Can’t Do Vegan? Vegan-ish is Doable

October 4, 2011 § 2 Comments

Interesting article in the Boston Globe this morning about how, for some (many, actually) being vegan is easier said than done.

No kidding. I would never, ever suggestion doing it cold turkey (cold tofurky?). If you’re going to give up all animal products, I don’t suggest doing it after a night of burger binging.

Why all the interest in becoming vegan?

  • It’s trendy. Just like chocolate-covered bacon is trendy. The interest will pass.
  • Hollywood stars are doing it—and they are losing weight. Look at that skinny guy from Spider Man. (Yo, you are way too skinny for a dude.)
  • “Meat” is bad for the environment. To the people who give that as a reason I say this: Put down the Big Mac, stop eating at the places where the Sysco truck stops, and go get yourself some meat raised locally and sustainably. Same goes for the McFish sandwich.
  • It’s better for your health. I’m no doctor, but from what I hear, I tend to agree that a diet with fewer animal products is likely better for you. For me, I feel better. Really. If you think about the way humans evolved, we “gathered” food – seeds, nuts, plants and such – until someone in the clan could come back with a mastodon. Then it was eaten slowly over a period of time. I.e. they didn’t gorge themselves on mastodon and then go out and get a double mastodon with special sauce and a super-sized side of fries. HOWEVER, there’s certain vitamins and nutrients you need and gain easily from a diet that includes meat and dairy. No meat and dairy? You have to work a little harder at obtaining those nutrients. And, popping pills isn’t the best way to go about it.

I’ve written about being “veganish” before; i.e. two out of three meals without animal products (yes, fish are animals). I started this back in March or April, fell off the wagon a bit during the summer, and have started the veganish thing again about four weeks ago. And you know, it’s not all that difficult. I stick with a vegan breakfast and lunch and add some fish/dairy protein at dinner – a sensible addition of cheese to a dish, or some fish or shrimp. Last week I was about to eat my arm off before I could grab lunch – usually my indicator that I am in desperate need of protein – so I grabbed a boiled egg. I made up for it with a vegan dinner.

Longtime vegans will say I’m not a vegan. And they are absolutely right. I’m not.

On the other hand, some folks may say I’m not taking into account the environmental impact of raising animals or fishing the oceans, and the animal’s own welfare. And to that I say, I’m working on it. For example, we just signed up for a CSF share—that’s Community Supported Fisheries—through Cape Ann Fresh Catch. No more shrimp from Thailand. We’ll be supporting our local fishing industry. That means local communities and local people. And we are getting more and more localized when purchasing our dairy, too.

One last note: This whole veganish thing? Out the window once we get our farm and can raise the animals ourselves.

Your thoughts?

Vegan-ish

March 10, 2011 § 2 Comments

So, what’s that about?

Beginning March 1, both Jennifer and I have eaten veganishly. Well, two-thirds vegan is a better way to categorize our recent eating habits. And to clarify, that means we have been eating two vegan meals out of three each day. And for those of you who need further clarification, that means – to us – no meat, fish, eggs and dairy products for two of three meals.

Torture? No. Surprisingly. And surprisingly easy, even on vacation.

Your next question: Why? For me, first off, it’s a skepticism around the freshness of the meat, eggs and dairy I purchase and eat, how those animals are raised, and what they’re eating themselves. I know, I could go to Whole Foods or some other high-end grocery and buy their luxury products. I don’t have a whole paycheck to give up for a chicken thigh that’s been gently raised, whispered to that never-ending sleep, and trucked just miles to my local high-end market. Spend your money that way if you can.

I’m all for supporting local ag. And that’s why I do frequent farmers markets when I can. You can find local and small-ag meats in many of them now, and that’s a great way to become exposed to the sources of your meats and dairy. Do it!

But, and this is my second point, I’m already familiar with small farms. I grew up on one. We raised our own beef, pork and chickens. We had milk cows, too. Mom made butter and sometimes cheese. We could call our burgers by name. It wasn’t until college that I ate meat on a regular basis for which I didn’t know its source. And you know? It’s just different. I never really enjoyed it – especially the beef. I had maby five beef dishes within the first couple of years after college, but essentially no beef in 20 years.

Pork. I love pork. LOVE bacon. Oh, man, do I love bacon. Haven’t had it since December 2009. Again, why? Well, it’s my dream – and Jennifer’s too  – to find a little farm somewhere and raise our own stuff. We’ve talked about it for years. A huge garden, a sheep and goat for cheese, a little pig (that would be for me), chickens for the both of us. Omitting from my diet something I love so much was a commitment on my part to making that farm happen. No farm, no pork. It’s quite an incentive.

Chicken. Chicken had always been the fallback meat. I just can’t do it anymore. I remember watching that expose on some chicken farm or processing plant down in the South, about 10 years ago or more. Did you see that? Ugh and yuck!  Americans deserve to be treated better than that by their corporate food providers. Seriously.

This two-thirds vegan thing isn’t an original idea. Jennifer had read Mark Bittman did it to lower some medical numbers and to drop a few pounds. It worked. So, why not give it a try?

I’m playing loose with the rules, too. Such as cookies. Am I not going to eat cookies because they have eggs? Are you kidding? Justine, I know you’re reading this and had concerns over how “veganish” is going to affect my baked goods that find their way into your office. Eggs and dairy will be used aplenty in my baking.

If for some reason we miss a vegan meal, we’ll make up for it the next day with a completely vegan day.

Business trips will be difficult, especially the kind I take. I am traveling up the California coast with my boss for 7 days at the end of the month. He’s a big BBQ meat lover. That should give Dainty plenty of fodder for interesting posts.

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