Last Sunday night Seth and I were cuddling on the couch after putting Sylvie to bed. Seth suggested we watch a movie and let me pick what I wanted. We scrolled through our Amazon Prime list of movies and I saw one called "Vegucated," a documentary about 3 people who try out being vegan for 6 weeks. I thought it would be interesting and possibly funny. So I queued it up.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Two hours later, depressed and feeling a little "somehow," Seth and I went to bed without saying much. It was a weird ending to an otherwise delightful weekend.
The next day after I got home from work, we talked about the movie. We'd both had a chance to think about it during the day and pin point what our resulting feelings were. We were both in shock about what we'd seen. I always heard people talk about the meat/dairy/egg industry and about how cruel it was and I'd always just assumed they were mad about animals getting killed. I never really looked into the process. I'd never understood why people had a problem with dairy products or eggs. But now I do. I've actually been reading "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair recently, a book about the horrible work conditions and unsanitary, inhumane treatment of animals in the meatpacking industry of Chicago in the early 20th century. While the work conditions have greatly improved since then, from what I can tell, the treatment of the animals is exactly the same. Like Seth said, it was kind of a punch in the gut.
On Monday I sat at my desk at lunchtime and wondered what I should eat. I checked the local fast food joints for vegan options and came up with a packet of hot sauce and a bowl of dry lettuce. That definitely wasn't going to fly. I realized then that living a strict vegan lifestyle was not going to be realistic for me. It's not an easy thing to do. Animal products are literally everywhere. It would take up all my time to try and avoid them all. And that doesn't even cover the gigantic topic of social eating. I wasn't about to impose on these restrictions on everyone around me.
So, I decided that I'll be a soft vegan. Or a part-time vegan. Or an omnivore that greatly reduces my dairy and meat consumption. After that first day at lunch I realized how much meat I actually eat. Nobody needs that much. It's insane really. Especially when there are so many tasty alternatives. I'm slowly transitioning myself to vegan options where possible. So far I've tried soy, almond, and rice milk (all of which are super tasty, esp. vanilla almond milk), faux cheese & sour cream. I'm hoping to try plant-based meat alternatives as well. I've loaded up my pantry with vegan staples like cashews, nutritional yeast, coconut oil, liquid aminos, and seeds. I don't even know how to use them yet. I'm going to try and make food I like-- normal food... just tweaked. I think I can do it and I think it won't be too bad once I get used to doing it. Food is one thing I really enjoy in life and I'm not willing to eat things that taste just "OK."
At this point I'm just going to do my best. I'm not going to trash homemade goodies from friends or refuse the pot roast at a family dinner. I think that's along the lines of following the letter of the law and ignoring the spirit of it. It's about trying, not perfection. It's about including others, not cementing myself on top of a soapbox. Heck I'll probably check out some local farmers and see if I can get some truly "happy" meat and eggs for the occasional Sunday dinner or weekend omelet.
I'm actually kind of excited about this new twist in my lifestyle. I'll try my best to give you periodic updates in how it's going. If you want up close and personal info on what I'm eating, check out my Gravy Training blog. I'm hoping to be able to post a lot of new vegan friendly, delicious, NORMAL recipes there in the future, so check it out!