Thursday, December 9, 2010

My former life of debauchery

I wouldn't have necessarily written this blog entry a few months ago, but since I've been making the acquaintances of more and more vegans, I think its makes sense for me to describe a little bit more of my history (With respect to food of course, you really don't want me to get into my personal life, we could be here all night). The inspiration to write this entry stemmed from the utter disbelief that people had with my lack of knowledge of Brussel Sprouts (you heard me right).  I know I am dealing with a lot of people that are seasoned "vegans", and for all practical purposes, I still don't know much of what I am doing. I took a break from asking myself "why" all the time.  Now I'm just focusing on the "how", and I'm still trying to figure that out.  I'm getting a lot of great advice, a lot of terrific guidance and help, but its days like last Tuesday when I declared my sprout ignorance, and the overwhelming reaction was "what what WHAT????", that I felt it necessary to talk about where I came from.

I never knew how to describe my culinary taste to people, but I love(d) all foods, from simple, to complex. Fast foods, to gourmet. Processed like hell, full of sodium, high fructose corn syrup, saturated fat,.. mmmmmm gimme a spoon. My travels, all over the world have been evaluated solely based on the foods I ate.  Life was all about the food. It wasn't always pretty and exotic, but I loved what I ate, and if I didn't love it, I didn't eat it.  Plain and simple.

I've always been a funny eater.  I like to eat alone.  I've never been a huge fan of eating around other people. I'm also an impatient eater. I inhale food. I eat like the classic college guy, standing over the stove, eating out of the container that I cooked my food in.  Plates are for sissies.... And vegetables?  If they were not cooked to death, or covered in gravy or cheese, it was unlikely that I would be eating them.  I ate a lot of fast food, but later in life I did try to consciously cut back on it. Never-the-less, I still ate it. I'm getting a bit uneasy as I write this, because the memory is coming back.  The food for me was a drug, and I could not get it in my system fast enough.  I was fortunate enough to have been blessed with a metabolism to keep up, because there is no reason why I should not weight 350 now.
This sums me up in a nutshell, wish I would have drawn it

Yeah, Toby would love this

Laziness.  Lets just say the laziness influences my diet.  I'm working on it, but before I went vegan, my diet consisted mainly on items of convenience, hence an abundance of processed foods.  I would get inspired, cook, create,.. it wasn't out of the question, but it was not the norm.  Impatience. When I did get around to eating, I inhaled my food.  Two difficult traits to possesses.  Lazy and impatient.  From a food perspective, it does not bode well for a healthy lifestyle.

 Need I explain?

Yeah, I used to drive like this too.

Lazy and Impatient,.. that is a pretty toxic combination, but it generally ruled my diet. It had its moments influencing my life as well, but I'll save that for my "One Crabby Human" blog.  Lets talk food....

Breakfast - Rarely ate it.  Still have issue eating breakfasts. When I am not travelling, I work at home, which means I sleep until the last possible minute, and then head straight into my office. This means I cant be bothered to eat, or if I do it needs to be quick. When on the road, I may meet colleagues for breakfast, or fast food drive through.

Home; Bagel (speedy), Cereal, Pop tarts,  (rarely though, take too long to eat a bowl)

Travelling; McD'd Chicken biscuits, or sausage biscuits. Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Biscuits, Gravy, love the big southern breakfast. etc.

Lunch - I ate lunch most of the time, but again, it was a meal I skipped a lot.  I mostly blamed work, being busy. When I used to go to the office, I didn't like lunching with people, so I opted to not go, and then get something out of a machine (mmmmmm Chili Cheese Fritos) because of pure starvation. At home? Sandwich. That is all I wanted for lunch, almost all of the time.

Home; sandwich (ham, salami, turkey, cheese). Leftover anything. Whatever was for dinner the night before, became lunch. Leftover pasta, pizza, frozen chicken patties/nuggets, Chef Boyardee straight out of the can (I was too impatient to heat it up). Sausage's of all kinds, I love every wurst.  I snacked on chips mainly, and yes did in fact eat a lot of PB&J's as well.

Travelling; Sandwich (Jimmy Johns, Jersey Mikes), Burgers, Pizza, Fries, BBQ.  I love(d) BBQ, I would normally seek out the 2 or 3 meat combo. Club sandwich, seemed to be my goto restaurant lunch.

Dinner - At this point if I hadn't eaten, and a lot of time I hadn't, I'm in a pretty lousy mood.  Couple that with impatience and laziness, and you can bet I'm going to open the fridge and grab something quick.  Now getting divorced and moving out on my own did not help my situation much.  I ate what my kids ate. Chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, cheese burgers, hot dogs, french fries.  We would eat on a small table in front of the the TV.  Once I got married, my wife took a lot of this over, and tried to balance things, but I would always request heavy meat based dishes, and i would pick through my veggies.  When I got fancy, I would make grand things, like a clam chowder, which contained maybe 20 sticks of butter, or a baked ziti with a thick bechemel sauce. I would do Paula Dean proud.

Home; Pizza, Pasta, Hot dogs, Sandwiches, Mac n Cheese, Cheese Quesadillas, Fried/BBQ Chicken. Cheese, lots of cheese. When I got fancy I would fry steaks, chops, etc. French fries, tater tots.

Travelling; Steak (Cowboy Ribeye my ultimate fav), Pizza, Fast Food, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Dives/Driven foods. I would map Guy Fieris exploits and follow them.

Vegetables??? As I mentioned, almost none.  Potatoes, corn (this was my I'm feeling guilty about not eating vegetables, vegetable). Salads? rare, if I had one, it would have cheese, and blue cheese dressing.  I watched a Jamie Oliver show where he went into the fattest town in the US to save them from themselves. He went into one families house and dumped all their food on the table, and commented on the color. Everything was beige/brown, there was no real color to it (I'll spare you that picture, it was pretty gross).  That was my diet.  I ate beige/brown foods, and stayed away from anything colorful.

Fast forward to April of 2010 where I adopt a diet devoid of all animal products.  Someone said to me, "Wow, I guess you have to love vegetables to be a vegan". Let me tell you, I had a panic attack when they said that.  Not only learning about veganism, but I have to learn about food, about vegetables. And I have to learn to like them.

So when I tweet about my ignorance of Brussel Sprouts, Kale, Parsnips, Persimmon, Squash, Sweet Potatoes (I discovered those about 6 months ago, and now I cant live without them).  Understand where I came from, and you'll understand why I'm asking.


  1. Thanks for the background. :-) I wrote once about my former life of debauchery: mostly lots of sugar and alcohol. I thought a few carrot sticks and an apple here and there might save me. I have slowly learned to love veggies and I trust in time you will too!

  2. Hey, it's a journey! I think we could all tell some tales about the before (and some of us even the "during" ... I've had a few weeks where I'm suddenly eating fast-food, processed food vegan style and feel like crap). I eat vegetables now that I really never even considered before (kale and collards are two staples for me now and I cannot believe how versatile they are). Isn't it fun experimenting and discovering?!

  3. Yay, a little more about Brian does not hurt! Discpline and ignorance do not compliment each other, but in learning about foods you learn how to like them and incorporate them in daily life and then discipline comes into play. Keep it going. I know how hard the struggle is. Each day is fresh with new mistakes!

  4. That puts in all into perspective, I had no idea. It's amazing that you are even on a vegan diet. You are doing even more awesome than I though you were. I'm so glad for your sake that you met your wife,she sounds like a great influence. Keep it up and be patient with the vegetables. They really taste good when you eat them seasonally. P.S. I like what you've done with the place.

  5. thanks for the comments, i thought it was necessary to provide a little background, it also helps be to write about it and acknowledge it. i never really realized what i was doing, or how i ate, it was just something that happened. it took this act for me to break away, so i could reflect. i guess if i discovered how awesome i was doing, i could justify going back, i dont think i realized at the time how poorly i ate. despite going vegan, i still try and replicate a lot of things. i do have a long way to go :)