Cooking in the days when close was cool! Chef Alan Roettinger and Victoria.

by Victoria Moran, HHC, AADP, RYT

posted Jan 5, 2021

My New Year’s resolutions always used to be about losing weight. I thought that after that happened, everything would be all sparkly, all the time. Well, it did happen — 37 years ago — and things were definitely better. I was freer, more content. I’d become vegan, which was a real gift, and the 12 Step program that led to my recovery from compulsive eating is a way of life that is with me to this day. But “sparkly all the time,” well, you know the verdict on that one. This is planet earth: nobody gets glitter 24/7.

Glitter, USA! Times Square is subdued at the moment, but New York never stays down for long.

In 2020, in fact, it was as if the glitter factories all shut down. (In fact, they probably did; I can’t imagine a government body’s decreeing glitter “essential.”) And here we are. Some people lost gravely, suffered grievously and aren’t out of the woods yet. At the moment, I’m thinking especially of people in the restaurant industry, and there’s a special place in my heart for our beloved vegan restaurants, of course.

Other people have been lucky. I’m one of those. One good friend passed from COVID, but there are people grieving dozens. My husband and I have done the shelter-in-place thing close to non-stop for ten months. I’ve always done my radio show/podcast virtually, so that didn’t change. Main Street Vegan Academy moved easily from live in-person to live via Zoom, and I realized that people would like to take shorter non-certification classes, workshops, and retreats via Zoom, too. Like I said: lucky. There’s a lot to pay forward.

And yet as this New Year begins, with vaccines coming and the light at the end of the tunnel glinting here and there, I realize that we’re in for the toughest stretch yet. There are sobering predictions of more sickness and death from COVID, and keeping ourselves safe is going to take more determination in the depths of winter than it took last spring, summer, and fall. There’s the Northern Hemisphere weather this time of year, and simply the fact that we’ve been constrained for so long, everybody’s patience is fraying at the edges.

Cooking in the days when close was cool! Chef Mark Reinberg and Victoria.

Something I’m doing to adjust my attitude is to bring to mind all that I miss and envision the time, before next New Year’s and hopefully months before it, these will be back in my life:

  • People … I miss my family terribly — my daughter, son-in-law, William’s kids — and extended family and friends who are as close as family. Adair, my daughter, and her husband are in Florida (the touring show they were in went on hiatus and their condo here in NYC is rented out for an extended period). Sian and Erik (my stepdaughter and stepson) are in Canada and the border is closed. I miss ladies’ lunches and having people over for stimulating salons. I miss sometimes getting to do my podcast with the guest in my dining room. I miss the chance to say, “Come on over … Come on up … Come on in.” Resolution: Stay connected with the people who matter by all means available. And make weekends and dinners for two as special as a party with engraved invitations.
  • Saying yes … Before COVID, I said yes to everything that sounded as if it would make the world better — marches, fundraisers, gatherings for the greater good. Some of these have gone on in person and I haven’t been there. I’m 70 and although I think it’s a complete misunderstanding that I somehow ended up “old,” I need to take care of myself as if it’s true. So I’ve said no. It’s felt like abandoning treasured causes and the stalwart people who champion them. Resolution: When it’s safe to say yes again — even though you’ll be 71 by the time that happens! — say yes. Show up. Be part of what a spiritual teacher used to tell me was “the upward progression of the universe.”
London memories — Victoria and her first yoga teacher, Stella Cherfas. Stella is now in her 90s and still teaches.
  • Travel … I thought I was tired of travel, that I’d had enough of airports and jet lag. But you never know what you’re done with until it’s done with you, even temporarily. I want to go to London, my favorite place on earth. And I want to go to Kansas City, my hometown, and will hopefully be there the first three days of October for the Vegan Spirituality Forum and Retreat that was postponed from last fall. Even those bucket list entries that I thought would likely remain only words on a list are calling to me again: Israel — both because it’s the Holy Land and the vegan holy grail; Central African Republic where the mountain gorillas are; and maybe another trip to India, since I’ve been involved in a total of 465 hours of training in yoga, Ayurveda, and Indian philosophy since the pandemic began. Resolution: Update that bucket list. Prioritize the places that call for that. Find some work to do somewhere that’s on that list and, when the time comes, go do it.
  • Coffee shops: A mentor once advised me to find “places where you recognize yourself.” I recognize myself most in cafes where they let you bring a laptop and, if you purchase a respectable amount of tea and water and vegan soup, you can stay all day. Without cafe access, I’ve been able to work effectively, but not do what I came to this planet to do: write. My next book is long overdo. Resolution: Make chai tea that’s as good as a barista’s (see recipe below). Pause the inbox. Shut off everything that beeps and rings and buzzes. Write one precious hour each day, and if the muse shows up, two hours or three or four.

Writers’ Chai

1 Earl Grey or other bag of black tea

4-8 oz. boiling water

1 cup non-dairy milk

10 almonds, soaked overnight, skins popped off

2 dates, Medjool preferred, soaked overnight and pitted

1/4 tsp. powdered ginger

1/4 tsp. powdered cinnamon

1/4 tsp. powdered cardamom

1/8 tsp. powdered clove

1/8 tsp. powdered nutmeg

Pour boiling water over tea bag — 4 ounces if you want a very creamy, milky tea, up to 8 ounces for a lighter brew. While the tea steeps, put the milk and spices in a small saucepan and whisk to mix; then add the blanched almonds and pitted dates, and heat until just below the boiling point. Carefully transfer contents of the saucepan to a blender.

Use extreme caution because you’re blending hot liquid. Double-check to be sure the lid has a firm seal, and as an extra precaution, hold onto the top of the lid with a few thicknesses of tea towel. Start the blender on its lowest setting and carefully speed up, once you know your blender is secure.

When the almonds seem fully pulverized, remove the tea bag from the hot water, and pour the milk mixture through a strainer into the mug holding the black tea. It will be little frothy like a latte.

Variation: For a lovely nightcap, don’t make the tea, just the steamer with the milk, soaked and blanched almonds, soaked and pitted dates, and spices.

Victoria Moran is an author, speaker, and vegan educator who invites you too:

  • The Main Street Vegan Podcast — the first episode of January will be live on Wednesday the 6th at 3 pm U.S. Eastern Time on Unity Online Radio, and feature 3 people, in addition to Victoria, who have kept off a large amount of weight — over 100 pounds each! — for an extended period, and have changed their outlook on life in the process. We’ll feature Chuck Carroll, host of the Exam Room podcast for PCRM, From Donuts to Potatoes author Esther Lebeck Loveridge, and Main Street Vegan Academy-certified Master Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator, Phil DeJean. The podcast will go up the morning of January 7th on most platforms — Apple Podcasts, GooglePlay, Stitcher, Spotify, etc.
  • Winter Wellness with Ayurveda Retreat — a heavenly day just for you to learn to make a healing potage, do yoga poses designed to ease for winter woes, and learn the wisdom of Ayurveda, India’s ancient system for vibrant health and long life. The goal: to stay well, energetic, and enthusiastic from now until the daffodils blossom: Saturday, January 16th, 10 a.m. to 5 pm U.S. Eastern Time, $47: www.tinyurl.com/winterwellnessretreat.
Members of the Summer/Fall Main Street Vegan Academy Zoom course.
  • Main Street Vegan Academy Winter/Spring Zoom Program — the premier program training Vegan Lifestyle Coaches and Educators. Learn from an array of vegan luminaries including Chef Fran Costigan, fashion designer Joshua Katcher, animal rights change makers Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan, JD, Robert Ostfeld, MD, Milton Mills, MD, biz wiz David Benzaquen, cookbook author and entrepreneur JL Fields, and more. This is an intensive program, filling 8 weekend days and starting at the end of February. It’s a game changer and a life changer. For more information and to apply for the program, please visit https://mainstreetvegan.com/academy.

 

 

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