Friday, July 22, 2011

Vegan Ramblings

Almost a year ago I decided to return to my vegetarian ways for a multitude of reasons.  I had been a vegetarian from age 15-25, for 10 years.  People always ask me if it's hard to give up meat, but for me it's not, although it seems that that is not the norm.  For some reason I have just never been a big fan of meat.  I would eat the meat just because it's there & I'm supposed to, but I really liked all the meatless dishes & side dishs SOOOOO much more than the meat!

So, as I was saying, almost a year ago I returned to my vegetarian ways.  I had pulled out some of my old favorite recipes & was happy as can be.  But my hubby sadly commented that he couldn't share any of the dishes with me because most of them contained dairy.  I had actually never noticed that so many vegetarian recipes do contain dairy.  The sadness I saw in my hubby's comment affected me & I decided to start looking for dairy free vegetarian meals so that I could share with him more.

I started finding that the easiest way to make sure a recipe was dairy free was that it was vegan.  I had actually never considered following a vegan diet.  I never thought it was doable for me.  For some reason I saw it as an "all or nothing" type of thing.  I have to admit that I hate (& refuse to) be really legalistic about a diet.  So if I see roast beef or prime rib or a turkey sandwich & I find myself wanting it I'm gonna eat it, I allow myself that freedom.  That being said, it's really super rare that that would happen for me.  But I think it was this point that made me first cross the line from vegetarian to vegan.

My one form of entertainment that I CANNOT live without is reading.  It's like therapy for me.  I HAVE to always be in a book.  It takes me waaaaay longer to get through a book now that I have a toddler, but I am still ALWAYS in a book.  My hubby & stepson have the TV to watch (they are NOT book worms, they LOVE TV)  I gave up all my magazine subscriptions to save money, but I occasionally order a book, usually on amazon because it's cheaper.  So for a while now I've been working on vegan books.  I first started with one that was all about WHY you should be a vegan.  The next one covered some of that & also had recipes.  I remember reading it & then looking at the recipes & feeling like they were so foreign.  A lot of the ingredients were not items in my kitchen already, at least not on a regular basis.  Some were things I've never heard of. 

I love to cook & I am a pretty good cook.  But I had to admit that I felt uncomfortable & awkward trying to cook vegan.  So I decided I needed more recipes, but wanted some plain old regular type recipes, nothing unusual & weird (at least to me).  So I went looking at the local health food store, on their book rack.  I found one & bought it.  I have to admit my toddler was being fussy & I was feeling really rushed.  So I didn't look at it too thoroughly, but I liked that it was ALL recipes, there were no chapters on WHY you should be a vegan.  I didn't need that info, just needed to get cooking.  Once I got home & had put my groceries away & had time to look at the book I realized it was ALL latin based recipes.  How awesome is that??  I also really liked the style of it & looked up the author, only to find that she had co-authored several other vegan cookbooks as well.  So over the course of the past year I have gotten the other cookbooks.  I love that the style of it is REAL cooking, not using expensive processed pre-made vegan foods.  One of the many reasons I went vegan was to save money & I do eat for VERY CHEAP these days.  And these cookbooks follow along with that line of thinking, which I love.

So now that I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable with the basics of vegan cooking I pulled out that first cookbook that I had gotten.  The one that seemed so foreign to me.  And I now find that very few of the recipes &/or ingredients feel that way to me.  I am now definitely engulfed in the vegan world I guess.  I am still always trying out new recipes & am very cautious & skeptical, but am happy to say that most of them are much better than I expected them to be.

Personally I think any move you make toward eating better is a good thing.  And any meal or day you eat vegetarian or vegan is awesome!  But I am finding that a lot of vegans don't feel that way.  Honestly, I don't understand why we can't just get along.  Why are some vegans being all snotty about this?  We all have the same goal in mind--to be healthier.  But I have found that there are vegans who insist that it's an "all or nothing" thing.  That if you aren't following a STRICT vegan diet & complete way of life (no leather, no cosmetic products that are tested on animals or have animal byproducts in it, etc) you CANNOT call yourself a vegan.  Some argue that they should call themselves a "strict vegetarian" & others argue that they should say they follow a "plant based diet".  Personally all this terminology is very childish & irritating to me.

Conversely there's the other side of the spectrum where I see a new generation of vegans.  I guess I'd say they're a little more like me.  They consider avoiding honey "old school" vegan ways.  Personally I refuse to give up honey & doubt that I'll ever change my mind on that matter.  But I am very aware that that is not vegan, since honey is produced by an animal. 

I guess that's all the rambling I have for now.............

1 comment:

Danielle-Marie said...

I like the freedom you allow yourself. I think it's great that you are open to eating meat, eating vegetarian, and eating vegan food. I consider myself open to trying anything. Wish you could cook me up some vegan food! I've never really tried a vegan meal.