salad, and 22 oz Boulevard Wheat on tap”.  I think my tab was more than the total of my wife and son combined.

Before and after pictures.  Oh yea, told you I was hungry.  The small plate in the background was the size of my wife and son’s pizza.  I took the last piece home for my bedtime snack.  Slept like a baby!

Saturday morning was early run, and into the kitchen for the much anticipated Biscuits and Gravy test run.  I’ve been looking into vegan style biscuits and gravy, and found a good biscuit recipe on minimalistbaker Best Damn Vegan Biscuits.  I followed the recipe pretty close, but used regular butter since that’s all I had on hand.  They came out great.

After I had the biscuit dough (guess thats what you call it) spread out on the board, I was struggling to find something to cut out round biscuits.  Found the legendary kids cup and it worked great.

The gravy was the real challenge.  After experimenting with some different BBQ items, I realized how important textures are to satisfy the brain.  I needed something to “simulate” the traditional sausage texture.  Getting the spices right wasn’t the challenge, it was all about the gravy texture.  I found some this tofu scrambles and they worked great.


Put about a cup of smart ground in a pan with some grape seed oil, fennel seeds, sage, and S&P.  Cooked it for about 5 minutes to blend the seasoning.  Used olive oil and a little butter with flour to make a rue for the gravy.  Added in 1 cup of almond milk, and  about 1/2 cup of organic vegetable broth.  The gravy wasn’t really thickening, so got impatient and added a little corn starch.  Still a little thin, so dumped in the “sausage” and boom, thick it got.  Lesson learned, adding in the smart ground will thicken up the gravy so will work on the liquid components next time. Side note, the vegetable broth is what gave the gravy the darker color.


Got to say, it was pretty darn good.  I asked my son to try it and his response was “thats not bad”.  I take that as more of a “Wow, thats pretty good”

So, while waiting out the raining weather has me stuck in the kitchen instead of on the grill, I rekindled my cooking mojo.  Nothing beats a couple days of comfort food to get your head in the right space.

Finally, I am happy to report I am no longer “starving to death”.

Day 28 of 5K/Day in the books.  The pace is a little slower, but feeling better than earlier in the week.

Peace to all.


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