Breakfast: Toast with peanut butter, vegetable juice, green tea.
Lunch: Veggie burger, served with leftover yuca fries, which did not reheat terribly well but were edible.
Snack Time: Some smoked almonds before a 3-mile run, on which I got rather sunburned. Oops.
Dinner: I made pizza! The herbed pizza crust came from Trader Joe’s, and was delicious. Topped it off with vegan-friendly red sauce, onions, and roasted asparagus. The pizza turned out looking a little… irregular, but tasted fine. I also had one of my soy ice cream sandwiches.
How I Felt: I wanted to feel proud of myself for making it through this week, which I should, but this week has also left me with a lot of things to think about. Will I continue with a vegan diet? The answer is probably no. As I am typing this summary on Sunday, I did start out with a vegan-friendly breakfast (toast w/homemade apple cinnamon syrup), but some aspects of this week’s challenge were a pain. I went to four different grocery stores this week, sometimes making multiple trips to get what I needed. I bought several products that I thought were “safe” only to find they were not. My package of English muffins contained honey, my vegetarian chick’n strips had eggs, the first pizza crust I bought contained cheese. The result was that I also spent far more time and money on food this week than I do on a regular week, and there are still things that I’m not 100% sure were vegan. It seems impossible to know if all of the sugar and vinegar in every product I bought were made without any processing with animal products. Like I said, sometimes it’s worth it to pay more for good food, but I just don’t have the moral convictions that would make it worth it for me to spend so much more on bread or soy cheese week in and week out. Plus, this week I had the added benefit of being off from work and not having a roommate around. On an average week, when I’m working and busy and have someone else around the house, can I afford the same amount of time?
The challenge of veganism is also much more than diet, and I’m aware of that too. There are obvious examples: leather, wool, and silk, which I’d have to give up to live the truly vegan life. But it’s even more than that. From my reading this week, I learned that animal products are also used in items as diverse as: paint, wood glue used in plywoods and wood furniture, gunpowder, adhesive tape, and in medical products and procedures including heart surgery and bone replacement. (The book pictured here, Every Twelve Seconds, is a trove of information and I hope to post a review later this week.) The list goes on and on, making me wonder to myself: Do all vegans know about this? Do they avoid all these products, buying vegan paint and plywood? If so, it seems a truly exhausting way to live.
At the same time, I find I’m in no hurry to go back to my old eating habits. If we truly use animal products and byproducts in so many things, that level of consumption is staggering. I would like to continue to be more conscious of this, as I have been this week. I felt good this week without meat or dairy, so why should I rush to go back to that? My plan right now is to allow some animal products back into my diet gradually, probably starting with honey and egg whites (since I already have uneaten food containing those items). I will also try to make some decisions about how to handle dairy: How much to eat and from what suppliers. As for meat, I still have some meat products in the house, but I am not anxious to return to meat eating any time in the near future. I will continue to not eat meat for a while because I know I can, and because I didn’t miss it.
Finally, let’s talk about other commitments in my life. This week was, for me, about willpower, mindfulness, and being cruelty-free. I may have lived up to those commitments in my diet, but that only made me aware of how I was not living up to them in other areas of my life. I did not show the same willpower with drinking that I did with my food. When I was confronted with a situation where someone made me angry, I had the opportunity to take a moral high road, and I absolutely did not. That’s what leaves me feeling bittersweet about this challenge. My eyes are open to things that I didn’t see so clearly in myself before, and I don’t like them. Being mindful is the first step on the path, but now I have to follow that up with some self-work. Expect to hear more about this in the future.
Thanks to everyone who has followed me on this challenge. I got some comments and likes, and relied on many helpful sites and blogs to make this happen. I am grateful to you for helping keep me honest. Best wishes and happy Sunday to all!