#53: On February’s Failed Vegan Flirtation

#53: On February’s Failed Vegan Flirtation

As you already know, I’ve been pondering the idea of going vegan since this summer (On Nutrition). So I was intrigued to go to lunch and learn at work on a Friday in mid-January where a representative from Whole Foods had come to talk about their 28 Day Challenge which was in connection with the Engine 2 Diet. The representative had brought samples of delicious plant based foods for us to try, while she waxed poetically about the benefits of a plant based diet. The deal was that for the twenty eight days in February, participants would make changes in their diet moving to a plant-based eating plan. She promised to support us with emails and lectures. She expounded on the fact that we would not be alone and it would surely change our lives!!! Inspired, and with a bit of friendly peer pressure from some of my English department peeps, I signed up.

I signed up, mind you, with the caveat that I was going to go to California for a long weekend and was planning to eat whatever I wanted on the trip. “No problem,” my peeps declared.

The idea was so encouraging that I was even thinking that I would start right away. No problem. Of course that very evening, I was invited to dinner at the home of some friends. When we sat down at the table for dinner, I was served a lovely, but not quite up to Whole Foods’ standards and definitely not vegan, meal of bacon wrapped chicken in a white sauce (in her defense, it was turkey bacon), white rice, frozen white flour biscuits, and broccoli with white cheese on top. It was truly a lovely meal and I was honored to be a guest at their house, but I had to laugh internally at the irony of it all. “Well, I decided, “I can always start tomorrow.”

The next day, I virtuously started my morning making healthy muffins with fresh ground wheat. As I added the milk, eggs, and olive oil, I hit another small wall. “OK, I thought, “I can try almond milk, but not sure about egg and olive oil replacements.” Seriously, what are vegan egg substitutes made of anyway and how could that be healthy?

Then I went to Whole Foods to stock up on vegan goodness, but found myself having panic attacks in the store. I just couldn’t conceive of giving up pretty much all my favorite foods. I gave up and left the store with the ingredients to make fish tacos.

Things went rapidly downhill from there. Next, I had a huge craving for my favorite buffalo chicken soup, filled with chicken, cheese, and milk, and in rebellion, I indulged.

In the middle of this, I was invited to a Super Bowl party where the hostess served a delicious chili that I was not about to turn down.

And February is a cold month. I love homemade hot chocolate. I did try making it with almond milk, but it just wasn’t the same.

Then I went to California: the land of Yang Chow’s where they serve this amazing dish called “slippery shrimp” which sounds weird, but trust me, is amazing!!! It’s also the land of Slater’s 50/50 where they serve hamburgers where the meat is 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon. Their signature burger is the Peanut Butter and Jellousy burger. You take a beef and bacon burger and put in on a bun with peanut butter, jelly and more bacon. Again, it sounds weird, but it is indescribably delicious. I indulged in these dishes and more. And it was good. And I was happy.

I’m not sure I ever ate even one vegan meal the entire month of February.

So as February and the 28 Day Challenge came to a close, I had come to two conclusions. One, February is a VERY BAD month to go vegan. Two, I like beef and bacon and cheese.

Now, I’m reaffirming my summer plan of going mostly vegetarian at home and allowing myself to eat what I want when I go out. I have indulged in a few favorite meals this fall and winter that involve meat, but I have stuck to this plan pretty consistently. I am trying to throw in some vegan recipes here and there too. I just have to believe that balance is the key, and eating as healthy as possible about 80% of the time has to be OK. Here’s to working on eating healthy while wishing they would open a Slater’s 50/50 in Atlanta!

 Amy- Bradley Hand

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