If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’re likely familiar with my friend Carrie the Vegan Agnostic/Atheist. Amongst the many discussions I’ve had with her, I’ve asked quite a few questions about her Vegan diet. When I first began communicating with Carrie I honestly couldn’t fathom how a person could live a healthy life if he or she avoided all foods that contain animal products. Not eating meat is hard enough, but no eggs? No butter? No milk? No… well, you get the picture.
I love eating and enjoy many types of food. I’ll try just about anything. So, since speaking with Carrie, I’ve decided to have “Vegan” days from time to time. A new food that I haven’t tried? Well, that’s almost as exciting to me as new technology. On one of my Vegan days I found myself in Chico, California, which is where I first met Carrie at a booth she was manning for Farm Sanctuary. I felt like eating in a restaurant for dinner so I emailed Carrie for a recommendation. Not only did she tell me the name of a great restaurant, she also listed her favorite dish in detail, right down to desert. It was delicious.
That day I realized something: I liked taste and texture. I didn’t really care whether or not I was eating “meat”. What I mean by that is this: I could never cook a chicken with no spices whatsoever and enjoy eating it. It would be way too bland. What makes the chicken taste good is the seasonings or sauces added to it. The same can be said for beef or pork: if there are no seasonings I’m not eating it.
So with that in mind I made the mistake of purchasing vegan hot dogs and taking them to a Barbecue at John‘s house. John BBQ’d steak and real hot dogs while I BBQ’d my vegan hot dogs and slathered on the sauces.
Yuck. Not good. At all. Not even a little bit good (good thing God invented beer – at least THAT part of the BBQ was a success 🙂 ).
So much for my initial theory that it’s all about seasoning and texture. But then again, I reminded myself, it was just a hot dog.
Not one to give up so easily, I’ve continued having Vegan days. Sometimes 2 days a week, sometimes 3 days a week, sometimes just 1 day a week… each week has been different. But I am starting to regain my theory of seasoning and texture.
The last time I went grocery shopping, just a few days ago, I purchased no meat or anything with animal products. Why? It’s my experiment. I live alone and need something to amuse myself with. I want to find out if I can cook for myself at home for an extended period of time, and do so using strictly vegan recipes.
For breakfast, I love eggs: egg sandwiches, omelettes, fried eggs with salsa poured on them… yum! I told Carrie I could never be a Vegan because I just couldn’t give up eggs. Then one day she gave me a recipe for Vegan Scramble, which you can see here (I had this for breakfast just this morning – click to enlarge):
Here’s how I prepared the dish (thanks, Carrie):
I took some extra firm tofu and mixed it with vegan bacon, vegan sausage, minced garlic, pico de gallo, garlic salt, turmeric and nutritional yeast, and sautéed it in Earth Balance, a butter/margarine substitute. It was very delicious and washed down well with Silk, a soy based “milk”.
Yesterday afternoon I was talking to an acquaintance who works for one of the auto dealerships I have as a client. When the topic of conversation turned to Vegan cooking he let me know that his wife and daughter both began eating strictly vegan diets several months ago. His daughter was overweight, but has since lost 60 lbs and feels great. Hearing about his daughter’s weight loss perked my ears up. While he’s still eating meat, my friend also enjoys the animal-free food the ladies in his life present to him, and usually can’t tell the difference between real meat and meat substitutes when it’s cooked the right way.
Am I going to become a strict vegan? Nah. But if I have a choice between two tasty menu items, one animal free and the other not, I’ll likely choose the healthier item. I still eat meat. In fact, just this past weekend we had a huge fish fry on the camping trip I mentioned in my last blog post. And I’d never force my son to change his eating habits, so when he’s with me I’ll cook the foods he wants to eat. But I have to honestly admit that when I’ve enjoyed an animal-free day I feel… healthier.
Maybe that’s just psychological. Maybe not.