I wanted to tell you that I had made up my mind on this vegan challenge. I wanted to tell you that a vision came to me and everything made sense. I wanted to tell you that I have a label whether it be vegan, omnivore, etc.
But none of that is true. Unless the label is "confused consumer of good food."
Last week, before running off to food blogger and marathon events, I wrote about how I had taken on a 21-day vegan challenge for health reasons. I wrote about how much energy I had and how amazing I felt. And then I wrote about how I would spend the next week testing my body out. Trying different foods I had eliminated and re-inviting them back into my life.
On Wednesday, I tried homemade bacon brittle. It was delicious with a warm familiar flavor I had been missing for three weeks. I only had a small bite but I loved it.
On Thursday, I tried a lamb meatball. It was flavorful, well-crafted. But, I could live without it. I also had cheese in a salad that was creamy and just as sweet and I remembered. But I almost wished it wasn't there masking the flavors of the fresh produce on the plate. I also had Greek yogurt panna cotta. Creamy but almost too rich. And that night my stomach rebelled and I wished I hadn't tried any of it. It wasn't worth how I felt the next morning.
On Friday, I ate primarily vegan. Fearing what my body would do if it was forced to each the entrees sponsored by Kraft cheese, I ate vegetables and whole wheat pasta and fresh fruit. That evening, I has a small potato cake with a slice of salmon. Oh how I had missed salmon. I also had a mini duck slider. It was sweet and just as I had remembered duck, but I could have survived without it. And I avoided the multiple cheese tables like a cat runs from water. My stomach, although cheese free, was angry at the end of the evening even if my tongue enjoyed the journey.
Over the weekend, I had cheese one more time and also ate sushi. The cheese fought with my body but my body embraced the fish. I was torn and confused on what to avoid and what to embrace, eating a primarily vegan diet but tasting animal products when my body was willing to try them.
Ultimately, a week later, I have decided that a primarily vegan diet is what suits my body. I may slip up and have some salmon nigiri or a piece of bacon brittle, but I am okay with that. I won't call myself vegan, but I will ask for vegan options on the menu. The label doesn't suit me but I love the food! I respect those people who make food choices based on ethical reasons. This weekend I spoke to vegans and vegetarians who all have different standards on what they will and won't eat and their reasons all varied. It impressed upon me that food selection is subjective. For example, I avoid over-processed foods and try to eat locally because these are movements I believe in and can support but I recognize I am not perfect. Ultimately the food choices we make are as individual as our fingerprints.
While I am willing to mail out (loan) my personal copy of "Breaking the Food Seduction" out to people who want to borrow it (email me), the winner of the new copy is StreamingGourmet. Congratulations and please send me your information!