I know it's only February but I am ready for spring. I am ready to start planting my new garden for this year. In July of last year I decided to forgo all animals products. To be precise, I have to say I am still eating a slice or two of cheese once a week and maybe an egg but I am weaning myself off that as well. Part of it is learning how to substituted eggs in baking which I love to bake. I've bought two very good vegan cookbooks and the recipes are exiting. I am so thrilled to finally have come to be a vegetarian and hopefully soon a full fledged Vegan. One book is the Veganomicon which is great. I covers nutritional information and well described recipes. I would say that book is a must have.
In general I have always loved rather plain foods and vegetables and fruits have always been on my menu a lot. As a child I had an aversion to milk, meat and butter. I hated it and eventually got used to them considering that I Had TO EAT WHAT'S ON THE TABLE I had little choice. I wonder sometimes if we should ever force children to eat things they don't wan to eat. Milk has shown to be an allergen for many. Meat is often contaminated and contains organism and drug residue that causes illness. What I have changed is that in lieu of meat I eat more vegetables, corn and all kind of rice as well as Quinoa a super grain/seeds that even if you are not a vegan or vegetarian should be on your menu. It is a total protein has all necessary amino acids and tastes fantastic. (Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthful choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.)
A couple of weeks ago I saw my cardiologist for the first time since I went vegenarian. I see him once a year to check on my high blood pressure and cholesterol. he was elated to learn I am off meat and meat products and that I am eating Quinoa. After all the tests I got a clean bill of health. I have lost about 15 pounds so far without changing anything but my eating behavior. I can tell that I am slowly losing fat tissue. By next year around this time I hope to have lost at least another 10 pounds.
So now it's time to think about what vegetables and fruits I am going to plant this year. As usual of course tomatoes, cucumbers as well as squash and cantaloupe. They all done well last year. Oh eggplant too. They also make great models for paintings.
This year I want to add raspberries. I love berries of all sorts and read that raspberries grow well in Georgia. I'll post pictures of my small garden and harvest as time goes on. Here are some last year photos.
Here are some last year photos.
I had a cucumber plant and a tomato plant next to each other and they grew together. Next thing I knwo I get these what I call Cutatoes. A cross between cucumbers and tomatoes. Tasting like cucumbers with a tangy tartness. Pretty good.
I had such an abundance of tomatoes that I made lots of sauces. This will be so great this year again with me being vegetarian. I can't wait to have my own grown tomatoes again.
The yellow tomatoes are less acidic, milder. The cherry tomatoes are sweet and a great snack.
I had lots of different heirloom tomatoes.
As far as taste they are unbeatable.
My cantaloupe grew up a trellis so to speak and did very well this way. I was surprised that they did not fall off. But you do have to keep an eye on them. As they get ripe they will fall off. So check them when they get to look ripe every day and basically pull on the stem they come off easy when ripe. They tasted fantastic. Super sweet!
A view down my tomato plants and to the left my cucumbers and my cantaloupe growing up a trellis.
These are the same beds in May 2008
above in June 2008