Learning To Live And Love Being Dairy And Meat Free
I am a vegan. Well, that’s not entirely true. I eat fish. Hence why I call myself a SEAgan. And although I’m certain to get a few eyes rolls for that one, and perhaps some mouth lashings for even considering myself to be in the veganism vicinity, I’m okay with that. My sister lives in Alaska, and well, you see, I’m not giving up king crab legs, rock fish, salmon, halibut, oysters (and on and on)…. any time soon. I did give up dairy, however, and for that, I am darn proud of myself.
You see, I’m from the Midwest, and cheese is served with pretty much everything.
I know just about everything there is to know about cheese (not really, but you get the idea) and what cheese pairs best with other cheese (it’s a thing). Oh, and my hometown is known for Texas-sized toast, covered in ham (or turkey or hamburger), piled high with french fries. And if that’s not bad enough, top it all off with a heaping mound of melty, oozing cheese. Makes my stomach both dance and turn at the same time. Cottage cheese, gruyere, sharp cheddar, gorgonzola, brie and even velveeta. I never discriminated.
So you may be wondering why anyone (literally) addicted to cheese would give it all up? And for what exactly?
Well, honestly it was to see whether or not I could do it. It was a challenge to myself. And it all began on a random September day in 2016. No real reason, other than the fact that I watched one too many documentaries about casein and cheese and animal waste and bleh. You see, the documentaries made me do it.
The first couple months I lost weight, and likely muscle mass. I feel like I can strongly contribute this to the fact that I didn’t know about the glutinous vegan things… not yet anyway, so I would eat grilled vegetables for pretty much every meal for a month or two. But, I was learning how to cook with real, raw vegetables in ways that I hadn’t before. The learning curve was a bit rough (bless my husband), but once I got the hang of it, and had ordered everything I thought I would ever need from Amazon, I put some proper weight back on, had fun experimenting with new ingredients (vital wheat gluten, tapioca starch, tempeh, aquafaba, etc.).
Best of all, I fell in love with cooking again.
Vegetables like kohlrabi and gold beets are a constant in the house. Add in collard greens and any type of cashew sauce… slurp! Have you had fresh lima beans? Heavenly. How did I ever live without these things? I never even knew how to properly cook rice. I thought I did, but I clearly did not.
In any case, if you’ve ever given it some thought, I highly recommend challenging yourself. This is the perfect city in which to give it a shot! There are SO many places that offer vegan options (check out Jaki’s posts!). I could provide a plethora of things that have changed for the better since the challenge began. (I’ll spare you all the preaching details.) But I would strongly recommend you give it a try with baby steps (one vegan meal a week) or heck, go full-monty like we did. You’ll begin to see behavioral changes almost instantaneously. And if you need some tips along the way, invest in Thug Kitchen, Isa Chandra and/or a Run Fast (Cook Fast) Eat Slow cookbook(s).
Don’t want to fully commit monetarily? I bet you might locate one or two of these at your local library. And there are a few of us blogger Moms that would be more than happy to help you along the way as well. And ps, ‘This Cheese is Nuts!’ has saved my cheese-loving soul. I no longer miss cheese, therefore, I’ve been able to soundly sleep at night. I can also thank my vegan wine for help with that.
What would be the most difficult non-seagan food for you to give up?