Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Vegan Experiment - Day Four and Day Five

Woohoo!  Past the halfway point, and I'll have to say, this has been a very fun challenge.  Day four (I'm sorry to say) was just a regular day.  No struggle with my coffee or my family.  No tricky casein hiding in my food.  Just...a day!

I am sorry if you were looking forward to today's coffee story.  I did not have a coffee struggle, but I DID have a coffee breakthrough.  I got a vanilla soy latte from Starbucks.  I'm not the world's biggest fan of soy milk, but it was fantastic.  For what it's worth, Starbucks also has an allergy and vegan friendly interactive menu on their website.  I got a toasted multi-grain bagel to go with my latte and peanut butter.  With a morning like that, who could have a bad day?  (I'm hoping my blog is discovered by Sbux and they give me a lifetime of lattes for all of my free plugs!) 

Thanks, again, Starbucks!
My boss was nice enough to tell me that he would be cheering me on while he ate his 22 oz bone-in ribeye.  His sensitivity knows no bounds.  I guess the guilt got to him, though, because he was emailing me from his dinner asking about vegan scotch options.  It turns out that alcohol, which I thought was EASILY the second most vegan thing in the universe is something to watch out for.  Why?  The clarification process often uses animal by-products, so not only is the clarified product not vegan, so is the barrel that it was stored in.  I'm not interested in eating the barrel, but storing future alcohol in that same barrel taints the new batch of alcohol right off the bat.  Soooooo many rules!  

I'm really liking this lifestyle change.  I had a great realization yesterday compliments of my vendor.  He commented on my mood, and that got me thinking (more) about my whole experience.  These past four days have been the most guilt-free eating days I can remember since I was maybe a teenager.  Not a day has gone by that I thought, "Ugh.  I shouldn't have eaten that."  

I also think that there is something to be said about a vegetarian diet and cravings.  I have not craved my usual junk food.  It's very exciting when Eating to Live replaces Living to Eat.  No joke.  I caught a whiff of some cookies at a meeting, and I was confused by my own reaction. I thought, "Why don't I want one?  Come on, Body!  Want a cookie so I can tell you NO!"  I'd be interested in the feedback on that from a psychologist specializing in food addictions.  Not the lack of a craving, but my brain's wanting a craving so I could reject it.  Weird.

I left that cooking singing "I Want You to Want Me" to someone else!
Four days in, and even Jay has decided to support me.  He made some popcorn, and then he asked me if I wanted some before he poured butter on it.  So nice of him.  Shhhh.  Don't tell anyone. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Vegan Experiment - Day Trois

Day three!  I'm almost half-way through the week, so I felt the need to use bad know, that kind-of foreign-word-dropping entitlement that comes when you're eating like 1% of your fellow Americans.  

Not because I'm rich, but because I'm vegan. 
 I might be the other 1%, too, but I'm not sure.
I'm happy to report, I think I finally hit my stride!  Of course, my coffee woes only got worse before they got better, but I'm less stressed about making vegan choices.  This is probably a good time to differentiate between being a true vegan and eating a vegan diet (or vegetarian diet, but if you use "vegan", people don't ask, "So, do you still eat cheese?" over and over and over again).  So far, I'm just eating a vegan diet.  I haven't ridded my closet or the rest of my home of it's leather or other animal things.  I'm cooking two meals - one for me and one for my unsupportive family - and I'm littering so people don't think I've gone completely off the deep end.  Not really.  I'm not littering. 

I'll spare you all my menu today, but I do want to leave you with these four take-aways:

1. I dislike HIDDEN animal by-products - The Coffee Conundrum.

I am trying to like blech! coffee.  I really am.  Buuuuut, it is not working for me, so I looked for anything I could find at the office coffee bar.  Non-dairy creamer?  Sounds legit, right?  The ingredients weren't listed, but non-dairy is non-dairy.  WRONG!  It has milk in it.  CASEIN.  International Foods is a lying, cheating, whore. They tricked me.  I felt awful and alone.  Alone in my coffee terribleness.  But I got on with my day because...

2. Alicia Silverstone can always make a person feel better about him or herself.

I was googling "vegan accidentally had milk", and who should appear?  Alicia Silverstone.  The forum for The Kind Life popped up, and there were all sorts of soothing words for me to read.  The Kind Life has The Kind Diet and other neat resources.  The coolest part??  Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING I read on that site...well, I could hear it in Alicia's voice in my head. It's like she was right here encouraging me along. 

Before you think I may have eaten some bad mushrooms, I have to tell you that I've had a thing for her since Clueless.

3. Dinner CAN be easy.

I got a craving and a gift from Heaven at the same time.  I was in the mood for some guacamole - pronto!, and I immediately thought of Chipotle for dinner.  I went to their website (because I had a little time to research the menu), and they have a section that says, "If you are vegan, you want to avoid..." and it listed their menu items that I shouldn't eat...which was barely anything!  Thanks, Chipotle!

4. Much of my family lives in a teeny, tiny box (like veal). 

Oh the comments I've been getting!  The refusals to try my recipes!  The warnings if I choose to "Stay this way".  The half-assed support, "I support you, but don't try to feed me any of your vegan food."  Okay.  If you don't want any of my chips and salsa or mixed fruit(franken-food, I know!) then that's fine with me.  More for me.

Come on, family!  I support your omnivorous ways.  Not because I have to, but because I love you!  Support me, too! 

Until tomorrow!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Vegan Experiment - Day Two

Oh this freaking coffee!!!  How can my one-cup-per-day habit be causing me this much grief?!  I tried almond milk in my coffee on Day Two.  It didn't look yummy, but it actually cut the bitterness of the coffee...which I'm discovering is all I really "need".  It would do...but then I drove off without it.  Damnation.

My coffee-less morning led to a headachy afternoon.  I even had decaf iced tea at lunch (like a dummy).  Other than sodas (which I almost never ever ever drink) I don't know how else to get caffeine.  Once I got home, I realized I have decaf tea bags.  I guess I'll give up caffeine next?  Based on my actions and shopping patterns, I must subconsciously want to?  Ludicrous.

No coffee?  You trippin'!
I had the opportunity to browse some vegan websites and food lists...The food lists made my life easier-ish.  The "familiar" foods on the vegan list are either a) things I really shouldn't be eating: Lay's Potato Chips, Smucker's Marshmallow Icecream Topping, Single Serve Apple Pies, Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies or b) things that require cheese, eggs or milk to help make them an actual food: El Paso Enchilada Sauce, Hunt's Manwich Sauce, McCormick Bag'n Season Italian Herb Chicken (wtf,  Here is the complete list if you are interested:

My research also lead me to a most-unsavory element of veganism: Hidden animal by-products.  I mean, WHO looks up all of the ingredients they read?  Casein is a milk protein derivative.  Char or gelatine is an ingredient derived from animal bone (Gummy Bears/Worms/etc are NOT vegan).  Boo.

Here's how my Day Two looked on the plate:


Coffee - Oh, wait, dumbass forgot it on the table.
Wheat toast with peanut butter

What I said "no" to: Duh.  My coffee.


Farmer's Market Salad (hold the cheese) with Italian dressing
Pita bread - it was gross. 
Fruit I stole from my kids' lunches. 

What I said "no" to: Everything else at Sandy McGee's


Skinny Pop Popcorn (Try it, You'll like it)

Hummus (because it's yummus)


Lime Sweet Potato, black beans, and kale

What I said "no" to: Chicken wild rice soup

Two Days.  No chicken - Still alive and kickin! 

(Hahahahahaha...I'm going to laugh myself right out of this blog post on that one!) 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Vegan Experiment - Day One

An Earth Day conversation with my boss took a turn for the unusual, and he challenged me to a week of not eating any foods derived from animals.  Zip.  Zilch.  Since I don't turn down most challenges that aren't illegal, I'll be spending my week eating plant-based food. He thinks I won't make it two days. 

And before you ask, yes, friends, this is all you are going to hear about until next Friday.

Here is a recap of Day One...
Which Hummus?? AHHHHHHH!

Right out of the gate I was attacked by the want for cream in my coffee.  With no coconut milk in sight, I had to make a judgment call.  Black coffee isn't the worst, but it's not ideal either.  In the end, my need for caffeine won.  It probably won't be the worst thing I try all week. 

I drove to Whole Foods to get some provisions, and I successfully completed Day One. 

Here is what I ate today:


Blech! Coffee
French bread, toasted
Red plum jam

What I said "no" to: Butter,  cream, egg


Zucchini Grillini (no cheese, on French bread)
Corn chips and salsa

What I said "no" to: Jason's Deli soft serve (wtf?), cheese, 9-grain artisan bread, rum sauce


Apple slices
Peanut butter


Lime Sweet Potato, black beans, and kale
What I said "no" to: Chicken wild rice soup

All that sacrificin'..and I didn't die.  :)  I sure wish I had some figs to reward me.