Sweet Tea and Tacos

A Family's Hilarious Journey into Plant-Based Eating

March 25, 2024 Sweet Tea and Tacos
A Family's Hilarious Journey into Plant-Based Eating
Sweet Tea and Tacos
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Sweet Tea and Tacos
A Family's Hilarious Journey into Plant-Based Eating
Mar 25, 2024
Sweet Tea and Tacos

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Embark with us, your hosts of Sweet Teen Tacos, as we recount the unexpected joy and hilarity of our family's adventure into the world of plant-powered eating. After a heartfelt challenge from a loved one, we find ourselves in the throes of vegetarian gumbo and vegan cheese escapades, sharing the ups and downs, including our kids' surprisingly keen palates. Through laughter and the occasional snoring of our Scottie, we invite you to a no-holds-barred discussion on the health perks we're eyeing, like a dip in cholesterol and a leaner waistline, and the real talk on steering clear of additives—all served up with a generous portion of sincerity.

Without missing a beet, we tackle the nuances of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, from autoimmunity-friendly label reading to the art of smoking celery root. Our friend Devon sparked a biscuit challenge that has us scrambling for plant-based shortening, and we're spilling the beans on the results. So, pull up a chair and let's chew over the ins and outs of crafting a diet that's as colorful as our conversation. Whether you're a seasoned veg-head or just veg-curious, join us for a sizzling episode sure to satisfy your appetite for both food and fun.

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Embark with us, your hosts of Sweet Teen Tacos, as we recount the unexpected joy and hilarity of our family's adventure into the world of plant-powered eating. After a heartfelt challenge from a loved one, we find ourselves in the throes of vegetarian gumbo and vegan cheese escapades, sharing the ups and downs, including our kids' surprisingly keen palates. Through laughter and the occasional snoring of our Scottie, we invite you to a no-holds-barred discussion on the health perks we're eyeing, like a dip in cholesterol and a leaner waistline, and the real talk on steering clear of additives—all served up with a generous portion of sincerity.

Without missing a beet, we tackle the nuances of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, from autoimmunity-friendly label reading to the art of smoking celery root. Our friend Devon sparked a biscuit challenge that has us scrambling for plant-based shortening, and we're spilling the beans on the results. So, pull up a chair and let's chew over the ins and outs of crafting a diet that's as colorful as our conversation. Whether you're a seasoned veg-head or just veg-curious, join us for a sizzling episode sure to satisfy your appetite for both food and fun.

Support the Show.

Dave:

And welcome this week to Sweet Tea and Tacos. I'm Dave.

Jen:

And I'm Jen.

Dave:

And this week we're talking about kind of a new adventure that we've had. We've been on of eating vegetarian.

Jen:

Yeah, kind of vegetarian and a little bit vegan. It's been a real adventure.

Dave:

So we had a family member encourage us to try it for a number of reasons, and so we have, and it's been an adventure. The funny part is one of the first times talking to somebody about it, they were asking what we'd been up to cooking wise, and I told them and the response was but your foodies. And I thought that was an interesting response. You know, kind of like what did that mean? What did that mean? Well, your foodies. So you must, you need to enjoy meat, and we do. But this was a, this is a something we've been doing, you know, to try and as an adventure in cooking and trying new things, to be more helpful.

Jen:

Right, and I think you know just if we can reduce some cholesterol, or I'm not sure exactly what benefit we were looking for we were hoping maybe to lose a little weight. I don't think that's really happened yet, but no, I think for me it's more of a.

Dave:

you know, I think the standard American diet is probably more 80 meat, 20 vegetable, and it could probably be more 80 vegetable 20.

Speaker 3:

Oh easily easily.

Dave:

Yes, so you know we're trying to. It's more of a goal. You know, I think if you set your sights on, you know, veganism, it's a little more easy to hit vegetarianism than if you hit vegetarian, you don't have some meat. You know I'll eat some meat tomorrow. I mean, you know you really aren't doing it.

Speaker 3:

So you know we've tried.

Jen:

Yeah, I mean I'm fine sticking with it for a while I you know I mean you know what I'm dealing with A little bit of anemia that I had anyway, and you know I spent some more time so when I felt like I need to have some red meat just for that. But for most people that's not an issue, right?

Dave:

So the kids have actually embraced it. Yeah, you know. So the first part, you know when you're starting out. That's when we were starting out, I should say Right, and we decided to transition into. Give ourselves a couple of weeks to transition into it Right, yeah, and I think that's really important.

Jen:

I mean, there's no hard and fast rules and everybody's different, but just listen to your body. You know, there's a time or two when I, I guess, maybe like going a week without meat and then I kind of got to shakes one night and just didn't feel good, had to have some, and then, you know, got back on the wagon and went another week or so. You know and it takes a good probably, I would say two or three weeks, to just kind of get it us.

Jen:

Just I wouldn't recommend cold turkey with that, you know right.

Dave:

And you know any kind of change like that. You're gonna, yeah, your body's gonna go through a change.

Jen:

Right if you were giving up grain or you were giving up right now you know, whatever the thing yeah yeah.

Dave:

So you know I don't know preconceived notions. I had going into it that I'd miss meat more than I miss it and I really don't miss it that much.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah.

Dave:

It was more of, Especially when you have to eat out, you know. I mean yeah, yeah we've been trying for a while now not just trying, I mean, we've kind of done this for a number of years. We have been consciously trying to eat clean right and you know, really pay attention to labels, really pay attention to what's in stuff, that what we buy at the grocery store, and then when you go out, it's really hard it is.

Dave:

Um, and I think from a meat perspective, a lot of times you don't know what you're getting, where that meets from. What's how. You know what's it been?

Jen:

raised on yeah Hormones. Has it been Antibiotics and all that whatever.

Dave:

Yeah, so that I really haven't missed the meat, because I don't think it's been like this uber quality Meat exactly and one of the things that, since we've been doing this eating clean, when we did transition to this really high quality meats, they're just really really good right, and to me, that level of Quality, I don't miss the lower quality stuff and right, I mean it, it's a trade-off, like you can.

Jen:

you can say okay, I'm, I'm cool to not eat meat for five days in a row, to then, when I do eat meat once a week, to have this really good organic and grass-fed and whatever.

Dave:

Yeah, so I really haven't missed it.

Jen:

I mean I haven't missed it much either. I mean Go ahead, but I mean to me the hardest part is is just the dairy.

Dave:

Yeah, I mean, I think the challenge first challenge was when you're. You know you're, maybe you're out and about or you can't Pre-pair anything to take with you, trying to eat out vegetarian and not eat a salad, yeah, he's a challenge, yeah and I mean I don't mind salads.

Jen:

No.

Dave:

I can only eat a salad so many times in a wrap.

Jen:

Well, in a salad most salads that are gonna be like, say, from a fast food place, that wouldn't have any meat on them, are not gonna be very filling. They might have a few tomatoes, a few cucumbers and that's about it.

Dave:

But when you're dining out, that's really a lot of times your options.

Jen:

You either eat meat. Well, at least in our area of the country.

Dave:

Eating meat or you're eating a salad. Now you will occasionally find a place that has a vegetable plate. They'll take a bunch of vegetable sides and you can do that as a plate. That's usually your option.

Speaker 3:

That or a salad.

Dave:

We have one or two, or you find maybe a Greek or a Mediterranean restaurant.

Jen:

Right where you could get falafel or some other things Exactly.

Dave:

But in our area we don't have any vegetarian or vegan really specialty restaurants.

Jen:

No.

Dave:

So that becomes a challenge. I think that is also a creative way. I mean, it helps you be creative. All right, what am I gonna do? Oh, okay, well, let me figure this one out. And it's like we're doing it for any kind of philosophical reasons. So if there is okay, well, there's a little bit of meat in there, Okay, I didn't know that. Well, it's not gonna kill me.

Jen:

Right, I mean, we're not gonna just sleep over it. I mean, that's everybody's personal choices, that's just us.

Dave:

And then we were talking. So it's kind of like you know you aim well, if you aim for nothing, you'll hit it every time. So you kind of aim high.

Jen:

Which is, in our view, high, is kind of vegan.

Dave:

Veganism. So you kind of aim for veganism, we figure we'll aim land somewhere in vegetarian world.

Speaker 3:

Right right.

Dave:

So the veganism is hard, though it seems like a small jump, but it's a big job.

Jen:

It is a big gulf and we talked about it. You know, to me it's the butter, the eggs and the cheese. That's the hardest Cause we were already having, you know, like non-dairy milk and stuff around the house, like we had been drinking almond milk for years and even we had gone into buying like cashew ice cream, cashew milk, ice cream and all of that. Coconut milk, ice cream or whatever the thing was. So but yeah, it's wow, it's just difficult to give up those other things.

Dave:

It's sneaky, you know. I mean the milk is a little more obvious sometimes than cheeses that are in things. Butter is probably the thing that's the hardest to part with.

Jen:

Yeah, at least for us. We just love butter.

Dave:

Even though you have good olive oils or we don't even use avocado oil we use good, good olive oil. There's still something about butter and I know there's ghee and there's clarified butter. It's not the same, you know yeah.

Jen:

And we? I mean, there are some vegan butters out there on the market. I don't know. Some of them I haven't been overly impressed with. We haven't like tried a ton, but it's more me. Reading the labels is the thing and I find things like Canola oil and it's like wait a minute.

Jen:

That's not really you know that goes back to our whole. We want to eat clean, right? We just we feel like, you know, canola oil is one of these kind of manufactured oils. It's not very good for you and everything, and so it's like, well, that's a great goal to have Non-animal products, but I don't want to replace it with something like butter made with canola.

Dave:

Right, just doesn't make sense and that was one, I guess, one another preconceived notion that you know, I think we've had or I've had. Where you see Vegetarianism or veganism, you see the replacements and I know some people have a lot questions.

Dave:

Well, if you're giving up meat, why are you trying to replace it with something just like meat, with the flavor and the texture and everything else? And I get it to an extent of trying to replace, maybe, a flavor profile, mm-hmm. But I think and we've talked about this in that with the clean eating clean, I think sometimes, like you said, you get in there and these replacements have a lot of junk in them.

Jen:

Exactly, and it's kind of like what what I like to, you know, make the analogy to is, say, if you were going to have to go gluten-free, yeah, or give up grain. But let's just go with the gluten-free analogy. There's a lot of gluten-free products out on the market and they're getting better every day, but Just because you buy something gluten-free doesn't mean that doesn't have junk in it. It may not have gluten in it, but there's, like you say, a lot of fillers and whatnot you know. And so it's kind of the same world we have found. That's been our experience with this whole vegan, vegetarian thing in like, say, vegan hot dogs yeah, well, you gotta look at the label and there's junk like care, care gene in them, which is maybe not bad in and of itself, but it's bad for people who have autoimmune conditions.

Jen:

Yes, and it can cause inflammation and stuff like that, so it's. It can be tricky.

Dave:

Yeah, you know, and so part of me didn't quite understand the desire to do that and I think maybe I probably understand it a little bit more. But again, I would lean towards more trying to find more Natural ways to do that you know, and I think there's just gonna be some limitations, you're just gonna have to accept.

Dave:

You know some of those limitations, you know I can see finding finding creative ways to say, to replace maybe barbecue, you know, maybe you smoke a Celery root you know I've seen that done, you know and and maybe you throw some Barbecue sauce in there and you kind of make it, maybe shred it up and it looks, maybe it tastes, kind of like a pulled pork profile. I get that, yeah, but using chemicals or like liquid smoke and some of this stuff to Maybe not so much.

Dave:

Yeah, you know that that's. That's where I kind of start having a kind of I don't think you're doing yourself A lot of health benefits that way? Right right you know, and I think now, from a health benefit standpoint I mean we've talked a little bit about it I mean you know the relative, the family member that's done this has had a lot of great benefits. You know we're starting to see some, I know. I think I feel good on it.

Speaker 3:

I feel good eating this way?

Dave:

Yeah, and I do feel a difference when I eat meat.

Jen:

Usually the next day. Usually, you usually have joint pain.

Dave:

Yeah, I usually have some joint pain afterwards, which is something I've dealt with for years. But to me again, I don't miss the meat. Yeah you know, and I mean, I think I can easily do it and, like you know it's, it's just something I think I'll continue with you know, yeah, yeah.

Dave:

I think another thing that was interesting to see is when you cut out the meat, especially if maybe you've been low grain, no grain and maybe you know, we've done that at time and we've kind of continued that a little bit, where maybe we'll just have meat and vegetables and we won't have a bread or a flour or something, or we may not have rice or a pot. Well, when you cut the meat out, you're kind of like I got to replace it with something. So let's have a pasta, or let's have rice and something Right, and that's then I think you can easily overdo that grain part of that.

Jen:

Especially on the wheat, you know I think it becomes a lot of bread and pasta.

Dave:

Yeah, it's easy to do that. Yeah, easy.

Jen:

So I would say, just kind of be careful with that.

Dave:

Right, and then that's where we can kind of go back to the chickpea or the you see alternative pastas.

Jen:

Yeah, there's lentil pastas, chickpea pastas.

Dave:

You know, and trying to find some whole grain rice and I don't think grain's bad. I'll go back to another separate.

Jen:

No, no, no, no, not bad.

Dave:

That's a separate plug. It is I think you know, short story is, I think, the adult duration of what products have been. You know, natural things have been turned into over the last few decades, right, and that probably led to a lot of our problems with these products, you know.

Jen:

They're just not as healthy as they would have been in their original right Thousands of years ago.

Dave:

That's another soapbox to be on. So that was a challenge, you know. All of a sudden, okay, we cut meat out, Ooh, and we're eating a lot of grain now. Let's kind of back that off a little bit, you know yeah yeah, I think there's a lot of great quick things also out there. These days it's a little easier to do that. I think maybe, then probably in the past.

Jen:

Yeah, I mean, there's even, you know, like some frozen meals that are vegan that you know you could heat the microwave or just Again and then there's that are good clean things, yeah, yeah.

Dave:

There's some that aren't, but there's. There are good options, especially where we live. We don't live in a big area for that. If it's available for us, it's probably.

Jen:

It's probably available for everybody, For most anybody yeah.

Dave:

You know, we found some, some vegetable patties, which we like that make a quick vegetable sandwich. You know, instead of a burger. Right right, and it's something that's frozen, you can pop out, throw in a pan, heat up and boom, you got a quick meal for a kid that's hungry, and what we like about them is that they're not trying to be. Meat.

Jen:

Meat, exactly it's, it's, it's what it is. Yeah, you know I mean you can see the vegetables in them and it it gives you kind of that experience of eating a hamburger, but it's not trying to be a hamburger.

Dave:

It's not trying to taste like hamburger. It's not trying to look like a hamburger, exactly. Yeah, and then, you know, I think it's also maybe even helped us be more creative in the kitchen, you know, trying to find like we've done a vegetable gumbo and we've, you know, tried different types of vegetable chilies, you know, and we're doing a lot of pasta sauces with different things.

Jen:

You know we've done vegetarian fajitas, you know, oh yeah yeah, some of our favorites have been actually the vegetarian fajitas and we've cooked those ourselves or ordered out at our local kind of Tex Mex place. The chili's been really good and we've done it. You know a couple of different ways and one time we did it like Cincinnati chili which has some kind of different if you're not familiar with it a little bit different seasonings, like some cinnamon and nutmeg and that kind of thing, and it was outstanding.

Dave:

But then you have dishes that are just naturally vegetarian, right, you know, some red beans and rice.

Jen:

Red beans and rice, yeah.

Dave:

You don't have to put sausage in there.

Jen:

No, and it was fantastic.

Dave:

Great without it, though there's probably some diet hard Cajuns that are not happy with that at the.

Speaker 3:

Moment.

Dave:

No, I like it without it. I mean, I'll be honest, you know, I think it's a combination of finding dishes that are just vegetarian. You don't have to find a vegetarian version of something.

Jen:

Right, right Like the cassoulet. Now I guess traditionally there might be some ham or something in it.

Dave:

Right.

Jen:

But it's very easy to do without We've been making the cassoulet. You don't lose really anything in terms of flavor Right.

Dave:

No, it's just garlic and vegetables and being you know, there you go yeah. You know, breakfast is a.

Jen:

That's a bit of a mixed bag sometimes, yeah that's a mixed bag. I guess you can do oatmeal. Yeah, you know, there's actually a lot of good kind of bars out on the market. I know we talked about processed food but I would say, the little bars you can get are probably better than some of the other processed. Yeah.

Dave:

Yeah, but I mean again, it's either grain heavy or meat heavy.

Jen:

Or dairy heavy, or dairy heavy yeah.

Dave:

So most of the time we don't really do breakfast anyway, and we do, we do it for dinner and we do waffles.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and those are vegetarian.

Dave:

So there you go. But and then I mean, you've done some things. We experimented with a chickpea faux tuna salad the other day.

Jen:

Right, that was kind of one of those whole 30, or maybe it was forks over knives.

Speaker 3:

Recipe, kind of inspired recipe Right.

Jen:

It was actually really good. I was very impressed Right. It gave kind of that same texture profile to me as tuna fish does.

Dave:

It was pretty close, yeah. I mean it's a little heavier, yeah Still, and then we made it kind of the way we always made tuna fish.

Speaker 3:

Right.

Dave:

And it was a very reminiscent taste. I didn't even smell it.

Jen:

Yeah, we put vegan mayo in it and mustard and you know some dill and whatever. It was very filling. It was very good.

Dave:

So it's. You know it's very doable. You know the caveats are you will get surprised at a restaurant, especially if you're trying to do vegan. I know, speaking of our Tex-Mex place, we like to go to oh yeah, you thought you would be safe ordering a bean burrito, right? You know what Bean burrito? I'm just going to go something light, right? It's covered with a cheese sauce. Yeah, okay well.

Jen:

Didn't say that on the menu. Yeah, nothing in the menu.

Dave:

So if you're vegan, that's where it can really get you.

Jen:

Yeah, I guess you have to just really ask hey, is there any dairy in here?

Dave:

Yeah, you do, but then you'd also be I guess we've been a little, I don't know pleasantly surprised at some of the places, Like, hey, can you do this or this? Some of the stuff we've done is not even on the menu. We're like, hey, can you do such as that?

Speaker 3:

Sure, sure, sure yeah.

Dave:

You know, I know I've done that at some places, you know.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Dave:

And then they've been very open to it. So you know, overall it's been really good for a lot of different things and I think it's opened up the kids' minds and our son has really kind of embraced it and he's Mr Workout Health.

Jen:

Yeah, but I think it's made a big difference for him, maybe more than for the rest of us. But you know, he's lost some weight, his skin's really looking very healthy and he, you know, he buys vegan cheese and he'll make, you know, a grilled cheese sandwich, or.

Dave:

With vegan cheese.

Jen:

Yeah, and they like it, they love it, I mean now you gotta get to me, you gotta get a good quality brand. Yeah, watch the fillers and all that. Like we said, there's some good ones out on the market. We were surprised, Like, when we entered this sort of whatever experience, we thought we're not gonna do vegan cheese. I mean, we just had this list of things that we did not think we would go there you know, but we have and you know One thing we haven't done yet.

Dave:

you know our friend Devon. We've talked about biscuits in the past with our friend Devon and we've found we've got the plant-based shortening but we've not done biscuits with it yet.

Jen:

No, we haven't. We need to do that. That's a challenge.

Dave:

That's next on our list of things to make. So, anyway, that's our kind of vegetarian journey where we are and how we got there and you know, hopefully it might be something you'd be interested in trying out. I think it's definitely worthwhile to try and incorporate more vegetables into your diet, if it's by trying vegetarian full time for a while and then maybe going back to where you add a little meat but you're still eating a primary plant-based diet which is a big buzz word right now, right?

Jen:

Or even if you just say oh, there's no way I can do that. Try doing meat-free Monday. Just start with one day a week, or something.

Dave:

You'll be pleasantly surprised, I think.

Jen:

I think so too.

Dave:

So that's it for Sweet Teen Tacos for this week from our kitchen with the dishwasher and some snoring Scotty's.

Jen:

I'm Dave and I'm Jen Till next time Otherwise.

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