The Friday Feedback Forum

November 21st, 2009 - filed under: Furthermore » Feedback

Oi Oi! Hello out there! Once again it’s time to relax, kick back, and have a good time. And of course you know what the weekend means at Bonzai Aphrodite – it’s time for comments, critiques, thoughts, support, and suggestions.

So let’s have it! We’re well into cold-weather days her in the northern hemisphere, and that means I’m itchin’ to get into the kitchen. So, what are your favorite comfort foods? What recipes would you most want to see posted? What are YOU interested in?!

As usual, the Feedback Forum will remain here at the top of the page all weekend, so if you’ve got an idea or a question or you just want to introduce yourself and say ‘Oi!’, you can stop back by any time. This is your community, so get involved and have your say!

Also, I’ve added some more belly pics, for anyone who’s interested.

And finally, I created a Facebook page, so join! Join! join!

Okay, enough of all that. Have the most wonderful weekend!!!


  • Rebecca

    Hello Sayward,

    So I just stumbled upon your blog (originally in the natural dishwashing liquid and toothpaste arenas : ) ) but then, of course, found myself looking through the *entire* website (at 3 am in the morning no less!)

    I have a few questions for ya’…I am currently not vegan/vegetarian (although..I have to say that I actually do not really eat meat..ha ha..but I do not label myself as such) I have done the vegan thing before (Raw as well..two separate stints..but I guess raw and vegan go hand in hand). Anyways, the reason I stopped was because I started gaining a TON of weight (gotta love superficial reasons, eh?) and honestly didn’t feel that great. I am a well-informed, very healthy eater but everytime I go animal-product free I end up feeling and looking like cr@p! Personally, for me, I think that soy is just not a good thing. Some people can tolerate it, but I believe a fair amount cannot..and then there’s the whole genetically-modified food issue..yikes)

    Anyways…you seemed like a good person to “check-in” with on the subject as I would really like to at least go the vegetarian route (I am ok with dairy, etc as long as I know the animals have been treated humanely, been fed non-grain diets, and not been treated with antibiotics, and so on)

    Any insight? Thanks again for the wonderful website!

  • Kate

    Looking good Preggo! How exciting for you – did the “Mama Bite” thing give you any tips you hadn’t heard of? I hope so!

    As for comfort food….I’m not sure if it’s possible to be vegan for these things, but I loooove mac n cheese, beef & barley stew (I SO need my own crock pot), lots of cookies and roasted broccoli (with a little lemon juice, garlic and Parmesan OH so addicting). If you can (or want to), I’m not too familiar with tubers and I believe it’s tuber season – show us what we can do with those delicious winter veggies so we can eat seasonally!

  • Courtney

    Yay for being on Facebook! I ran over and joined right away. :) Love the pics. You look like you’re having a lot of fun!

  • Sayward

    @ Rebecca – Well you mention soy, so my first thought is to go with your instinct. You may have a soy intolerance, which is not terribly uncommon and definitely is linked to weight gain and general feelings of ‘crappiness’, haha. Luckily it’s not hard at all to go veg*n and soy free. Depending on where you live you may be able to buy all the novelty luxuries that you need locally, and if not you can always order them online. I don’t drink soy milk, and much prefer almond, hemp, or hazelnut (my favorite!). For faux meats (which are not at all necessary but certainly can be nice), Field Roast is an excellent company that makes ‘grain meats’. I love their lentil deli slices for lunchmeat, and their sausages are deelish! For cheese, the new product Daiya is the best I’ve ever tasted, and is soy-free as well! There are definitely options for you.

    The other thing that occurred to me, as far as the weight gain, is that perhaps you were relying too heavily on starches and simple carbs. These are easy and give you that ‘bellyfull’ feeling that people often lack when transitioning. Think pastas, breads, baked goods, potato products etc. They can easily encompass a large portion of diet, and but they are really empty calories (and pack a punch). Relying too heavily on these could definitely leave you feeling icky, and may cause quite a bit of weight gain as well.

    Finally, I wonder how long you stayed veg? The feelings of ickiness could have just been detox, if you only went for a month or a few.It can take a while to transition fully, to re-learn how to feed yourself completely and satisfyingly, and for your body to accustom to all these new, nutrient rich foods! This may not apply to you (and doesn’t really address the weight issue), but I thought I’d throw it out there.

    Remember that every body is different, and you will need to taylor your diet to whatever works for you. But I DO believe that you can be a healthy, happy, and slender veg*n if you want to be. If you’re ever interested in trying again, shoot me an email and I’d be more than happy to offer any advice or ideas. =)


    @ Kate – Thanks! Feelin’ good too! =)

    Those are excellent comfort foods, and definitely veganizable. There’s quite a few mac ‘n cheese recipes out there on the internet, which is partly why I’ve held off on developing my own. But, I have yet to find one that *really* does it for me, so maybe it’s about time I get on top of that! I’ll look into it, as well as the other suggestions. Thanks!

    @ Courtney – Yay, thanks for joining! I’m glad you like the pics (I wasn’t sure about even posting them . . . ) And yes, life is pretty fun! =D

  • Crystal D’Angora

    It was so great to meet you and share our “1/2 way to motherhood” joy last night! You are a light and I love your Blog. Thank you – I’m inspired :)
    Call if you’re ever in LA and wanna do a health-food, yoga playdate with our little ones.

  • Nathan

    We spent the weekend working on our new house, and my girl finished building the swanky closets so we could unpack our clothes. And it was good to get access to those sweaters, because it finally got cold enough to test the expansive foam insulation and high SEER (efficiency) furnace. The former worked so nicely that the latter hardly had to work at all, even with an inside/outside temperature differential of >20 degrees. I also had to adjust the on-demand gas water heater DOWN because it was a bit scalding. All that is just empirical evidence that green building tech works.

    Your own construction project is coming along very nicely, too ;^)

  • Sayward

    @ Crystal D’Angora – It was great to meet you too! Look me up next time you’re in P-town, we can get the little ones together. =)

    Have a blast in these next few months!

    @ Nathan – Funny, I’ve just been working on a closet post (inspired by your HQ requests).

    I love hearing about the green building projects! There’s so many options out there it can seem overwhelming to just go out hunting. It’s great to hear from real people who have implemented real techniques. Keep sharing! =D

  • Nathan

    The green and supposedly green building techniques and materials are incredibly overwhelming, even to architects and contractors. We’re still (sadly) only at the stage of seeing what routes are worth investigation and figuring out verifiable building science to measure results. Still, it’s come leaps and bounds in the past ten years and is only accelerating.

    I look forward to hearing about your closets!

  • Valerie

    During Fall I LOVE soup! Actually, I love soup all year round but especially during fall because it warms you from the inside. It’s a great way to use all those fall vegetables. This year I went to my local library and checked-out a bunch cookbooks. The best one I’ve found so far is “Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons” by Nava Atlas. She has also written “Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons” which appears to be the same recipes only veganized. In fact this evening I made Yukon Gold Potato Soup with Roasted Garlic and Red Peppers and it was a big hit!

    I also have good news to report on the plastic reduction front. Tonight when I went to pack up the leftovers instead of reaching for the Gladware I used Mason jars. Unfortunately, I had more soup than jars so I did end up having to use one Gladware container. Eventually this won’t happen as my jar collection continues to grow. One more triumph: When I went to buy mushrooms for stuffing I first reached for the pre-cut mushrooms in the foam tray and shrink wrap. I noticed that the cut & packaged mushrooms were more expensive than the free-floating ones in the box. I thought “I’ll pay for the convenience of not having to scoop out the gills.” As I walked around the store I remembered the wastefulness of the packaging and the added expense and went back and made the right choice. Thank you Sayward for inspiring us all to make the right choices!

  • Catt

    Hi Sayward!

    I absolutely LOVE your blog. Unfortunately I am part of an all-butcher family who make it more or less impossible for me to avoid meat at home, but I’m at university now and (shh!) have cut out meat!

    Anyway, during the winter in Britain the wind and cold make my lips horrific – I feel like they’re falling off most of the time, and have to use really strong lip balm about 10 times a day. I hate using the stuff because it doesn’t even have ingredients on it, and I wondered if you have any tips…? Good look on the little one, I’m really impressed that you’re going to bring him up cruelty-free!

  • Sayward

    @ Nathan – I can imagine it’s overwhelming! It’s so great that so many people are trying so many approaches though. I’m sure it’s hard to wade through, but it sure beats the alternative! =D

    @ Valerie – Mmmm, yes, I am such a sucker for soup. I just made some lentil last night, in fact!

    And that’s SUCH awesome news about the plastic! Congrats on transitioning away from the stuff in your kitchen, and congrats on making the mindful decision in the grocery store. These thoughtful steps seem strange at first, but soon they just become second nature and don’t take much thought at all. It’s so great that you’re taking the issue on! Think of the impact you’ll make in just the next year! Amazing. =)

    @ Catt – Hooray for cutting out meat! That’s such a great accomplishment (and I know it can be a difficult transition). Good luck on that journey!

    As for the lips, oh man I feel ya! My lips get terribly chapped this time of year. I just rely on liberal applications of whatever vegan lip balm I’m using at the time (I’m sampling a variety of companies for an upcoming review). Unfortunately I’m not sure what’s available in Britain. I’d definitely aim for something organic. If you have a health food store or co-op near you, they almost always have a small ‘beauty’ section and usually carry chap stick. Stay away from vaseline/petroleum jelly, since it’s an oil industry product. I’d look for something with as few ingredients as possible, with a natural moisturizer like Vitamin E or coconut/shea/cocoa butter. Oh, and don’t ever lick your lips! (I’m soo bad about that)

    Wish I could be more help! Good luck!