Sunday, April 17, 2011

Year One

trust me, the cake is vegan

One Year of Crabbiness:

I cant pinpoint the precise date, but I'm going to pick this date for a few reasons. I  had recently returned from Colorado, where I announced my intentions to my Sales colleague (while eating Carnitas taco's). I'm sure that I didnt stop that Thursday I returned home. More likely it was the following Saturday (April 17th), where I started my two week PB&J and Pasta binge (I didn't know exactly what to eat). It wasn't too long after that, that I started figuring some things out, but I had a long way to go to begin to understand what I was in for, and why I was doing it.

One year later, I'll freely admit that I am not nearly as converted as I thought I would be. I heard stories of people losing the cravings of meat, etc after a short time. I quit smoking years ago, and I still want one. Chances were good that a year later, I'd still want a cheeseburger.

So hear I am a year later, and I still have many of the same questions I had on day one. Yes I'm a lot more educated on the industries. I know a lot more about food, and where it comes from. I learned that Whole Foods was just not a patronized by a bunch of hippie, liberal, Prius driving, wanna-be's. (although there are quite a few). I learned that I can be a lot healthier, as I am down 30lbs+, and feel generally good (physically speaking). I've certainly learned that Milk, Eggs, and Meat are not the only, or even the best sources for all of your daily nutrients... But still I am unconvinced.

I will say that the experience has made me a lot of friends, that I would not have found otherwise, and I will admit that they are a main reason I keep on (ok, my family gets some credit too). They tell you that when you quit smoking you are supposed to tell everyone you know. Supposed to keep you honest. That was a good strategy. I think about how my actions would be received by my new friends. Sure, I could just not say anything, but my wife will tell you that I cant keep a secret (for long). I will always confess to her when I would sneak food late at night. Plus, my whole blog would be a sham then. No point in blogging something that I wasn't about. That being said, you will probably know it I fall off the wagon. I'll vanish into thin air, else I face the wrath of my 50+ blog followers, and 1000 twitter friends (ok, not all 1000 are real people, but I like to think so).

It is hard, I will say. I can even get a little pissy when I read tweets about how easy it is to be vegan, or how someone made the best meal ever. I dont begrudge anyone really, but the fat kid doesn't want to hear a skinny person say how they can eat anything, and not gain an ounce. It may be true, but its not fun to hear. But it is hard. Its been hard every day. I'm addicted. I'm addicted to smoking (which is why I had to quit), I'm addicted to food (which is why I needed to change). But unlike smoking, I still gotta eat. So I am reminded with every bite, how strong that addiction really is.

So where do I go now? Well just because I dont have all of the answers, doesn't mean that I give up asking. I didn't earn my college degree in a year, so why should I have it all figured out now? I know better now. I know realistically what I am up against, and I am better prepared to deal with the next year. I know I am hard on myself, as a lot of my blogs will attest to. I will probably have more blog entries about my indiscretions, but I know to be more realistic. I have one year behind me, and I'm probably not going to save the world, but I'm going to cast my vote anyway.

You shower me with lullabies
As you're walking away
Reminds me that it's killing time
On this fateful day

See you at the bitter end

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What happens in Vegas... (gets blogged here)

I really didn't go to Vegas

I've always been about full disclosure, and even some of my friends have joked about when I may have slipped, or not monitored my intake carefully, that "I'd better blog that". So I put this blog together last summer as a way to help me chronicle my transition to a vegan lifestyle. And I would say that my intentions were purely honest at first, but then when it became evident that others were actually reading it, I started thinking a little bit more about what I was writing. I'm now trying to "think" less, and "write" more.

i drew this on a bar napkin

In October of last year, I posted which was an account of guilts that I have been collecting at that point. I just reread that to see if I have learned anything. I see that I have not learned that much.

naples fairfield inn. free breakfast

So I was NOT in Vegas, but I just returned from vacation, about 7 days (less the driving) with my folks in Naples, FL (Bonita Springs actually, but "Naples" sounds more regal). On the second day of the drive, I made a conscious choice to be less true to my veganism. Permission to CHEAT (this could get ugly). Don't worry, I didn't give it up, or do anything rash. It wasn't really permission to cheat, but just an allowance to relax, and try not to let food dominate the week. I just decided to "look the other way" a few times, and not inquire too deeply into what I was eating. I felt bad about it, but I was out of my element on vacation, and unlike all of the work travelling I've been doing, I was not in complete control of the food. At least when I'm  away on work, I only need to focus on myself, now its a pregnant wife, the nugget, and the two big omni kids, and of course myself. Put us all together for over a week, including the time at my folks, and things will get dicey. So lets try to see where I went wrong this week.

don't go for the $5 footlong here

It all started at Subway. Subway has been a real problem for me ever since I discovered the veggie patties are not vegan. Its really annoyed me more than anything else, as I think it would be easy for these things to be made vegan. I've been pretty good about avoiding them, but this time, I ordered it anyway.

to think i used to love these on fridays in lent

For the mostpart, we kept our meals pretty true, although I thought I would never admit it, I am getting pretty sick of pasta. That was my goto meal in Mexico, and most of the time when dining out with colleagues. I never thought I would catch myself on a drink, but there they were; Anchovy Stuffed Olives. Ok, that was an accident, but after the third one in my martini, I inquired about these most excellent olives, in which case I was crushed to find out the truth. In their honor I sang an ode "Anchovies are People Too". You should hear me sing it. Its quite haunting.

i actually made these, just for the photo opp

My daughter's birthday was a few weeks back, and my sons a couple of weeks out. My daughter is an odd sort. She doesn't like "cake", so my mom got a cherry pie, that evidently was requested by my daughter. Turns out she doesn't like that either. So there we were, Cherry Pie, Cupcakes, Carrot Cake, all of which were probably not assembled by vegan bakers.... Alas, there I go again. My guilt started in right about here.

oddly, i have nothing cute to say here

As for the cupcakes, (let me tell you what an odd obsession I have with them) it wasn't 5 minutes after the house when quiet that evening, that I wasn't sneaking into the kitchen, and quietly opening up the container of cupcakes. This container was one of those plastic ones, with the lid, that sound like nails on a chalkboard when you open it up. Thankfully no one heard, and I polished off that baby in two bites. Oddly enough I chased it with a kosher dill pickle. Pretty sure THAT was vegan.

another project i slaved over for this picture. i pinch

I will say that when the California roll's came out, I diligently removed the Faux Crab meat before eating them (Ok, I ate three before I started this practice). I made sure to pick veggie rolls up when I went to Whole Foods later that week. We also took an afternoon and visited the Loving Hut in Naples (a moment of sanity). It was nice to order anything off the menu and not have to worry about it, but I am very suspicious of their Thai Ice Tea. They claim its just Soy Milk, but she said maybe some honey too. Which didn't dawn on me until after she left that she said "honey". Lets not get into honey now. I gave it up, I used the last of my lavender honey (real men only go for 100% lavender honey), and I avoid it, but I don't really get the honey avoidance thing. I'll leave that and a few other things for another blog.

this place was rumored to have an awesome salad bar

Going out to dinner in and around Naples during this time of the year proved difficult. For about 3 months a year, if you want to get a table at a restaurant, you either need to go to dinner at 4:30, or 8:30. Now normally, a late dinner is just fine with me, but with kids, you need about a 6:30 table time to make it work out. And this is at the crappy restaurants. I swear I saw a line at the IHOP, and what a crowd outside the Outback.... The Outback for Christ's sake!, when I ATE meat, their steaks sucked! And hey you are in South Florida, if seafood is your thing, you are in the right place, but you couldn't get a table at Red Lobster the night we went out. And that is telling you something. Man the more I think about it, the more restaurants generally suck.

she wrote a book called "mexican enough" ok, i'm reaching on this one

So we managed to find a place that was like an upscale Chipotle. When I go out to eat, I generally like to be waited on. I'm not a huge fan of ordering at a counter, unless I'm travelling alone. With the family, I have enough headaches, I want people to bring ME stuff, and asking ME what I want. Regardless, after the endless grumbling that my son was dishing (the place was not Mexican enough for him)... Which is pretty funny, I spent a week in Mexico, and ate pasta for the whole time. This place was Mexican "enough".

i only like these because they are rumored to be good for your heart

So on come the blinders. All I can say is no "dairy", but when asked if I want "cheese", I am forced to remind people that "cheese" generally comes from dairy (i would say they looked like a deer caught in the headlights, but i don't think that statement is vegan enough for me). So I didnt ask any more questions. I placed a complex 6 person dinner order, rolled the dice, and hoped for the best. Which for the mostpart it was, but I will admit, after I polished off my Refried Beans, I noticed the cheese on my plate. What a waste. I ate cheese, and didn't even get anything from it. My son was fine btw, he had a taco as big as his head, and I found some habenero sauce that blew our minds.

there has to be more vegans out there

So the remainder of the week was lower key, in fact the whole vacation was pretty low key, we managed to just make do with basic vacation food staples, such as Pizza, Sandwiches, both of which I experienced a partial fail. Galaxy Veggie Slices melt just way too nice, and have a creamy flavor, that I know can only come from cows (mmmm,.. creamy cows). This is somewhat irritating. Why do you make a veggie cheese, and still find a way to work dairy into it. Like why use eggs in veggie patties? I think companies are too lazy, and these ingredients are too easy. Someone told me most popcorn contains milk, why am I not surprised? So I was clearly outraged, and I surely spit the food out into the sink the second it hit my tongue right? Nope, again, the vacation blinders were on, and I just figured I'd say another vegan Hail Mary when I got home.

the captain would not let us throw things in the fan

i cant why people see these and think of "shoes". i think "gator nuggets"

Just to give you a indication, we did in fact go to the pool, the beach, went into the Everglades in airboats, all of that South Florida stuff, so dont think it was all me lamenting food choices. Ok, maybe 70% of it was. Again, out of my element, and my control,.. and of course with tempting things lying around, and my wander lust, it was not going to be long before I was engaged in behavior I would not be proud of.

not vegan, thats why i licked my fingers, touched them all and didn't take one

I wont even get started on Cookies. I could right a whole blog on how I have become the cookie cheater. It is just best to keep them away from me. If the cookie looked good, and you told me it was cooked over the flaming carcasses of puppies and kittens, I'd probably ask for a glass of milk to go with it.

you google pizza crusts and see what you can find

So there we were no driving back to Cincinnati, fighting the insane traffic from Tampa all the way to Atlanta. We stop late for dinner, and I end up having another lousy pasta dish, but at least they heard me and did not add the cheese this time. I did however eat several Pizza Crusts, as this has always been one of my great vegan downfalls.

Well we are now home again, and I promise to get back on track. Confess my sins, and try to keep looking forward. I think its best to just keep some things away from me though. My willpower is strained.  I think I am getting back to normal though. After spending an outrageous $60 at Whole Foods, I did manage to leave with the following:

Vegan General Chicken
Vegan Tamales (finally)
A Vegan Chicken Salad Wrap (ate it in the car)
GT Trilogy
Uncle Eddie's Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (eating them now)
Chocolove Cherries & Almonds
Jamaican Chicken Soy Jerky
Tofurkey (Oven Roasted)
Amy's Low Sodium Vegetarian Lentil Soup
Soy Yogurt
Apple Juice
Odwalla Original Superfood

I almost said i was "duh, winning", but that would be too easy. I'm much more obscure than that. I'm back in the saddle baby.

i actually like this better than the aerosmith version