Vegan Month is officially over.
This was not my first time attempting to go fully vegan. I held out for three weeks last year, but came to the conclusion that a life without cheese fries was pure torture. My decision was also affirmed when I heard Erykah Badu publicly state on The Breakfast Club that she was a vegetarian, and not a vegan as everyone expected. If Ms. Badu didn’t see anything wrong with vegetarianism, then all was well in the world.
It should be noted that I am vegetarian that consumes a great deal of vegan foods. My vegan meals only become vegetarian when I add dairy products. I stopped eating meat for health reasons, but later find that being a vegetarian was less expensive and morally rewarding. My diet is mostly 75% vegan/35% vegetarian. So essentially, I wanted to commit to giving up dairy products.
In preparation for the first week of being dairy-less, I knew that I would not make it if the food was not delicious. I was not going to survive solely on salads and veggies. I needed flavor, especially since I was giving up cheese and butter. The first week started off with a vegan burrito bowl which was filled with so much flavor.
The bowl consisted of Mahatma Spanish rice, black beans, roasted zucchini with cayenne pepper and chipotle salsa. Instead of tortilla chips, I used quinoa and black bean chips from Trader Joe’s.
I was able to prep this meal for four days; one meal a day for either lunch or dinner. I also ate sandwiches when I was not eating this and breakfast consisted of oatmeal and coffee.
Towards the end of the week I meal prepped again to prepare for the weekend. Being a big fan of curry, I decided to make a curry lentil rice and paired it with broccoli and rutabaga.
The enthusiasm, however, was not the same; I was not looking forward to the next four days.
My comfort foods are pizza and cheese fries and I proudly eat both at least once a week. I attempted and failed at eating the Daiya spinach and mushroom dairy-free pizza, only getting through one slice after numbing my taste buds with Sriracha sauce. Even though the benefits of not eating cheese was evident (no bloating or stomach cramps), I rather live with the consequences.
The fall from grace, started on Friday at happy hour. Although I ordered a salad without the blue cheese, the waiter really sold the tzatziki-feta dressing. Next thing I knew, I was dipping my fries in ranch. The next day I overindulged on macaroni and cheese at a wedding and ended the weekend with ques0 and tortilla chips for dinner.
Even though vegan month was clearly over, I started the Monday off with one of the meals I prepped for the weekend. I had stored them in the freezer which made for healthier microwavable lunches and dinners. I also had no other options because my refrigerator was filled with vegan-friendly groceries.
My vegan friends may shun my choices and the meat-eaters may rejoice, however, I choose not to care. Life is short and someone will always find errors in your actions no matter how you live. After writing Comparing Yourself with Yourself, I was able to reflect on this month’s challenge and saw that being a vegan was not my personal goal. I’m completely content with my 75/35 lifestyle and will not change for anyone.
Sure vegan pancakes for breakfast, real-cheese pizza for lunch and a vegan burrito bowl for dinner may not make sense to some people. My meal choices, however, will always make sense to me.