Vegan for the Month

13 09 2011

At Burning Man, I spent a short period of time at Veg Camp where I picked up some literature on veganism.  It’s shameful how easily I can plead ignorance to the conditions of farm factory animals and – once I learn about them – again how easy it is to let myself forget.  Both for the moral reasons involved and the experience of immersing myself in new food types and environments, I decided that my “challenge of the month” would be to go vegan for 30 days.  To my surprise and delight, Yair jumped onboard.

Snapshot of Our New Pantry

Snapshot of Our New Pantry

Yair with the Trader Joe's Vegan Bible

Yair with the Trader Joe's Vegan Bible

It’s only been a few days, but I’ve had a range of emotions and reactions:

1-  I learned about tons of new fruits, vegetables, food products, resources (like Vegweb) and an entire language that surrounds food in the vegan world.

2-  I became incredibly aware and conscious of what I put in my mouth.

3-  I recognized a similarity between veganism and keeping strictly kosher, as there are vegan certifications and I am constantly checking even the most mundane items for an ingredients listing.

4-  I felt deprived that suddenly the majority of supermarket aisles and restaurants were off-limits to us.

5-  I was freaked out by our increased grocery costs but subsequently felt indulged, as Yair and I decided that we will treat ourselves to vegan restaurants in Portland once or twice each week and this month will just be a splurge.

6-  I was impressed with how the vegan literature didn’t demonize others.  The materials were realistic and pragmatic, stating that it’s better to adopt a long-term diet that somewhat minimizes meat and dairy intake than to be a zealous vegan for two weeks before reverting back to prior habits.  Essentially, the pamphlet recommends shooting for overall long-term benefits and sustainability.

My goal is not to become a vegan.  For me, I don’t know that it would be sustainable.  But I’m nervous and excited to be taking on this baby challenge and I hope that – at minimum – this experience will heighten my awareness of what food I choose to purchase and support.

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posted by ayo

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20 responses

13 09 2011
libertatemamo

Hey guys…we’re practically next door neighbours at the moment. I’m at Fort Stevens State Park (over the coast from Portland) until 24th Sept. If you’re in the area, look me up. Can’t promise a real vegan dinner, but sure can offer wine and some good veggies 🙂
Nina

19 09 2011
ayo

Enjoy Fort Stevens, and hope you’re feeling better! Wine and veggies sound delightful, and it’s about time we meet you two already!

13 09 2011
hobopals

Oh, geez, you guys are where I want to be! ;-(

Why not try vegan for say 3 days out of a week? I don’t think I could do it for a full week, but I might be able to manage a shorter time. Just a suggestion from someone who should be following her own advice!!!

19 09 2011
ayo

Hmm, the 3 day idea is interesting but might be complicated logistically for what food and dishes to have in the house… Definitely worth thinking about!

13 09 2011
darnjoe

Hi guys,
I just came upon your blog and I was surprised! My wife and I are planning on fultiming, AND we just decided to try and not eat animal products. 🙂
It’s only been a couple of days, and it’s not easy! I just wanted to wish you luck and if you have any good recipes you want to share, don’t hold back!

19 09 2011
ayo

Hey Joe, welcome! I’m glad that you found us. When are you thinking of starting your RV adventure? And what part of the country do you hail from?

Looking forward to hearing more!

13 09 2011
Diane

I’ve been a vegetarian for over twenty years. I love meat, especially the “bad” stuff. Bacon, ribs, pork chops, steak, plus all the scum-sucking, bottom-dwelling seafood (no healthy white fish for me!). I always thought vegetarianism made a lot of sense, but I traveled for work and didn’t think I could manage. When I turned thirty, I decided to try it for a week and the rest, as they say… is now twenty three+ years. I can’t believe it. When people ask me how I have the “discipline”, I reply that I have given myself permission to eat meat whenever I want. Don’t know why this trick works, but it does. I’ve never gone the vegan route, I love my dairy products! [Side note: I just found a book at the library today called “Milk” (and it’s not about Harvey, tho’ I do hail from the Bay Area). I can’t wait to dive into it.]

I think this is a terrific idea. Even if you don’t stick to it for the long haul, you will add a ton of healthy and often inexpensive meals to your repertoire.

19 09 2011
ayo

Awesomeness. Twenty three years of vegetarianism? THAT is impressive. It makes our month seem laughable, but baby steps. Let me know what you think of “Milk” once you’ve given it a read-through!

13 09 2011
Brenda Auch

Good for you! I ate vegetarian for two years with no problems really. And my sweetie was fine with eating that way at home and then getting her meat on when away from home. I still incorporate a lot of meatless meals. That suits me just fine.

I did try to cut out dairy but that did not go so well for me. I’m a milk and cheese addict evidently. None of the replacements came even close and I felt like crying. 😦

I’m pretty happy these days eating a lot less meat and being much more aware of where that meat came from and how it was raised. Factory farming makes me VERY angry! GRRRRRR……….

19 09 2011
ayo

Grrrr back! I’m with you. And I totally hear you about the romance with dairy. I mentioned to Yair today the idea of potentially “renewing” my veganism for another month after this, but first taking a 24-hour break to polish off some fish in our freezer and satisfy an ice cream or chocolate chip cookie dough craving. We’ll see.

You have a lot of self control to keep up vegetarianism when your partner was a carnivore. I think I would need (or really want) a partner in crime to share this, and occasionally commiserate about this with!

14 09 2011
adi

wooooo veganism!!!!!!! i’m really more of a lacto vegetarian because greek yogurt is my life, but i shoot for two vegan meals a day/very restricted use of dairy (coffee/yogurt) and eggs are on my permanent blacklist (ugh. eggs. they smell so awful.)

anyway how exciting! check out the taste space, the meals there are sooo healthy and delish!

19 09 2011
ayo

Yes, I remember your fondness for Greek yogurt. (I accidentally just wrote green yogurt – that would be gross, and maybe cure the addiction?)

How long have you been doing the 2 vegan meals a day thing? Has it worked well so far?

I just bookmarked the taste space – thanks for the suggestion!

14 09 2011
Jim and Gayle

Good for you! We’ve been vegetarians for 25+ years, try to do the vegan thing but it is difficult, especially if you ever go out to eat. As fulltime RVers, though, we normally eat at “home” anyway. Check out this website. Lots of good vegan recipes. http://veganagogo.com/
In Portland, we liked Laughing Planet Cafe. If you’re dying for something sweet, try the vegan donuts here. http://voodoodoughnut.com/menu.php

Happy eating!

19 09 2011
ayo

Where are you guys based? (I tried to check out your link, but it resulted in an error.) What prompted your vegetarianism?

I’ll take a look at the Go Go website, and we will DEFINITELY be acquainting ourselves with Voodoo Doughnut next week. Thanks for the suggestion!

14 09 2011
Zach Hale

You can do it! I’ve been vegetarian for about 9 months now and it’s been fantastic. Hopefully your vegan experiment will change your views on cooking and eating. I take the stance and make responsible choices about the cheeses, eggs, honey and other animal byproducts I use since it’s pretty easy to be a responsible consumer of these kinds of by-products without feeling the pressure to be full-on vegan.

Also, morningstar chicken nuggets and buffalo wings kick butt.

19 09 2011
ayo

Mmm, I have yet to explore the morningstar selection (beyond scooping up fake bacon for a soup recipe), but am excited to take your recommendation. Power to you for rocking 9 months – that’s awesome! 🙂

14 09 2011
frugalveganmom

Yay!!
I wish I could offer some advice, but I went vegan so slowly/not on purpose/not strictly it seems like a non-event!

I think it’s harder if you try to change everything all at once – that’s a lot of new food and cooking to learn about day in and day out!

Also I don’t think it has to be any more expensive – I don’t buy a lot of the packaged goods I see in your pile, but I know you’re in a different situation with the RV too.

Please, please feel free to e-mail me any time with questions or if you just want suggestions on what to eat that takes very little cost & effort!
kelly.priem@gmail.com

K

19 09 2011
ayo

Hey Kelly! About to shoot you an e-mail, as I would LOVE your suggestions of simple and inexpensive recipes. Everyone is recommending websites, which is awesome but it can also be overwhelming in the amount of content out there!

19 09 2011
*camp1899*

being vegan, i LOVE that you’re doing this challenge!!! (;

19 09 2011
ayo

i LOVE that you’ve shown me it’s possible! 🙂

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