I flirted with vegetarianism in my undergrad years, more out of wanting to be like my friends than anything else. And with great apologies to veg*ans of all ilks, I have to admit that our reasons at the times were purely weight loss and nonconformity. It wasn’t until my brother and his group went vegan that I started looking at any of the environmental and ethical aspects. I went vegan at the end of 2001, around the same time that E! magazine ran it’s “So You’re an Environmentalist; Why Are You Still Eating Meat?” cover story. Our parents were fantastically supportive. Dad might have mocked some of our meals and certainly wasn’t interested in trying them, but he wasn’t mocking us or trying to change us. Mom veganized all the family favorites, cooking separate versions for kids and dad whenever we were visiting. My partner at the time, without my asking, declared he would eat vegan with me, as long as he could still have Subway tuna salad sandwiches sometimes. And I lived in Los Angeles, home of many all-vegan restaurants. Skip ahead to 2004 when my brother and all his friends stepped back to vegetarianism, some started eating meat again, and I moved to Austin, loosing both my moral and physical support bases. Living on my own, I held out, but now when I went home I felt like a hassle making more difficult demands than my brother and his wife. Moving in with a new partner called for new negotiations. I would settle for a vegetarian household and he would promise to make eggs only on his own pans. I slowly went back to being vegetarian myself. The partner question has always been the hard one for me. I feel like such an imposition. I’ve never had a partner who was openly derisive of my food choices, but aside from the first, I’ve never had one I’d go so far as to call supportive either.
I am perhaps, overly non-preachy. To each his own. I make my choices. You make yours. And I hate feeling like I make things difficult. I’m always telling people, no, no, don’t worry about me, I’m happy to go anywhere you like. The steakhouse will have a baked potato, and I love baked potatoes. Most places have rice or pasta or something. I’ll be fine. But who wants to eat like a martyr all the time? So instead I’ve compromised. I grocery shop vegan and eat out vegetarian. The thing is, I actually do care. All the reasons that made me go vegan in the first place still matter to me. And (shocker!) I feel better when I eat healthier. But somehow being accommodating has snuck in and trumped that. So I’m taking VeganMoFo as an opportunity to rededicate myself to creating time for things I love (like cooking), that make me feel good, and that I believe in.
For the month of October I’ll be blogging vegan food (hopefully along with some more weaving and knitting updates as well). I’m jumping on the “clearing out your cupboards” theme bandwagon. (I will find a use for that rice flour!)