Ok, so here we go, a topic that might get me in trouble with some people and others might give me a medal for honesty. For those of you that have a vegan diet due to medical issues, please excuse my ignorance, this isn’t about facts, it’s about my experience. I am warning you now, it’s not meant to be offensive, but as I spent my week being a Vegan, there were some things that just baffled me. I highly encourage those of you that disagree or have strong opinions about my views to voice them, because quite frankly, I need to be educated. For those that agree with my views, please let me know how I’ve rocked your world 🙂 Now, on with my blog……
According to the dictionary, the meaning of vegan is : a person that does not eat or use animal products. Fair enough. Now here’s where things get tricky, this definition of vegan (see below right). Now, we aren’t just talking about diet, but also medicines, charities and even entertainment (aka zoo, circus, aquariums, etc)…COME ON… That’s too much, so I stuck to a diet lifetsyle when I went on my Vegan exploration, which makes me no expert, but it did let me scrape the surface and ended up confusing the crap out of me.
First of all, as I was researching and interviewing, I was asked the question, “What level Vegan are you?” Huh? Wait, what??? Did she just ask what level vegan I am? I didn’t know I had a choice, so I’m thinking, I’m level 5 baby, I’m all in this week! You know, like I am going to attack this lifestyle and see how it affects me, etc. Yeahhhh….no. Not how that works. So apparently, upon more research, there are 5 Vegan levels, yes 5 of them ranging from no animal products or bi products in diet form to sitting in the grass eating flowers, butt naked. Some sites say 3 levels, but who cares, it’s still one too many. You don’t see other diet lifestyles with levels, do you? I mean, take carnivores, do we have levels? Level 1 starting with the occasional strip of bacon going all the way to full on level 5, give me anything that moves. No way, no how….that’s just stupid, and for that matter, where does eating pig intestine and lamb testicles (considering they don’t move, physically) fit in? Or is that it’s own diet lifestyle that I am completely unaware of???? See, the confusion begins. I don’t get the cafeteria logic behind the vegan levels, if you are a vegan and just do the kale smoothie thing, cool, you’re a vegan. It’s like they are veganists (get it? Like racists with their vegetables, I’m LOLing so hard right now, beaming wtih pun pride) against one another and judge each other on what levels they are. Again, you don’t hear a carnivore being a meatist against another looking down on the poor schmuck who only eats bacon, as long as that person is happy with his yummy, salty, fatty pork, WHO CARES??!!!! I wish someone would tell me why the levels exist, it just seems like a way to create yet another hierarchy in a world filled with too many status quos to compete with in the first place. Just too complicated for me, so I rest my case with the thought that does it matter? If it does, just tell me why…(btw, if you are a Vegan that has an issue with yeast because it’s a living organism, I don’t even want to talk to you, not going there.)
Ok, now on to the chef portion of my life….cooking Vegan. I discovered that most Indian food is vegan, at least my level of vegan, yep, totally just took a dig….can’t help it, can’t let it go. Ok, I’m over it…for now. But all quips aside, I learned alot about making substitutions for more natural and healthy ingredients in my cooking for things like butter, cream, milk and eggs. Just learning that almond milk and coconut milk make amazing substitutions for creamy fats without altering flavors, and in some cases, actually enhancing them. It was awesome! I would never have tried it, thought about it..sure, but why would I if I am surrounded by cream and butter? Duh. The trick to changing lifestyles like I did, is to do it one ingredient at a time, there’s no need to revamp your whole cooking scheme overnight. Start by making substitutions and experimenting with tastes and textures, because that’s the only way you are going to know what you like and don’t like, sounds cliche, I know, but it’s true. Be patient with yourself and your process, you can achieve balance without tipping the scales first….LOL….pun intended.
Now, on to my cooking gripes…..vegan products made from crap I can’t spell or pronounce used in place of the “real” thing made with milk from a cow that wasn’t harmed, yet needs to release that milk for its own well being. Yeah…..I love the idea of switching out “real” cheese with something that looks like it came out of my PlayDoh spaghetti maker. I could go on forever about vegan product replacements, but I can’t stomach it. MOOOOOO!
(Again, if you have to use replacements for health reasons, tune me out).
FINAL THOUGHTS: Listen, I have no problem if you are a vegan, heck, alot of my clients are. I just don’t understand the whole gamut of execeptions and subsitutions and the RULES. Be a Vegan or not, be a Carnivore or not, there should be no grey area, at least in my opinion. Healthy lifestyles start at home, so mix it up and play with your food, I mean what’s the worst that can happen? Screwing up your poop pattern for a day? Eh, it’s just a day….that happens regardless, and you know it…..yep, we are talking about poop.
With that in mind, I’ll leave you with one note….SAY NO TO VEGAN MAYONNAISE, in no way shape or form is that edible and should be consumed, this has been an RB Public Service Announcement…BEEEEEEEP!
P.S. As promised, below is a link to the recipe was inspired by my Vegan Week!
Next week….Holiday Garbage…er, I mean…CANDY!