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Thursday, October 02, 2008

one day at a time (vegan mofo day 2)

i think i was four or five when we were all sitting at the dinner table and i asked my mom where bacon came from. she told me it came from pigs and i immediately said i didn't want any. then she said i would have to be a vegetarian, which i interpreted as veterinarian and was sold. then she explained it meant i would have to eat a lot of vegetables. since at the time my consumption of "vegetables" only included corn and potatoes, i chickened out and went for the bacon.

we weren't really raised to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, or to really eat healthy, period. we were always fed and had as much as we wanted of whatever we wanted, but no one really made us eat anything that was especially good for us. i sometimes wished my parents would have made me try more new foods, but if they did maybe it would have been as disatrous as the time a friend's mom wanted me to try broccoli. not only did i protest, i cried. i think i was eight, now you would have to pry it from my cold dead hands, i love me some broccoli.

even though it took me a long time to get on the vegetable wagon, i was still never really sold on meat, but i was first in line for cheese, always. i remember having tons of respect for vegetarians, even more for vegans, always admiring their stoicism and wishing i could do the same but it always seemed too tough.

then a friend of mine went veg and i figured if he could do it, i could too. memorial day weekend of 2000 i went meat free and never looked back. a few years later i decided to go all the way and commit to being vegan. my two biggest concerns/holdbacks were that it would be too expensive (no way!) and that i would miss cheese way too much. the second was easier to get over, it took me a while to learn that the only way it would be expensive was if i lived exclusively on prepackaged frozen dinners and other vegan junk food (though in moderation, at times, it rules).

i've gotten more shopping savvy and have embraced the beauty of the bulk bins. i filled my basil and parsley jars for under fifty cents and i am pretty sure at the start i foolishly paid about 4-5 dollars each. my latest crusade is to bake/cook more foods with less box mixes, it's kind of gross, for any way of eating. i will still cheat with frozen veggies and canned beans though, at least until someone offers to pay my way. working women (and men) need shortcuts.

the most common question i think we get as vegans is "what do you eat" with the implication that we are limited in our choices or are being deprived in some way. excluding all of that other stuff actually expanded my choices more than i could have ever imagined. i finally had the push i needed to try new things and though i realized there was much i had been missing out on, i also realized there were a lot of things i thought i would miss but did not, still don't.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

I love hearing people talk about their path to going veg. It's very interesting. Thanks for sharing yours.

I didn't know what a vegetarian was until I was a sophomore in HS. My sister came home from college to visit and she had gone veg. It made so much sense to me that I went veg. About 2 years later I started eating fish off and on (mostly off, we're talking once every few months for the most part). Then in '95 I went veg and 2001 went vegan.

Now, my only sibling that is close to being a veg is my brother.