As you know, I LOVE animals. If I go to an animal shelter, an animal comes home with me. If I see an animal on the street, the animal comes home with me. Even if the animal starts attacking me in the car (which has happened), I just think, “Oh, well. I’m sure everything will be fine when we get home and it eats some food and rests while I bandage my wounds.”
So if I love animals so much, why am I eating them? Good question. I asked myself this very question last week when my kids and I drove past an organic dairy. We could see that the tiny calves had already been separated from their moms and were stuck all by themselves in dog crates, sitting out in the hot sun. It made me sick. Absolutely sick. And I thought, “As long as I’m eating dairy, I’m part of this problem.”
So I stopped eating all animal products for a week to try it out — and here are the gritty details —
Day 1 — I discovered that the world hates a vegan (except animals, of course.) A vegan is the party pooper of the culinary world. No one wants a vegan at their dinner party. No one wants a vegan sitting down at their Thanksgiving table. My meat and dairy free announcement was universally met with sighs and half-hearted encouragement. It was like announcing, “I’m no longer going to be any fun. From now on, you will bemoan my vegan face approaching.”
Day 2 — Having eaten nothing but vegetables the previous day, my body went into some kind of detox/shock/explosion. I realized that for my whole life, I’ve been held together by cheese. Once that binding agent was no longer present, I spent the day recreating the bathroom scene in Dumb and Dumber. (I’m sorry for the gross details, but if you ever want to try being vegan for a week I felt like I should warn you.)
Day 3 — My system is still off, but getting better. I’m stunned at the amount of healthy things I’m eating. It’s ridiculous. I’ve turned into a rabbit, walking around with a carrot in one paw and a bunch of seeds in the other. All I want to do is squeeze a can of Cheez Wiz directly into my mouth. Cows are starting to look good to me — first they’re just walking around in a pasture and then suddenly, like in a cartoon, they’re cooking on a spit.
Day 4 – You know how vegans seem really preachy and pompous? It’s like they look at you, the meat-eater, as if you’re strangling a chicken right in front of them? Well, that pompous feeling started to creep into me today. Being vegan is so hard that you begin to feel superior to the savages you’re surrounded by. I’m doing my best to fight that feeling.
Day 5 – Today was terrible. My kids and I went to get pizza and I couldn’t eat it! The cheese! I had to order a salad — from a pizza place! That’s just a crime, an unspeakable crime….
Day 6 — I went out to dinner with friends and even though I ordered vegetarian food, I’m sure it was all cooked in butter. So there goes my pure, animal free digestive system. This goes back to the vegan being a party pooper. If I was a true vegan, I couldn’t even eat at this restaurant — with my friends! Is it worth it? Hmmmmm…..
Day 7 — I’m sorry to have to say this, but after a week of not eating animal products, I feel amazing. I’m no longer bloated, my skin is glowing, my mind is clear and I have TONS of energy. I get it. I totally get it now. I see why people do this. I can also see what a challenging life choice it is. It’s like choosing to walk on your hands when everyone else is walking on their feet.
So, as far as me becoming a vegan? I don’t think I will. Completely, that is. I think when I’m home and it’s up to me to make something, it will be vegan. But out and about I’ll be vegetarian. At least vegetarians have their toe in the waters of community eating. And I will be helping animals… not as much as the vegans…. but still helping.
And if I can speak directly to pizza for a moment — Pizza, I promise I will never ever say no to you again.