Well, I’ve made it to the half-way point of Veganuary now. Whew. That went so quick but there are about two weeks left to finish out January with a vegan diet. So far, so good! Okay, there was a brief moment where that wasn’t the case, but more on that soon. Veganuary has been a fun excuse for trying new recipes and for chowing down new dishes at local restaurants. I have the support from friends and family who are able to help me to stay on track during the month.
The hard part has been focusing on being prepared and keeping my kitchen stocked with appealing food. I’ve really focused on simple meals like cereal or a chocolate protein shake in the morning, a sandwich or veggie leftovers for lunch, and a really delicious dinner like homemade stir-fry, burrito bowls, or dinner from a restaurant. I keep snacks around like fruit, pita chips, and chips & salsa around to keep me feeling satisfied.
One Step Backward
Changing my habits and lifestyle is a process. In a moment of weakness and experimentation, I snuck down to the freezer and pried my spoon into some vanilla ice cream. It was very hard making me wonder how long it had been there. I put the ice cream in my mouth. The flavor was rich and thick and…I hated it. Although the flavor was officially vanilla the only thing I could taste was regret and sadness. Regret: I wasn’t eating in line with my values or my publicly stated goals to refrain from animal products for the month. Sadness: Was I hurting cows? What did this mean for the rest of Veganuary; would I cheat again? Did I fail?
I put away the spoon and walked away. And that is the moment I choose to remember. I can’t go back and change my mistake, but I can take a breath and walk away from bad choices. I made some plans to explore Laura’s extensive list of Twin Cities Vegan Ice Cream. Also, Crepe & Spoon is a tasty new choice, which I can vouch for since I tried some of their vegan ice cream and their delectable crepes. I have also enjoyed some frozen bananas at home this week for a sweet treat.
I’m feeling confident that going forward in this month, I can stick to my eating goals.
Many Steps Forward
My boyfriend and I were planning to attend a weekend duplicate bridge game that typically has delicious food. I was feeling nervous that I would feel bad about watching other people eat cheeses and desserts that wouldn’t be an appropriate vegan choice. So, I embraced the potluck style of the event and made a yummy pasta salad that would feel decadent and filling for myself with plenty of servings left to share with the other bridge guests. My salad was tasty (boyfriend approved!) and some folks even brought vegan seed crackers and hummus. I did not go hungry! Though I was seated next to some chocolate chip cookies that I would have loved to have tasted.
Also, my friend Kemi and I had a vegan outing at Pizza Lucé in Seward, Minnepolis. I was so thankful for the many vegan choices. We decided on an appetizer of Bruschetta and The Rustler pizza, topped with mock duck, pineapple, banana peppers, red onion, with BBQ sauce. We also really enjoyed Pizza Lucé’s Rinotta, a housemade “uncheese” made from tofu and cashews. I didn’t even miss the dairy. The leftovers were yummy. I can highly recommend Pizza Lucé for their great vegetarian and vegan choices also they have gluten-free options, too.
What Happens in February?
One thing that I can’t stop thinking about is what direction I will go once February starts. Will I love being vegan so much that I adopt a new lifestyle? I mean, I did just order vegan daily vitamins this morning, so I’m already making choices that will automatically be easy to replicate after my one month trial with eating vegan is complete. Or will I take myself directly to a sushi restaurant? I honestly don’t know. The books that I read in the first week have really made me think about how my behavior impacts others. I like how thoughtful I have been about my food choices during Veganuary and have some emotional turmoil about returning to meat.
“Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. The occurrence of cognitive dissonance is a consequence of a person performing an action that contradicts personal beliefs, ideals, and values; and also occurs when confronted with new information that contradicts said beliefs, ideals, and values.” -Wikipedia
Here are some of the thoughts in my head that are trying to coexist:
Things I believe that led me to being an omnivore:
I love steak.
I love sushi.
I love cheese.
Omnivorous food is more readily available and sometimes easier.
Changing the way I eat is difficult.
Things I believe about that lead me to embracing plant-based foods:
I eat more vegetables and whole grains when I’m eating plant-based foods.
I’m improving my cholesterol and losing weight when I don’t eat animal products.
I strive to make the world a more peaceful place.
Animals deserve to be treated well.
I don’t hurt others intentionally.
I respect future generations and the environment they will inherit from us.
Plant-based eating is exciting and there are lots of foods and recipes that I haven’t tried yet.
So, pause a moment here. My momentary feeling of pleasure and the ease of eating what ever is around is the main reason I would go back to meat eating. Sounds greedy and lazy when I think about it. That’s not a good look. I just want to eat whatever I want, when I want? Really. I think I can do better. I’ll keep pondering this as I complete my vegan exploration through the month of January.