August really surprised me.  I knew it was coming, but not so soon.  We all say that, but I have so many things to do, that are due (Master&...

Very Vegan Vignette

August really surprised me.  I knew it was coming, but not so soon.  We all say that, but I have so many things to do, that are due (Master's PROJECT!!), that I don't want to do.  This summer was too short, but we had our vacation and our three day family weekends now that I'm working 4 x 10 hour days.  The kids are getting so big.  Freddie went to a two day summer camp.  Charlie is working on potty training and Addie hasn't sucked her thumb in weeks.  Addie starts a 4 y/o pre-k program this school year so I will have three kids in three different places every week day.  Soccer starts soon.  Dance starts soon.  Homework starts soon.  With all of these impending stressors, it was a must for me to step up my diet and exercise routine and give myself a vision for the month of August.  I needed something to keep my self-care near the top of the priority list, but with enough room for the MANY other things headed my way.

The past few months I have been dabbling in Weganism or being a Wegetarian.  That's where you eat vegan or vegetarian until the weekend hits!  It started with just an interest to see if I could do it.  Could I cook vegetarian meals for a family of five on a very tight budget with a meat lovin' husband and a picky two year old?  Could I buy more organic fruits and vegetables and not go wildly over my weekly grocery average?  Could I cut meat meals down to 3-4x a week, then down to 2, or maybe just one?  The answer to these questions was YES!  It cost more to buy organic fruits and veggies and meat, but once I cut out the meat, it evened back out.  Some questions were a resounding, NO!  Like, Can I buy only local food?  Can I go to the Farmer's Market every Saturday morning?  Can I order from the AR Local Food Network every week?  Nope on those things.  Too expensive, too much time commitment, too much future planning, tooooo much for me.  That's ok though.  I found out that I can grow stuff, with some help.  Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, eggplant, and now even some peppers from the garden have helped feed my locally grown fancy.  Another resounding NO for me right now is feeding an entire family of five on a vegan diet.  We have made HUGE strides in eliminating animal products from our house and at least having a variety of options.  We have almond, soy, and dairy milk in our fridge.  Meat meals are down to once a week besides eating out or at church functions.  I haven't figured out how to get rid of yogurt, sour cream, cheese, eggs, butter, and hot dogs from a kid's diet.  My children love fruit, veggies, hummus, peanut butter, nuts, seeds, beans, etc though.  That's a plus!

So, what in the world is wrong with me anyway?  Two years ago I had a blanket distrust of anyone who didn't eat meat.  It was hoity toity nonsense.  Vegetarians were obnoxious enough and vegans were on my list of the most pretentious on the planet.  Don't get me wrong, those judgy snobberies definitely exist.  It's just that there are multiple motivations and varying degrees of expectations related to plant based eating.  Mercy and realism are elements of most people's daily perceptions!  Rachel has been kicking tail at being a vegan, besides an occasional corn dog or cheese stick mishap.  Damn that Sonic Drive-In!  She's so encouraging when I cook vegan meals and appreciative.  It made me realize that I wouldn't have to give up my joy of loving people with food in order to give up meat.  It just didn't happen that I wanted to give it up or saw any reason that I needed to.

Then came friggin' My Fitness Pal.  Do you know how many calories are in ground beef???  It was terrible, so I switched to ground turkey.  Cue the e-coli bacteria outbreak in ground turkey.  Um, now what?  Ground chicken?  Organic chicken was stranglingly expensive.  I looked into a meat share with a local organic farmer but was way too overwhelmed with the thought of having a deep freezer full of a 1/4 cow, 1/4 pig, 12 chickens, a huge turkey, 8 lbs of organ meat, and an entire 10lb bucket of lard in my garage.  Then I decided to give in and watch Forks over Knives on Netflix, then every other plant based, locally grown, organic food documentary I could find like Food Fight, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Vegucated, and many others.  It was so interesting and sortof scary.  Watch them!  Seemed like a pretty good challenge for me, so August it was.  I geared up by eating vegetarian for awhile and then just made the decision to try eating a vegan diet for the month of August.  Done, sorta. 

I have made a few mistakes and it is definitely a learning curve. I'm not freaking out about it though and continuing to make good choices even if I do eat a cream based soup by accident.  I'm also finding humor in the huge tupperware I have to bring to the church hot dog bar and the whole cucumbers I pull out of my lunch bag.  It's just another layer of being in this world, but not of it.  We don't have to ascribe to a standard American diet of processed food and meats that are actually funding dessertification, soil degradation, and starvation for much of the world.  We deserve to know how our bodies were created to work and how chemicals and hormones effect our health both mental and physical.  I may not be able to stick this out and I LOVE hamburgers, corn dogs, turkey sandwiches, fried chicken sandwiches from chick-fil-a, hot wings, pepperoni pizza, oh man I'm getting hungry.  It's just worth a try!  The worst thing so far is not being able to use half and half in my coffee.  Soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk creamers, tried them all and yuck, splfhfffh, ecck, ugggh, nope.  The best is soy milk with lots of sugar but still it isn't the same joy.  Poor me. 

I hope to post some recipes up here and easy meal lists for people interested in just cutting back on the meat, cutting down their grocery bills, or in going all in.  Oh, check out this awesome blog for amazing fat free vegan recipes.  It may be important to note that I'm going to try and primarily eat plant based, which means no vegan cheese, processed prepared fake meats, oreos (totally vegan!), onion rings, and the like.  This is supposed to be healthy, low fat, low calorie, HIGH nutrition.  I still have more weight to lose ya know. 

Last thing for promised, 18 month weight loss photos!  58.2lbs down!  It's still so incredibly slow, but I see shape change even when I don't see pounds shedding off.  I love to see the progress I have made and I laugh to myself thinking about what my infomercial would say.  "Would you like to lose up to 58lbs in a year and a half?  How would you like to exercise, run a half-marathon, track calories, watch your portions, completely change your eating habits and lifestyle, makeover your grocery shopping routine, and find yourself losing a steady 1lb a week over the next couple of years?  Does losing three sizes and 8.5 inches from your waist by next Christmas sound good to you?  If so, call this number NOW!"  :)  It just doesn't sound like it would sell very fast. 


ainmemphis said...

Not only do I thoroughly enjoy reading your literary wit, but I feel inspired by your ability to pull off the seemingly impossible. I never heard about the turkey ecoli breakout oh no we eat ground turkey twice a week. Keep up the great work!

Pediddlepie said...

I think it was a bit over dramatized anyway and you buy organic, right? Besides, if it's cooked all the way we should be fine anyway. I just kept feeling defeated with all my attempts to be healthier! Love you friend. Hope your half marathon training is going great!

Mary said...

Look at your smiling face in the latest photos. That's your testament!

Mimi said...

Look at your smiling face in the latest photos. That's your testament!