…and thank God for that, because most of everything else I like to eat isn’t. Chester Cheeto was right, it aint easy being…man would I love a Cheeto right now.
A lot of my time during vegan challenge week one was spent trying to find something that I was allowed to eat; food not made from or by animals and with as little soy as possible (I will admit that there is still gelatin in my breakfast cereal). And wouldn’t you know it, vegan challenge week one came to a close with two friends and a family member all coming into town and a work party, all four instances involving eating out. In one case, I did actually have to order a plate of lettuce with balsamic, no joke.
Let’s be honest though, it must be much harder to be vegan in a lot of other cities. When my high school buddy Krista flew in from Seattle, I stealthily suggested a vegan Thai place without mentioning it was vegan. I was faced with some warranted skepticism on arrival, but our food was actually excellent and neither of us felt like we were missing out on anything by choosing a vegan establishment. Plus, the prices were reasonable. Check it out: Green Leaves.
The following dinner out was more of a challenge. A friend from my college dancing days came into town and had made reservations at The Palm, a steakhouse. I perused the menu prior to dinner online and knew I was in for some serious ridicule. While the staff was actually quite accommodating and good humored and did in fact concoct something vegan for me, nothing on the menu was even vegetarian. Did I mention how juicy my friend’s steak looked?
If the steaks weren’t taunting enough, a work party later in the week served cheesy nachos and baby cupcakes from Vanilla Bakeshop with butter cream frosting. Don’t worry, I stayed strong.
The following morning my cousin drove through Los Angeles en route to Irvine stopping for a quick breakfast. I’d been eating dry shredded wheat for breakfast for the last week. For some reason that didn’t appeal to my cousin. I recommended trying Food after looking up their menu online. The tofu scramble-fantastic, really.
Friends have been charmingly and surprisingly resourceful this week and have swamped me with fabulous cookbooks, tips and hidden restaurants to try all over the county. It seems that even the friends who eat meat on a daily basis each have a favorite vegetarian place as well. One friend even told me how to make almond milk with my blender. My family however, thinks I’m crazy.
This post isn’t totally lacking a positive learned lesson. Despite all of my complaining, it’s undeniable that I am eating better. There’s no way to be vegan without eating lots of veggies. I snack on dried or fresh fruit (instead of Starbucks) and, occasional salty fried potato moments aside, my diet includes less fat and more good calories. Protein is not as hard to find as I’d thought it would be. It’s not as if I am looking for lower fat and calorie food in the market or on the menu, being vegan simply necessitates eating better-for-you stuff.
Who knows, maybe by the end of week two I’ll have the will power to stop longingly following the Boar’s Head “Provisions” truck around.