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 Post subject: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay vegan?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:23 am 
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And eat healthy?

So due to bad time management I won't be anywhere near a kitchen for the next three months. I'll have access to a small fridge and microwave at work but that's about it. What would you recommend I could go out and buy to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Preferably something I could take on the run? I also have a small cooler I've been lugging around for foods that won't fit the tiny fridge.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:48 am 
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Will you be able to chop things? What's in your area, do you have access to health food stores, grocery stores, places with salad bars, vegan-friendly restaurants? Does your work have a toaster or toaster oven?

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 Post subject: !
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:21 am 
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Can you afford vegan convenience food? The Amy's stuff is pretty good, plus you can get stuff like carrots, celery, peppers, etc... to dip in hummus, and definitely nuts and seeds. Are there any restaurants where you can buy the occasional vegan thing? Canned soup would be fine for microwave lunches, instant oatmeal, bars, grocery store salads, microwaved baked potatoes, how much room do you have in the fridge? I'd regularly buy spinach and just shove it in my mouth for nutrients, but my husband and I have been in a lot of no-electricity situations and learned the hard way that nutrition is key! We have been known to eat Thai kitchen noodle packs boiled over the wood stove with greens and some sort of protein (canned chickpeas, TVP, etc) for protein, and I imagine that can all be done with a microwave. We have never had a microwave but I have used them at work a lot.

I've been known to eat weird cheap meals like microwaved frozen corn with sriracha and nooch at work. Can you get prepared smoked tofu? I know none of this sounds amazing but most of it is pretty decent! You can easily cook quinoa in the microwave too, and if you have an area to prepare veg, you can make sandwiches to your heart's content with veggies, whatever fakey stuff you can or cannot get your hands on, etc.

I've done three months before and you can do it! I found I liked weird things such as instant cream of wheat from kettle water with a shake of salt and a large pinch of nooch. Acquiring a toaster would be a necessity in my case. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:37 am 
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Yes. Absolutely it is.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:37 am 
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Grabbing a toaster and maybe a kettle to leave at work (if you can) would make it possible, at least for me. Add-boiling-water couscous and soup cups, microwaveable instant rice cups (the flavoured ones seem to all have gelatin but I think plain is vegan, at least the minute rice ones), hummus and veggies, hummus sammiches, tomato and vegenaise sammiches (if you're open to leaving the vegenaise at work) some of the microwaveable curry in a bag products are accidentally vegan.... Heck, you can bake a potato in the microwave too.

Grabbing a pile of protein bars to have around in pinch situations would help too. If a friend has a costco membership you can probably get a mixed pack for much cheaper than buying individually.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:48 am 
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You could do overnight oats for breakfast. (Or lunch, or dinner). And like everyone else has said, sandwiches and veggies + hummus are your friends. If you're in the northern hemisphere, you're actually not going to be in too bad a spot as summer is a great time to live off of green salads (nothing wrong with some canned chickpeas!) and fruit/fruit salads.

Could you take a blender to work for smoothies, etc?


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:09 am 
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Adding to the suggestions: PB&J, instant miso soup, lots and lots of fresh fruit.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:38 pm 
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There's also canned refried beans + tortilla and salsa. Or canned baked beans. Those Indian dishes in foil packets are pretty inexpensive, especially if you have an Indian market nearby. Apple sauce cups. Individual boxes of soy milk (so it doesn't take up your valuable fridge space). Cereal (there are a few Kashi Go Lean cereals without honey). Cans of tomato juice. Definitely focus on protein and fresh produce, since it's easy to end up eating lots of crackers and other easy carbs. You could even keep a blender at work and do smoothies.

I pretty much stopped cooking when I was pregnant, though we ate out a lot, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:48 pm 
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A lot of this depends on your budget. It is certainly doable either way, but being able to afford convenience items sure would help.

Would you have room for something like a little foreman grill? You can make tasty quesadillas, veggie burgers, grilled veggies, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:03 pm 
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i'm curious about what you would do in this situation if you weren't vegan- fast food? cup noodles? depending on what you have access to i think we can give you better ideas.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:13 pm 
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You can cook all sorts of things including pasta (and apparently split red lentils!) in a microwave, or steam vegetables, boil water and toast nuts and seeds in there, and make nut milks or creams out of water and nut butter.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:37 pm 
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Some kind of muesli or granola or porridge with lots of dried fruit and nuts in it, mixed with soy yogurt, fresh fruit, soy milk or whatever, can make a filling breakfast or even a lunch.

You can add nuts, chickpeas, nori, presliced mushrooms, dried cranberries, etc. to premade leaf vegetable blends or couscous and use bottled dressing.

Salad bars can be good. The one I go to has vegetables, fruit, beans, tofu, veggie-pâté, olives, pickles, hot peppers, dried tomatoes, green onions, etc., so there is a lot of choice even though not choosing the premade salads (the ingredients of which I cannot know).

Sandwiches are an obvious choice, the easiest probably being with nut butters, veggie-pâté, hummus, smoked tofu or fake meats. You can make them more filling by choosing multigrain breads and adding dried fruit to the nut butter, baby spinach to the pâté, etc. And you can use different bread types not to get too tired: tortillas, bagels...

Crudités that barely need any preparation (like baby carrots, radishes, cherry tomatoes, baby cucumbers, baby sweet peppers, snowpeas, etc.) with hummus or baba ganouj. In supermarkets I find hummus with white beans, black beans, pumpkin, all kinds of things, so nutrition can be varied and one does not get too tired of one thing. Also vegetable juice. Or fruit juice added to soy milk.

Tortilla chips with canned beans and store-bought salsa, guac, sour cream...

Instant potato flakes to which you can add nooch.

Premade polenta with marinara sauce or maple syrup.

Ramen or other instant noodles with edamame, nori, tofu, corn... You can bring some spice mix you like, shichimi togarashi for instance, to liven up some of your meals.

For dessert: fruit, bars, applesauce, yogurt, cookies, chocolate, candy, unfrozen frozen waffles with syrup, store-bought fruit salads, puddings...

A recipe in The Vegan Stoner Cookbook involves baking potatoes in the microwave and filling them with lentil soup and salsa. I suppose sweet potatoes can be baked in the microwave too.

Spring rolls made with rice paper, sprouts, tofu, peanuts, cilantro, baby spinach...

When you get too tired of not eating properly cooked meals, treat yourself in a restaurant if you can. If you do not have easy access to vegan options in restaurants, there are always pizzas without cheese or such solutions that can be better than nothing to bring a change of pace.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:54 pm 
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I used to basically live off of refried beans (or just regular ol' canned beans), tortillas and cans of pickled jalapeno/carrot whenever I didn't bring lunch with me to one of my old jobs, where I made very little money and only had a half hour lunch break; this was the best I could get for a couple bucks at the 7-11 across the street! Maybe it's not the most exciting or the most packed full of nutrients, but it kept me full and wasn't like eating a bag of potato chips for lunch every day or something. I've also done this variation using tostadas or regular tortilla chips to mix it up at other jobs where I've had access to a real grocery store, along with red peppers, avocados and fresh fruit to make it a bit more tasty and balanced. See also: tortas. (I live and have worked in pretty hispanic neighborhoods though, so of course this might be less available or cheap, or delicious...nothing like fresh, locally made tortillas that are a dozen for 25 cents.)

If you live someplace where you can stock up on tofurky slices or marinated tempeh strips, I usually don't buy those sorts of things a lot for home use but I think they're very handy for assembling on-site sandwiches that will keep you full for a while, along with hummus, avocado, pepper and greens. It's kind of gross but at one past job I used to get boca chicken patties and microwave them and add them to wraps...they're definitely a little weird microwaved, but it was the only really protein dense thing like that I could get at the local supermarket, and just hummus and veggies would never keep me full all afternoon!

I've also done a lot of quick oats with soymilk for breakfast at work. If you can find some that are plain (i.e. without waaaay too much sugar added) you can bring in your own container of whatever spices you like, or add fresh fruit and nuts, or just use a bit of jam for flavoring. My parents are always making and sending me tons of jars of home-made jam, which I would never be able to use up if it were not for mixing with soymilk or water before adding and cooking some oats.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:26 pm 
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Maybe you can get some ideas from the book Vegan Unplugged. It's written specifically for people who have to deal with your type of situation. http://www.amazon.com/Vegan-Unplugged-C ... 0980013127

Microwaves are not the ideal cooking device for most types of dishes, but like other people have said, many things can be cooked in a microwave if you have no other option.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:38 pm 
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You can scramble tofu in the microwave too! I learned this from The Garden of Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer. It has a whole chapter on microwave cooking (aimed at college students, but whatever).


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:52 pm 
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I was without a kitchen for 6 months a couple of years ago. I live in northern Cali so it wasn't hard getting salads and fresh fruits. But man was it hard to keep control of the salt and oil content in foods when eating out every single day. And I just missed the discipline and routine of a kitchen. It was super hard but I survived and it was a blip on the radar in terms of my entire life. And there wasn't a moment in those 6 months I thought of non-vegan food.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:00 pm 
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I suppose some options also depend on how much time you have to prepare your meals? I have a half-hour lunch break at my job and I need that to eat enough to last me 5 hours, not to cook potatoes in the microwave while sharing it with coworkers.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:54 pm 
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Great ideas! I need to make my work place more kitchen friendly. Wish we had a bigger fridge.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:03 pm 
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A few more ideas: couscous can be cooked in the microwave (most couscous boxes I've seen have microwave instructions on them); microwaved baked potatoes topped with canned chili (one of the Hormel kinds is vegan, if you live in a vegan desert and can't find Amy's) or beans; tacos filled with canned beans and jarred salsa. Corn tortillas are super cheap, filling, and versatile (just be sure to read the ingredients because some of them have lard).

Having a good condiment arsenal will help. You can mix stuff like PB, soy sauce/tamari/Bragg's, nooch, etc. to add flavor and nutrition.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:41 pm 
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this sums up my college life for 4 years. it's do-able and I existed solely on convenience food (as some people mentioned), salads (bagged lettuce, pre chopped veggies, can beans and salad dressing), and fruit.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it possible to not cook for three months and stay veg
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:38 am 
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Sure you can. My school kitchen only has a fridge and a microwave oven, and I often have several weeks where I eat all of my meals there.. Things I enjoy:

-Instant rice noodles mixed with peanut butter, soy sauce, lime and sriracha. You can basically add whatever vegetables you like!
-Baked beans or other canned beans in sauces!
-Bread with whatever I have around; store bought spreads, hummus, avocados, tahini, peanut butter or whatever you can get your hands on.
-Carrots are good to keep around as snacks. You basically just need to wash them and cut off the ends, and boom!
-Berries and fruit (esp. bananas) are SO easy and delicious.
-Wraps! Sometimes I just keep wraps around and put in whatever I keep around; avocado, sriracha, canned beans, spinach/lettuce, tahini, cherry tomatoes etc. Some places even sell marinated tofu you can just cut into pieces and eat raw! Mmmmm!
-Breakfast cereals/muesli with soy milk is pretty delicious.
-Soy cocoa. Yesssss.
-Keeping juice for mornings is a pretty awesome thing as well.
-Crackers and granola bars! Instant calories!
-You can get stuff like cup noodles and canned soups etc. and eat that when you need the convenience!


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