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Easy Vegan Breakfast and Building My Plant Based Foundations

“Non refert quam multos sed quam bonos habeas.”
It is quality rather than quantity that matters.

– Seneca, Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium, XLV: On Sophistical Argumentation

Choosing not to conform to an omnivorous diet is not something to take easily. I’d go as far as saying that it is one of the most radical and profound reformations of the self that can be made. After all, we are made of what we eat. By changing what we eat we are in a way changing who we are as well. According to where we have lived and grown up in the world, over the decades we’ve moulded into set socio-cultural constructs that dictate the way we view, consume and understand food. Country specific traditions, alongside the development of social practices and living circumstances, play the most important roles in the development of food culture. Many coastal regions for example, where fishing culture is strong and fisheries are common, will feature predominantly fish-based culinary traditions. What we call ‘traditional’ cuisine is a collection of culinary practices developed by sedentary populations over time, to make the most of local resources in absence of imported goods, often also in absence of money, in order to provide food for the family. Traditional cuisine has nothing to do with correct nutritional intake, and everything to do with how, in the course of time, human beings responded to their environment and made use of the resources it offered. It’s quite fascinating, to be honest. We human beings are truly incredible.

chair nanthelyg

We live in a context where traditional cuisine has been exploited, under the influence capitalist culture, to create products of mass consumption and no more reflects the nourishing use of local resources. So choosing to follow a purely plant based diet, when everything in the mainstream seems to contain either meat, eggs or dairy, is seen as radical a decision as going on a hunger strike. This is because consumer society so strongly relies on animal derived foods that when these are removed, there is nothing left but salad, fruit and vegetables. However, the way I see it, I am not denying myself anything at all. I have chosen to leave the safety of what I know, to question the food I was brought up with, to refuse the blind acceptance that a ‘proper meal’ has to include animal derived ingredients. I am fascinated by food culture in the same way as a historian may be fascinated by history: he may read about it, speak of it, be interested in how it developed and evolved, but would probably not want to go back and be a part of it in the past. We have evolved. I don’t need, nor do I want to interfere with another being’s existence in order to satisfy my nutritional and dietary needs. Of course I like tasty, satisfying and nourishing food, and going plant-based has opened a world of flavours, textures, and recipes I would never have imagined trying if I hadn’t. So I’m actually not missing out at all, au contraire, I feel more open-minded and unconstrained than ever before.

leaves

Making the change is difficult, and some of us are more attached to culinary traditions than others. Sometimes, because we are emotionally attached to the memory of things, we find it hard to refuse them as part of our diet. The memories of the coronation turkey my grandmother used to make on Boxing Day, or my father’s homemade Italian beef ragù are still things I fondly remember but I would never, ever eat them now. I feel it’s important to understand the nature of what we are consuming. I see animal derived ingredients as being made of something that has died, or the by-product of another being’s life. They don’t regenerate, they’re the end of a line. Most often, the end of an artificial production line. When you harvest the fruit from a plant, you know that more will grow. I like that. I like to nourish my body and my soul with things that are vibrant, alive, part of a larger, flowing whole of vitality and growth.

chilly breakfast table

Of course, it’s difficult to embrace this choice fully when you’re enveloped in a food culture that strongly relies on animal derived ingredients, so it’s important to have an anchor of safety to grasp to stay afloat when you find yourself in a sea of sausages and buttered potatoes. I chose to make my breakfast my anchor, and it’s the thing I look most forward to eating throughout the entire day.

Easy Vegan Breakfast
for people who like to eat breakfast with a spoon, out of a bowl.

{ Ingredients (makes a bowlful) }

30g flakes of your choice (I use these organic bran flakes, they’re the best I’ve ever had)
100g fresh berries of your choice (I generally have blueberries, strawberries, and sometimes add dried organic cranberries)
1 banana
1/2 tbsp ground flaxseeds, linseeds, or any other ground nut/seed (I find sometimes having roughly chopped hazelnuts or almonds adds a nice crunchy texture)
a generous glug of almond milk (if you don’t have almond milk, try oat milk, it’s delicious and creamy in texture.. if you don’t have or can’t find either, soya milk is widely available but not as tasty)

{ Method }

  1. Get your flakes in a bowl, chop the banana up on top of it and add the berries.
  2. Sprinkle with the ground nuts or seeds.
  3. Glug the milk in and enjoy with a hot cup of lemon and ginger tea.
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