Sunday, March 7, 2010

Days 5 -7

A few things...

In order to satisfy my cravings for salt and fat, I hit up Chick-Fil-A a couple days ago for their infamous waffle fries. About halfway in, I suddenly realized... I don't want this. It felt like my tongue was being covered in this film of grease that prevented me from tasting anything at all. (Does that make sense??) So, I stopped. And threw the rest away. That was a first.

I spent the weekend in Dallas with my parents, and my Mom made me bibimbap, which is essentially a bowl of rice and loads of Korean "side dishes" (aka banchan) all mixed together with gochujang. Typically some sort of meat is also mixed in, and the entire thing is topped with a delectable fried egg (I have, ahem had, a thing for fried eggs). Obviously mine was made sans meat and egg, but it was still delicious. And check out the colors! You really can't do better than that.



Despite the deliciousness of the bibimbap, Saturday was tres difficult. Walking into a Korean bakery? Hard. Getting a free chocolate chip cookie at lunch and having to blindly hand it over to my Mom? Hard. Not being able to enjoy a cup of coffee at home b/c my parents didn't have any nondairy milk, and I don't take my coffee black? Hard. Oh and I still had the cheesies.

I realized just how vital home cooking is when you're eating vegan. You get sick of all the tasteless salads and plain baked potatoes, the only options at most meat-centric lunch spots. You want dessert, but you can't have any because you didn't bake them, and there's no Whole Foods anywhere near you, and your parents certainly don't have the ingredients necessary to whip up something.

Does this get easier? Being in the real world and being vegan?


  1. I think it gets easier. It has for me and my husband, at least. It has taken us changing our habits, though.

    Now when we go to family gatherings we're sure not to come empty handed. It's a bit more work but that way we're not at the mercy of anyone else.

    When people want to eat out with us we are ready with some vegan-friendly suggestions -- and in the rare case that's not cool, we eat ahead of time and plan to just meet them for drinks or something.

    When traveling we're sure to plan ahead so we don't get stuck hungry without vegan choices. It's a lot easier when you get in the habit of buying and bringing extra-portable vegan foods and learn what chain stuff is vegan (though most chain stuff doesn't compare to what you can bring with a little forethought).

    We definitely eat at home more! That's been good for us, though. And it's not like we don't have some vegan-friendly choices when we do eat out. Plus we make sure to keep some great vegan treats on hand.

    Also, stuff we once saw as tempting is really not appealing any more. We recently went to a fair and saw the river of grease coming off the back of a grill at one of the food vendors. It was disgusting! And then watching people eat the greasy, charred meat...I almost wanted to vomit. Of course, there's other animal products that don't seem so gross, but they just aren't as appealing anymore, either -- especially not compared to yummy vegan stuff.

    Going to a "regular" restaurant around here does remind me how lucky we are. It reminds me why people think it's so hard to go vegan, because some really think we just eat stuff like iceberg lettuce and butter-less potatoes! Becoming vegan has been great in that (in addition to reducing cruelty and all that stuff) we've been exposed to such an abundance of wonderful, tasty food that we didn't even know was out there! I think it's sad that some people can't even grasp a diet not centered around a big chunk of meat.

    Lots of love and keep up the good work!

  2. I know exactly what you mean with the 'not being able to eat the waffle fries'..It happens to me often..(though recently I've been pretty bad- eating fries/chips whenever I get the chance)..but mostly I can't/don't feel eat anything greasy. I think the thought of sinking your teeth into something sinful is more appetizing than the actual 'something'..kwim?

    the bibimpap looks fabulous! I need the recipe!!

    I tried rice milk for the first time today morning and liked it!! I am going to try to make a roux sometime with olive oil (instead of butter) and rice milk instead of regular milk.

    When I first came to the U.S, I was on the east coast and found eating vegetarian outside home pretty difficult- and got sick and tired of salad. It has taken me almost 4 years to finally feel like eating lettuce again. I now live in So Cal so it is waaay easier to eat (tasty) vegetarian or vegan outside, so that's good.

    I am not yet vegan- but seriously contemplating it- I just need to convince myself that I can live without cheese. It was my first love food-wise (i wasn't a big fan of Indian food as a kid), and I am finding the thought of giving it up hard. But I have started looking at alternatives, so maybe..:)

    My comment ended up being really lonog..:)

  3. I meant loong not lonog..:) (Also meant to say that I am vegetarian but not yet vegan)

  4. @Lavanya

    I don't know if you saw it when I recommended it before, but I recommend trying Daiya vegan cheese. It is quite good, which unfortunately is not the case for all vegan cheese (or all cheese for that matter, lol). There is also The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook.

    I used to love cheese, too, but I've been surprised how little I've missed cheese. I don't even use the substitutes a lot. My tastes just changed after I started not eating it and, knowing what I know now about it, I can't imagine going back. I've heard that there's something addictive about it. I don't know that that is literally true, but I've heard an amazing number of people, vegetarians and omnivores alike, say, "Well, I could go vegan -- except for cheese."

    I say, just try it for a week. And during that time read up on the practices of the milk industry. A good place to start is this very short video: -- and you don't have to wait to watch it (not gory, fyi, but definitely sad). Then, when you've hopefully proven to yourself that you can go a week without cheese, ask yourself if it is worth it to you to continue eating cheese just because it tastes good.

    Hope that helps! It is very hard to question ourselves on these things and I respect you a lot for doing that.

  5. Hi Carolyn,
    I just wanted to say i am loving reading this blog. I am not vegan not even vegetarian but am finding all of this very interesting and am hoping to incorporate some vegan friendly meals into my life.

  6. @ Meg Thank you for your comment- I will def. look at the video..
    I've heard good things about Daiya- plan to check it out..(I didn't see your previous rec tho'- do you have a blog?)
    I cook mostly Indian food at home so it is not very difficult for me to skip cheese. I think it boils down to making up my mind and sticking to it..:) I generally question my choices at every stage, but I have (over the past few years) also started making sure to take steps to actually do something about those questions and live 'consciously', you know?.Thanks again for your feedback/comments..

  7. @Lavanya

    Currently between blogs, lol. I've been kicking the idea around, though, of starting up another one, this time on veganism and related stuff. You can find me on Twitter as @mmmeg, though. I'm pretty vocal on there.

    I definitely know what you mean about living consciously. I actually just went vegan last fall. I think I knew for a long time, though, that I'd wind up vegetarian (before I even knew what veganism was), it was just a matter of taking the time to educate myself and then decide to do it. The more I educated myself, though, the easier it was to decide. And I think it has been well worth it, certainly for the animals but also for me, personally.

  8. @Meg- following you (I'm @mayybeme)

  9. Dear Carolyn,
    I read and adore both of your blogs. I found you through Kimberly Wilson and the Hip Tranquil Chick blog. Disclaimer: I work in online learning for Cornell University, but also practice vegan eating since reading the China Study. I want to suggest a T. Colin Campbell online course for you:
    The T. Colin Campbell foundation made this in partnership with Cornell University, it is a super-informative course series based on The China Study. I have met the people from the foundation, they are super smart and great, and have an unbelieveable community around these ideas. I have been in this field for a while and have NEVER seen a group as amazing as the TCC group. This may be a way for you to meet more like-minded people and get psyched about the vegan choices and lifestyle out there. Good luck, and I'll be eagerly reading and commenting on your journey!

  10. I love the bimbimbap pics. It looks awesome :)

    When my husband and I travel to see our families, we have had to put a a whole system in place so I can eat. When we drive somewhere, we always pack non-dairy milks and some gluten-free wraps and seaweed for me, and usually stake out a couple of grocery stores or cafes near where his family lives. When we flew to Switzerland, the first errand when we got there was hitting a health food store so I could get some options to supplement the rice milk and quinoa my mom had already bought for me. I also highly recommend baking and freezing treats anda taking them with you when you are out and about all day, or travelling :)

  11. I am so impressed by your will power! I do not think I could turn down a chocolate chip cookie. Its awesome that your mom made you something you can eat!

  12. It does get easier, I promise. First of all, when friends and family see that this is not merely a phase, they will prepare food that you can eat (and it seems that your mom already did!)

    I do a lot of different things to be prepared - if friends are eating somewhere that isn't vegan friendly (at all), then I will eat first and order a side salad or grilled veggies and just enjoy their company. I can honestly fill up on bread and wine to the point that a main course isn't even necessary.

    I've stopped looking at what I CAN'T eat and have been focusing on what I CAN eat. Which is a lot.

    You can do this and I promise, it definitely gets easier.