Steph’s Corner-I feel like vegan tonight

Well my faithful readers (there are a lot more of you than you would think…so says my Stats tab on blogger) you are in for a treat.  Stephanie has begun her journey with Veganism and throughout the next week I will be posting her progress! She is a published author living in Somerville (check out my About Me for more info!) who has a knack for writing.  So, without further ado… Steph, take it away!

My story with meat…

I’ve had a historically complicated relationship with meat and I should preface that this coming week of veganism shouldn’t be too difficult because aside from two occasions (on a trip to NY in July and two weeks ago when Wendy’s goofed on my order and put chicken in my salad) over the past ten months I have been a vegetarian.  Throughout my life I’ve always turned away from lamb and pork and veal and typically only ate meat at restaurants because I didn’t like cooking it myself.  Growing up my mom used meat sparsely (mostly just fish and chicken).  I’ve dabbled in vegetariansm as an adult because of my moral struggle with eating animals but it wasn’t until I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals” last April that it really changed for me. 
I’ve always struggled with the moral and ethical issues of eating meat.  I’m one of the most passionate animal people I know and it became very clear while reading “Eating Animals” that it was contradictory to believe what I do while keeping meat in my diet.  So I quit… well for the most part.  I haven’t fully given up seafood yet.  So maybe I’m part vegetarian, part pescatarian?  Anyway, that’s where I’m at for food when starting this week of vegan-eating.  I think this coming week would be difficult for someone who eats meat regularly. 
Ever since watching that episode of Oprah last week (where she challenged her coworkers to go vegan for one week) I’ve been looking at the ingredients of everything I eat.  I had no idea how much dairy was in what I eat.  And not just that but sugar, pectin, and red dye (all of which a vegan doesn’t eat because they’re derived from animals – sugar, for example, is produced using bone char which is the ground up bones of cattle, therefore white and brown sugars are not vegan).  I didn’t think it would be too hard until I read the label of my crystal lite and realized I can’t drink that.  No crystal lite!  So I have scarfed the remaining brioche rolls (so they don’t go bad) and made chocolate chip cookies and mac n cheese, because I need to get it all out of my system before Monday.  Tomorrow night’s superbowl party will be my last hurrah, of sorts and I imagine I’ll be eating quite a bit of non-vegan food.
 
I went to Trader Joe’s this afternoon thinking I could probably get everything I needed for the week there.  But I realized quickly that I had no idea what I was getting into.  Everything I picked up had to be scruitinized and I ended up getting less than I’d hoped.  So then I headed over to Whole Foods, thinking they’d have like a whole vegan section.  Why don’t they have all the vegan food in one section?  Seriously, it would have been so much easier to shop that way.  Instead, I spent about an hour looking at so much food only to realize it wasn’t vegan.  There’s tons of “vegetarian” food, but it’s not necessarily “vegan”.  So then I got to the checkout line feeling pretty disappointed about it all.  How do vegans shop?  I would go crazy if I had to do this every week – read through every ingredient before okaying a certain food.  But then I overheard the two women behind me talking about “vegan certified chocolate” and I chatted them up.  Chocolate!  It’s dark chocolate (obviously) but it’s chocolate nonetheless and I know it’s going to help me on those nights this week where I just want a cookie (because I gave up looking for vegan cookies after five minutes). 
So here’s what I ending up getting for the week…
Steelcut oatmeal (Trader Joe’s frozen foods section – it is seriously the best breakfast)
Organic vegetarian chili
Chocolate
Oranges
Kettle corn (great snack)
Soy-made cheese
Three different types of tofu-derived faux meats
Hummus
Fresh fruit
Lavash wraps
Vegetarian split pea soup
I also need to preface that I’m not the kind of person who has a well-balanced dinner.  Or a well-balanced diet in general.  Some times I just have cereal, or an english muffin with peanut butter for dinner, while other times I’ll eat an exorbitant amount of pasta.  So just be aware that I’m not the healthiest eater going into this.  Alright, well I guess that’s it.  Until Monday.~
Thanks Steph! More power to you, because I don’t know what I would do without my Crystal Lite. If you’re interested in going VEGAN mo meegan, then here are some websites to check out:
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