The short backstory: We're going vegan for Lent, which started yesterday. No, we're not Catholic (or anything, really), but a friend of ours is, he is going vegan for Lent, and we've thought about trying it temporarily anyway to see if it makes our bodies feel better, so we're doing it with him, because why not?
Rich has been looking up recipes, and I've been looking up more the health end of it - what do we need to watch out for? what do we need to be sure to incorporate into our diet? etc. What's irritating is that any information I've found about vegan health is surrounded by SAVE THE ANIMALS!! and CRUELTY FREE THIS and SCARE TACTIC THAT and really, it does suck how animals are handled in the mass-producing meat industry, and it would be fabulous if everything were free-range and done the old fashioned way, but that's not why weare wanting to go vegan for a while. I want to see if I feel healthier. I know that animals are given crap food and produced in crap, and that the crap is passed onto my body, and maybe I'm selfish, but I'm more concerned about what happens in my body as a result of that. Scare tactics don't convince me to stay vegan, they convince me to stop bothering to dig through all of it to find the information I'm actually looking for. You'd think, too, that if the scare tactics are out there specifically to convince people to become vegetarians/vegans, that they'd also provide a great deal of information on how to do so healthily. But maybe that's just me.
Personally, I'm not convinced that strict veganism is really what we're built for, anyway. We have canine teeth. Those are meat-eating teeth. But we only have a few of them, not a full mouth of them the way lions or whatever do, so that tells me we're only supposed to eat a little bit of meat, not nearly as much as is typically in the standard American diet. I read something recently that said, I think, that meat should only be 1/8th of our diet? I know people who eat pretty much only meat (hello Atkins diet), and that's never seemed healthy to me, anyway. But conversely, lots of vegan stuff I've read (around the scare tactics) say that you have to have a multivitamin supplement and to be really careful that you're getting enough B12. If you can't get all the vitamins/minerals you need from eating "healthy," it is obviously lacking something, and again, biologically, shows me that it's just not what our bodies are built for.
Anyway, it doesn't really matter much considering we're really only doing this for 40 days. To start with, anyway. We've tossed around the idea of if it goes well and if we do feel significantly better, staying at leastmostly vegan or mostly vegetarian, tossing in meat once a week or so, but not making a big deal out of it. I'd like to find free-range meat, if we go that route, too, to eliminate some of the yucky stuff that goes into mass produced meat, but we'll see what happens with that. Rich thinks he'll die without eggs, is really where the "mostly" part of it comes in, but when I was pregnant with Raiden I couldn't stand eggs in any form, or even the smell of them, and I haven't cared for them much since then, so I won't miss them. Cheese leaves a metallic aftertaste in my mouth and I'm just as happy with almond milk as I am cow milk so meh, I think I could stay vegan and be just fine, I've just been too lazy to do it.
And that's really what I'm hoping Lent will do for us, too: help us build better habits. We're just lazy when it comes to food. Well, and busy. We have so much stuff going on in the evenings, and Raiden goes to bed at 8, so taking a lot of time to cook just doesn't fit in our schedules very well. When we remember to cook big meals on the weekend and eat leftovers throughout the week, it works better, but that doesn't always happen, either. Having 40 days where it will actually be more difficult to eat out (gluten free vegan fast food? sure.) will, I hope, just get us in the damn habit of cooking food at home, and making meal plans and shopping for groceries so we don't play the "I dunno, what do you wanna do?" game all the time. I think we just need to see that we CAN do it and stop talking about how we SHOULD and then go to Taco Bell (where we can feed the 3 of us for $5).
Rich and I sat down this weekend and made a list of the meals we want to try this week, the ingredients we'd need, and then went shopping for them. That's further than we usually get, ha. On the agenda for this week: baba ganoush, falafel, aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower curry), aloo tikka (Indian potato cakes, basically), cauliflower soup, and I'm hoping to make some plantain zucchini bread that there was a recipe for in the Fruit Day Cookbook I picked up from the School of Metaphysics over the weekend. I'm hoping to lean more in a squash direction next week, and to try bittersweet vegan's gf vegan chocolate chip cookies for Guy Night, where there are usually a thousand snacky cakes in sight.
Yesterday morning, I stopped by the grocery store on the way to work (I was already 15 minutes late, why not make it 20?) to grab some Silk coffee creamer, and almond milk to put on my cereal (which I tossed into a lidded container at home, because I was already late and didn't have time to make cream of rice as I'd intended). For lunch, I had an Amy's brand gf vegan baked ziti microwave dinner (which was pretty good), and some sugar snap peas to snack on (because I loooove them). For dinner, since we actually weren't terribly busy, which is rare, we tried our first attempt at falafel; it had a good flavor, and the toddler even approved, but it was kind of mushy in the middle. I'm looking up other recipes today to see if there's something we should do differently next time.
Today I had cream of rice for breakfast, will have leftover falafel for lunch, and I believe we're doing Thai peanut noodles for dinner - a boxed kit, that we'll just toss some tofu and veggies into as well.
At this point, I'm still optimistic about all the good this 40 days can do us, as far as cleaning out our systems, feeling healthier, building better (or, any) cooking habits, and frankly, just showing us that we CAN be healthier and more responsible should we actually choose to. Besides, trying new recipes is always fun, anyway :).
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