Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Few Words of Encouragement

After reading my last blog post, one of my best friends' husband's friends (I love friend chains like that) sent me this message. He's also a vegan and was a big help when I first started out my meatless adventures.

Some words of (hopefully) encouragement.

I've been a vegan...almost a year now, wow! I think that if you make it a set of rules to follow or laws to abide by, then this kind of thing is bound to happen. You break the rules, you feel guilty. I try to think of veganism as more of a way of life or a guideline. If I decide one night I want Coldstone Ice Cream I don't feel guilty about it the next day. My lifestyle is such as to lessen the suffering of animals and promote a new way of living in a consumer society. I try to make the best decisions I can but in the end, if I constantly deny myself the things I enjoy I'll go crazy. Maybe once every few months I get real ice cream, and that's about as far as it goes for me.

Next, I want to make a comment about what you said about eating dairy and eggs that come from happy cows and chickens. I think in a lot of ways you're right. However, think about your slippery slope. You stop being vegan, and you eat eggs at home that come from a farm that you know and trust. You even go get your eggs yourself from the farm. This is great. Now you're out in a restaurant, and suddenly it's easier to decide to eat something with egg in it. You don't know where the egg came from,'re not a vegan so its easier to make the decision to eat the egg.

Again, this might sound like rule making. I think one of the most crucial parts of veganism is that knowing it's your lifestyle helps make the tough decisions when you're out and about. However if you constantly deny yourself all things you enjoy this kind of thing will happen.

The other part of veganism for me is showing others that there is an alternative way to living. I think of it as taking a stand in a way. Not in preaching as much as in living. That's partly why I don't get happy-chicken eggs at home. The whole lifestyle of being vegan speaks to others that I'm trying to live in a new world, a world that's already available in some ways but not quite here yet.

My final words are to say: every now and then get your favorite non vegan thing and eat it. Don't even worry about it where it comes from if you have to, just eat it.

I'd like to think that if I ate happy eggs at home I'd be able to resist other eggs in restaurants. But I think we all know the strength of my willpower and realize that that's probably a complete impossibility. Boo.

I think I'm just getting nervous because I've finally gotten to my breaking point with gluten. I knew this day would come just like dairy. It's sad. I don't want to say goodbye to another yummy food group. But I can no longer deal with all the side effects that follow right along my gluten consumption. I'm making dinner with pita bread tonight because it's already planned and that is my farewell. I feel like once gluten is gone combined with my vegan lifestyle, I'll have nothing left to eat, especially in restaurants where I seem to live on veggieburgers...

I'm also get quite nervous for all my travels this summer. It's pretty easy being vegan in NYC and such. I know where to go and what I can eat. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about all these foreign countries. My most horrendous recollection of Spain was the Casa del Jamon (House of Ham) where there are hundreds of carcasses strung from hooks on the ceiling. They'll slice you off some so you can sit at the bar and eat yummy (read: disgusting) tapas. However, they did have marvelous sangria which I consumed copiously whenever there to forget the rotting flesh hanging over my head. I think this experience is where my pre-vegan aversion to ham came from.

Oh well. I will let you know how my gluten-free veganism goes as soon as I begin it tomorrow. I'm debating going out and bingeing on gluten before I have to give it up, but I really don't want to deal with the crazy hives that will produce. Look at me, total addict going out for my last hit. Ridiculous. But yet, I still can't help it.

P.S. If you'd like to hear more of my friend's views on veganism and life, here's a link to his website.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Slippery Slope: Not just for Adolescent Guidance

Sorry I neglect you. I feel bad. But only a little.

I was having a crisis. If you can find a way to let me make blogging my job, I promise I’ll pay a bit more attention to you. Maybe.

So, the slippery slope. Whenever I hear these words I immediately think of middle school guidance and my nice private religious school upbringing. The day we had to fill out a chutes and ladders type worksheet about how far we would go with a guy was my most favorite slippery slope lesson ever. Just to make crazy redhead Mrs. Montgomery upset, a few of decided we would “go all the way.” Of course we ended up pregnant and with an STD (or should I say STI and be up with the appropriate and politically correct lingo concerning venereal issues) all thanks to the good ol’ slippery slope.

However, I’m now thinking I should have paid more attention to all those slippery slope lessons as I’m now sliding down it quite rapidly. Or at least I was.

When we went away for Memorial Day, the one night I planned on eating rice and beans for dinner. I figured others would want some as well so I bought family sized of both without bothering to read labels. The brand I normally use is vegan happy, so I just assumed all saffron rice was. You know what they say about assuming. It makes an ass out of you and me. (Or I guess that only works with ‘assume’ and not ‘assuming’ and I was the only one with the issue in this case, but you can just pretend it works and go with it, okay?)

Sooo, that fateful night I was hungry and wanted normal food so I figured I’d just eat the effing rice even though it had nice dehydrated chicken flakes in it. Yum. So appetizing. How can we even eat food when there’s crap like that listed in the ingredients?

But unfortunately, this one little bite set me off on a downward spiral. After getting home from Memorial Day, I had a butter croissant. I couldn’t resist. Then I spent the whole day feeling crazy guilty and promising I wouldn’t do it again.

Then we saw some friends the next weekend for dinner. We went to a Thai place and my one friend got Thai tea. I’d never heard of it before and felt the need to try even though it was made with heavy cream. (Thai tea = super strong tea served over ice with heavy cream)

It was also my pap’s birthday that weekend so the next day I got to watch the fam sit around and enjoy cake and ice cream. I’d bought myself some soy ice cream. It was crap. So I was feeling very bad for myself and was deciding I couldn’t go through life being depressed just because I was forcing myself not to eat stuff and then feel guilty about it when I did.

Butttt, I thought about it. I don’t want to eat meat. It still disgusts me. I’m still not allowed to eat dairy and I don’t really like eggs. I really just miss eating highly processed things that have egg or milk product in them. I shouldn’t eat that junk anyway. Soo, still a vegan. However, to be truthful, I don’t think this will be forever. I think being a vegetarian will be forever. Meat = nasty for me. But, I really don’t see anything wrong with eating eggs or dairy that come from happy animals. If you get produce that is locally grown and raised (from a farmers market or co-op) and you know that the animals aren’t being abused for their produce, then why not? Chickens have to produce eggs. Cows must make milk while pregnant. If we’re going to be good and gracious consumers, then I see no issue using these products.

I think that is a standard misconception, though. Cows don’t produce milk all the time. Just like humans, they only produce milk while pregnant and just after giving birth. The huge dairy farms keep their cows constantly in gestation (fancy word, hopefully you know it) and as soon as they give birth they take the babies and sell them to veal farms. It’s mean and cruel and keeps the cows in horrible health. Again, after learning all this stuff, I’m surprised anyone is willing to consume these things. But, like always, to each their own.

This entry has no recipes as I’ve been lazy lately and have tried no new recipes. I’ve basically been living off rice and beans. However, I did make another great discovery today. My co-worker went out in search of cookies for the two of us and she came back with Lorna Doone shortbread cookies! They’re vegan happy! So exciting. I was just thinking at the grocery store yesterday how much I would miss shortbread. I rarely eat it, but when I do, I love it. Sooo now I have an easy vegan happy option. They do have gluten though… But I haven’t gotten around to dealing with that issue yet.

Ok, that’s all for now. Hopefully it was enough to make up for a week of neglect. If not, sucks to be you.

OH, I almost forgot to add my madre’s latest words of wisdom. All my hair is apparently now going to fall out because of my B-12 deficiency on my vegan diet. Good thing Demi Moore once did a movie entitled G.I. Jane and made bald heads cool for the rest of us.

Gotta love the madre.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I plead insanity.

So apparently I'm going insane.

No, that's not referring to my tenure as head juror the past two weeks (although my fellow jurors are worse than my fourth grade class last year with their bickering). No, that's not referring to my job (or lack thereof). No, that's not referring to the zoo of animals I keep in my house.

That's referring to what my mother told me on the phone this afternoon.

I'm going insane.

Or so said a random gastroenterologist she met at a dinner party this weekend. Apparently, it "just came up in conversation" that all vegans eventually go crazy. His theory was that as we vegans don't get all of our essential amino acids, our brain chemistry slowly starts to shift. It happens so gradually we don't even notice. Telling my mom that she could keep her eyes out for me and let me know once I start going insane and that I'd eat a steak didn't help either... "By that point, it'll be too late!" says she.

My mom also had another wonderful revelation from this conversation. "So when you see all these weird vegan people and think that they're crazy, they actually are! They're going insane!" Wonderful. Thanks random gastroenterologist for all your fine help and medical advice.

It was at this point that I discussed with the madre that I am taking this quite seriously, read about it all the time, and plan my meals to be sure I get all my essential amino acids in during the day. If anything, I eat much more balanced now than I ever did. However, she says her great worry, as always, is child birth. (Somebody's a bit desperate for grandkids, I'd say.) She told me to consider myself like an old cut down tree. I have all these "health" rings inside me that I'm building up now. It's not just my health when I'm pregnant, but my health history beforehand.

I told my mom gracias, but I think her career with analogies is over. No girl wants to be compared to a tree trunk.

However, that's not what I actually said. I agreed with her that it's smart to keep an eye on my health and promised to make an appointment with a nutritionist. It definitely couldn't hurt. And then at least the madre will have no ammo for calling me insane in the future... or at least no ammo stemming from my diet.

So last night I made my vegan yum pizza again, so I guess I'll finally blog about it. I just bought a vegan friendly crust from the store, coated it with olive oil, spread spicy tomato basil sauce all around, sprinkled garlic powder and red pepper flakes all over then added a whole bunch of veggies such as red and green pepper, onion, broccoli and eggplant. (Italian eggplant no less. I like my veggies like I like my men. Foreign.)

Then I dumped a bit more sauce on the top, a bit more garlic powder then baked it at 450 degrees for ten minutes or so.

Super easy, super delish.

You can feel free to add any sauce or toppings you please, as long as they're vegan friendly of course.

So I guess that's all for now. Maybe tonight I'll have another fun nightmare to blog about that involves my vegan tree self being chopped down for sprouting insane sprigs or leaves... We'll see. One can only hope.