Day 18- this is hardly a challenge

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More than half of the way through No red meat December and quite frankly I’m a bit bored.  This is not challenging.  This is not that hard.  I don’t feel like I’m denying myself anything and really I’m not.  Giving up red meat for 30 days is a lot easier than I thought it would be. 

 Let’s get one thing straight.  I LOVE Beef.  I’m a child of the 80s and vividly remember the Wendy’s ‘Where’s The Beef’ campaign.  Hamburgers, steaks, I can’t really think of what else you make from beef but you get the picture.  When I was a little girl and my father would ask me what I wanted to eat, I would apparently always answer “steak”.  He used to do a voice as an imitation of little me saying “steak” which was quite funny.  And Funny because it was not the voice of a little 7 year old girl, more of a Bill Cosby/John Belushi comedic voice, anyway, it was gold.  And accurate because I love and have always loved Steak.  If I were to die tomorrow, I can almost promise you that my last meal would involve a rare-ish steak, béarnaise sauce, chips, with mint chocolate chip and cookies n cream ice cream for dessert.  I haven’t put a lot of thought into it, but that would probably be my all time favourite meal.

Knowing this, and knowing that I always choose beef as a choice of filling, topping, or protein, I thought this would be a really tough challenge. 

 But it’s not.  And I’m disappointed.

 I’m not sure whether I’ve gone for the easy option by considering pork white meat and not red.  (Let’s face it marketing works on me, and to me pork is “the other white meat”)  There is a fair bit of debate on the internet as to which camp pork belongs to so I don’t feel like I’ve knowingly cheated but I feel like I must be cheating because it’s just.too.easy.  It could be because right behind a juicy steak on my list of favourite foods, is a nice juicy pork chop.  If my Dad is to blame for my love of red meat, my mom gets blamed for my love of pork.  If I had to pick one meal for my mother to make it would be her famous (in my eyes) breaded pork chops with white rice, corn, peas, and of course apple sauce on the side.  There has to be apple sauce otherwise it’s just not quite right. 

 I know I shouldn’t complain as I eat my Ham, cheese, and tomato sandwich (ok, no I’m not actually eating one right now) but you know what I mean.  Can I challenge be a challenge if it’s easy???

 Clearly next month we’ll have to step it up a notch!  Will we go fully vegetarian?  Liquid while the sun is up? Vegan before 6? (see article here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/09/mark-bittman-vegan-before-6-vb6_n_3224415.html) I’m not sure what January has in store, but it will be tough.  I’m ready to get back to the Challenge part of the Challenge.

Dairy Free Day 10

Whoa……… We’re 1/3 of the way there!  Woh- oh, living dairy free!  (It makes more sense if you hum Bon Jovi’s Living on A Prayer in your head when you read it)

I did have a cheat day at a fabulous wedding but other than that I’ve been totally on the wagon.  And it hasn’t been that hard.   Also, I’m not working right now so it’s quite easy to avoid the temptation of birthday cakes and morning teas.  Granted I haven’t really been eating out very much (except for Japanese)  because butter, cheese, cream, and milk as it turns out are quite popular food ingredients for MANY MANY cuisines.

I haven’t been completely anal about it but I have tried to use common sense- risotto- and many Italian dishes often have cheese sprinkled on top or through it so that’s out unless I make it at home, dessert is out– because well, chocolate has milk in it, even some Mexican is out because- well cheese and sour cream.  But — don’t despair!  All is not lost.

As I mentioned earlier, Japanese food is MADE for this challenge!  Actually, unlike the gluten free challenge (most soy sauce has gluten in it) Asian food is absolutely perfect for dairy free living.   I asked Uncle Google ‘why there is no cheese in Chinese cuisine ?’ and as it turns out, I’m not the first person to notice the trend.  Believe it or not, there are entire forums and over 10 pages of Google Search results on exactly ‘why there is no cheese in Chinese cuisine?’ If you don’t believe me, here’s a link to one of them!

Apparently the answer is that in some Asian countries- especially China and Southeast Asia, the climate wasn’t suitable to cattle herding or farming thus they didn’t do it.  Over time, because they didn’t have dairy and cow based products in their diet, they developed lactose intolerance.  Since they didn’t enjoy eating milk based products, they didn’t cook with dairy based products (seems pretty obvious to me!) and so, naturally traditional Asian foods don’t include a lot of milk, cheese, or yoghurt based products.    Even today, cheese apparently isn’t widely eaten or popular in China- this article from Slate tells the story of a Westerner doing a cheese tasting in China.

There’s only one flaw that I have in this whole theory of traditional Asian Cuisine not including dairy or herding cattle–  why is their Beef in most Asian Cuisines????