I’m vegan. Prior to becoming a vegan, I was a “I could never give up cheese” vegetarian for many years. I liked to use the term “vegan adjacent.” By 30 years old, I had given up ice cream and milk in my coffee but I held on to cheese desperately. I loved cheese. I would eat cheese sandwiches by the yard full. I snacked on Brie. I lived for years in Paris, cheese was simply in my blood (by the way so were wine and cigarettes but I managed to successfully kick one of those habits and laps in the pool have never come easier).
At 40, two things happened. I read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and I started not to feel as good consuming endless amounts of cheese and cupcakes (did I forget to mention my love affair with pastries? also French induced). I decided to try removing dairy from my diet – for me and for the baby cows. I finished the cheese in my fridge. The first week was rough. I had CW — Cheese Withdrawl (there are lots of reasons why we become chemically hooked on cheese but that’s a post for someone else to write). Second week, I walked past the cheese aisle a bit more quickly. By the third week, I was free. Everything else came easily – butter, eggs… because chocolate, without all the dairy additives, is vegan. Before I knew it I was vegan and everything was good. I was fine. I could still do all my favorite activities and, to be honest, I felt better.
There are lots of different types of vegans out there. Vegans who eat raw, vegans who fight for the rights of all animals, vegans who write recipe blogs that require a pantry full of exotic ingredients. I am somewhere in the middle. (1) I like salads. (2) I care a boat load about all living creatures and what our farming of animals does to the forests (and everything else in our environment). And (3) I can make a decent cashew “goat cheese” because if I forget that I’m soaking cashews, the extra days in water only serve to make the “cheese” creamier (add soaked cashews, lemon, olive oil, and salt to your blender, pulverize, wrap in cheese cloth, bake for 20 and add crushed pepper to the top).
I am not a perfect vegan. I don’t know if the wine I’m drinking is vegan (wine can be fined through animal-ingredients) but I make every effort to be close. So here is my fridge (and my pantry) because people ask me all the time: “what do you eat” and they tell me veganism is too hard but I have shared that I hate cooking, so actually being a vegan isn’t that hard. This is what I eat. Maybe something to think about?