Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sushi, my mistress.............

Lets just get this out in the open now.  In my pursuit of a vegan lifestyle, I have left out one important point.  I have internally declared Sushi to be off limits.  Don't ask me how I justify it, but I have, and I have developed a rather effective guilt suppression mechanism to deal with it.  I allowed myself to pick one thing that I could "keep".  Like on survivor when you get to take something.  At least that was how they did it on the first few seasons, I haven't watched it  in years, but I digress.

I have had Sushi about a half dozen times in the now 4 months of this adventure.  I started off heavy in the fish (Toro is my ultimate), but have noticed lately that I am seeking out the vegetarian only versions, which I am finding quite enjoyable (I'm justifying now, can you tell?).  I haven't yet cut out the fish entirely.  It is hard, with sacrificing so much, I have kept one mistress, and she is cold and raw!  When I'm enjoying sushi, I am on top of the world, and I feel as though I can conquer anything.  She makes me feel strong and powerful, young and sexy, smart and rich.  Yes, I feel all these things, and it is as though the night will never end..... but just like that, there is nothing left but some pickled ginger, and a bit of wasabi on the plate.  The Asahi has run dry, and the bill is coming.  My heart begins to pound, as I know reality is coming back, and I have to walk out, and go home smelling of vinegar, ginger, nori, and the soles of Toro, Sake, Unagi lingering on me... who is this person staring back at me in the mirror?

I think I can handle it, but then life goes on the next day, and I am off for yet another daily struggle trying to understand my life choice, what it really means, why I'm doing it.  How do I justify my little indiscretions?  Will I ultimately find myself on the path to righteousness?  Yes we are talking about food.  I told you I took it seriously

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A rough week in New Albany, Indiana

My job requires that I travel.  Quite a bit of late.  I dont really mind it, as I oddly enjoy checking into hotels, packing and unpacking.  I've gotten pretty good at it over the years.  This trip is a bit different though.  New Albany is a small town on the Indiana side of Louisville, Ky.  Lets just say that there is not a lot going on there, and even less, when you are at a trade show at the Horseshoe Casino.  Google map it, and you will see there is nothing close.  When you are a vegan, and stuck here for almost a week.  Plan on shedding a few pounds, because you are going to be hard pressed to find something to eat.

I had probably the blandest meal of my entire life on the first night.  I had to opt for room service, as I was doing a training class at 8am the next morning, and was woefully prepared.  It was just as well, my colleagues were going to the steak place in the casino.  Lets just say that I get my fair share of "ribbing" about my lifestyle change.  I thought about telling everyone I was gay, so they would leave me alone about the food, but I don't think anyone would buy it.  Although because of my carnivore history, few people are buying this as well.  At any-rate, I called room service, and worked up a meal of sides, salad and a potato.  Very bland, almost no flavor, but I will say that when it was delivered, they guy who delivered it assured me that nothing was cooked in butter, that he made sure the cooks used olive oil.  Despite the horrendous meal, that really made my evening.

The rest of the week was slim pickings.  These trade shows include lunch, which is marginally edible for the default crowd, but even slimmer for me.  I managed to pick around and find a few safe things, but suffice it to say, I was pretty hungry.  For me, there is nothing worse than being hungry.  I make a lot of bad decisions when I am hungry.  Its like the beer goggles.  I get food goggles, and I always wake up in the morning with that feeling of shame.  My boss, who really thought he was helping me out, brought me and my other colleagues brownies, asked me if these were ok for me to eat.  My survival instinct took over, and I decided that what I did not know could not hurt me.  I could tell pretty clearly that I should not be eating these.  I did, and I felt lousy the rest of the day.  Hungry would have been better.

On a lighter note.  Paula Deen was there that day, and I got relatively close to her, and I thought that it would be fun to ask her if she had any recommendations or recipes for vegans.  However, knowing where I was, I thought better of it, as some burly boys around her might mistake me for some eco-terrorist and pummel me to within an inch of my life.  In retrospect, I should have done it.  I'm pretty sure, I wont be able to eat at the Paula Deen buffet when it opens there.

Completely off topic, two of my closest colleagues, Todd and Dave taught me how to shoot craps, and for 3 hours, I managed to forget about food, have fun, and at the end of the night I left with about 80 bucks more than I came with with.  I think I could substitute my food anxiety with gambling, but knowing my addictive nature, I'd have a gambling blog up here before too long.  Maybe I should stay away from casinos for a while.

Before I knew it, I was heading for home, back to my safe haven of veganism.  My lovely wife, faithful dog, and my kids.  Its nice to be home, walking into the kitchen, open the fridge.... what is that??? leftover pizza from my 2 carnivores... Pepperoni and Cheese.... Damn.... and in my safe haven too!

Cheating, with the help of my kids (and Gardetto's)

Three months into this adventure, and I am getting fairly conflicted.  My mind is telling me what I should be doing, but my body is rejecting me.  Well Ok, maybe reject is a harsh way to describe it, in fact from a health and welfare standpoint, I actually feel pretty good.  At this point I've lost about 15 lbs, and I have not really increased my physical activity one iota.  I would say my mind is rejecting this whole notion more than my body.  I think my body is doing just fine.  I will say that I have noticed the tendency to not look at labels that close lately.  I don't want to see "may contain milk", or the dreaded "casein", which I'm sure I could not taste anyway (so please take it out for god's sake).  I also used to have the tendency to finish my kids meals. (perhaps thats one of the reasons I needed to lose a few lbs).  I have noticed my propensity to eat the kids pizza crusts has increased of late.  I make sure there is no cheese, but I admit, I do get the essence of pepperoni pizza, and it is truly a moment on the lips.  Its a very shallow satisfaction.  I remember in my old ways, I used to crave McDonalds Big Mac's, and every time I had one, I felt ill afterwards, but for some reason, I got over that, and would crave it again at a later date.  I can imagine how lousy I would feel if I had one now.

My kids asked me tonight "How long are you going to be vegan?"  And then "When can you eat ribs?".  This is my dilemma.  My ex wife is a carnivore.  Like a T-Rex version.  I swear, these kids are personally responsible for a herd of cattle every month.  If anyone was ever to get the "gout" in this day and age, it would be my 10 yr old son.  As I think I mentioned in a prior blog, I have to wonder if there meat eating volume has increased.  I dont recall all the steak and ribs being consumed a year ago.  Maybe I'm just being paranoid, or maybe I am dreaming of steak and ribs.  Nope, believe it or not, I am right now craving a Big Mac.

Ok, my kids are not slipping me animal products on the side, but i will say that it is hard trying to live this lifestyle, with a couple of kids that are being given a totally opposite message.  Such is the life when you enjoy shared parenting from your prior betrothed.  I need to suck it up, be a man, and start sneaking faux meat in their diet without telling them.  Gotta work on those meatballs.  They were close, but I think my son sensed a trap last time.  I'll get them yet.

Oh yes, Gardetto's.  I haven't read the label, but nothing in those wonderfully tasty snacks should require the life of an innocent animal, but I will bet you a dollar to a donut (sorry about that), that the ingredients "may contain milk".  Why, I will never know.  Ok, I'll work on it.  I'll start reading labels.  I'll get better.  its just been a hard month with travel and all.

Ok, my wife just informed me that "May Contain Milk" is only for allergies, as a disclaimer for food processors.  I wonder if its still "vegan"?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Jerry

Taking the day off of crabbing, to wish Jerry a Happy Birthday, may he live in all of us, and help make our lives better and happier.  I know I am because of him (and my wife, of course)  Thanks Jerry!