I never thought I could be a vegan.
I've been a vegetarian since the summer of 1994. The World Cup was being hosted in the US and I was at a soccer tournament in Utah. My dad had been laying it on thick about how I should feel bad for the poor little cows and yadda yadda...I was served a hamburger with blood leaking out of it and that was it. Like that (snaps fingers) I was over it. I was 13 at the time. I didn't know (or care) what eating healthy looked like. French Fries were vegetarian...I was all set! My mom was pissed. Lara had become a vegetarian a little before me so my mom suddenly had two little vegetarians on her hands with no idea what to feed us (not to mention the fact that both of us were pretty picky!). The only thing we would eat was chili (just the beans...no meat)/cheese fries! A mountain of it every night for about a year if I recall correctly! Yikes! I remember sitting on the couch in the living room watching the Fresh Prince and waiting for my mom to searve me my plate of delightfully greasy (we had an electric deep frier) chili/cheese fries with onions. Mmmm!
Obviously I have learned healthier eating habits since then. I had some serious fry fat to loose so I went on Weight Watchers when I was about 19. There I found a way to bring some nutritional balance to my veggie lifestyle. I stopped drinking ranch dressing from a bowl as a parlor trick and instead started eating more fruits and veggies...for awhile. I go back and forth between my eating healthy and not so healthy habits...but all the while remaining a vegetarian. I never thought I could be a vegan because I never thought I would be able to give up cheese. Gardenburger-put cheese on it! Sandwich-put cheese on it! Cheese-put cheese on it! I love cheese...but I realized that if I tried to give up cheese then I would cut out a lot of the junk I end up falling out of balance for (such as pizza or grilled cheese...with fries!). So I made a spur of the moment decision (inspired by Lara who was telling me of her new plan to try going vegan in the new year), stocked my pantry with necessary spices and cooking ingredients for vegan recipes from Happy Herbivore (see http://www.happyherbivore.com/ ) and became a "mostly vegan." Like I mentioned in my previous post "mostly vegan" is a psycological title for my new way of living because I feel like it's not so much a thing of "I'm not ALLOWED to have cheese" as a choice I am making to choose foods that are healthier for me than cheese. I have only caved once so far when I was at Mary's house for a little homemade Mac n' Cheese made from scratch with quinoa pasta and gouda + every other kind of good cheese...how could I resist really? BUT...something else magical happened that night at Mary's! Something that has changed the way I will live the rest of my life! I tried (and LOVED) brussel sprouts!!! She cut them in half, tossed them in some olive oil and garlic and baked them for a half an hour in the oven! It was awesome and we couldn't get enough. She had to make more after we started eating the leftover crisped brussel sprout leaves that were strewn about on the baking pan! hahah! So good! So thank you Mary! You have changed my life in a wonderful new way and I (and my newfound regularity) can't thank you enough! haha!
It's been a month and I have lost (according to the scale this morning) 8 pounds since January 3rd. I'm feeling good, making most meals at home, and I am loving every minute of it!
I feel almost as good as Brazil did on that sunny Los Angeles afternoon!