Monday, January 25, 2010

As of this January, my husband and I have been vegetarian for a full year! For the past year, we have also avoided purchasing cow's milk or eggs. We switched to soy milk and used various egg replacements when cooking/baking at home. But, we didn't avoid these animal products at all times; we often ate foods at restaurants or other peoples' homes that included these items. We also ate plenty of packaged foods that were not completely vegan.

So, although we were already "quasi-vegan" since we had stopped purchasing cow's milk and eggs and didn't use them at home, we did still ingest and purchase a lot of animal product here and there. Also, I was pretty reluctant to give up cheese. I knew there would be no real replacement for it in a vegan life, and I just wasn't sure I could live without it.

So silly.

But, this is a common concern in the omni world - if only I had a nickel for every time I heard, "Oh, but I love cheese! I could never give up cheese!" I would be set for life...oh, okay, but I would at least have enough to buy a Tall Soy Chai Tea Latte at Starbuck's!! Everyone who eats cheese thinks they have some superior relationship with cheese that no one else can even comprehend (same with chocolate). It's like a teenager who is in love - they think they are the only ones to ever be that in love with another person. Good grief! Well, there's a good reason for that (cheese, chocolate, and love have a lot in common), but I digress...we'll talk more about that later.

With a couple of weeks under our non-leather belts, my husband and I (along with our 14-month old daughter) are doing just fine with out a shred of cheddar!

The funny thing about me being a vegetarian in the first place is that I really don't care for vegetables. I mean, there are a handful that I enjoy, a few others that I can stand a few bites of, and then some that I can swallow only if pureed. I have serious texture issues with vegetables. It's pretty unfortunate, but I am actively trying to like vegetables! My dream is to love broccolli one day! Maybe even raw broccolli!!!!

So, the obvious question is: What do you eat?! Even "normal" vegetarians/vegans get this oh-so-common question. It seems sort of ridiculous to those that are veg's (because there are about a billion and two options), but it seems like it needs to be answered for all those omnivores who are sincerely interested.

This blog is sort of inspired by that question. I plan to post some great recipes that we've actually cooked in our own kitchen and polished off, share some decent restaurant/fast-food picks, and even recount those meals that were a total flop (and, boy, are there a lot of them already!).

Another, less "ridiculous" question is simply, "Why?" Well, it's not so simple, actually, and it also inspires this blog. I will share mine and my husband's reasons for our choices. Why we feel it's the best lifestyle for not only us, but our precious daughter also. It is not because we feel the need for explanations, but perhaps it might open a meat-eating, cheese drizzling, milk chugging eye or two.

A year ago, we lost some of our naivety about the world, and we became vegetarians. Unfortunately, I continued to push what I knew out of my mind in order to guiltlessly enjoy food that I had become dependent on. The guilt was not permanently banished though; it always came back. So, finally, I looked the knowledge that I owned directly in the eyes and decided it was time to make the change that would allow my lifestyle to truly sync with my beliefs and moral stance.

My amazing husband was with me 100%! We share that moral stance and support each other in it. I applaud those who manage to be vegetarian or vegan in a household of omnivores; it must be extremely hard to get along.

Being vegan is not just about what you don't eat. It affects a lot of aspects of your life. No more leather shoes (don't even get me started on the leather/fur industry - we'll talk about that later!). No more ordering pizza delivery when friends come over to watch a game. Valentines Day is coming heart-shaped box full of chocoalte covered caramels will find a way into my lover's arms. Easter is also coming up...when my daughter hunts for Easter eggs with her cousins, we'll have to do a stealthy switch-a-roo if she finds any milk chocolate or Cadbury eggs (not to mention, we won't be dying eggs!). There will be chocolate, I guarantee, but not the kind you buy in bulk at Wal-Mart.

On one hand, these two examples seem like such silly, unimportant hurdles, but, on the other hand, they are events swathed in tradition, culture, convenience, and social norms. It's a big step - I've considered it through and through before making the declaration. Obviously, I think it's all worth it. I'm actually looking forward to V-Day and Easter; I'm looking forward to seeing just how awesome my husband and I do at bounding over such a huge, important, laughable, inconsequential hurdle.

Here's to being vegan! To being true to what we know and believe!!

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