Thursday, May 1, 2014

Food Glorious Food

"How do you get your protein?"
"Don't you miss (insert food here)?"
A few of the questions I have been asked over the last year and half. It has been almost a year and half since I eliminated all animal products from my diet. I have been vegetarian for years, I do not even remember how I could have actually eaten meat for the time I did. I have always been an animal lover, the one (as my parents can attest) who brings home strays (the dogs, Sybil the snail, and the gypsy moth.) But last January I made the leap. I couldn't love all animals and exploit them at the same time. My habits and my ethics didn't jive. Honestly, it was difficult at first. I love cheese, and I had been a huge nacho fan after my son went to college. Nachos were the only meal I could whip up, some tortillas, cheese and sour cream, and have no leftovers that would sit in the fridge for months. Having a teenage boy in the house means no leftovers. When he went to college I was left with extra food that ended up green and fuzzy. It was a lifestyle change. But then I thought about the dairy industry, how most cheese is made, how we impregnate cows, take the milk meant for their babies, make products we can eat, and then eat the babies. Every time I remembered why I made the shift, I was able to say no to cheese. And soon I no longer craved it. Today, a year and half later, I do not want dairy at all. I think somehow my body had to detox from the food I had previously been eating. After this shift the weight came off. My cholesterol is low and I have more energy after eating. Most importantly,  I feel as if I am not contributing to the evils of factory farming. Going vegan was an ethical as well as healthy choice. And the food that I can eat...the food is amazing: tofu, tempeh, seitan, beans, risotto: practically anything can be made vegan. There is Tofutti ice cream that is creamy and delicious; Daiya cheese which makes a mean grilled cheese; vegan sour creams and yogurts...and so much more. I subscribe to different blogs that boast of the vegan lifestyle. One of my favorites, Oh She Glows, is chock full of yummy recipes and helpful information. Nava Atlas is another favorite. Her website, Veg Kitchen, has helpful information about the vegan lifestyle, including nutrition. There is so much information out there to get you started, I am still sifting through websites and books. They save that by going vegan one person is responsible for saving 200 animals per year. I will take that. Today I am more sensitive about the meat that is served and eaten around me. After all, that bacon was once an intelligent, sentient being. The milk was meant for a baby cow, not a human. I know that the world isn't going to miraculously change. But I can hope. But just for today I will enjoy some barbecue tofu with sweet potato mac and "cheese" followed by a slice of vegan chocolate cake, with the knowledge that no sentient being was harmed in order for me to live.

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