Long time no see, right?
Despite the craziness of the holiday season and everything else going on, I’ve decided to pick up the blog again. And before we dive in here, I have a confession to make:
I stopped being vegan.
And when I say I stopped, I mean, good god did I ever stop. There was no “Well I’ll just eat dairy and eggs” phase. I went straight from hugging cows and petting chickens to literally gnawing on them. Steak, man. Steak is really good, and that is really unfortunate on so many levels.
I couldn’t give you an exact date when I fell off the wagon, broke it into a thousand tiny pieces, and then set those on fire. It was in August some time. I think I know some factors that contributed to it though. See, I had to spend a week going into the office and thus packing lunch. That’s tricky enough for me, since I don’t do mornings and trips into the office often involve getting up while it’s still dark outside. Additionally, my doctor started me on some new birth control that made me feel like I was going to throw up anytime I ate.
What that turned into was eating nothing but crackers and bread with vegan cheese on it. By the end of the week, I snapped. I think I was just so nutriet deficient that my body nagged at me to eat the most nutrient-dense food it could come up with. It wasn’t steak that broke me. Or cheeseburgers or chicken wings, although all those things followed not too long after.
It was eggs. I was constantly daydreaming about fried, sunny-side-up eggs. Like, all the time. A few days into these vivid daydreams about delicious egg yokes the crispy egg white edges and fantasizing about eating that by itself or on toast with butter that I caved. I bought a dozen eggs and ate them all inside a week.
That same week, after my first eggy breakfast, I also ate steak and a bacon cheeseburger and I don’t even know what all else. Like, I said–I fell off the wagon and just started running.
Are you still reading? I feel like saying “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned,” except I’m an atheist, and apart from poetic value, those words don’t mean much to me. I will tell you this though–for my entire time as an omnivore again, I still ate at least one vegan meal a day. I still 100% agreed with veganism; I was just a fat chick with no self-restraint.
Here are some observations I made during that time. One, almost nothing that I daydreamed about tasted as good as I’d built it up to be in my head. The eggs were good, but they weren’t that good. Same with bacon, and real butter, and even cheese. (I’ll be fair though. Steak is still that good. And some cheeses are too. I did say “almost” nothing.)
Secondly, every time I ate meat, I felt grossly full, even when I didn’t eat that much of it. Sometimes that feeling of discomfort would stick with me for hours. I didn’t like it, but it was just such a damn commitment to go vegan again.
It’s easy enough to choose to eat beans or tofu instead of chicken for the span of a meal, even several meals, but to swear it off forever is intimidating as hell. I totally understand why people say “I could never be vegan.” I’ve said it. I think most people who are vegan have said it.
I did it again though, and once again, it was a pretty spontaneous decision. I watched a documentary and then immediately went into my kitchen and threw away every non-vegan item in there. I filled a huge garbage bag with frozen chicken breasts, sliced cheeses, rolled butter, eggs, bacon, and all sorts of other stuff. I wanted it out of my house.
The documentary was “What the Health?” For those who aren’t familiar with it, the documentary exposes just how corrupt the meat industry really is. And by that, I don’t mean how they exploit workers or abuse animals or anything like that. It was way more simple than that. It’s about the lengths the meat industry goes to in order to hide how unhealthy meat actually is. In watching this documentary, I didn’t really learn much that I didn’t already know, but the information was presented in such a way that it really struck a chord in me.
Let me try to elucidate why:
I quit smoking about five years ago now. I don’t need to tell you why I quit smoking, because you know what cigarettes are and you know the effects they have on the human body. Anytime you tell anybody that you quit smoking, literally no one says “Why?” unless they’re being a smart ass.
One of the new bits of information I gained from “What the Health?” was the knowledge that processed meats (such as bacon, lunchmeat, sausages, etc) are considered Group 1 carcinogens, according to the World Health Organization, which is the same classification as cigarette smoke and asbestos.
Now, if I quit smoking–not that there haven’t been hitches along the way for that particular vice as well–but didn’t quit eating meat, what was the point of quitting smoking in the first place? I liked smoking, and I like bacon, but I’ve always been an all-or-nothing sort of person.
So, I pieced together an entirely new wagon and hopped back on it.
This was about a month ago, a couple weeks before Thanksgiving actually, and while you could easily make the argument that my timing is awful, I’d contend that it couldn’t have been better. What better time to change my eating habits than during the time of the year when it’s typical to make frequent unhealthy choices? And you know what? Since going back to veganism, I feel so very much better. Not just mentally and all that from not killing things just for food and lessening my carbon footprint, but also physically. Eating plant-based meals doesn’t make me feel bogged down and gross the way meat does.
That said, I will totally be making vegan Christmas cookies. You can’t eat healthy foods all the time, right? I sure can’t.
I will say this though: remember how whiny I was when I first attempted veganism? I missed cheese so so so much and I whined about it constantly. I didn’t like vegan dairy replacements, and I flat-out cheated more than once. This time around, it’s shocking to me how easy it is. I think it may be because I at least know what I can and can’t eat to a reasonable degree and I know of quite a few vegan alternatives that are pretty delicious and close to the real thing. (Violife cheese and literally anything made by Gardein, for instance!)
And now for some pictures of yummy things I’ve eaten in the last month because why not?
Spinach, hasbrowns, and refried beans
Veggie stir fry over white rice
Garlic knots with red pepper flakes and vegan parmesan
Broccoli tahini soup
Roasted cauliflower and parsnip soup
Homemade spinach artichoke hummus with black bean Tostitos
General Tso’s Tofu over brown rice
Mongolian soy curls
Black beans and roasted rutabaga