Friday, May 6, 2011

Me? Vegan?

Let me start by saying that I completely admire people who have committed to the vegan lifestyle and can carry it out gracefully, without the anxiety and overwhelming frustration I'm currently feeling. Maybe it's just because I'm new at this, or maybe it's the looming deadline. Let me explain.

My husband and I have decided to eat vegan for six weeks, as outlined by Dr. Fuhrman in the book, Eat to Live. I'm not quite sure at this point how we arrived at that decision, together and at the same time, but now there's no turning back.

Actually, this is not just a vegan diet, it is nutritarian, which eliminates all animal products, yes, but also oils, and sweeteners. (Those of you who know me well can stop laughing now.) My first questions was “How does one cook vegetables without any oil?” followed closely by “What the hell can I put in my coffee?!”

I know there are people out there who have made a smooth transition from a pantry full of processed snacks and junk food to a healthier, organic and earth-friendly diet. I am not one of them. The convenience monster is already rearing it's ugly head in my kitchen as I try to prep for the upcoming weeks. Making everything from whole foods, rather than snagging an individually wrapped snack,  is going to be a stretch for me. 

We made a family trip to Whole Foods this weekend to stock up, and it was a harrowing experience. First of all, this seems to be an activity best accomplished without the kids in tow, especially around nap time. But even without that distraction, I end up circling the aisles, baffled. The store seems better suited for the kind of woman who can walk in without a plan, see what looks good, and walk out again with a basket of fresh ingredients for a wonderful meal. Again, that's not me.

My process begins much earlier, perusing recipes and writing shopping lists. And this is an especially difficult task when so many of your ingredients are perishable. There's no switching meal plans around mid-week without losing vegetables to rot. A shopping list does come in handy though when you circle past the same stock boy for the ninth time. Just pretend you're reading and didn't see the pity in his eyes. Getting to know where everything is and why the cereal bars are actually in three different places is going to take some time. 

On the bright side, I did find salad dressing with no oil in it on this trip. That is one less thing to worry about for this nutritarian challenge. And I picked up ground flax seed, which can supposedly be substituted for oil in a stir fry when a little water is added. (I'll keep you posted on that.)

But, I think the easiest way to up our fresh, local, organic veggie intake is not to shop more often but to double the size of our weekly box from the CSA, Papa Spuds. This way, I can plan the weekly menu while I see what produce is available for the week and then rest easy until the order arrives on my doorstep. Nap time will remain intact. However, keeping myself from using the extra CSA points to order Stick Boy Bread Company's chocolate croissants is a whole other issue. Wish us luck.

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