Confession time: For the last three weeks Dave and I have been...vegan. Not just vegan, but no-booze vegan. No booze, no meat, no dairy for three weeks. I am prepared to say that the no meat and dairy has been easier than the no drinking. Turns out I really like that 5 PM glass of wine while cooking dinner. Dave was not especially surprised that giving up beer was harder than giving up animal products in our food.
Why did we do this? Well, I had been feeling just gross at the end of the summer. Bloated, tired, grumpy, with a side dish of frequent migraines and indigestion. So I wanted to do a kind of "cleanse" but not the kind that involved drinking only lemonade and cayenne pepper like Beyonce. Veganism seemed like a good, and not completely unreasonable, choice. When I broached the subject with Dave and said I was "thinking about trying it," he responded, with less snark than I probably deserved, "Whenever you say you are 'thinking about' something like this, we are totally doing it."
So we jumped in. I invested in quite a few vegan-friendly products. The beans, greens and tofu have been great. And I love the coconut milk hazelnut coffee creamer I found at Whole Foods. The vegan "cheese" was a little scary, however. Which leads me to a couple of realizations I have had over the past three weeks:
-Being a rookie vegan has been a challenge. Not so much because I felt deprived of previously beloved foods, but because I have had to cook in a totally different way. When a bean product becomes your protein source, you have to really mix it up or you will go crazy. And since I am incapable of cooking less than 8 servings of beans at a time, apparently, I have had a lot of leftovers in my fridge.
-If you are going to go vegan, you gotta go all in and you can't rely on vegan alternatives of animal based foods. Vegan meatballs are pretty good. Veganaise is fine on a sandwich. And I could learn to like non-dairy milks. (Again that hazelnut creamer rocks.) But vegan cheese, sour cream, cream cheese...icky gross.
-Being vegan, and dry, has actually made me feel "cleansed" in many ways. I certainly feel less bloated. I did lose a few pounds. And for the first time in years, I have had none of my typical indigestion issues,.
So what now? We are breaking our vegan/booze fast on Saturday when we celebrate Josh's birthday at one of our favorite spots, Earth Bread & Brewery. Phenomenal beer and pizza - if you in the Philly area, check it out. After than, I will remain booze free during the week. But it is playoff baseball, so I think it is legit to have a beer on the weekend while watching the game. Also, Dave and Josh brewed amazing pumpkin beer which I am dying to have on a cool fall night. I will maintain many of the vegan ways we established these past three weeks, as well. I have learned to really like lentils and come up with more than a few ways to serve tofu. If nothing else this cleanse has re-affirmed my commitment to only eat humanely raised meat and dairy. I had sort of gotten away from this vow in the interest of time, money and convenience, but I am back on track. Now I know that if I can't get chicken or eggs or cheese from a sustainable source, I have lots of vegan recipes up my sleeve.