Rural Vegan

Warning: this blog contains my makeup-free face. Hide yo kids, hide yo wife, cuz we goin vegan up in here.

I live smack dab in the middle of nowhere, and halfway on the way to everything. My closest small city is Joplin, which is an hour away. For something a little more urban like Tulsa, Springfield or Topeka I’m looking at easily a two hour drive. As you can imagine my Middle-of-Corn, Kansas is an EXTREMELY rural area. We basically have a few fast food restaurants, a grocery store and Walmart which is small and doesn’t carry many specialty items. (and we’re one of the bigger towns in the area.) This has presented major challenges for my part of this vegan adventure.

Waking up yesterday and realizing I couldn’t put on makeup was fantastic. (I slept in a little longer) However, realizing I had nothing to wash my hair with… not so fantastic.

Thank you hat for saving the day.

Thank you hat for saving the day.

After the shower fiasco of Monday morning, I was then presented with my next obstacle, my beloved coffee. Sure coffee is vegan, but the creamer and Splenda I normally drown it in… not so much. Thankfully, last night at Walmart I stumbled across Pure Cane Certified Organic Sugar.

So yeah I was that girl… The one doing a happy dance in the store aisle.

Since you’ve probably gathered a picture of the area I live, you can understand why finding vegan friendly toiletries, makeup and food has been difficult for me. I don’t give up easily though. A co-worker suggested washing my hair with baking soda as a shampoo and apple cider vinegar as a conditioner. I was skeptical, and David let me know my head would probably be like a 7th grade science experimentโ€”volcano style, but this morning I tried it anyway.

It was strange. Very different from what I’m used to, but basically I made it a paste and patted it onto my scalp, rinsed it out, and then poured the vinegar onto the ends of my hair. It worked!! And it didn’t leave my hair smelling like vinegar, which made me happy. Thanks to my sister I also have a scrub made from oats and olive oil that exfoliates and moisturizes (double win!), and for washing my face I’m using coconut oil (thank you Pinterest) which also both cleanses and moisturizes (Heck yeah!)

I've gone green! Get it? ;)

I’ve gone green! Get it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Okay, enough girl talk, lets get down to the food. I can honestly say so far I have not been left feeling hungry and everything has been very tasty.

Monday
Breakfast: Two apples with organic all natural peanut butter. I attempted straight coffee (not a fan.)
Lunch: Unsweetened Tea (That was not very southern of me) salad with spinach and romaine, chopped red bell pepper, pickled okra and cucumber with a dressing I made from fresh lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper and a little Italian seasoning.LunchDinner: Sweet Potato hash tacos with black beans, and Simply orange juice.

Dinner smelled so good while it was simmering on the stove top, and it tasted even better!

Dinner smelled so good while it was simmering on the stove top, and it tasted even better!

Tuesday
Breakfast: All natural oats topped with sliced banana, and COFFEE!!! Sweetened with sugar (listed earlier) and soy milk.

So far my most exciting find in my little rural Walmart has been vegan butter and the organic sugar. Because of my location and work schedule, all the food I consume is made by me, I currently don’t have access to tofu or anything specialty. This means I welcome recipes with open arms, so please pass them along! And any other tips you have for me or David. I will be posting all my recipes for my vegan made meals on a separate post.

My two most prized vegan finds so far.

My two most prized vegan finds so far.

Be sure and follow David’s progress at FarmingAmerica.org and our twitter feed at #DandDgovegan.

And I speak for both of us when I say thank you for all the warm wishes, encouragement and advice you’ve shown us both so far!

23 thoughts on “Rural Vegan

  1. Kelly M. Rivard (@KMRivard) says:

    1. I laughed inappropriately-loud for the work place at the “hide yo’ kids” reference.

    2. You look great. Really. I wish I could rock the al naturale as well as you!

    3. Black beans are your friend. Seriously. While I’m a HUGE fan of eating animals, I’ve incorporated black beans into my diet more and more because I CANNOT exercise portion control with meat. I just can’t. But black beans have protein, barely any fat, lots of fiber, and a little bit of iron. If you can find a good black bean burger, I highly, highly recommend trying it. I ate more of those in undergrad than I’d like to admit around my meat industry friends.

    4. Also, be sure you’re taking a good multivitamin. I highly recommend one catering specific to women as these are often a bit higher in iron than “general vitamins.” (You probably already know this, in which case I’m being a smother-y person. You can tell me to shove off.)

    5. I think David has this easier than you. He lives in a bigger town and doesn’t have to worry about hair or makeup. Obviously you’re the superior vegan experimenter ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Tammi says:

    Ok if you need Vegan approved products like body wash, shampoo, conditioner etc you can always try Arbonne. They are a vegan approved company. I use their products kinda spendy but I have lost my laugh lines on my eyes, and mouth, my hair is healthier then it has evern been etc. So may be an outlet for you.

    • High Heels & Shotgun Shells says:

      Thank you for the tip! ๐Ÿ™‚ Where can I find Arbonne? I’m crossing my fingers you’re going to tell me somewhere that is fairly common because I’m quite a ways a way from a health store.

      • Tammi says:

        I am a rep for the company, but you can just go to http://www.arbonne.com to look over the products. They have a lot of different items. I use the FC5 shampoo and conditioner as well as the full RE9 skin care line from the face products to the body lotion and body wash. I do the full regiment. But there is no minimum order pretty straight forward. If you want to place an order you can use my consultant # 13137974. There are a couple of different levels that you can do a regular customer or you can sign up for a prefered customer account and for $20 you get a 20% discount on all products that you order so depending on what the size of the order is you can earn the $20 upfront back quickly. The hair care is what really got me. It doesn’t strip you hair of it’s natural oils, and I have long hair. I was loosing it like crazy and shedding, but for the last 4 months that I have used it I don’t shed. And my hair is super soft.

  3. Susan says:

    Hi Danielle, I’m a vegan living in rural Wyoming two hours away from the nearest supermarket. Amazon is a great source for food products and if you order anything that is Amazon prime totalling over $25 the shipping is free. Quinoa is a great complete protein source which can be cooked and used like rice, or in the morning it can be sprinkled with cinnamon to replace oats. http://www.vegweb.com has plenty of free recipes. There is also a book called “Supermarket Vegan” by Donna Klein available on Amazon Kindle which you can download immediately to your PC. “Supermarket Vegan” uses commonly-available ingredients and no meat-, dairy- or egg-substitutes. Frozen vegetables can also be your friend during the winter! Good luck!

  4. Susan says:

    Hi again. This is one of my favorite recipes — it is super rich in iron: Lentils with a Hint of Fruit http://www.molliekatzen.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipe=lentil_soup The recipe appears to be based on a traditional Armenian recipe. For me, the Balsamic vinegar is what makes it. I would also suggest you make sure you are getting omega 3 fatty acids — you can get this by grinding up fresh flax seeds in the coffee grinder and sprinkling them over a salad or other food, or soaking some chia seeds in water and mixing the “gel” into your foods. Both are available at Amazon. The healthy fats will help you to feel more grounded and full. There are also different approaches to the vegan diet. The most common one is based around whole grains. I personally find I can’t handle that many. My body needs more protein and fats — so I do more legumes and more fibrous vegetables and make sure to have raw nuts and seeds. Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s food pyramid is more to my liking, although he allows some meat and dairy, I just do the vegan version of his diet. http://dosveganos.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/pyramid_final-usa.jpg Finally, I would also suggest you try green smoothies. This is one of the best ways to get in plenty of leafy greens and have them taste good by blending them with fruit. Leafy greens are rich in both proteins and healthy fats and one of the best ways to eat more is to blend them up with fruits. This video has information on the concept: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqHRxr4a2-o, This video goes over the practical aspects of making a smoothy taste good each time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=552mPSVfFWo

  5. Brooke says:

    This is wonderful.

    Excuse my language – but I am a hair product slut. I don’t know if I could do this.

    I’m proud of you. Keep rockin’.

  6. Catnip says:

    Vegan chocolate chip cookies with no weird stuff:

    1/2 cup flour (White is the most authentic tasting. Spelt will work. Whole wheat pastry flour is what I usually use. Regular whole wheat is too strongly flavored and will give you health-food tasting cookies)
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1/8 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
    2 Tbsp canola or other mild-tasting liquid vegetable oil
    2 Tbsp real maple syrup (Agave will work too. I’ve also used vanilla Torani in a pinch).

    1 tsp vanilla extract
    Handful of chocolate chips (Guittard is a common vegan brand). Or white chocolate chips, if you have vegan ones. Or dip the dough balls in spiced sugar for snickerdoodles, if you prefer.

    Preheat oven to 350. You can basically dump everything in and mix it with a fork. Form into small balls, about 1- 1 1/2 inches in diameter, place on a lightly greased or parchment covered cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until lightly browned on the edges. (Or eat the dough raw. I don’t care). Let sit about 5 minutes before you try to remove them from the sheet.

    Variant: Substitute 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup oatmeal for the 1/2 cup flour, and add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and a handful of raisins, dried cranberries, and/or nuts.

    Gluten free variant: Omit flour. Use 1/2 cup (gluten free) oats, 1/4 cup almond meal, and 1/4 tsp xanthan gum in place.

    Six Ingredient Crock Pot White Bean Soup
    Ok, 7 if you count the water.

    2 cups dry white beans
    7 cups water
    Juice of one lemon
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 cloves crushed garlic
    1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage OR 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
    1 bunch dino (also called lacinato) kale, chopped.

    Place beans and water in a crockpot, cook for 6 hours on low. Add remaining ingredients and stir well, let stand about 10 minutes. Serve topped with a little olive oil, and a good bread if you are so inclined.

    This is our favorite dinner for a busy day.

  7. Jen says:

    Good luck with your vegan experiment – I tried it 22 years ago and have been vegan ever since, I love it! As it can be difficult to find vegan products in rural areas like yours, online shopping may be useful – eg a great vegan shopping site is http://www.veganessentials.com/ (I have no affiliation with this site). Very best of luck, I’ll be following your experience! x

  8. Selfish Blogger says:

    Good luck! I will have fun following your progress. I’ve been vegan for a while now, but I recognize living in a big city makes it way easier. Here’s one of my favorite winter recipes that doesn’t call for anything fancy (and it’s super inexpensive!):

    Split Pea Soup

    Dried split peas
    Carrots, celery, and onion – chopped
    Hearty greens, like beet greens or kale (optional)
    A splash of apple cider vinegar
    Salt to taste

    Add all ingredients to a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cover and cook 4-6 hours, or until peas are soft. OR add everything to a crock pot and cook until soft – usually over night.

  9. Amanda says:

    Check out accidentally vegan. It’s a PETA website, but a good resource. http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/accidentally-vegan.aspx

    Post punk kitchen is a great resource. All the recipes are great, and a lot of the ingredients are easy to source. Anything I haven’t been able to find I look up substitutes. http://www.theppk.com/

    Try throwing chick peas or another legume in your veg. If not, you’ll get hungry ๐Ÿ™‚

    In a pinch, v05 is vegan. Just not as natural…

    Best of luck,

    Amanda, a rural vegan ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. kiera40 says:

    I’m excited for you! Vegan food tastes great, and if you stick with it, you will notice that you start to crave veggies when you don’t have enough. Strange, but true! I do the baking soda thing for hair too, and it surprised me how well it worked. It doesn’t strip your hair like shampoo, so you can wash less often too. I might suggest, “Vegan on the Cheap” cookbook, as it has many yummy recipes that don’t require crazy ingredients. Just make sure you get some nutritional yeast…trust me, you’ll be glad you did. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. awastell says:

    My hubs and I sell hog feeders with his family business so I’m a pseudo-farm wife, and we were just discussing going vegan for a while, just to try it out. Loved reading about your experiences, and love your blog!
    Anna Wastell
    gromaster.com/blog

    • High Heels & Shotgun Shells says:

      Thank you!! It is definitely an experience. While I can now say without a doubt being vegan isn’t for me, I’m extremely glad I went through with the experience. If y’all decide to try it out, let me know! I’d be happy to hook you up with some great vegans who helped me out quite a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

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