Vegan Setback

So I’d been plugging along with my awesome little vegan life. Everything was delightful and I was even beginning to maybe grow accustomed to ice cream that tastes like coconut. And then it all went to shit.

I worked from home Tuesday and spent what felt like the whole day making separate meals for Soren and for me. Then yesterday Ben made breakfast burritos for dinner. He was making a bunch of them (he brings some to work to share with coworkers) and it’s a pretty elaborate process that takes up a lot of kitchen space. The original plan was for me to have pudla, which is great, but I had pudla on Sunday and don’t want to get tired of it already.

So I was going to make vegan pesto, but I was kind of grumpy and tired and I started to get the food processor out and there was like no room on the counter and I had a little meltdown. I wanted something good! And homemade! Not another frozen fake chicken patty or whatever.

Then I was all, holy shit, I can’t live like this with all these separate meals. This is such a pain in the ass and I’ve been spending so much time thinking about and preparing food and just . . . just . . . fuck it!

So I said, “I give up! I can’t do this!” I had a goddamn breakfast burrito, with eggs and cheddar. And I sulked the whole time, super dramatic style. After dinner, I moved my Becoming Vegan book to a shelf where I wouldn’t have to see it all the time. I told Ben we should order pizza on Saturday.

And then I just felt like shit. The burrito was yummy, but the totality of the circumstances left me feeling sad and like a complete failure. Ben suggested — and people always suggest — being an almost vegan, or just having dairy once in a while. But what I’ve learned from my very short time of trying to be vegan is that it doesn’t really work that way. I mean, maybe it does for some people, but for me, I think it has to be all or nothing. I either eat dairy products or I don’t. If I eat them some of the time, what’s my motivation to not eat them the other times? I don’t even think that makes sense, but that’s what it’s like in my head.

While trying to transition to veganism, I’ve been reading a few vegan blogs. They’re good for getting recipe ideas and stuff, but more often than not, they’re kind of disheartening, too. All these vegan bloggers (at least the ones I’ve found) are, like, professional vegans. They make their living by being vegan. Everyone they know is vegan. They live in and travel to exceptionally vegan-friendly locations. They go to vegan conferences. They go to vegan schools! They go to vegan churches! They go to vegan institutional learning facilities!1

And my life isn’t like that at all. I know exactly one vegan in real life. My husband isn’t vegan. My kid isn’t vegan. He likes a lot of vegan food, but he likes a lot of non-vegan food, too, and I don’t feel right about taking those things away from him. It’s harder to get together with non-vegan friends (which is all of them) to have meals, and I generally feel like a pain in the ass. Not that being a pain in the ass bothers me much, but when you add that to making all these separate meals at home and remembering to read labels to check for hidden dairy ingredients where it wouldn’t even occur to you they’d be and thinking about how to make ice cream that doesn’t taste like goddamn coconut . . . it all just feels like a bit much.

But at this point, I’d rather try harder than accept failure. So I’m going to try harder. I’ve already planned our picnic dinner for Sunday: spicy chickpea salad, some kind of yummy bread, sun-dried tomato and basil “cheese,” and beer. And maybe pie, which most definitely will not taste like coconut.