During February, I’ll be cutting out all animal products from my diet. Yes, even cheese.
I recently made the decision to take a one-month stab at veganism. I’ve got a lot of reasons for doing this, from concern for animals to my own health to my subversive side wanting to be as annoying as possible to the irritatingly smug anti-vegans on Tumblr. Ultimately though, it’s something I’ve wanted to try for a long time, but have had entirely too many excuses about cheese and protein to ever actually follow through.
So February 1 (tomorrow!), out go the animal products. I admit, even though I’ve been a vegetarian for nine of the last fourteen years, I’m a bit nervous for a few reasons:
1. Cheese. I’ve mentioned it twice already, and I’ve only written about a hundred words. So clearly it’s been a big part of my life until now.
2. Breakfast. I do eat a fair number of eggs, and I like butter on my toast. I try to get as much protein as possible to hold me, since I often have to go from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. before I get to eat again.
3. Sneaky ingredients. Outside of the obvious things, I’m not completely sure what I’m looking for on labels.
4. Take-out. There’s one vegan place that delivers to my apartment, but if I don’t figure out the rest of my options, Asian fusion is going to get really old fast.
I already know of the solutions to some of these. I’ve made pizzas with Daiya in the past, so I know that’s a decent cheese substitute, and I do love some soy bacon (even if it does, apparently, spark controversy on my Facebook wall). But I’m always open to suggestions on the food front, as long as the suggestion isn’t some stupid “joke” telling me to eat a steak.
There is one more concern: keeping my brain in check. As a recovered dieter, I don’t want to slip back into some kind of disordered mentality favoring restriction and control. This isn’t a diet, at least not in the sense that it’s supposed to make me lose any weight. Yes, some people do lose a few pounds when they make the switch, but many stay the same and others gain a few, so who knows how my body will react. That’s not what it’s about.
I’m sure I will be constantly on the lookout for new recipes, tips, and body-positive resources. Someone please tell me what ingredients I might not realize are animal-based (yes, I know about red dye and gelatine) and whether or not “vegan butter substitute” just means I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, or if I have to shell out $11 an ounce for something special at the fancy hippie store near me.
I know there are a lot of vegan Persephone readers out there, so I’m wondering what the toughest part of making the switch was for you, and how you overcame it. Anything to keep me from weeping into a bowl of quinoa as I stare longingly at a slice of cheesy pizza.