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Tag Archives: veganism


The real deal

So, the month of November is over and with that, Vegan MoFo as well.

I had some fun aiming to create interesting vegan recipes (even when I failed) and reading through the enormous RSS feed of all the MoFo bloggers. There are a few new blogs I’ve added to my Reader and a few new recipes I found to test out sometime.

Here’s what didn’t happen: I didn’t decide to become a full-time vegan myself, which is kinda what I was testing out. I thought that I would see that it was so easy to be vegan that I could finally just make the jump and stick with it. Obviously that didn’t work out, seeing as I’ve reintroduced yogurt into my life in an effort to calm some digestive issues (which still seems to be working, BTW.)

I’ve been sick a lot this past month, with the digestive problems and with some sort of cold, which is one reason why it was hard to stick with and why I just really wanted it to be over so I could stop testing recipes and just lay around on the couch all day.

So here’s what I did learn this past month, and I didn’t learn it because of Vegan MoFo but I have waited til the end of the month to share it out of respect for Vegan MoFo: I realize that, not only am I not interested in being vegan, but that it’s also not fair for me to continue calling myself a vegetarian. In fact, it’s total BS for me to call myself a vegetarian. I really thought that I could stay true to that title but I’ve realized that that isn’t even what I want.

Jeff and I went to an amazing restaurant back on the 20th for his birthday and had a great time and tons of delicious food and I didn’t blog about it because I was embarrassed by it. I went thinking that I was going to order a salad and the vegetable risotto and be content with that. Instead, we had like 6 or 7 dishes together that were completely meat-centric and I loved every one of them.

The thing is, I didn’t feel guilty about eating the meat, I felt guilty that I didn’t feel guilty about eating the meat. I don’t know if that makes sense.

I realized that I’m way more afraid of the judgements I might receive for choosing to eat meat than I am affected by the actual act of meat-eating. I care about these issues, and I’m glad I’ve been asking myself all the questions about what I can feel good about putting in my body, but I just don’t think that this is my battle.

I know what goes on in factory farms. I’ve seen the cruelty and abuse, I really do get it. But when I see those images they don’t stir within me that feeling of abject horror that I feel like it should. Instead, I feel horrified by the gruesome process itself and the people who can enact it and live with themselves, not with the practice of meat-eating in general.

Put simply: I am not horrified by meat, I am horrified by cruel people.

I’m sure that there are some who would say that I am cruel if I can eat an animal and not feel guilt. I kind of think that I should feel that way, but I just can’t make myself feel something that I don’t. I know that for many vegetarians the idea of “humane slaughter” is an oxymoron, but for me it’s not, and I still want to do my best to find meats that I feel have been obtained humanely and ethically.

I am way more impassioned by issues around the labeling of GMO or cloned foods. It enrages me to think that someone can grow a meat-like substance in a lab and sell it as meat without having to label it as lab-made. That terrifies me. I don’t want to eat apples whose cells have been invaded by a virus that allows it to accept genes from another organism, like a sheep or tomatoes or coral, to make it express some new and advantageous trait. And the fact that I don’t know if the apple I’m buying is one of those mutant apples or just an ordinary apple, that scares the hell out of me.

I am horrified by Monsanto. Even mentioning that name makes my blood run cold. I’m waiting for the day that I get slapped with a million dollar lawsuit for growing a pot of basil on my back porch that has been contaminated by Monsantos’ patented seeds that naturally blew from another place and just happened to land in my pot. That kind of stuff is what really gets me upset. That is the kind of thing that inspires activism in me. That is more likely to become my crusade than vegetarianism.

So here’s the deal: I naturally gravitate toward a low-meat diet anyway, so it’s not like I’m trying to warn you that I plan on cooking steaks every night or anything. I really just don’t want to spend any more time apologizing on this blog when I eat meat. I’m no longer willing to put labels on myself or my eating habits because I’m just going to end up pissing people off when I don’t live up to them all the time. I have no problem telling you that a dish I made is vegan or vegetarian or gluten-free or whatever, but I’m just going to stop putting those labels on myself as well.

To all you vegans and vegetarians out there fighting for the rights of animals and for what you believe to be right, keep fighting! I’m on your side even if I’m not on your team.

And tomorrow, I’m going to blog about Jeff’s birthday dinner because the food was awesome, we had a great time, and I no longer feel guilty about it. I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but I can’t keep lying to myself about how I want to eat and thereby lie to you as well.


Taking responsibility

Sorry there was no post yesterday. I’ve been kind of in a funk lately and I think this post will explain why…

If you’ve read my About Me page, you know that I just started my journey towards health early this year.  It really hasn’t been that long since I was never exercising and never thinking more about what to put in my mouth than wether or not it was delicious.

When I started working out and paying more attention to what I ate, I found that I was also really enjoying learning about different topics related to food and health. I read nearly every book written by Michael Pollan, I read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, I watched Food Inc., and I saw the various documentaries extolling the health virtues of a plant-based diet.

I was looking for a message about health in all this media and was moved by what I saw. What I didn’t expect though, is that I would be equally moved by the issues of animal rights and animal cruelty.


If only a year and a half ago you had asked me my thoughts on alternative eating practices such as vegetarianism and veganism, I wouldn’t have had many nice things to say about them. I probably would have just made a joke about crazy hippies and praised the deliciousness of bacon. Now though, I am that person that I would have made fun of before.

I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but at some point earlier this year it hit me that I wasn’t comfortable eating meat anymore. The idea of being a vegetarian actually didn’t seem that difficult, I was sure that if I were to never eat meat again that I would get over it pretty quickly.  I started playing around with reducing my meat consumption a little bit here and a little bit there and found that the less I ate it the less I wanted it. There was just one problem: my husband and I differ in our wants, needs, and opinions about food.


It’s easy to say “Alayna, you have the right to make your own choices about what you put into your body and the differing wants or opinions of your husband are not good enough reasons to eat something if you feel ethically opposed to it.” I hear ya, I really do. I have said that to myself many times in my own head and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t go through with it. I’ve been beating myself up inside for many months every time I ate a piece of meat to make my husband feel comfortable, and I realize now that I never even needed to do that.

I guess what it all boils down to is that I was afraid of being a burden on Jeff, who I love so much. I cook all of our dinners and many of our weekend breakfasts and lunches and I really enjoy preparing these meals.  I didn’t want my choices to become his choices simply because I was choosing what to cook. I also didn’t want to burden myself with trying to prepare two different dishes at every mealtime.  I realize now that these aren’t good enough reasons to compromise my food beliefs and I’m ready to work harder to figure out how to accomodate both of us at the dinner table.

Anyway, we had a long overdue discussion about all of this and I’m feeling much better about it now. Jeff is so sweet and understanding; I don’t know why I thought he couldn’t handle me trying vegetarianism. It all seems so silly when I think about it now. I’m finally ready to make a greater shift towards a vegetarian diet knowing that it’s not going to cause a division between us.

I don’t want anyone to think that I look down on you if you choose to eat meat or that I think you can’t be healthy and still eat meat. It’s a personal choice I’ve made based on my own feelings and I fully respect yours. This isn’t going to turn into a strictly vegetarian blog either, I’m still going to cook for my husband and I’ll probably be just as eager to show off my meat-filled meals as my meatless ones.

If anyone has any tips for how you deal with accommodating differences at the dinner table without losing your mind, please fill me in!