Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 256- Right Now I Am NOT Vegan

Serious later. First, tho- I tossed the calzones.

I know, I know, there are starving people.. somewhere... who would kill for odd tasting calzones that are both dry and strangely moist at the same time.

And I say now what I (wish I) said when told that as a kid. If they want it so bad they can come here and dig it out of my trash, 'cause it's gross.

While the items I wouldn't eat as a kid (chicken, string beans, peas, corn without season salt, spaghetti with anything other than butter and garlic salt on it, anything cooked by my maternal grandmother...) aren't what I'm turning down now, the idea is (mostly) the same.

If the texture is that far off, and the flavor is off, I'm going to start thinking I'm eating something I'm not. Like chopped up bits of eel, or twigs, or mushrooms.

Or, you know, all three.

Note- the one thing out of that batch I probably should have eaten was the food cooked by my G-ma, but they didn't let me drink milk during meals, and I'm nothing if not pig-headedly stubborn.

So, anyway, I tossed about 1.2 calzones.

Then I had to come up with something else to eat, 'cause it isn't November, I don't want to get gas, and nothing within 15 miles of me (other than WM, pleh) is open at 2am.

So I fried up an onion, tossed in some chopped garlic. In a bowl I mixed up my random spicy-pancake-thing (1C flour, 1C water+/-, salt, paprika, cayenne), mixed the onion in and fried the thing up in more oil.

Which turned out unusually tasty. I don't know if it was the onion or the bit where it didn't taste like yard clippings, with chunks of slimy eel/mushroom in it.

Um... yeah.

Anyway, it was tasty. I nommed it. Om nom nom.

Begin Serious.

I thought I'd missed the Vegan Month of Food, but it turns out they've pushed it back a month. Just in time for me to accept that maybe I'm not supposed to try to be vegan right now. I'm not going back to egg-eating, and meat's still totally out, but... I'm wondering if giving as much attention to little nit-picky (dairy) ingredients as I am is maybe not in my best interests right now.

I'm not going to go out and gorge on dairy ice cream, or cheese, or any of the other stuff I've (mostly) abstained from for the last 2 years, but...

I accepted that dairy was giving me more and more problems (physically), starting maybe 5 years ago. Since then I've been on a kind of eat/ suffer/ abstain cycle. I tried to break it by cutting off the dairy all together. It's something I was trying to do more for comfort than any real underlying belief.

Until/ unless I find that strength of belief I need to take a step or two back. I think if I have that, I dunno, inside me? It'll make it easier to find the strength/ testicular (ovarian?) fortitude/ guts to ask for what I *actually* want at restaurants. And to pass up TimTams, cheese flavored chips, most Indian food, and all the other stuff I still occasionally crave.

Wow, I feel like a failure right now.

Which is funny, because I'm really not changing much. I'm giving myself "permission" to eat some dairy, sometimes. To not rabidly check ingredient lists for stuff possibly derived from dairy. I'm ditching (maybe) the guilt. That's really all.

I know it's the direction I want to go. I think I'll get there eventually. I need to do it for the right reasons, though. Not just because milk makes me sick.

I suspect that this is about as close to one of those "crisis of faith" things as my goofy Atheist self is ever going to get. I know there are religion-doing people out there (and maybe a couple vegans, too?).

What do you do when your ability to act doesn't meet your belief of what you should do?

Too heavy for a Friday?


  1. I think its very easy to make ourselves feel guilty about our food choices. That has too much fat, that doesn't have enough fat, that was factory farmed, that came from those unhappy cows that aren't from California, that isn't organic, that isn't local, that's overfished. It's easy to get obsessed with it, and to find ourselves in a position where the guilt takes over and dictates everything. But the right answer is always moderation, and there isn't much point in BEING good if you're too starved, miserable and preoccupied with guilt to DO good.

    Our ability to act will NEVER meet our desires, and it shouldn't, because that is the gap that continues to encourage us to do better. It also requires us to step back and repeatedly say 'What do I REALLY believe is right' vs, 'What have I guilted myself into believing is my only real option'.

    There's also the toss-up factor. Most processed vegan staples are mass-produced in a factory, do little to suppor the local economy, and contribute to pollution and energy waste by needing to be shipped from god know's where. In most cases, people can buy eggs from a farm not more than 20 miles away, or even raise there own. Which is the 'better' choice? You can spend your whole life getting tied up in knots over those kinds of choices, and while you spend all your time obsessing over how to be a 'good' citizen, you miss all your chances to actual contribute something. Eat an egg and volunteer at the local library. At least, that's my philosophy.

  2. I agree with Kim. There's always a guilt factor, regardless.
    I'm trying to eat local, but there's a line drawn with what's available and I can't starve myself by standing on principles. No one should.

    So, question, I get the whole dairy kills you thing. I'm not too familiar with it, though. Is it dairy straight AND as a minor ingredient that your tummy hates, or just dairy straight?

  3. You know, I'm not entirely convinced that the beliefs are "that" strong when we can't act on them. For example, I know that I'm "supposed to" eschew pork products and combining meat and cheese. It's never going to happen. I just don't have a strong enough belief that it's the right thing to do to keep me from eating those things.

    Of course, maybe I'm wrong and the beliefs are strong enough to convince us we need to at least try to do better even if we fail a lot. I don't really know the answer.

    But I do know that you should stop making yourself feel guilty about a little dairy now and again. At the very least, it's a good opportunity for your liver to stockpile a little B12 for the future. Oh; have you tried goat milk products? My understanding is that they don't affect people who're intolerant to cow's milk the same way. I don't really know if this works, because I always eat non-cow milk products with cow milk products (so my suffering is the same every time).

  4. Kim- Guilt over what you *should* be doing makes no sense, I know that somewhere in my little j head. But if I did things that made sense I'd be working as an accountant or engineer in an office, have 1.7 kids, a dog, and be married to some portly, balding executive-type.

    Just typing that is giving me hives, sorry...

    But yes, feeling guilty over not doing "enough" is stupid, and there are good local choices for some things. It's easier to accept "shortages" in other people, though. My mother will always (pretty sure) eat meat, so I keep an eye out for local, (more) humane sources. When I can afford to, I'll give her some of that.

    Alyse- It would be stupid to starve myself, I know. Or rather, it *is* stupid to do things that may lead to starvation. When you say "straight" and "minor", I assume you mean like cheese on pizza or a glass of milk vs., like the tiny amount of dairy in dough or a square of milk chocolate. The first two pretty much *always* cause problems, the second two, sometimes to rarely, depending on what else I've had that day- on an empty stomach, maybe, if I've had lots of other kinda-dairy stuff, probably.

    Allie- Understood. It's easy for me to not eat bacon, no matter how tasty I may remember it being, because it's *really obviously* part of something that died. Same with lobster or clams, or chicken, or whatever. Byproducts and things harvested off live animals are not so easy. There's a bit of a disconnect.

    It's there in my mind when I *think* about it, but I don't yet connect it enough to *really* change it. So, yeah, the *real* belief isn't there, just the kinda idealized one. But the idealized one might be the one that makes the world a bit better, ya know? And yeah, the guilt is stupid.

    re: goat products- they're harder to find. I don't really use dairy as milk any more at all, soy is easier with a crazy shelf life. For cheese, though, I never really tracked it. It's tough to find *straight* goat milk cheese, it all seems to be a mix here. I probably should do some kind of modified elimination diet-thing.

  5. I was never a fan of any kind of guilt tripping (thanks to so many years at Catholic school I kind of have a veneer on me about the whole thing: i.e. oil and vinegar) and when it comes to food I don't find that guilt plays much of a role in it. Normally my gut will definitely protest on my choices later (dairy, caffeine, glutten) if I'm cocky enough to eat the things I know are bad for me. Having health scares REALLY forces you to be more conscious of what you eat.

    We all have opinions and are equipped with the mode of having core beliefs. I look at it like a pendulum. Some days I'm spot on for exactly what I want to be doing, other days I'm a bit further away from what my goals are. Either way there is something that keeps me tethered to the center and luckily nothing has shaken the foundation to sever those beliefs completely. They may be a bit worn and tattered from life an experiences, but they are pretty enduring for the most part. And as with a pendulum, it keeps on swinging whether I want it to or not.

  6. It feels like a big step backwards, though, ya know? Like walking up the aisle only to ask if you can go back to just dating...

    It's not like even when I *was* actively eating dairy last time I ate *that* much of it. I ate more, sure... but not that much- my intestines didn't approve. And I'll go into battle against almost anyone *except* my intestines. You never win a battle like that.

    I get that it swings, and that everything can't be sturdy and steady all the time. But boy, do I ever wish it could.

  7. You obviously have a strong belief about it, however, anything that you worry over this much takes away from your quality of life. I deal a whole lot with shame and guilt from certain things I eat. The other day I had a bite of my friend's chicken and it was as though it was happening in slow motion. I was mad at myself and felt like a failure. I am trying to remind myself it is okay, I will be okay and so will the world. Moderation.

  8. DC- that's a good point, about the quality of life thing. Not only that, but I need to make sure that I'm motivated to move closer to veganism for beliefs related to *animals* and not as an out-growth of any kind of body image issues. It's an interesting balancing act, and I seem to have tilted a bit to far into restricting land, but I can fix it.

    Moderation, yes. But also, i'm told it's a process, like everything.