The most violent weapon on earth is the table fork.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Vegan in the Bible Belt. Churches & Carrots in Petersburg, Illinois.

 Tempeh.  I so wanted to eat this but this particular Tempeh wasn't gluten free.  It was really nice because people put the ingredients of the packages out next to the food so if you did have an allergy, would be easy to see what exactly was in each dish.

Tempeh is wonderful because you can cook it up super quick.  My macrobiotic friend uses a lot of this stuff.  You can buy it made from all different types of beans/grains & you can buy gluten free as well.

 When I was travelling last week, I was lucky enough to be a visitor at the Petersburg, Illinois Vegetarian Potluck.  I know, it's funny.  Well, it was funny to me, because Petersburg is a very small Central Illinois Town know more for Cattle than Carrot Chics, but on this evening I ran into both!  Getting there was half the fun, as my mom & I were running late and taking back country roads.  When we actually saw "Welcome to Petersburg" and saw a church on the little town square, I exclaimed "There's the Church, that's it".  It wasn't.  Okay, the next block, "There's the church, that has to be it".  It wasn't.  The next block, "That church has to be it".  It wasn't.  We did this at least 5 more times and I think I was in total disbelief that there could be so many churches on one square mile of land!  I think it was the very last church we saw!  The Potluck was at the Petersburg United Methodist Church.  It was a small group of peeps from the Petersburg-Greenview Illinois Area and everyone brought a delicious Vegan dish to share.  Yep, right here in the Heartland, Vegan.  

 An Amazing Fruit Salad.  I could almost live on this stuff.  This stuff along with overeating nuts. 

Several Raw dishes and then several others with Daiya cheese-which isn't at their local IGA!  We ate & then watched a John McDougall show about the evils of  Soy Isolates.  The second part was about Fish (And why it is bad) but thankfully we only had one hour of John.  Don't get me wrong, I do support most of what John McDougall says & think he has done wonders in getting information out there.  But I had this uncontrollable urge to laugh throughout the first 20 minutes of the film as he isn't a super high energy person.  It was a little bit more "teachy" than entertaining and I swear I heard him say to limit bean intake to one cup a day so we wouldn't overdo proteins.  Seriously??  Limit Plant Protein like that?  That's fine, but seriously, this girl is eating avocados & nuts & I can eat gallons of Anupy's Dad's Rajmah, so "limiting" beans was just a wee bit out of my league.  I am much more of a Michael Gregor Girl myself-he is super funny & enlightening.  I do love you John McDougall, but maybe you need some Yerba Mate.  I couldn't stop thinking of how "moderate" he may be in other areas of his life as well & that made me have to try to contain the hilarity of my visualizations of this bean & nut limiter in more intimate settings.

 I couldn't get enough of this stuff.  Raw Vegan Crack.  Sweet, nutty, super yummy.  Who needs candy when you have Raw Vegan foods like this?

 Hometown Comfort Food.  Potatoes & Cheeze (Cholesterol Free/Cassava Root based "Daiya" Cheeze).

 Beta-Carotene Boost.  Another sweet & nutritious dish.  Carrots, Sunflower seeds, Raisins.  
Simple Goodness.

 Yummy Bean & Corn Salad.  Simplify it and used canned beans, but use "Eden Organic" Canned because that way you get yummy Organic Beans that aren't in a BPA lined can.  This dish packed a little punch (which I adored) with the addition of a bit of hot pepper!

 This looked great but this gluten-free chic stayed way.  But very easy to make a summertime pasta dish. Going Whole Grain or even Gluten Free doesn't mean you have to quit your favorite carbs!  Just get Brown Rice (for Gluten Free) pastas or Whole Wheat & use your favorite recipes.  Costs a little more for the Whole Grain pastas, but you are probably a lot less likely to be needing so many medicines if you give up all the refined white flours in your diet.  

LOVED.  I love beans & Vegenaise.  I don't eat Veganaise on a regular basis but how fun to have "traditional" types of recipes and use it.  Once again, look for Beans with BPA free cans if you are using canned beans.

 Another dish with gluten, but just as well.  I would have felt guilty for eating this!!  But, um, YUM.  Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.  The Gluten Peeps got several helpings of this.  I bet it was delicious & can you imagine with coffee......

 Yeah, finally we found the right church!  I couldn't believe that there were so many churches in what seemed like one big city block.  It seemed that there were nearly as many churches as homes in this little area.

If anyone is interested in veggie stuff, then check out the Petersburg Vegetarian Society.  The "Got Carrots" gal hosting is going on an adventure & she is going to need help keeping the Veggie Group going.  Maybe you are just Veg-Curious......I got the general idea that several of the attendees were in it for the "health" of it, but I am sure there are some big time animal lovers in this area as well.  Being "Vegan" or eating a Plant Based diet isn't "hip" or trendy in this part of the country.  But, this part of the country needs these types of events.  There are a lot of people making themselves sick from our traditional American Diet.  I can see where some of the Hallelujah Acres type of information might go over big here because it blends the "God Groove" with the "Heal Oneself" groove and puts Carrots over Cattle.  I really hope this little group will blossom!

Do you guys go to Raw or Vegetarian Potlucks/Group gatherings?  Are you a "Midwest" or "Small Town" Vegan or Vegetarian?  What things do you like about being a "minority" in these places??

I go to the Raw potluck sometimes but often the timings of the Raw of Veggie Potlucks don't fit so well into my schedule.  I am certainly a minority being a full out Vegan in the Midwest.  "Full Out" means I check when it says "Natural Flavor"!  A plus of being a Midwest Vegan is that there aren't a lot of people exploring this diet to be hip or trendy.  It isn't pretentious.  The people I know who are vegan in this part of the country have character.  It isn't like you can walk into any coffee shop and buy vegan desserts to go with your fair trade coffee here.  You have to really believe in it & commit to the lifestyle here because it isn't like you are going to do this because all of your friends are doing it.  So I like the sincerity of people.  It would be awesome to have a raw food or vegan place on every street corner like the West Coast, but I will settle for the "realness" of the people I meet.  People build character when it isn't 78 degrees and sunny everyday!  I think it's great that "veganism" is "trendy" in places as well (the beloved West Coast again), and would embrace living there as well.  But since we are here until.......then I do try to see the bright side!

Anupy Singla's "Dad's Rajmah".  One of my favorite dishes in which I eat way more than one cup of beans.
No one comes between me & my Rajmah.  Sorry John.  Don't forget to "Like" Anupy's "Indian As Apple Pie" Facebook Page because this gal is working on her "Vegan Indian" book and she needs taste testers in the Chicagoland Area.  Yes, Vegan Indian.  WOW!


  1. I so would have loaded my plate with that cheezy potato dish and eaten about 20 of the vegan peanut butter cups!

  2. Looks like a great potluck! I've never gone to one, but have gone to a few meetups in Milwaukee that were at restaurants, then one picnic in Chicago.

    The thing I like about Mike & I being in the minority here is the influence we've had on others. Nobody has gone vegan, but a lot of people we know have really reduced their consumption of animal products.

  3. I'm really interested to read what you have to say about small town vegans. I am NOT - I live in NYC - but I've written a little bit about it and am constantly thinking of writing a longer piece on the "varieties" of vegans. Anyway, I recently found your blog and enjoy it greatly.

  4. Wow, I live in East Central IL and I've never heard of this town. I love to see other vegans outside the metro areas.

  5. @VeganLinda. Maybe you have a vegan meetup near you?? I was pleasantly surprised at the plant based curiousity happening in this little cattle crazed town!
    @VeganFlower. Yeah! It's true about being more influential in these places, since people don't usually know a ton of vegans!
    @Bianca. I would have eaten all the Peanut Butter Cups had they been gluten free, I think I am thankful they had gluten!
    @foodfeud. NYC, my FAVE vegan city. Yes, there are Vegans everywhere. I find I generally really like vegans I meet in the middle of the country, as they tend to be "grounded" and it certainly isn't a "trendy" thing to do. I could totally survive foodwise in the LES though! But not rent wise. I am SUCH a Babycakes SUCKER.