|A very serious meat-free burger at Native Foods in LA.|
Last year at this time I blogged about how I had made it through my first year as a vegetarian and I resolved that I'd set aside one day a week to eat vegan. And then I just kept eating that way. When I checked in in June about it I felt great.
My amazing friend Aurora went vegan too- actually she's the one who got me on the vegan bandwagon. She was even more hardcore though, she wasn't even a vegetarian beforehand and she quit cold Tofurkey! It was really great having someone else doing it with me in those fledgeling days of not knowing what was and wasn't vegan, and if it was malt-o-meal and contained no animal products was it secretly not vegan somehow?
So here I am, a year of being the world's most hated kind of eater under my belt. And boy, do people really hate vegans. Aside from the bacon jokes and the "eat a steak!" jabs, there are the "Well, what KIND of vegan are you?" questions and the pro-meat pictures that a few friends post on my facebook wall.
Eating a vegan diet has been easy in comparison to the magnifying glass that I feel like I'm under as an "out" vegan. The hardest part has been being pressed to define my choice all the time, when the reason changes from week to week. The important thing is that I've not wavered in my desire to follow an animal-free diet. I vacillate from the "ew" factor of the meat and dairy industry to animal rights issues, then to environmental reasons and most frequently finding myself agreeing the most with the health benefits. I try not to be an asshole about it, but by saying I'm a vegan I already am one. I've accepted that's the perception, and I even ordered "Vegan Asshole" business cards for my twitter handle.
The focus on what I eat has made a big difference in how I spend my money when choosing food. I've had the shift in mentality from buying the cheapest thing on the shelf to buying items that cost less on a larger scale. When possible I buy organic now, I read every label I come into contact with so I know the ins and outs of my pantry and I'm really shifting to buying more in-season locally grown produce. It's pretty major. I remember when my children's father and I went on our first grocery shopping trip and we argued in the canned goods aisle over where to buy the brand name kidney beans or the store brand and I was fighting for that 11 cent difference. Now I'd be glaring at the labels on both and looking for added preservatives and who knows what else they might sneak in.
I also like that there are loopholes though. I like chocolate. I like junk food, and while i don't eat a lot it definietly helps when the PMS is getting the best of me. Little angels sang and flew around the room and rays of lights were everywhere when I learned that Oreos are vegan. Not healthy by any means but sometimes a hidden cache of chocolate sandwich cookies are absolute necessity. I don't eat the whole tray of them anymore like I used to. That's something, right?
I've been toying with the idea of trying a raw diet, but I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet. In the grand tradition (started a year ago) I'll be adopting a day a week to declare as a raw day so I can learn the preparation methods and all of that good stuff. I'm choosing hump day because I like to put two words together and make magic, and Rawednesday is too good to pass up. Plus I have my swing lessons on Wednesday nights after work and I always go to our local raw cafe, Revive, anyway on those nights.
So here's to my health, I lava being a vegan!