Earlier this year, I had some friends over. Two of those friends happen to be vegans, so I made my usual dish: Bean salad. It was a summery party (in the winter), and bean salad always seems really summery and picnic-y to me. But I always felt somewhat at a loss when it comes to making other options. My friends recommended a book they liked a lot, The Vegan Table. I picked it up a few months later, along with another book by the same woman, The 30 Day Vegan Challenge.
I’ve tried a few recipes from the books already and liked them, but what I found most compelling was the idea that we eat the way we eat largely out of habit, and this includes eating meat and animal products.
It seems obvious when you think about it, but most things we do in life we do out of habit, right? Exercising or not, watching TV, eating fast food, smoking, drinking, when we sleep and how much – we’re ultimately creatures of routine and habit. So in a culture where eating meat and animal products is the default, it’s no wonder it’s hard to imagine veering from that path and eating no animal products at all. But now I am imagining it, and I want to give it a go.
I’m setting some guidelines for myself, because I think if I don’t I’ll go mad trying to be ‘perfect,’ something Patrick-Goudreau cautions against (basically she says: Don’t make yourself crazy, just do your best).
- I will be trying new recipes and cooking new recipes, but I’ll also try modifying old favorites (lasagna being a big one I want to try without cheese).
- I won’t be getting rid of all of my condiments that have animal products in them (as this is just a temporary experiment) or replacing them unless they run out. Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it, yes. But rather than buying vegan Worcestershire, I’ll just try to avoid using it.
- I’m not buying vegan wine or worrying about drinking totally vegan stuff. Again, I’ll try to avoid stuff that’s obviously bright red (because often the dye is made from bugs) but I’m not going to stress out over it.
- What I am going to worry about is eating enough iron – I want to stay strong for running!
- I reserve the right to add in milk, eggs, and meat at my discretion. I’ll do my best to explain my thought processes and reasoning, but if veganism isn’t working for me, I have no problem cutting the experiment short.
Fortunately, there’s a lot of fall stuff I love that is vegan – soups, stews, oatmeal, pumpkin! And lots of other things I eat all the time, like peanut butter and jelly and popcorn, that’s totally vegan. I’ll miss cheese, but even more, Greek yogurt (it’s so versatile). I don’t think this is a permanent lifestyle change, but I would like to incorporate the things I learn and experience more into my daily life.
I’m also taking suggestions: What should I try? What website should I read? I’m excited to get started!