The Vegan Experiment

Let me first say that I am no vegan (no disrespect if that describes you).  I am a meat aficionado.  Cheese and I have had a passionate love affair for many years.  I have no desire to eat the fake food substance you may know as tofu (I have no proof that it’s fake, mind you. It’s just one of those things that’s just too out there for me). I think that any reference to myself as a vegan would be in direct contrast to the very core of the values that most vegans hold.  What I’m doing is simply eating (mostly) like a vegan, which is very different. My journey away from all things animal started a few years back when a friend convinced us to try the Hallelujah diet for 90 days.  In a nutshell, it’s vegan to the max: no refined flour or sugar,no additives or preservatives, no caffeine, and no salt. You must drink at least 16 ounces of carrot juice  per day, and food intake is to be 85% raw and 15% cooked.  The experience was bittersweet.  On the one hand,  I have never felt better in my life than I did in those three months.  I fell asleep easily, woke up like Snow White minus the chipper birds, and my mind felt sharper and more clear.  On the flip side, I was starving for something, anything, that tasted good.  I searched in vain for recipes that would perfectly simulate the lucious taste of cheese.  I wasted countless amounts of time, money, and energy on food that I could barely tolerate.  It goes without saying that day 91 was a joyous occasion for me. 

So the question is inevitable- why on earth would I subject myself to round two of misery?  After all, I am a great lover of food, and it is a terrible disappointment to me when my tastebud’s high expectations are not met.  As of late, I’ve noticed just how tired I am in the mornings.  Granted, I am mother to a 15 month old, but that can’t be all it is.  Having experienced such high energy levels during my 90 days of veg, I know that there’s a better way, one where I can feel refreshed and rejuvenated every day and enjoy fabulous food, and I’m determined to find my way to it. 

So I’m getting back on the wagon, to a degree.  I’m taking some of the good things about the HD and tweaking it so that the plan is something that I can stick to.  Here it is:

1. No sodas, especially not diets- After watching a documentary on the subject, my husband has sworn off diets for good as the aspartame has apparently been shown to put holes in your brain. No problem for me since I don’t care for them anyway.

2. No animal products-  One of the great affects of the HD was that my perpetual cough went away.  I think it may have had to do with the mucus production that is increased with dairy, but it could have also been an allergy to some kind of meat…either way, they’re off the list!

3. Few additives and preservatives- If the list of ingredients is short and simple with only one or two strange ingredients, or if we research it and find that the additive is natural or not harmful to the body, we let it slide.

4. No sugar- We don’t buy anything that contains sugar.  The only exception is our dinner beverage.

5. Only whole wheat and whole grains-that includes opting for brown rice

6.Carrot juice- 16 ounces per day

7. Veggies my way- No cooked to uncooked ratios

8. Eating out exceptions- We don’t want to be “those” people, the ones who are so finicky or particular that you don’t want to even bother going out to dinner with them, so we made an exception clause for such a situation.  When we go out to eat with friends or have dinner at someones house, we do the best we can.  If that means we consume a little cheese or some meat, it’s okay.  We order the closest to vegan foods when possible, but otherwise we don’t beat ourselves up about it.  After all, we are not vegans.  We’re just trying to live a healthy lifestyle, and, as with every diet, occasional indulgences are okay.

So, that’s the plan.  The question now is the execution.  I’ve decided not to even bother trying to make mock recipes.  No fake ranch dressing, “cheeze”, or anything of the like.  I want real food that tastes really good, so my goal is to seek out and create, pardon my French, vegan food that doesn’t suck, because, let’s be honest, there are a lot of vegan recipes that are quite terrible. Let’s hope for the best.

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