Diving into Veganism (or rather, slowly inching)

Well, as I sit here having just devoured the better part of a box of Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese, I’m once again faced with the sometimes sad (but mostly exciting) truth that my body just doesn’t respond to animal products the way it once did.

It all began on a drizzly evening in the romantic lighting of a small, French cafe.

Kidding. But I did stop eating meat when I went on my backpacking trip through Europe this summer. My friend Fran, whom I went with, is vegetarian and I, a former vegetarian myself, decided to join her in not eating meat on our trip. I was delighted to find that not only is food in Europe amazingly fresh and cheap and so delicious, but I never once felt like I was missing out by not eating meat. When I came back to the states, I felt so rejuvenated that I wanted to continue limiting my meat intake. After a few late night netflix documentaries on the food industry, my mind was made up. I wanted to pursue veganism. (I know, I know. Cue the comments. But hear me out, it wouldn’t hurt to watch a few of those.)

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A couple of our meals in Europe

Now don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say that cheese and meat and eggs aren’t dear to my heart, because believe me, I’m a steak and cheese-sausage omelet-froyo loving enthusiast. But how those things, even in their slimmest, trimmest, healthiest forms treat my heart? Nah. I can do better.

So I’m breaking up with animal products. Kind of. Hopefully. In a non-religious or super devoted way. Truthfully, I’m gonna have meat and/or dairy when I feel the compulsion to, or when the social occasion calls for it. (Like tonight when that box of macaroni and cheese was flirting with me, hard.) But I’ve realized that in moving towards a more plant based diet I not only feel better in general but I also feel worse when I eat animal products or junk food. Plus, it encourages me to explore new recipes and flavors, which I am luuuhhhhviiiiing. Also loving: fitting into my clothes better, not obsessing over what I eat, and witnessing positive changes throughout my body.

Here’s a couple of the things I’ve been eating lately:

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Pan fried vegetable gyoza with garlic and scallions // Sautéed garlicky ginger-miso kale with water chestnuts // Japanese style fried rice with tofu, carrots, edamame, and seaweed
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Red and orange peppers, carrot, avocado, and chipotle hummus on whole wheat pita, a pear, and black bean tortilla chips
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I can’t take credit for this masterpiece, I got it from a little place called “Root” down the street from me. But it was inspired me to make similar dishes. Sautéed kale with golden quinoa, pickled carrot, chick peas, and avocado tossed with thai peanut sauce, citrus miso dressing and spicy gochujang aioli. // Glass of grapefruitade steeped with fresh mint.

So would I consider myself a full fledged hardcore vegan? No, I wouldn’t say that. And who knows if I’ll ever get there. But I do understand it a little better now and I see that veganism really isn’t all flavorless and restrictive and raw-foody. I’m actually having a blast with it. So maybe someday I will drop animal products for good. But until then, I’m figuring it out one meal at a time. And dodging mac and cheese the best I can.

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