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My name is Lauren, and I live in a small, relatively unknown village called New York City. I grew up in the Midwest, but moved to the east coast to work in urban middle schools, where I tutored and taught writing for three years before leaving to enroll in graduate school. When I’m not reading Karl Marx or writing essays about play-based pedagogy, I love theater, trying new restaurants (and revisiting my old faves), figure skating, ballet and dance, traveling, and exploring “the City.” I’m a big fan of The Office, the Harry Potter series, and anything Irish. Oh yeah, and a little thing called oatmeal.
Oatmeal was my gateway to healthy eating. After an entire lifetime of horrible dietary decisions, I vowed to make some changes to deal with my IBS. Many sites recommended eating more oats, which contain more soluble fiber than insoluble fiber, an important difference when dealing with digestive problems. I started with the instant packages by Quaker and became almost immediately smitten! Around the same time, I moved out of college dorms and started pursuing a Slow Foods diet, so after a few months of Quaker Banana Bread Instant Oatmeal, I switched to making my own porridge from scratch to save money and avoid unnecessary ingredients. Four years later, I now eat a heaping bowl of oats every single morning!
Why Slow Foods?
I’ve always had a fast metabolism, so I typically ate whatever I wanted to. The only vegetable I ever ate was a potato, and the only green thing I willingly put in my mouth came from a Skittles bag. When I graduated high school, I endured a rough transition period and consequently put on a lot of weight. Once my self-esteem hit an all-time low, I decided to make an effort to take off the extra pounds.
I now believe wholeheartedly in the Slow Foods approach: taking the time to create, savor, and socialize around fresh, quality food in a way that nurtures the community and environment. I choose organic and/or local whenever possible. I also avoid fast food and most chain restaurants (Chipotle is the exception).
I made some smart choices, like eliminating processed junk food (au revoir, Cheetos Puffs) and choosing apples and other fruit instead. Unfortunately, I was mainly concerned with calories, and Coke Zero, Lean Cuisine, and Crystal Light were regular choices for me. Then, a series of events pushed me toward a whole foods approach: 1) Watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC in the fall of 2009; 2) Trying to incorporate more soluble fiber in my diet to alleviate my IBS symptoms; and 3) Watching Food, Inc. during spring break of 2010. These three things heightened my awareness of food choices and gave me the passion and commitment necessary to make some serious lifestyle changes. Altogether, these adjustments helped me lose my Freshmen
In September 2011, I became vegetarian for the environment. In October 2013, I became plant-based (vegan, but with honey) for health reasons. To learn more, read my page Plant Proud!
Favorites & Such
My favorite food (after oatmeal): Sushi (peanut-avocado roll on brown rice, please!) and avocado on toast
My favorite ingredient: Peanut butter
My favorite fruit: Peaches
My favorite vegetable: Brussels sprouts
My favorite dessert: Tiramisu (Peacefood Cafe makes the BEST vegan tiramisu!) and pumpkin pie
My favorite spice: Cardamom
My favorite herb: Basil
My favorite restaurants: Champs, Boulton & Watt, Asuka Sushi, Wild Ginger, Cafe Ghia, Peacefood Cafe, Beyond Sushi, Red Bamboo, Soho Tiffin Junction (all in NYC); Cafe Pettirosso (Seattle, WA); Veggie Galaxy (Boston, MA); Loring Pasta Bar, Cafe Latté, French Meadow Bakery and Cafe, Bar La Grassa (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN)