Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ripping off the band-aid...


Had this been like any other morning, I would have simply climbed out of bed, rifled through the refrigerator as I impatiently waited for the coffee to drip faster and eventually picked out a yogurt and some eggs. This was clearly not just another day. In fact, as I looked through my refrigerator and pantry, I realized I could not be sure that a single food item I owned was vegan. Great start. 

We have a chicken coop behind our house, and since Ben (my roommate) was not home this weekend, it was my task to feed the hens and collect the eggs. The chickens must have caught wind of my adventure into veganism, because they chose this weekend to be hyper-productive, out of what I assume to be their attempt at a cruel joke. I collected a total of twelve eggs in two days (we have 6 hens who lay somewhat irregularly), and proceeded to smack my forehead with a frying pan, trying to forget what eggs tasted like.

By the time I picked up Carrie this morning, it was already 11:30. Both of us starving from the lack of vegan variety in our households, we decidedly went straight to Jamba Juice. After officially confirming with one of the associates that the “all fruit smoothies” were in fact made in accordance to vegan standards, I ordered the “Five Fruit Frenzy” and an apple cinnamon pretzel (who knew their apple cinnamon pretzels were vegan?!?!!).

It was now time to get down to business and shop. Having a solid meal in my stomach, and a shopping list in hand, we were prepared to tackle this whole ‘buying vegan’ thing. Our adventure started at New Frontiers grocery store. I felt as I imagine Jasmine felt on that magic carpet ride because this was indeed a ‘whole new world.’ The store was full of new sights. Vegan cupcakes, organic soaps and detergents, an artisan cheese counter….. Yeah, I said it. Cheese counter. Like a whole section of the store with its own attendants slicing and helping you locate the cheese you want/need/desire. I looked longingly at the counter we passed, realizing this would likely be the first week of my life my digestive system had ever been devoid of dairy products. I almost felt guilty leaving the store without any milk, as I felt I should be supporting my industry. Despite my efforts, Carrie would not let me purchase any dairy products. Even if it was just to support my fellow man. 

I almost lost it in the 'milk alternatives' section. 

After visiting two stores, and frantically searching labels to determine their food classification, we had our groceries. Boy, did they look pathetic. I’m sure I’ll be shocked with the amount of food this prepares, but it just didn’t seem like there was enough food to sustain two people for one week.

“Don’t worry David, we’ll be just fine,” Carrie crooned softly as we paid for the groceries. 

Once outside she adjusted her tone to snarky one by stating, “Clearly you’re the weaker link here.”

This comment coming from the girl who after seeing the vegan menu at the Thai Elephant (where we ate tonight) whined, “I don’t want to be a vegan anymore.”

Truth is, it wasn’t just Carrie who was skeptical about the food we were about to eat. I was slightly concerned, as this evening contained two ‘firsts’ for me: 1) eating vegan food at a restaurant, 2) eating Thai food. After a day full of firsts, however, I threw caution to the wind and decided to try the vegan Pad Thai with soy chicken. That’s right. Vegan soy, flavored like chicken. For all my lack of certainty when ordering, I was not disappointed! It was delicious! Thankfully I have some left over which I’m positive I will consume for breakfast tomorrow morning. Or maybe I’ll have some steel cut oats with a banana…. Who cares? Now I know I have options!

Food Diary for the Day:
Five fruit frenzy, Jamba Juice smoothie
Apple cinnamon pretzel
Vegan salsa and vegan pita chips for a snack
Vegan Pad Thai with soy chicken  

Remember to follow along with Carrie’s blog at carrieisaacson.wordpress.com. And follow us on Twitter: @david_jones_ and @carrie_isaacson. 

10 comments:

  1. Omg! I failed after one hour! But to my defense I was not prepared for this! Nor do I have stores around here (Hanford) that carry vegan options, nor do I have time to prepare or shop, and lastly I do not wish to pay extra for food that I'm guessing will be less filling and less tasty! Props to you both! Maybe I can tackle this task this summer when I'll have more time! Keep on keepin on!

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  2. Ps I love the pic David!! You look so distraught!

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  3. I like to look at it as a treasure hunt, and adventure, rather than a scary time of deprivation. The first month was hard for me , so no doubt the first week will be hard for you. My first week I think I ate nothing but boca burgers and bagels with hummus. You just have to build up a mental inventory of vegan things you can eat. Try not to go overboard with soy. You can do this! A week is nothin!

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  4. I feel like its necessary to add that... Eating vegan food for a week is not what's necessary to help you see what's wrong with the dairy industry. Its not about US. Its about the animals, the environment, the cruelty, about our health and theirs, its about so much more. I know you say you care for the "girls" but the fact is, that milk belongs to their calves, not to us. There's nothing humane about dairy, bottom line. There are more importand things than what we are craving.

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  5. Heather,

    Thank you so much for the words of encouragement and advice. This morning I had some steel cut oats and a banana for breakfast, quite tasty! Like you said, I'm uncovering some great vegan treasures. I'd also like to thank you for sharing your opinion. Having grown up on a dairy, I have a much different viewpoint from yours, but I certainly appreciate your side. I just happen to disagree with it.

    All the best,
    David

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  6. Good job to all sides expressing their opinions in a positive manner. So often (I'll admit guilt) people shoot from the hip and snarl. I've learned in my old age that it's all about choices. As a member of the dairy industry I have to agree with David, but am just as happy to accept there are people who don't think as I do. And that's ok. Perhaps if we can all calmly agree to disagree and not try to put one way of doing things down compared to others we can work the issue of food out. It's when one side tries to change and legislate and intimidate the other that the proverbial **** flies!

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  7. Hi David! Kudos to you for going vegan for the week! I've been vegan for 5 years and thought I'd share some tips. The first is for your coffee creamer. At the specialty store you went to (and most regular food stores), there should be a variety of soy and coconut and almond based creamers in a variety of flavors...so you don't have to feel deprived there. Also, I'm not sure where you're located, but Mexican food can be a safe (and yummy) bet for vegans. Just ask if the beans and rice are made with lard or vegetable stock. If they're made with veggie stock, my favorite thing to order is a Burrito with black beans, rice, guacamole, pico de gallo, and I ask them to put the veggies from the fajitas in there (usually peppers, onions, mushrooms). Also, a bean burrito (without cheese of course) at taco bell is vegan. I don't personally eat there, but if you need a quick meal, it's an option. And swedish fish are vegan too! There's a ton more tips I could give you, but since you're only doing this for a week, I'll stop here :) It's fun to read about your adventure and see "the other side" for myself.

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  8. My blog is greenbeane.blogspot.com if you'd like some recipe ideas. And I'm not trying to promote my blog, so if you'd like to erase this comment, feel free :)

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  9. One more thing (sorry, we vegans get really excited about food). If you're craving ice cream, you can't go wrong with coconut bliss. I'm done for real now.

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  10. Yeah coconut bliss is so good. Going vegan has opened me to a whole new world of amazing flavors and recipes that I wouldn't have tried otherwise. All politics aside, I think veganism is so much fun!

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