Tuesday, 30 December 2008

A little bit about… Christmas

We’re in Italy since December 24th and I can say I’m having a great time. I got a bronchitis but I am really happy to be here. As I wrote on the post about my grandma, I was a little bit worried about this first Christmas far from home, but we had a great time.

We had an awesome Christmas lunch. Just us, me and Matteo’s family. And a lot of food, as I wrote before too! My sister-in-law cooked everything she said she would and much more. We spent almost 4 hours eating, talking and having fun together.

Thinking about all the food we ate, one is definitely my favourite: the vegan salty muffins. She cooked some with peas and others with black olives. I could eat them forever!

And this wasn’t everything. In Europe they have the Saint Stephen holyday on December 26th, so we had two days of party and a lot of food. And one more time, my sister-in-law did her best with an amazing vegan menu. And she’s not vegan, not even vegetarian, so, my dear friends, don’t think it is that hard to have a vegan meal. All you need is some vegan recipes in your hands and creative ideas!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I wish all my friends here a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

All about... grandma

This is a hard post to make, but I'll try to make it in a happy way because it's about a special and happy person: my grandma. She passed away two days before last Christmas and this is my first Christmas without her in fact (last year was so confused with the funeral and stuff) and without my parents close to me. But she was the funniest and the happiest person I met in my all life, so I try to keep just the good memories about her.

I didn't meet my other grandma, so she was always the only one. And she was my godmother too. And I never met other woman like her. Always strong and always trying to see the good side of everything. Always making jokes, even about her own problems. When times get hard to me, I think about her. She used to love Carnival. For years, she made costumes and went on the streets of the small city she lived with lots of friends and relatives to celebrate and dance. She didn't like her birthday, so every year she used to choose one
day to be the “birthday day”. She was religious, but didn't want to go to heaven. To her life on earth was the only one she knew and the sky seemed to be boring (with just “white clouds and souls dressed in white”). She always knew she wouldn't live after her 84th birthday and that's how it was. She didn't like go to weddings because “I went to mine and it wasn't that good!” and she loved Christmas.

We used to celebrate Christmas with a big party every year the night of December 24th. My mother's family isn't that big (considering most of the Brazilian families), so we used to be together – my parents, my brother, grandma (and for some years, my grandfather too) and all uncles and nephews, at our house in this small town (just her lived there in fact). And she always arrived carrying the big red bag of gifts and using Santa Claus' hat. This is the best memory ever. And that's why I still love Christmas. Not because of the religious part, not because of Santa Claus, not because of the gifts. Because of my family and because of my grandma.

It wasn't easy to her to understand why I decided to be vegan. She grew up in a farm and used to cook with animal fat for years. When I told her that I wasn't eating meat, eggs and milk anymore, she was really pissed off. She couldn't believe I wouldn't eat her food anymore, and most important, I wouldn't eat all desserts she used to cook with love for me. But after some time, she started to think about some alternatives. She found out a place in that small town that had soy and she learned how to cook some vegan food for me. And after, for Matteo. She loved him. It was love at the first sight. She used to call him “Matteozinho” (little Matteo) and everything she was cooking was for him. Sometimes she forgot about the things, and asked us if we wanted something with chicken or meat, but it wasn't to make jokes (like so many people do), it was just hard to remember or to understand. She was doing her best.

She was the best person I ever met. She will always be an example for my life. She was my sunshine and she will be always in my heart.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

All about... dialogs

I know I have written in some of my posts here that we, vegetarian and vegan people, have to listen to some things that are quite unbelievable. Living in Dublin made me forget how it is hard sometimes to go out to eat or just to have a “simple” conversation about what I do eat or not. At least, people here know what is the meaning of the word vegan*.

So, today I will post some of these strange dialogs, conversations or just questions I have listened for many years:

- I'm vegetarian.
- Ah, don't you eat meat?
- Yes, that's it.
- But fish and chicken you do, don't you?
- Oh, yes, they're vegetable now, didn't you know? (well, most of the times I don't answer like that, but sometimes it happens)

- Hi, I'd like to know if this lasagna has meat in it.
- No, just ham and cheese.

- Try this (some kind of snack that's very common in Brazil)!
- No, thanks, there's egg (or cheese, or meat) in it.
- Ah, come on, it's just a little bit, you won't feel the taste!

- Hi, does this chocolate has milk in it?
- I don't know, why?
- I'm allergic. (this is the best technique used to prevent people lie to us)
- How much allergic?
- Whaaaat?

- Hello, does your pasta has eggs in it? (In Brazil most of the pasta is made with eggs)
- Of course, there's no pasta without eggs, lady! It's necessary to make it “stick together”.

- So you're vegetarian. Do you just eat lettuce?
(this can be the end of the conversation or the beginning of a long one)

- But the animals exist for this, it is natural to eat them.
(no conversation)

- But I don't understand, you don't eat meat, right? But why do you eat soy?
(This one I'm still thinking about what the person really wanted to tell me)

- I understand that to eat meat is bad, that it's not good to kill an animal. But what's the problem with the milk? The cow has it anyway.
- What do you think about somebody taking milk off your mother breast for months to feed another animal?
(this happened just once. Nobody knows how to be nice all the time!)

Well, for sure I have more but I can't remember now and there are some that just make sense in Portuguese because of the words.

* I remembered about this post yesterday because I saw a big article about veganism in one of the biggest newspapers here in Dublin. And the headline was something like “how veganism can make the world better”.

Monday, 15 December 2008

I have a wish...

Christmas time is coming and I really like the end of the year. I don't know exactly why because I am not religious, don't believe in Santa Claus anymore and don't agree with all the kindness and goodness that come magically with these celebrations and go way the same way. But I have just great memories of Christmas and New Year (well, just one bad memory but I will write about it in another occasion).

Thinking about the celebrations and everything we wish for next year, I understood that I have a special wish this year. A big wish, I can say... I really wish a better world. That's it. Not simple at all. And a better world to me involves more people thinking about the well being of human beings, animals and the planet. I know, we are far from this. But I think we can always do something. Day by day, step by step. So, why not start with a vegetarian meal in your Christmas day? There are a lot of vegetarian and vegan options to make your meal delicious and free from cruelty. Save a turkey and change your life a little bit.

I know that is hard to think about a tasty vegetarian meal, but you see here that we, vegan people, can eat a lot of good food and it's not different at the end of the year. We are going to spend some days in Italy and my sister-in-law is already thinking about our vegan meal! And an Italian Christmas meal includes a lot of food. And this year she will try to make a special dessert, called Pandoro. We will get her a vegan cream cheese from here that she will use to make the mascarpone. It will be the first time I eat this dessert and the first time Matteo will eat the vegan version. I still don't know about the complete menu, but I'm sure my sister-in-law will do great.

If you think it's difficult to prepare vegan food, here there are some great blogs to give you some ideas: in Portuguese, Brazil Nut and Cantinho Vegetariano, in English, What The Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway, and in Italian, Vegan Blog. Hope that my vegan and vegetarian friends that read this blog can help me with more tips.

This is what I suggest you: try the vegetarianism/veganism for one day! As I said before, small differences can change everything in the future.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

Some people might think I'm crazy to feel like this, but I swear: being a vegan or vegetarian person in Brazil is not that easy and sometimes we get stocked when we see that things can be easy and do work around the world. I will explain better. Since we moved to Dublin, I feel like living in heaven. Everything here is easier when we talk about vegetarian/vegan food (and lifestyle). There are a lot of reasons but I will talk about just one today.

Most of the products we buy here are from UK (yes, the vegan paradise) and EVERYTHING we buy has “suitable for vegetarians” or “suitable for vegetarians and vegans” written on the packaging. Even an orange juice. This is so amazing to me! If you think this is stupid, let me show you how it is in Brazil: you have to read ALL INGREDIENTS of everything you buy and sometimes you are not sure if something is 100% vegetarian or not. Sometimes you have to come back home with a doubt and call the costumer service or write an email to know what exactly is used in the product. Sounds bad? Can be worse. When you go to a place, like a restaurant, you have to ask about everything to know if you can eat anything. And people lie to you. We started to tell everybody that we have allergy to convince them that we don't want meat or cheese or eggs in our food.

So, to me, it's really a big deal to see all informations (besides the “suitable...” sentence all products have an “allergy advice” too) written in all products I want to buy and see menus with vegetarian options in most of the places we go to eat. It is a step ahead from my Brazilian reality.

I really hope that one day in the (near) future we can see this kind of thing everywhere.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Go vegan!

Today is the International Animal Rights Day.
Still a lot to fight.

Go vegan, my dear friends!

Monday, 8 December 2008

All about... small differences

This last weekend we did at home one of the things I like more when we decide to cook: try different versions of already known recipes. As I always say we are not great cook people, but we like to create, to try new options. Sometimes the final result is bad, but most of the times we do succeed!

On Saturday I cooked a green lasagna. We had a lot of spinach at home and, you know, we love Italian food! Well, first I decided to make a sauce with flavored soy protein mince (like a bolognese sauce), but I changed my mind and mixed some spinach with water and salt and then added the soy protein mince. First part done. When I started to layer the lasagna up, I decided to add one more layer of spinach leaves. I also mixed more spinach with soy cream to put on the top of the last lasagna filling layer, but I decided instead to use it right on each layer of lasagna base to leave it softer after baking. And as last layer, I used this mix of spinach and soy cream plus small slices of vegan cheddar. The final result was amazing (the picture is not that good, but believe me, it was delicious!).

Carrying on our experiences in the kitchen, on Sunday night Matteo decided to cook spaghetti for our dinner. First, he had decided to use eggplant for the sauce. Well, we still had some spinach left, so he mixed it with the eggplant and did a great and different sauce. It looked like a pesto sauce, green and with a strong taste. I liked it a lot!

This is something I tell everybody to do: try different things. Not just when cooking, but in your life. Small differences can make your day really better!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

A little bit about... Paris

In January of 2007 we (me and my husband) went for the first time to Paris, it was our delayed honey-moon. I have to say that the city is everything people say, is everything you see on the movies... Well, Paris is everything! We spent just three days there and it was enough to have lot of great memories.

But lets talk about the food, the vegan food. We went there by ourselves, with no friends in the city or somebody to help us with the places to go. All we had was a map and the website Happy Cow. It was the first time we were consulting it too.

First day, we took some notes and went out. The restaurant we went that day was a macrobiotic one, called Grand Appetit. When we arrived there, a woman helped us because we don't speak French. She said we did a great choice, that the restaurant was amazing. We asked the most popular meal and took a seat. What can I tell you? I think I am not a fan of macrobiotic food. Not at all. Neither my husband. If you like this kind of food, probably it's really the best place to go (it has always great reviews at Happy Cow). Well, coming back to our adventure, that day we left the place still hungry and stopped at a small and nice store (close to Pompidou Museum) and we bought tons of vegan food to take to the hotel.

On our second day, we decided to try our second option in our precious list: La Victoire Supreme du Coeur. This place is absolutely amazing! It is top 1 at Happy Cow and I have to agree with them. The place is beautiful and fine. And the food is amazing! They have many options of vegan food and desserts and the best thing: they're opened at lunch and dinner time (until 22h30), everyday. And I saw now, checking their website, the place is now bigger and they have more vegan options. We went there the rest of the days we spent in Paris, to have lunch and dinner. If you go to Paris, you must go there at least once!

Hope we can come back to Paris soon and have more tips for you in here ;-)

Monday, 1 December 2008

Cooking with pleasure - Pics

Yesterday was an awesome day and I decided to cook. Nothing special, but we enjoyed our lunch!

Red peppers with soy + roasted french fries

Rice + beans + red peppers with soy + roasted french fries

Rice and beans is a typical Brazilian mix

Friday, 28 November 2008

All about... cheese

When I decided to be vegan, I knew that the hardest part would be the cheese. I didn't eat too much meat, but I was addicted to cheese and everything with milk. Cheddar, mozzarella, cream cheese, milk with chocolate, ice cream, etc. But I always loved cheese. But, as everybody knows, being vegan is a matter of choice. Choose between eat without cruelty or eat because of the taste is one of the choices we must do. And I chose being vegan.

Of course it wasn't that easy, but it was worth it. And I got used to eat things with no cheese (or milk) and I was happy with my decision. I think if you're vegan and you're not fine with this, you continue suffering because what you don't eat, you should think again about everything. So, my life was like that for many years. Years without cheese.

One time a friend that went to Europe gave me a piece of vegan cheese. It was the first time I ate cheese in 5 or 6 years. And it was awesome! Sometimes people ask “Why do you want to eat something with the taste of something you don't eat?”. It's simple to me: I'm not vegan because of the taste of food. There are a lot of food that is really good, but I'm always putting it behind my choice. Being vegan is more important. So, if there is a food that tastes good – yes, even like cheese – and that is vegan, I will love it! So, I was really happy to try my first peace of vegan cheese.

After that, I stayed other years with no cheese. And it was fine too. In 2004 I went with my husband to Europe and could eat different kinds of vegan cheese in London. I was like a small child with candies. Couldn't stop eat them! I remember that when I came back to Brazil I wrote an article for a newspaper called “Alice in Wonderland”. Of course, it was about me being in Europe. And here I am, again. And, yes, I still feel like I am Alice in Wonderland. In Dublin they have basically all vegan products made in U.K., so it's really easy to find vegan stuff. If I eat cheese everyday? Yes, I do. Not everyday, but almost. It's so great I can eat cheeseburger, lasagna, sandwiches with cream cheese, etc. The only food I think that is really perfect even without cheese is pizza. I love the marinara pizza (you can read more about pizza here). Of course I want to try a margherita pizza some day, but I'm fine with the options we have here.

Well, living in this heaven of vegan cheese, I thought I was a little bit crazy being so happy with a small thing like that, but these last days I realized something: all my vegan friends in Brazil are crazy about vegan cheese too. Every time I'm chatting with somebody I read “When you come to Brazil, could you bring me some (vegan) cheese?”. Nothing about clothes, or perfumes, or CDs, or vinyls... Just (vegan) cheese!

So, I have to say that (Brazilian) vegans are happier with (vegan) cheese in their lives. Should I start to sell them instead of being a journalist? I think it would be like selling Brazilian beans here ;-)

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Cooking with pleasure

As I wrote here before, I'm not a great cook. Neither my husband. We like to cook sometimes and I just know how to do (fine) a few things like lasagna, pasta, sandwiches and cakes. But some days we are really inspired to cook and this is the best thing.

Nobody needs to love to cook to do it. Most of the times you need to cook (because you need to eat, of course!). Or you can choose to always go out to eat. We enjoy eat at home even when we aren't inspired to cook something special. I admire those people that love to cook. It's a talent. My sister-in-law is one of these people. Every time she goes in the kitchen we can expect great food and dessert. And I have a Brazilian friend that is like that too, but she cooks more food for parties (like snacks and sweeties). Not that we just eat them at parties, we used to go to her house every weekend to watch movies, chat and eat those delicious things. But when she cooks for parties is even better. Last week she did cakes and small sweeties for a reggae party. Everything yellow, green and red! Amazing. I wish I could be there.

Well, the thing is that after I started this blog and after I have had more time at home (I'm not working yet since we moved), me and my husband are reading more about recipes and watching some TV shows about cooking. And it's so inspiring! So we decided to try to cook more things we like. It will not be some kind of obligation because the best part is to make it with passion and having fun. Yesterday was a bad kitchen day. I was so excited to cook my classical pancakes and none of our frying pans worked. It was so frustrating. I got pissed off and we just ate junk food during all the day. But today was a great Sunday with my husband in the kitchen! He decided to go out to buy some special things and he cooked an awesome pasta that he called Penne alla Ferrari. I helped a little, but he did the hard work. And we have had a great time cooking together and an amazing meal!

So, this is our deal: we will experiment lots of recipes every day we feel inspired to cook. And we already have 3 recipes to start: Rice balls from Brazil Nut, pizza from What The Hell Does A Vegan Eat Anyway? and Polpettone from the Italian Veganblog! Thank you for all these inspiring blogs and I'll let you know our experiences some day.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

A beautiful horizon or just Belo Horizonte

I was born in Belo Horizonte (in English it is “beautiful horizon”), a city of Brazil that has approximately 2 million people living there. When I say that to people here in Europe, everybody says it's a big city. Yes, it's big but not that big when we talk about Brazil. Anyway, it's the capital of our beautiful state, Minas Gerais. I like the city, but there's nothing so special there to me... And it's not that easy to be a vegan girl there too. Well, it's getting better, but still far way from perfect.

Vegetarianim/veganism is not that popular in Brazil yet. I say “popular” not meaning a fashion thing, an option that people find to be more healthy. It's just not easy to meet vegetarian/vegan people or find food or products to buy at supermarkets. I thing the worst thing is still going out to eat. There are just a few options and most of them just open during the day. The best thing to do at night is going to some friend's house and cook some stuff there (that's what we used to do almost every weekend!). And when we go out and try to ask about the ingredients it's a nightmare. People just don't understand why you want to know it or why you (these freak people) don't eat meat, cheese and eggs. I will not write today about the most common questions and comments we are used to listen to in this post (this deserves another post!) but I have to tell you the weirdest story about questioning the ingredients happened to us, me and my husband, last year when we decided to call the delivery service of a big pizzeria. We just asked about the ingredients because in Brazil they (many times) use eggs or milk. And we got this answer: “Sorry, we can't tell you the ingredients of our pizza because it's a secret recipe.” What? ? ? As far as I know there are not a lot of recipes of pizza. It's not the secret recipe of Mr. Krabs's popular Krabby Patty burgers (yes, I do watch SpongeBob SquarePants)! But the most used thing people do to us is to lie or just say what they think it could be in the food. They say that there's no milk or eggs or meat. So we had to start to say we're allergic to these products to make them tell the truth (or to be afraid of lie I suppose) and this is so sad.

But, as I said before, things are getting better. There's a fancy area in the town called Savassi and there we can find good places to eat. The first awesome initiative I saw there was in a fast-food place that sells Arabic food (falafel, sfiha, hummus, baba ghannouj, etc). We used to go there to eat falafel and sometimes the manager was there and talked to us. We (and other friends that use to go there) always asked for more vegetarian/vegan options and we tried to explain him how was the vegan diet. Well, one day we saw that the place was closed. We just got in panic. But it was just a refurbishment. When they reopened we were there and we had a great surprise: they did a new menu with more vegan options and they have written “vegetarian” and/or “vegan” right by certain products. Does it seems stupid and natural to you? I have to say that in Brazil most of the places don't do that. So it was like a victory to us, vegan people from Belo Horizonte.

Even about fast-food, the best option it's called Piper Rubra. They serve a great salad buffet and have also burgers (try the pumpkin with curry one, it's amazing), pizzas and falafel balls.

There's just one restaurant I really like. It's not the only vegetarian option, but it's the best for sure. It's a thai food restaurant, a pay by kilo self-service. Really, really awesome. I miss going there. This is probably one of the few places I miss in Belo Horizonte.

And to finish, a tip about a place to take açaí (remember my post about it here): Ponto do Açai. There you can try açaí with strawberries. Perfect!

That's all about my beautiful city for now!

You can find some places contact (in Portuguese) at Gato Negro website.

Pics credits:
Belo Horizonte view: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rafafonte

Piper Rubra pizza: http://www.gato-negro.org

Saturday, 15 November 2008

All about... my father

Today is my father's birthday. And it's the first year I'm far away and can't celebrate with him. But I will do here a small homage to him, to a man who always helped and supported my choice of being vegan.

When I told the news that I would stop to eat meat at home, it was not a big surprise because I have never been a big fan of meat. So my mother said something like “what's the big deal?”. Than came the second part: I would stop to eat (and use) all kind of animal product. Well, this was a big surprise and something they couldn't understand at that time. For the first one or two years, my father thought it was a kind of “rebellious attitude” that was coming with the punk/hardcore lifestyle. He used to say that it wouldn't last for a long time. Even without understanding (and believing in my choice) he started to help me. First, I was still living with them at that time, so he (and my mother) started change some small, but important things to me, at home. Everything that we could eat together (like pasta, margarine, biscuits) they started to buy the vegan option of (oh yes, pasta in Brazil usually has eggs). And many times he was going to the supermarket, he was coming back with something that he discovered (reading the ingredients) that was vegan.

He has never let any of his friends or our relatives make funny (and stupid) jokes about the vegetarianism. Every time we have been out to eat, he always talked to the manager of the place to ask to some vegan options for me. Every party he did at home, there was lot of food for me. This may seem not a big deal, but most of my friends hadn't the support of the family when they decided to become vegetarian or vegan. And he was there, for me. Trying to make my choice easier in a city and in a time when there weren't many vegan options around. When people didn't even know what was veganism. He was one of this people too. He didn't even know how to explain my choice. When people asked him if his daughter was vegetarian, the answer was always “she is more than vegetarian, she doesn't eat nothing that comes from animals”. This was the way he found to explain the veganism. And I couldn't be more proud.

Today he's celebrating his birthday with friends and family in his house. And I am here. And I will have a big and great vegan salted cake to celebrate!

Happy Birthday, daddy.
And thank you for always being by my side.

PS. 1 I will have to translate this post to him, but it's worth it.

PS. 2 Today is also the birthday of a great vegan Brazilian friend. Clarissa, we will celebrate this day together in Berlin soon!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

All about… places

I love to travel. Probably this is something that most of the people loves too. But as a person who loves to write about food, I think I have some different ways to see things. And one example of this is what I like to see and visit while I am travelling.

I like to go to all tourist places. I love to see the buildings and the architecture, mainly here in Europe that everything is so different from Brazil, a new and poor country. And I love to visit the churches, they are wonderful. And the thing I like most is going to parks and gardens (top 1). The second thing is going to restaurants! This couldn’t be different, right?

From every city I have been, I have a memory of a place. Not always good, but memories. Sometimes I think it’s funny and silly because when people ask me about some places to go to, I have a tendency to talk about restaurants or somewhere related to food. I have to stop my thoughts before open my mouth! But I think I’m not the only one. Most of my vegan friends have always some kind of “food tip” to give too! For example, I have never been to Berlin, but I know that when I will go there, I must go to a fast food place that has the best vegan “chicken cheeseburger” ever and another place that has the best vegan cup cakes ever. This is almost everything I need to know about what I have to visit there!

Well, I could write here many tips of many cities, but I prefer do it separately in other posts because each city has a history that comes with the food or the places. I will finish this post with a general on line tip, which helps us (me and my husband) a lot in our food-experiences-around-the-world: http://www.happycow.com. It’s a vegetarian guide that has restaurants locations in USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Hong Kong and Singapore. And the best thing about this website is that it has a lot of people opinions and you can compare and know if the place is what you expect or not.

By the way, for those friends that access this blog, you will have some vegetarian/vegan tips of the places I have been too! Enjoy it ;-)

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

All about... being vegan

Many people can think that is a silly thing create a blog to write about food. But I don't care. Food (and drinks) are a good part of my life and I feel good writing about some happy experiences I have with them. And the mainly reason for that is because I am vegan. Being vegan doesn't mean live to eat or to drink. But certainly means care more about what to eat or to drink.

I've been vegan for the last 11 years. Before that I used to think about food to decide what I liked or not. It was easier and it was sillier. And I just realized that when I started to read and talk about being vegetarian/vegan. We are responsible for the world we live in. And I always wanted a better world. Maybe because of that I started to go to hardcore/punk shows and it was there that I started to think about vegetarianism/veganism too. At that time it was normal to know a lot of people that cared about this. It was easy to find books and flyers about it. But even having a lot of information, it's not an easy decision. Being vegan is not just about what to eat or not, it's a lifestyle. You have to change basically everything in your life. But many, many kids at that time took their decision based on just fit in a group. And today most of them are not vegan anymore. Most of them are not even vegetarian. And I don't understand that. Probably I don't want to understand. In fact, I can't do nothing about that because they are decision of other people. But I can be sad. In the same way I'm happy when I see somebody giving the first step to be vegetarian/vegan.

After 11 years, I continue to believe that I'm doing the right thing. That I'm trying to make this world a better place to live. No, I can't change the world. But I can do something to make it better. Being vegan is not the only thing to do, far way from that, but it is one thing to do. To care about the world we live is something that is a part of my life. And it's not just about being vegan. It's about fight for what you believe. And because of that I decided to be vegan. I decided that I can eat without causing suffering, without murder. I decided that the taste is not the best reason to choose my food. And I realized that it's worth it. A lot. Because after all these years I can consider myself a person who eats well, who enjoys food and who still has a tasty food, like everybody. But I can do it without giving up something I really care about. And this is so awesome!

Being vegan is not just about the food. But this blog is and I hope I can inspire some friends with my small thoughts and experiences. I hope some people can just see how great is eat well being vegan, that we can eat most of the things that everybody eats.

And the best thing about it is that even if in the hardcore/punk scene it's not cool anymore being vegan/vegetarian, the world is bigger than that, and I see everyday more people trying to fight for a better world.

One by one, day by day.

(Pic: Vegan Kebab - Juice Vegetarian Restaurant - Dublin)

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Happy World Vegan Day!

World Vegan Day is a vegan holiday celebrated since 1994 on November 1st, the anniversary of the creation of The Vegan Society.

Some links:

In Portuguese:


Friday, 31 October 2008

A cup of tea

This post starts whith a little piece of the wonderful book P.S. I Love You, by Cecelia Ahern:

"Holly took a sip of her tea. Oh, the wonders of the magical tea, the answer to all of life's little problems. You have a gossip and you make a cup of tea, you get fired from your job and you have a cup of tea, your husband tells you he has a brain tumor and you have a cup of tea...."

She is an Irish writer, so I suppose that also here people love tea. Maybe an English heritage, I'm not sure. I also love tea. When I was younger, my parents used to make chamomile tea at home. Just after some years I started to try other flavors. But I don't know a lot of people that really love tea. Most of them prefer coffee or juice or Coke... Maybe because it's too hot in Brazil most of the time, so it's not that great thing to drink something hot everyday... If there is somebody that reads this blog and doesn't like tea, please tell me why!!

Well, the fact is that I really think that a cup of tea can give you some minutes of happiness. Yes, I have this theory about other drinks and food too. Why not? It's so good when you can bee happy with all these small things... Of course there's nothing magical in it or you will have no problems after drinking or eating something, but I like the feeling, just that.

So, here I am, at the beginning of my first winter in Europe. It's really cold outside and I started to drink some cups of tea everyday. A simple cup of tea warms me up. It's really, really a good feeling. And there is another good thing: I drink less coffee. Mainly at night, when the coffee make you feel sleepless.

My favorite flavor is berry, in general... Raspberry, Strawberry, Loganberry. All mixed work better. One cup in the morning, another one at the nigh. Simply like that.

Maybe you can join me for a cup of tea someday!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Small packages of happiness

I don't know exactly why (my friends can help me with this question), but a vegan person usually cares more about food and can be happy talking about food, going out to eat some good food or just finding a new vegan option for some kind of food. Maybe this kind of thing just happens in Brazil, because it is always hard to find vegan stuff there. Nowadays it's easier, mainly in big cities like São Paulo, but it's still worse when you compare it to most of the European or American cities.

So, because of that, my mother-in-law started to send to us (my husband and I) some packages when we still lived in Brazil. Those packages usually had pates, nutella, mayonnaise and chocolate dessert. Every time one package arrived, it was a reason to be happy.

And now, since we have moved to Europe, we have decided to do the same thing for our best friends in Brazil. Of course we can't send all the stuff we want, like vegan cheese or ham, because they need to be refrigerated, but we can send the same kind of things we used to receive from my mother-in-law. And the best thing is that in Dublin we have different stuff, things we don't have in Italy and vice-versa. So we can send different packages each time.

Yesterday one of my best friends received one of these small packages and when I talked to her I just confirmed that they really are small packages of happiness and it's so great that such a small act can make your friend's day better!

I wish I could have the money to send them every month to all my best friends, but I will keep on doing my best to give them, time to time, a small reason to smile.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Lunch time

After some days in Italy I realized that my husband's family hasn't the habit of eating food at lunch time. When I say food, I mean real food, not sandwiches or something like that. In Brazil, being vegan/vegetarian or not, people use to eat more at lunch time. I don't know if it is something cultural or if just my family and friends are used to that, but most of the people I know are used to do like this. We don't go to coffee shops or fast food places to have a fast lunch. We have one or two hours to spend away from work and we go home or to a restaurant.

First I thought it could be just in Italy, but here in Dublin it's the same thing. When we go out for lunch, we see lot of people at coffee shops or fast food or take away places. Some of them buy food (salads, for example), but must of them eat sandwiches. And also because of that they don't go home. There is no reason to go home in the middle of the day just to eat a sandwich, isn't there? Sometimes we do eat sandwiches, but not as a regular meal. Just those days when we have no time or no mood to cook something. To me lunch is the better and bigger meal. It's the time we eat more. It's the time to eat pasta, risotto, lasagna, rice and beans, the Brazilian feijoada (yes, there's a vegan version of this dish too). It is also the time to eat a dessert after the meal if you want.

Nutritionists and doctors say that the breakfast or the lunch are the most important meals you should have because you have to spend a lot of energy during the day. I never saw anyone saying the dinner is the right time to eat as much as you can. Because after a few hours, you go to sleep. Full. And this is not good. But I think maybe this is just a Brazilian way to see things. Here (and in Italy too) people eat more at dinner. When I was in Italy I started to eat more every day because we kept my Brazilian style of eat food during the lunch time and adopted the local style of eat food at dinner time. Which means, tones of food most of the days! Now I have my own place in Dublin and we're back to my Brazilian way. My husband has lived with that for the last 4 years and he likes it!

And I really think we're the minority here that goes to a supermarket to buy food to cook at home for lunch time. And I will keep this way as much as I can!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Everybody loves pancakes

The first time I ate pancakes wasn't so much time ago. I don't remember when exactly it was, but it was after I became vegan, for sure. My family has not the habit of eat them. Moreover, they don't eat lot of things. My father is more open to try, but just him. I don't know from who I got this love for food and new experiences... Well, the thing is that I tasted the pancakes when I was living with a friend that is vegetarian and she had a vegan recipe! And it is so easy to do!!

The American style of making pancakes usually has honey or chocolate syrup on top. But in most countries of South or Central America, we have a different way to make them. They are usually salted and, while also having eggs or milk or both, are rolled and served with a filling of meat or chicken. Another difference is that we eat them at lunch or dinner and not for breakfast.

After this good friend taught me how to do them (in the South America style), I have never stopped cooking and eating them. The best thing is that you can fill them with different kinds of sauce! And to fry them is always fun too! It's an awesome food to cook to your friends or family. Well, maybe not for mine, but this week I cooked pancakes for my husband's family. They had never eaten them before and they loved them too, as all of my friends that tried my vegan pancakes before!

I cooked some salty pancakes first, with a sauce made of tomatoes, tofu, sausages and a kind of soy milk cream! These ones I suggest you to eat closed, filled with the sauce. Very, very good!! And to finish, I cooked some to eat as a dessert. We ate them with vegan ice cream and chocolate syrup and my husband's sister ate a pancake with two different flavors of fruit jelly. The sweet ones you can eat either opened or just folded in the middle. It's up to you!

I can tell you that pancakes are a guaranteed success!
Try to cook some for your friends or family, then tell me if they liked them.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

I just want chocolate!

Today I started singing this Brazilian song, from Marisa Monte, which says “Chocolate, chocolate, eu só quero chocolate...” (Chocolate, chocolate, I just want chocolate..). Maybe because I really just want chocolate. I read a lot of times that a piece of chocolate brings happiness. If it is scientifically proved, I don't know, but I feel happy eating some pieces of chocolate. Some studies say that the pheniletilamina, that we can find in pieces of milk or dark chocolate, stimulates the production of serotonin, known as the "molecule of happiness". So it may be possible that the happiness we feel is not just psychological.

Since always I'm in love with chocolate. Before becoming vegan, I probably had tried all the existing chocolate kinds I could buy. And I'm pretty sure that I have never found a piece of chocolate that I didn't like. There are some I like less, like the white chocolate, but it's impossible not to like it. Well, to be sincere, it is possible. I know some people around the world that don't like chocolate at all, but I think they have a kind of (taste) problem!! Well, back to the point, for the last eleven years, I had my experience limited to dark chocolate. It was hard to find vegan chocolate in Brazil and I don't know how to cook “bombons” (small balls of chocolate, usually with some cream – of fruits or peanuts or hazelnuts or walnuts – inside).

But this year has been awesome and I have not just one but two friends that cook delicious “bombons” and I couldn't feel better! I ate lots of them before leaving Brazil. Now I miss them (the food and both friends!), but I found some different and new chocolates to prove here. In Italy it's pretty easy, if you see the word “fondente”, the chocolate is vegan. And there is one brand mark called Ritter that has the best one: fondente chocolate with peanuts. And the best part: you can find them at almost all supermarkets around! Well, in Switzerland you can find all kinds of chocolate you want everywhere. And in Dublin, well, I talked about Dublin in my last post... I just found the best chocolate bar ever! Ah, I found a white chocolate one in Dublin too. One of my friends, the one that makes the awesome bombons (including the paçoca ones which I will have to write about some day because paçoca, as açaí, is something you can just eat in Brazil) bought a lot of white chocolate pieces when she lived in Berlin and gave some to us. I was more curious than excited, but I liked it. So we decided to buy more in Dublin. But it's not the same good sensation... And I read these days that the white chocolate, because it doesn't contain cocoa mass, doesn't promote the positive effects as the milk and dark ones. One more reason to keep up with them ;-P

Another good thing about the dark chocolate: recent studies say that it is great for of the heart and blood pressure. But, of course, in small doses.

And if you think you are a chocolate addicted, you're not alone (neither am I). In an interview for the magazine "Health", the American nutritionist Kristen Bruinsma revealed that 15% of men and 40% of women have this behavior. And, yes, women usually are more addicted to sweet stuff too.

So, try to control yourselves, my good friends!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Much more than potatoes

Last week we went to Dublin, Ireland, to spend five days. Before going, I had two different ideas in my mind: First: We could find a lot of vegan stuff there, because the country is close to England, the vegan paradise, or, second: we wouldn't find anything good and we would stay five days eating just potatoes, because Ireland is famous because of that! And I was fine with both ideas, even the second one, because I love potatoes too.

Well, after a search on Internet, we found some addresses to go first and try to find vegan food. The first restaurant we went to had nothing vegan. Sad... So, we decided to go to a store called Nourish, to buy some stuff to eat back at the hotel. There we found tofu, mayonnaise and sausages. And the best thing, which would make our days the happiest in Dublin: a nice girl who worked there and gave us lots of addresses of places that have vegan food!! Everything in the heart of Dublin center.

I couldn't feel better. The first place we went to have lunch to is a small and charming restaurant, with a take away style, called Blazing Salads. It has salads, for sure, but much more: hamburgers, pizza, snacks. We tried pizza, snack and an organic cola soda that is pretty good. Awesome! Then I saw a chocolate bar with “vegan” written in big letters, just the best hazelnut nougat chocolate ever! After that, we went to another Nourish store, bigger, to buy our dinner. And there we could find one of the best vegan stuff: fake cheese! We don't have vegan cheese in Brazil, neither in Italy, so this is really great. Of course we went to this store all days and bought all kinds of cheese we found: mozzarella, cheddar and cream cheese!! What I thought that could be the potatoes days turned out to be our cheese days!

We still went to another vegetarian restaurant called Govinda's (it's the same kind of restaurant we went the first day where we didn't find anything vegan, but there are lot of these in Dublin and the food is different from one to another, I don't know why). It is a big place with Indian and Krishna food. You pay a fix value and they give you a big plate with great food! Some people have told us that food in Dublin is expensive, but I don't think so. It's much cheaper than in Brazil and it comes a lot and it is delicious!

On our last day in Dublin we came back to have lunch at Blazing Salads, we bought more chocolates and we went to Nourish too to buy some cheese to bring to Italy so that yesterday I could cook an awesome vegan lasagna, with ham and cheese!

Thanks, Dublin, we love you and we will be back!!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

French fries (always) save the day

Since I became vegan, it's not so easy to find food everywhere. Some years ago it was worst and I was used to eat just french fries when I went out. That is not a problem because I love them, but during the last few years I have been having more options and I just eat them when I really want to. Of course, the best choice is always the combo hamburger + french fries + coke, as I told you some posts before ;-)

Last weekend we went to Switzerland to watch a hardcore show. It was happening in Luzern, but we decided to stay in Zurich (it's just one hour away). We just left our stuff in Zurich and we decided to hang out in Luzern before the show. My friends always say that there is a lot of vegan food in Switzerland, but we did a search in Internet before traveling and we couldn't find any vegan/vegetarian restaurant there...But we decided to go and try to find something to eat at least.

We arrived to the center of the city and we went to a chocolate store (oh yeah, swiss chocolate is really very good! I just can speak for the vegan ones, but you can figure out the rest!), we bought a piece and we decided to ask about some places to eat. At this point we knew we couldn't find a vegetarian place, but we were looking for some fast food or, at least, french fries! I asked the girl that was working there, in english. They speak German but usually in touristic places most of the people also speaks English. Well, not at all. That girl couldn't help us. But she asked to a woman that was buying some stuff there and she told me she could talk to us... in English, of course. So, I did my magic question: Hey, do you know where we can eat some french fries? She smiled and answered Yes, there is a really good place close to here! You need just to walk five minutes and you will find the best french food of the city! Is that what you want, right? Well, I didn't know what to say!!! She was so nice that I couldn't just tell her what french fries really are. We just said thanks and walked away.

We saw the center just thinking that we would have had to wait to eat at the show... But after some time walking around we found a place that had french fries!! It was a relief because I couldn't believe it could exist a city in the world that didn't have them!


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