ok, not really. i’m not exactly an old french whore or anything, but i am 34 and divorced… you do the math.
but there is an equally scandalous V word that i have been keeping a bit of a secret lately- VEGAN.
now, i’ve been a vegetarian for almost 5 years now- and that’s no big deal. and for the entirety of that 5 year period, i’ve clutched desperately to my dairy and eggs. oh, i’ll get cage free. oh, i’ll get local. oh, i’m pretty sure that’s responsibly farmed. and i did it not necessarily because i really believed those things i was telling myself, but because cheese and eggs and butter are so ungodly delicious, that i couldn’t fathom giving them up. not ever.
this last week’s rainy days made me think a lot about how i became a vegetarian in the first place.
when i was 4 or 5, on warm wet days when the worms crawl out on the sidewalks, i would stop and pick up every single worm stranded in a heavily foot trafficked area and move it gently to the grass so nobody would step on it. it’s weird really, i hate the animal planet channel, won’t watch talking animal movies, and frisky cat photos do very little for me. but, the idea of those worms getting smushed was too much for my little grade school heart to bear. it’s still too much. i rescued no fewer than 6 worms last week. i hope they’re ok.
and then at some point in my 20s (many rainy days later), i was jogging the back bay- and i came across a field mouse bisected by a bicycle tire, and i burst into hysterical tears. and maybe i was premenstrual. or overtired. or maybe it was just because field mice are really cute. but that was the day that i realized that dead animals make me sad. and slowly, this sentiment would inch its way onto the dinner table, and i would give up all the meats (including the sea meats). even bacon.
but never veganism. no way. veganism was for smug preachy types. veganism was for people who didn’t see the divinity in extra sharp cheddar cheese and perfectly poached eggs. veganism was for soulless masochists who hate food.
until it happened.
and i’m still not entirely sure what, but a couple of months ago i just woke up and realized that i was ready. sure, i’d always realized/thought/felt that if animals were used for production farming, there was the possibility for exploitation. i knew this, i felt bad about it, but i was unwilling to give up my beloved butter (oh god butter). i fantasized about going vegan the way you fantasize about winning the lottery. sure it would be great, but it’s never really going to happen.
but then all of the sudden it did. unlike the slow creep of vegetarianism, the veganism decision just snapped.
well, sort of. the decision was made, and then i decided that i would do a 50 item farewell tour of dairy and eggs. on last orgy of pizza and eggs benedict. one last make out session with buttered popcorn and chocolate milk. but as i planned the orgy, the list kept getting shorter. it seemed too decadent, too selfish. how could i enjoy it when my personal ethics dictated that it was wrong?
the list went from 42 items at its height, to zero in about 3 days. suddenly, i was vegan with no food in the house.
as you well know by now, i enjoy shopping my way through transition. $150 in two days at 3 different grocery stores (damn you whole foods!).
but imagine how much money i saved by not having the dairy orgy! (yeah, i’m logical)
i had myself well convinced that i NEEDED it to shepherd me through the transition. and even more specifically, that i needed a bunch of comfort food. thanks to this fantastic comprehensive list, i was able to spend my $150 on swedish fish and ritz crackers. a loaf of white bread and a tub of earth balance. lorna doone cookies and fake beef jerky. not a single vegetable was purchased.
i ate nothing but sugar and starch for over a week. starburst jellybeans. munchos. i probably shouldn’t be alive.
a month and a half later, i’m actually doing ok. it’s forcing me to think about things like protein, and to stay home and cook instead of going eating out (i can pretty much only eat at silly’s and the green elephant now anyway). but i’m still such an amateur. i keep fucking up (i asked for no fish sauce on my drunken noodled, but forgot to say NO EGG- and then i ate it without thinking?!). i’m slowly learning what animal ingredients are hiding in my food (l-cytesine is in my dunkin donuts bagel, but is made out of DUCK FEATHERS- WTF?!), but usually after i’ve purchased them. but i have learned a few things (which will hopefully be joined by more things over time):
1. there actually are a lot of vegan foods that taste amazing (no twigs and berries here). here is my shrine (suggestions welcome!).
2. you can totally make an amazing vegan grilled cheese with daiya cheddar (so not cheddary on its own) and yellow mustard. and it’s only been a month and a half, so you’re damn straight i remember what real cheese tastes like.
3. there is a company named melissa that makes vegan shoes that smell like bubblegum.
4. hell yeah vegan stoner.
5. hell no vegan prawns.
despite the fact that i’ve just adopted this fairly radical eating style, i would like to assure you that this blog is not about to become a vegan conversion factory with PETA grade animal slaughter images. not my style. do i wish that more people felt like i did about animal rights? sure. but, i feel like people need to find their own paths. this is mine, and (as far as i’m concerned) it’s not fair for me to assume that it is right for anyone other than me. so don’t worry. this blog is still just me being stupid and messy and crazy (although if anyone out there has some vegan pro tips that they’d like to share- BRING IT ON).
in fact, there is a DATING POST coming up later this week. just you wait.