Friday, February 15, 2013

Two Weeks In

So, yesterday marked the halfway point of my month-long experimentation with veganism. So far? Excellent.

Only one person has been obnoxious, and that was on Tumblr, so I just unfollowed and moved on.

No known slip-ups. If I’ve accidentally eaten anything with animal products in them, I am unaware of it. But I’ve been pretty vigilant about checking labels.
Biggest difficulty? Lunch while I’m at work. I get up at 6 and have to be out the door in 45 minutes, so unless I have the foresight to pack something the night before (that’s iffy) I often rely on the little cafe in the library. If I don’t get there early enough to get the vegetable sushi, I usually eat hummus and pretzels. I know it doesn’t sound filling, but I’m usually pretty satisfied with a small meal.

Overall, though, I feel really good. Physically, mentally, ethically (does that fall under mentally?), all of it.

I haven’t completely come to a conclusion about what I’m going to do when the month is up. I have a feeling I’ll continue to eat vegan most of the time while occasionally allowing for indulgences or when vegan food isn’t available. Which means I won’t call myself a vegan, because that would be demeaning to people who do it 100% of the time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Choice vs. Need

I've seen some differing opinions in the veggie blogosphere about whether or not our dietary concerns should be treated as a choice or a need.

I can see both sides. Yes, it's a choice. Obviously, it's a conscious decision to go vegetarian or vegan, regardless of the reasons. For that reason, everything that you do to continue that lifestyle is a choice.

However, when the choice is so personal, and can have such strong effects on health, it's also sort of a need. Like I mentioned when I talked about my ER visit, if your system isn't used to animal products, eating them can make you sick. Even if it isn't so extreme, it can still lead to an upset stomach or headache, and at best that's highly unpleasant.

So I guess my conclusion is that it's a choice that should be treated like a need. I opted to make certain changes to my diet, but for my own health I need them respected and heeded.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

That irritating protein question

Seriously, stop asking how vegans and vegetarians get protein. It's annoying. And really, really unnecessary.

I'm going to pull a few things from the Vegetarian Resource Group to show you. All of the following foods are vegan and have a decent amount of protein in them:

1 cup Oatmeal - 6g
1 cup Soymilk - 7g
1 Bagel -  9g
1 cup Vegetarian Baked Beans - 12g
5 oz firm Tofu - 11g
1 cup cooked Brown Rice - 5g
2 Tbsp Almonds - 4g
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter - 8g
1 cup cooked Lentils - 18g

That's just a few examples from their sample meals. They've got a list with more detailed information about various protein sources including tempeh, beans, quinoa, vegetables, nuts, and pastas.

Basically, if you are eating a balanced diet, you are getting plenty of protein.

(So stop asking.)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Packed lunches

I'm soliciting ideas with this post. What's a good packed lunch that's vegan?

Normally I make a sandwich and take some kind of side like chips or pretzels, plus a piece of fruit if I have any at home. Then I'll buy a drink at school. I could recreate that as a vegan meal -- a sandwich with Smart Deli slices (which I already use), veganaise instead of mayo, and no cheese -- but part of this experiment is to be creative, so I'd like to figure out something more interesting.

Hummus with veggie sticks or pretzels for dipping, would be a good option. But I'm having a hard time coming up with much else. Enlighten me!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I still maintain meat landed me in the hosptial

For a few years following the end of college, I went back to eating meat. This came about because I took a trip to China my senior year with marching band, and the vegetarian meals they served were, for the most part, lacking in edibility and balance. So while I was there I gradually added in a few things, and then when I got home I couldn't stop. It was sort of like an addiction.

A year or two into this, we had moved to NYC and went to my brother's apartment for the 4th of July. We ate hot dogs. The amount wasn't really any more than normal, but it was more meat-heavy than my meals usually were. It seemed fine at the time.

Then later that night I started a stomach ache. It was so bad I could barely move, and I was doubled over in pain. Thinking it was my appendix, I had my father take me to the ER.

After laying there all night, hooked up to IVs, drinking that weird-tasting solution and getting all the tests, it was not appendicitis. The only logical explanation was that it was really severe indigestion.

It didn't strike me until a long while later that it was likely a terrible reaction to the meaty dinner I'd eaten. Sure, it could be a coincidence, but to me it's a sign that after so many years as a vegetarian, my body can't handle that kind of thing.

If you're one of those people who thinks it's funny to sneak animal products into the meals of someone who has chosen a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, think about this. You are potentially making them very sick. If you do that, you're simply not a good person.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Betty Crocker Project

When I get into this vegan experiment I really want to test out some of the recipes from The Betty Crocker Project. What's that? Great question.

This self-described "armchair chef" was inspired by Julie & Julia to take the Betty Crocker cookbook and veganize the recipes. There are so many that look good, but I'm just going to list five that I'd like to try.

Spicy Thai Wings

Beer and Cheese Soup

Orange Teriyaki Beef with Noodles 

Pad Thai

Huevos Rancheros with Tofu Scramble

(All photos credited to The Betty Crocker Project)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Not fat-shamey vegan resources?

I am assuming that somewhere on the vast stretches of the Internet there exist some fat-positive vegan resources. I am aware of the F-Yeah Fat Vegans blog, which has some excellent recipes, but I'm always on the lookout for more.

The unfortunate truth is that there is a lot of fat-shaming in pro-veganism spaces. I've been struck by it even in just the days since I decided to do my experiment. PETA (who I dislike for many reasons in addition to this) had their "save the whales" ad campaign a while back, conflating a meatless diet with weight loss (and conflating fat with being unhealthy/unattractive).

So I'm looking for positive things. Recipes that don't talk about weight loss, blogs that don't focus on thinness, guides that don't talk about "obesity" as something to be avoided at all costs. I just want to know about the food.