Conquering the ACT with Veganism!

Rising in darkness a full fifteen minutes prior to my usual reveille of 5:15 am, I trudged through my habitual routine, the cause of my early awakening looming over the morning. Why force myself to do this? I had already recieved a damn good score the first time. But little ol’ overachiever me just had to sign up to waste another four weekend hours filling in graphite ovals hunched over a life-determining booklet imprinted with the imposing letters “ACT.”

Requiring an energy-packed breakfast to sufficiently aid my early morning exam, I whipped up a smoothie full of peaches from Door County Fruit Market, bananas, farmers market strawberries, soy milk, and chia seeds topped with Ezekiel granola. I hope the absence of kale, both in my refrigerator and breakfast, didn’t hinder my ACT performance too horribly. In any case, I successfully completed the test, fairly confident that my score improved since my last stab at it, and without a nagging grumble of the stomach until the very end of the four tedious hours. Thanks, smoothie!

While I toiled, my mother kindly ventured to the Westside Community Market (a substantially shorter drive and greater abundance of parking spaces than the downtown Dane County Farmers Market) to pick up our weekly produce quota. Thanks to her, I returned home absolutely ravenous from the ACT to discover a refrigerator full of kale, mixed lettuces, carrots, sungold tomatoes, broccoli, green beans, bell peppers (NOT GREEN ONES), zucchini, and cucumbers—a good many of which I heaped into a family-sized salad bowl, tossed with liquid gold dressing, and topped with balsamic tofu and sundried tomato hummus. Exactly the rejuvinating lunch I needed after a strenuous morning, followed soon by a bottle of kombucha.

Mid-afternoon, I anticipated our dinner of gazpacho and corn, realizing that the meal would involve no leafy greens. Panic! Since my breakfast lacked its usual kale, I could potentially only consume two servings of greens today? Nuh-uh, no way. I first scarfed down a Lemon Dew bar from Raw Revolution, which boasts oodles of greeny goodness powders like wheat grass, spirulina, spinach, oat grass, kale, broccoli, barley grass, and chlorella.

But you know what? As much as I verily enjoy these vegan power bars, they lack the ability to make me feel all tingly, wholesome, and hippie-esque inside—a task which a tall glass of green juice accomplishes with flying colors. (Or rather, flying color. Of green.) Today’s juice blended 1/2 bunch of farmers market purple kale, a honeycrisp apple from Ten Eyck Orchard, two fat carrots from JenEhr Family Farm, and a dash of fresh ginger. Refreshing, nutritious, and delicious green beverage: check!

Further recovering from the morning stress, I decided that I well deserved my all-time favorite summer dinner: gazpacho and fresh sweet corn (courtesy of Flyte Family Farm). I’ve experimented will grilling corn in the past, but lately my mother and I have reverted back to the staple of simply boiling corn, favoring it for its superior juiciness over that of grilled corn. However, a spark of inspiration from Bonzai Aphrodite compelled me to re-tackle the smoky, charred prospect of corn on the grill—and slathered in miso.

Picture featured on Finding Vegan.

The salty-sweet tang of the miso perfectly complements without overshadowing the natural sweetness of the corn that I so adore. The kernels retained their succulent juiciness while the char of the grill offered a whole other flavor dimension, especially when the miso burned a bit, too. Kudos to Sayward for this amazing idea.

Now of course, the highlight of peak-season heirloom tomatoes and the best summer dinner in existence: GAZPACHO!


Oh, num num num, a bowl full of pure yumminess. My mother and I both ranked this batch of gazpacho as the best of the summer.

Thus, I sufficiently salvaged my sanity after enduring the dreaded ACT through three meals full of vegan wholesome-ness. Don’t you love how freaking awesome good food can make you feel?

Comment Provoking Questions: What are your favorite pick-me-up meals that never fail to cheer your spirits? How many times did you take the ACT/SAT? Do you prefer grilled or boiled corn?

Until next time, Ali.

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