Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Veganism is a Lifestyle

Music: WRCJ 90.9 FM

Some of my friends have told me that becoming vegan seems like a lot of “work.” I like to think of it more as a choice and a decision I made almost two years ago, to change my life. I cannot tell you enough how I no longer even crave the foods I used to eat without even thinking: a slice of cheese, a glass of milk, a pop, a store-bought cookie with all the hard-to-pronounce preservatives, Hostess chocolate covered mini-donuts, Home Pride Buttertop White bread toasted with real butter.

Now I crave bowls filled with greens, tons of lettuce, spinach or herbs on my sandwiches or in my salads, whole grain breads and pancakes, hot herbal tea or cool water, raw onions, and fruit.

When I decided to go vegan (or “hardcore” as one co-worker humorously put it), I cleaned out all of my cupboards and refrigerator and got rid of tons of food. I gave away sticks of organic butter to co-workers, white sugar, rice and flour to my cousin, anything with high-fructose corn syrup I simply tossed, and then I went shopping. I replaced white flour with whole wheat pastry flour (and also barley, rye, & buckwheat flours), sugar with turbinado sugar, honey with agave nectar, white rice with basmati, jasmine, wild & brown rice (and also adding millet, quinoa, bulgur, barley & soft wheat berries), white bread and saltines with whole wheat and whole grain breads & crackers, boxed cereal with rolled oats, butter and margarine with soy butter & margarine, mayonnaise with Vegenaise, cow’s milk with soy milk, and so on. Yes, my food bill was quite high at first, but it was something I had to do to start to get into my new habits.

Now I don’t even think about it. It has become routine. I shop in smaller quantities weekly alternating my three stores (Nutri Foods, Hollywood, & Trader Joe’s) adding the Royal Oak Farmers’ Market in the summer and fall on Saturdays for all of my produce. And I buy lots of produce: at least 2 bags each weekly of lettuce & spinach or kale, pints of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and bagfuls of onions, peaches, apricots, and apples. And I eat it ALL. And I feel so good.

Of course, in the summer, I also have lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, & other vegetables and herbs from my garden so that I don’t have to buy as much from the Farmers’ Market.

Being vegan is a commitment but, like any habit, it can be learned. Yes, I think about food a lot, but it’s the fuel that keeps my body going and I can’t stand to eat poorly. I refuse. I’d feel really crummy if I did and that’s not a good feeling.

I’m going to a conference this Friday at MSU with some co-workers and I’m already planning what I will eat. I see that there are some vegan choices at the union in their “food court” of sorts. And I will bring some snacks of fruit and nuts to have during the day.

(Of course, I see that there is also a place for me to get my afternoon latte. But do they have soy milk? If not, I might just have to get an espresso).

The other night, we had sautéed firm tofu with sesame oil, Braggs, & all-purpose spice along with roasted potatoes, carrots, & onions. Gasp! We had eaten all of our greens (by Thursday!) so this plate is terribly absent of that much-need color. It was delicious, but there was way too much white in this picture for my satisfaction.

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