Spiced up Pistachios

To some, looking at pistachios up close like the tidy batch above, might not be so appetizing. But believe me, they were absolutely scrumptiously divine and worth documenting (with Moment’s new wide-angle iPhone lens).

Whoever came up with the idea of spicing up pistachios with chili and black peppar needs to be recognized and commemorated as a formidable culinary genius. By the way, did you know that pistachios are technically a fruit? I sure didn’t. Live and learn.

As I’m more or less on a vegan diet right now – disallowing myself from much of the usual indulgences – eating a batch of nuts a day not only allows me to quench my life-long snacking addiction, today’s spicy pistachios will also provide me with some extra protein and antioxidants. And you know what? Shelled pistachios are kinda fun to eat! You have to work a little before you get gratification.

There’s a common misconception, mostly among meat-eaters (duh), that living off a plant-based diet will inherently cause protein deficiency. Those same folks don’t know that protein is found in just about every living organism on the planet. Especially in plants!

Proteins are in essence a combination of amino acids. Each of these amino acids have a designated role or purpose in our bodies. While some are configured to help our metabolism, others assist in the repair and development our muscles. Nine of the different amino acids are absolutely essential to our basic functions. And since we can’t create them in our bodies, they’re kinda of indispensable and thus need to be part of our diet. The good news is that vegetarians (even vegans!) can easily get enough of these crucial amino acids by eating a balanced plant-based diet. Anybody trying to tell you differently is just ignorant (or, is a lobbyist for the meat/poultry industry).

Here’s a resource for how to stop worrying about vegetarianism/veganism and protein deficiency (with great recipes, too).

As a former meat-eater,I totally get why the vast majority of the world’s population (but not most folks in India) would enjoy sinking their teeth into a juicy, barbecued beef or pork steak, chewing off a mouthful of double-dipped, deep fried chicken or chomping on a perfectly grilled hotdog with mustard, ketchup and relish.

Up until a bit more than three years ago, I did all those things regularly with great vigor and noticeable intensity. And to be totally honest, there are times when I miss those orgastic, multiple sensory kicks I’d get when eating at places like, Baby Blues BBQ in Los Angeles or at Nathan’s Famous on Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. Heck, I even miss our own back patio and countryside »barbies« we hosted in the summertime.

But the more mindful about how beneficial it is to stay clear of poultry, meat and all processed foods I become – and if you don’t think most meat is processed, please click here – the easier it is to shrug at times gone by and keep chomping on carrots, gnawing fresh mango and munching on spicy pistachios.

Fifth hot yoga class today. Different teacher, same drill and metaphors. Tough stuff. But, man, do I feel invigorated afterwards! Five more days to go. Gonna try to get in some surfing, too. Maybe even a long jog.