Monthly Archives: September 2013

Taco Cleanse Day 13- Time for raw tacos

Today Culture Map wrote an article quoting me about the benefits of the taco cleanse and I have to admit, when I read it this morning,  I wasn’t feeling that great! I’ve had too many days in a row of decadent tacos from Mexican food trailers that I decided a trip to living foods cafe Beets was in order.

Their taco plate described as “three crispy corn taco shells filled with a veggie ground meat, topped with shredded lettuce, salsa and drizzled with cashew nacho cheeze (served with with “sunflower beanz” and a choice of side salad” turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. Or maybe it was the half gallon of water I drank along with the meal instead of margaritas. It’s hard to say really but here at the midpoint I do recommend adding some raw tacos if you are on the cleanse.

Staying hydrated on the #tacocleanse can actually be a bit of a challenge so I was super excited that one of my all time favorite blogs Eating Appalachia posted a nice recipe for Horchata for all of us working through the cleanse. And one of my other favorites “Don’t Eat of the Sidewalk” has promised a movie and taco post later on today to help you if you wondering how to spend the weekend. I know my plans include watching The Three Amigos while eating the three amigos taco from the Vegan Nom. And if you are looking for even more recipes check out fellow taco lover and veganmofoer The Vegan Training Table‘s post Handmade Tacos: Inspired by the Austin “Taco Cleanse”

Stay #tacostrong!


Taco Cleanse Day 12 – Sweet Ritual’s Amazing Wonder: The Chaco Taco

When we first started talking about the taco cleanse back in April I never would have guessed that it would have led to so much new taco goodness. At that time in my life I already ate a taco pretty much every day so I didn’t realize that there would be so much more to discover when committing to the cleanse. So many people have been joining the cleanse and local restaurants have been adding new and unique tacos to their menus just to help us through this! I got to try Teriyaki soy curl tacos at Counter Culture’s Taco Tuesday a couple of days ago and then a The Ginger Bliss special at the Vegan Nom last night. There is so much creativity coming out with tacos in Austin. But I have to admit, so far my favorite new taco on the scene is the Chaco Taco that Amelia from Sweet Ritual has put together for us.

I’ve been dying to try it ever since Ross posted his last week. Then they were suddenly all over social media. Last night I was up north with my fellow taco scientists and after eating Rockin Vegan Tacos for dinner we headed over to Sweet Ritual for the chaco taco dessert. When we got there they only had one left and everyone graciously stepped back and let me have it. The taco cleanse is really working, we are feeling so much more love for humanity and tacos than ever before.

I had cinnamon ice cream in my waffle cone taco shell topped with one the many long lost loves of my life, the hard chocolate magic shell. I was dead quiet while I ate it and went into a state of taco bliss that I can’t even describe.

And yes Austin, they have more today and will have them all weekend.

Taco Cleanse Day 11: What is a taco?

would you call this a taco?

Since I’ve been on the taco cleanse for 11 days now I’ve really given a lot of thought about what really is a taco. Since I happen to be vegan, of course I’ve been making and eating vegan tacos which btw is pretty easy to do here in Austin Texas. Recently, a blog that I love and respect implied that my tacos weren’t “real” because I am not eating pigs, chickens, cows, and other animals. While I certainly agree that vegan tacos aren’t culturally traditional, they do exist and are therefore real! I’m living proof of the reality of vegan tacos, I promise! I mean, are Taco Bell tacos culturally traditional? I know for some people, tradition is so important that they don’t want to see anything else and I can respect that. Sometimes I wish there was some respect in the other direction though. Maybe because of my life long love of Star Trek I am more of a future thinking kind of gal, but, it seems to me that the world changes all the time. Food preferences, especially, are constantly evolving. If they didn’t, Italians would have never embraced the tomato, a new world ingredient, and then where would we be as the human race? It’s hard to say really, except that we wouldn’t have marinara sauce and I would still firmly believe that vegan tacos are still tacos.

Where I’m having more trouble is with tacos that aren’t Mexican or Tex-Mex inspired. We, the taco scientists, decided as a group the most important aspect of the taco was the single fold around a filling. Years ago I ate my first Dutch Taco at the Flavor Spot in Portland, I didn’t think twice about a waffle enveloped around a sausage as being a taco, even if it wasn’t close to traditional. But, over the weekend, when I folded a pancake around sausage and called it a taco it definitely seemed like I was cheating on the cleanse. Falafel wraps have come up several times when discussing the taco cleanse with other vegans (the stereotype of herbivores eating tons of hummus is probably the most accurate of all the stereotypes). Even though it fits the parameter of the single fold, I don’t think it’s a taco, but then if you stick the same ingredients in a tortilla they kind of are! I mean, there are Korean tacos and Vietnamese tacos all over the place so why not a falafel taco?  On the other hand, the tortilla isn’t entirely critical because low carb dieters and raw food enthusiasts use the lettuce leaf and call it a taco and who am I to judge them. So is a pita ok too? All I know for sure is that a burrito definitely isn’t a taco.

So, yeah, that’s what has been on my mind. Now you know more about what it’s like being a vegan on a taco cleanse. Please let me what you think below (although rude comments are always deleted). And yeah, if you are wondering, I’ve definitely been called out by the taco cleanse police.
taco police

Taco Cleanse Day 10 – Veracruz All Natural

Another Austin blogger has joined the Taco Cleanse this week, Aneelee, and I was very excited to see her breakfast tacos yesterday because they looked unfamiliar. 24 hours later I was driving around the east side in early morning traffic hunting down a little food trailer called Veracruz All Natural which has been on my list for a while, but I had never tried. When Nelly mentioned that the tortillas were to die for it was pretty much all I could think about until I had them in my hot little hands. I perused their vegetarian friendly menu (spinach, avocado, and nopales are always a win for me) and studied their salsas, one had big chunks of avocado in it so I knew I was going to be happy.

I ordered potatoes, beans, and avocado on one and potatoes, beans, and nopales on the other both on corn because that’s how I roll. The corn tortilla was indeed like a perfect delicate corn crepe, the potatoes were soft and well seasoned, the beans had a nice flavor and all the salsas were spicy but not overpoweringly spicy, just a nice gentle burn. Definitely a good stop if Ceaser Chavez is on your morning commute.

I am starting to notice the positive effects of the taco cleanse. Usually, I snooze my alarm clock for sometimes over an hour and spend the morning in a fog of confusion and anger. This morning I awoke before the sun was up, maybe for the first time in my life. I was filled with a sense of love for the world and a desire for more tacos. I think I’ve passed through the tougher stages of the cleanse and my body is starting to exude taco power. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Tonight is Taco Tuesday at Counter Culture and Sue is cooking up some badass specials.  “Rotating Tacos throughout the day including a Cafeteria Style Taco with a hard corn shell, ground seitan, lettuce, tomatoes and queso and an Asian Taco with teriyaki soy curls, kinpira and tomatillo salsa.” I can’t wait! I’ll see y’all there, stay Taco Strong!

Taco Cleanse Day 9 – The Opening Ceremony

photo by Marie Dadap

On Saturday night I went to a huge potluck at the Lonestar Plate’s house. Taco cleanse enthusiasts had come from all over the city bearing taco fixins, from soy curl guisada to cool ranch sauce there were more options than you could ever try. While we all filled our bellies up with delicious tacos Ross of VRA burned a taco effigy…while we all chanted… tacos.. tacos.. tacos. It was the perfect way to get into the more spiritual aspects of the taco cleanse.

As the fire burned away so did my impure thoughts of pizza and bagels that have been plaguing me during this first week of cleansing. I’m stronger than ever now. Taco Strong.

Taco Cleanse Day 6: Friday = Margaritas

I hope that all of you following along with The Taco Cleanse™ program are getting all of your tacos in. I have seen some great ones this week, my favorite probably being Rabbit Food’s pizza taco, which is something I was thinking about doing but couldn’t think of a good way to make it happen. Who knew the answer would be so simple? Today’s post is coming a little late but hopefully just in time to remind you that supplements are an important part of the cleanse. If you want results you are going to have to make sure you are getting your margaritas in and what better time to do it than Friday night after a hard week of watching your diet.

Stay Taco Strong!

Taco Cleanse Day 5- The best refried beans ever

I am deep in the throws of taco cleanse detox symptoms. I’ve got the cumin sweats and everything. Luckily my fridge is well stocked so I decided to rerun one of my all time favorite recipes for refried beans. Earlier this year I went to a SXSW panel about Taco Journalism and Mando Rayo explained that refried beans are integral to a traditional taco and that they are the equivalent of mayonnaise on an American sandwich. I thought it was an interesting way to think about refried beans. My college roommate used to add refried beans to our crunchy tacos and they made such a difference that it makes sense. These beans take a while but they are really easy, the recipe is totally flexible to what you have on hand, and it’s so worth it, I promise. I made them last week with black beans and they were fantastic but here is the original.

Frijoles Refritos

2 cups of dried pinto (or black) beans
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil (not olive oil)
1 whole roasted garlic bulb
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt
1 Tsp Epazote or Mexican Oregano or even bay leaves
1 can of RoTel
1 onion, chopped
unsweetened almond or hemp milk
Sort the beans and pick out any rocks and give them a rinse with cold water. Put them in a pot with 8 cups of water, the bay leaf, and the epazote and bring to a simmer. Simmer for the next two hours stirring and adding more hot water as needed so that the water level stays above the beans. Make sure the beans don’t get stuck on the bottom by keeping the temp really low and stirring.
Meanwhile roast the garlic
Once the beans are soft add the oil, salt, rotel, and garlic. Simmer as before for another hour at least. The longer they cook the better they will taste and you can’t over cook them because they are just going to get mashed up anyway.
Here we left the beans in the fridge over night because something came up but you could proceed with cooking them now or wait until the next day to finish for a quick dinner.
Strain out any excess water from the beans. Some water is fine but if you still have a couple inches over the beans you might want to pour it out or else it will take longer to cook off. Brown an onion in a large cast iron skillet and then add the bean mixture. After some of the water has evaporated mash the beans with a potato masher. Add some almond milk and stir adding more until you reach your desired consistency. Cook over low heat, stirring, for at least 5 minutes adding more milk if necessary and then enjoy with every Mexican dish you make!

How to prepare for a taco cleanse

When I first decided to go on the taco cleanse I thought it would be a cake walk, or even a taco walk, if you will. Over the first few days of transforming to an all taco diet I realized that some preparation was going to be in order. Even in my hometown of Austin Texas where tacos are plentiful they still don’t have total market penetration. I quickly learned that it’s important to bring my own tortillas for emergencies and to always have some quick pre-made taco ingredients ready to go in my fridge.  Setting myself up for success made it easier to contemplate not only where my next taco was coming from, but what my last taco was doing for me.

With that said, here is a list of some of the ways I’ve kept my refrigerator stocked and my pantry full.

So far my only disaster has been not having tortillas at work but I brought some in today. The taco cleanse definitely takes more planning that I had anticipated but it’s worth it for sure.

Rabbit Food Grocery wrote a great post about how to taco cleanse if you aren’t a cook.

The Hows and Whys of the Taco Cleanse

Over the last few days I have been bombarded with questions about the Taco Cleanse. If you haven’t heard, a group of us in Austin have taken on this challenge for the month of September for a variety of reasons. I can’t speak for the whole group but I can tell you my personal journey.

Over the years I have changed my diet more times than I can count. Since childhood, really, I was on a quest to find what worked best for me. Since moving to Austin almost ten years ago I started supplementing my diet with tacos, particularly breakfast tacos; the most important taco of the day. I wasn’t seeing the results I was looking for. Sure, I would eat tacos most days but then sometimes for dinner I would screw up by eating a burger or some soup. I had no self-control and I could hardly look at myself in the mirror any more. It was also during this time I noticed a rash of physical symptoms. Sometimes I would feel really tired, especially in the morning when my alarm went off. Other times, I couldn’t fall asleep at night, I knew this wasn’t right! My body was trying to tell me something. Along with these issues I was filled with occasional bouts of melancholy and depression. I would ask myself, “Where was my life even going?”

Who knows how long I could have gone on this way but lucky for me, and for you, I met up with a team of taco scientists prepared to nurture my fledgling taco habit and also give me the community of support that I needed to follow though on what became to be known as The Taco Cleanse™. Together we forged a new path of wellness and self discovery.

The plan is actually quite simple. All of your meals must contain tacos. A short “mild” cleanse can last for just one day. If you want to go full on FUEGO like my veganmofo team including Molly, Jessica, and Wes it’s all tacos every day for a month. Now, I want to be clear that supplementing is acceptable as long as you are getting all of your tacos in. Margaritas should be added on an as needed basis for the top levels of the cleanse but at FUEGO you should be adding them at least a couple of times a week, working up to every day.

One important aspect of going through a taco cleanse is an element of community to help you along the way. Just last night, for example, I texted Molly asking where to get late night tacos on the north end since I had been stuck in a non-taco friendly bowling alley most of the evening. To enhance this partnership we are going to be planning several events in the Austin area during this month. Vegans Rock Austin in planning an opening ceremony potluck so sign up on their site. Next Tuesday night there will be special “Taco Tuesday” specials at Counter Culture. We are also planning potlucks, meet-ups at Mr. Natural, Vivo, the Vegan Nom, with more to come. During the month of Veganmofo The Taco Liberation Front, The Lonestar Plate, and Rabbit Food will all be blogging with me to share their taco cleanse journeys and hopeful pass along some tips as well.

On October 4th, National Taco Day, we are going to have a celebratory party at the Vegan Nom and we will also be selling our Taco Cleanse™ zine so you too will be able to participate.

I hope you enjoy following us through this campaign. On the blog I plan to chronicle both my personal journey and keep you up to date with all the wonderful tacos of Austin Texas. Also please feel free to follow me on instagram and twitter or just follow the #tacocleanse hashtag on both sites, there are already many people joining us because they are learning what I already know: Tacos Change Lives.

Taco Cleanse Day 2: Migas Taco

My first day taco cleansing went pretty well. I made breakfast tacos for brunch and planned to take the leftovers to work for the rest of the week but they were so good we ended up eating them throughout the day. Hopefully that won’t mess me up for the week.

Today I made Migas tacos. I veganized a recipe from “Texas Cooking” but it didn’t work as well as I hoped. I used soft tofu hoping it would form into kind of a frittata but it didn’t work out, still tasted good though!

Today is a holiday and I’m off to go take the dogs swimming and then go bowling so I’ll be eating tacos on the road. It is nice to not have to really think about what to eat.

Tomorrow I’ll be back at my computer instead of my phone with a post that will answer all of your questions!

Happy VeganMofo!