Okay, so Thanksgiving is coming up for my readers down south and I’m sure that many of you are stressing out over how many sides you want or how to time everything and all that jazz. These garlicky greens are easy, really quick, and a great way to get the dark leafy greens into the bellies of your family. Lots of iron, nutrients, and vitamins come in dark, waxy, leafy greens, but so many people hate eating them raw because they have such a distinct taste. But garlicky greens? They are, yes, garlicky, but with a splash of lemon, there’s a lovely little tang that adds a bit of colour to the dark, green mass of health. Yes, healthy is good. But sometimes, healthy is bland. Blah.
That comes with the territory of adopting a healthy, vegan diet. Not the junk food vegan diet, which I admit, I’ve adopted for the past week or so. I’ve been eating veggie “chicken” nuggets, lots of chips and salsa, and english muffins with Daiya cheese melted on top.
On a side note, holy crap, the shredded “mozzarella” Daiya tastes pretty blah at room temperature, but if you melt that stuff down?
MMMM. Stretchy, melty, and cheesy with no indigestion problems for me or you fellow no-dairy or vegan peeps.
Speaking of being vegan, I thought I’d update you on my vegan transition.
So I’ve decided to eat vegan at home, whenever I can when I go out, but in the case that the only thing I can eat has cheese or eggs in it, (or if I splurge at a bakery…), I’m lapsing to vegetarianism.
That probably equates to being 90% vegan.
For you hardcore vegans out there, RELAX. 90% vegan is better than 0%. Or 50%, which I think would account for the typical ovo-lacto vegetarian diet.
I think that veganism is such a weird social concept, where you get judged from both sides of the diet. You get the average joe omnivores who choose to eat meat, eggs, and dairy. Which is totally fine. If that’s what you want to eat, eat it. It’s not my stomach. I would encourage ethical and sustainable sources of those things, but hey. Not everyone can afford that.
But when many omnivores find out that I’m vegetarian going towards vegan, there’s such an immediate negative stereotype that gets stamped on me.
Okay, so last week I wanted to go buy a pair of veg-friendly black shoes/boots that were sturdy enough for gross Toronto weather and wear but still nice enough to work in. I have leather boots right now from my pre-veg days, and I’m not just going to toss them because that’s a waste, I still like the boots. But I do need new ones eventually. So I went to a bunch of different stores with my friend Janelle, and she is super in love with leather. She was all, oh you should go to this store, and that store, blah blah great quality.
Of all the choices at this store and that store, 95% of the footwear I liked was made out of leather and/or it was $150-200. Towards the end, I saw this pair of Doc Martens that I liked but I wasn’t sure if they were made of leather. I asked the sales rep if they were leather, and she said yes, so I put the shoe back. Janelle didn’t hear the answer, so I said, “Yup. Leather. Can’t do it.”
And I hear from the sales clerk, “Oh. Vegan…”
Um. Excuse me?
I shared an “Oh my god did she just say that to me?” look with Janelle and promptly walked out of the store.
I’m not one to cause a scene, but I will write about it passive-aggressively on my blog.
Lady, I don’t care if you eat meat. It doesn’t make you a good or bad person. But slapping a label on me because I choose not to buy leather? That offends me. You don’t know me. You don’t know my motivations.
And you’re a bloody sales rep! You’re literally paid to be nice to the customers. I wasn’t rude to you in the store. I asked you a question about a product, and you answered. With judgement. That is pretty much the opposite of good customer service.
I’m never coming to that store again. Ugh. You jerks.
But back to my point:
Omnivores judge me. Even some of the people you’d think would be happy with my dietary choices would support me, but that’s not always the case.Â So many people go vegan or vegetarian for different reason: there’s ethical, health, and environmental reasons. If for example, I were to say I’d mostly be going vegan for the health aspect (which is in part true), it doesn’t mean that I don’t also have ethical and environmental reasons to do so, but I’ve prioritized it in a way that doesn’t completely align with many of the people who’ve gone vegan for ethical reasons. In that sense, I get judged for not being “vegan enough” or being wishy washy, blah blah.
Cool it people. We’ve all eating towards the same outcome here.
If all omnivores ate just one meatless meal per week, there’s such a significant environmental impact! That’s a 14% reduction in meat consumption per week. That’s huge! It doesn’t have to be every day, but 14% less meat means 14% less of a need for food factories. I am so into that.
So if you are someone who eats vegan or vegetarian for ethical reasons and are all judgey on the people who don’t. Calm yourselves. People eat what they want to eat. Don’t attack them because they don’t reduce their meat and dairy consumption to 0% like you. That just reinforces the negative stereotype. Even a 14% difference, heck a 5% difference is still a difference.
So for your Thanksgiving, enjoy your food. Enjoy your family. Consider having all your sides be meatless. Or not. Whatever. Go meatless maybe once a week, or once a month. It’s up to you.
But I recommend these garlicky greens as a side. Because they’re awesome.
- 1 bunch of fresh, collard greens (or kale, spinach, etc.)
- 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse the greens and cut into strips. Use a salad spinner to get rid of the excess water (or else you'll get soggy greens).
- Set aside.
- Over medium heat, cook the minced garlic in olive oil until softened and just barely tinged brown. (2-3 minutes). If you burn the garlic, it'll turn bitter.
- Add the greens and sautÃ©, turning and stirring frequently so that they're coated in the garlic and oil and the garlic doesn't overcook. The greens will wilt down and be a lovely bright green.
- Remove from pan, then squeeze about 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice over the greens. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Love this post in so many ways. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 17 years now and what peeves me (aside from the really POOR food choices at restaurants) is the assumption that I’m on a “diet” or that I’ve only been a vegetarian for a few weeks and my “innate” desire for meat will suddenly overcome me and send me to the nearest steakhouse. Because, really, who can be a vegetarian for any length of time? Thinking about the salesperson, it’s quite possible they’ve had people throw fits at them for trying to sell them leather boots and they’ve sadly lost empathy. (Doesn’t excuse rudeness, but I can see it happening.) BTW, love greens and I love how simple this is. Too often we clutter the veggies until they’re just a shade on the dish. :)
Lisa Mai says
Thanks for the comment <3 I hope restaurants are providing better food choices now than they did 17 years ago! And yeah, I'm sure they get pretty awful people during the day, good point.
Ann Easterbrook says
Lisa I just love your blog. You have wonderful vegan recipes and as an added bonus you always have wonderful things to share. I so much enjoy reading your thoughts and events. Keep on blogging please. Ann :-)
Lisa Mai says
Thank you so much for the comment, Ann! And thank you so much for reading <3
My boyfriend keeps saying, “If you haven’t offended anyone by 12pm, you probably haven’t been doing much.”
One time, at a potluck, someone was eating one of my cupcakes and commented that it was good, so I mentioned that it was vegan and gluten free. He replied with about as much attitude as he could summon, “Yeah well I’m not a vegan” and walked away. No mention about the gluten free part either.
Or when I was a vegan (for health reasons!!), people would offer me food and I’d tell them I was vegan. They would jump on the defensive and say, “Yeah well I like bacon!”
People just assume you’re criticising them so they feel the need to do it first as a defence mechanism. The sales associate is a small person. Don’t let her bring you down, and as a result giving her any importance she doesn’t deserve :)
Lisa Mai says
Thanks Christina! I agree, in retrospect she must have been very defensive. I don’t try to shame people for whatever food choices they have, but some people take my food choices as like a critique on how they should eat.
Try planetshoes.com. I found this super cute vegan boots on there AND they fit into my budget. I don’t believe I paid more than $50 for them and they don’t feel or look cheap either.
I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’ve been kind of scared to try my hand at garlicky greens. A fantastic restaurant in my city makes THE BEST garlicky greens I’ve tasted BUT I know I can save myself a lot of time and money if I just learn to make it myself.
Lisa Mai says
Thanks Courtney! I’ll definitely check that out, and I hope they turn out well for you =)