Friday, October 16, 2009
OK, so I am still (mostly) vegan. I had some questionable sauce at dinner the other night, and then shared a fourth of a piece of cake with the chicks I was out to dinner with. It was a "chocolate malt cake" so I suppose it had all sorts of bad things in it for me. I definitely think I'm holding the "eating vegan" thing a bit close, only sharing it with people that maybe may not be like, who knew Stacey could be more of a PITA? So when my friend Meredith wanted to take me out to dinner to celebrate me gettin' married, I wasn't going to make her to go to the one vegan place in town. But whatever. I've cut I'm guessing like 98% of dairy/eggs out of my diet, and 98% is a whole crazy shitload better than 0%. I hope someone challenges me on that. Really.

Ha, I told the guy at work, who like.. is animal CRAZY. Seriously. I was like, oh, he's an animal lover, he'll be sympathetic to this. He was talking about some crazy shit that he heard someone did, animal-related, and saying, woe is me, how can people be so cruel to animals, I said something like, "Well, one thing that basically everyone contributes to and it's awful for the animals, is the whole meat-eating thing." I swear, he basically ran away from me. He was holding a Dunkin Donuts bag which I'm pretty sure contained a sandwich with ham. Some people really do not want to know, I guess. Even they do know, it's like... if they don't know all the details, it's OK to keep eating meat. People that go home and treat their dogs like they're one of the kids. It just doesn't make sense.

Anyway, so the big weird thing is... I feel like I've made this huge change, right? It is a huge change. But part of me feels like because I FINALLY took this leap, like something should change. Does that make sense? Like, I get these PETA action alerts and it's all this-or-that about the egg industry or something. Hear about the recent Land O'Lakes scandal? This Land O'Lakes supplier has been charged with animal cruelty, it was that bad... Really, there are so many things that they do to meat/dairy/egg animals that would be ILLEGAL if you did it to your pet, but it's OK for farm animals. So if someone gets charged, they really done messed up. And I see the title and instantly I think, "But I don't EAT dairy anymore..." I mean, I know the world didn't change with me... logically I know that. But it just feels so WRONG now. Like it's not a "choice" thing, but instead, I have finally recognized the TRUTH, and how can everyone else not see it?
Is that worth milk? Is it worth cheese?

And then I start spiraling down a really depressing thoughtstream. Because no, most people have not changed their mind about meat or milk or anything else. That video that prompted me to stop eating dairy? That baby cow still died, and many more like it experience an entire lifetime in about four minutes that consists of being cut out of their dying moms, having their throats slit, writhing around on the floor in their blood, and then being tossed, still alive, in what I am guessing is some sort of calf body dumpster. And it's just so epically wrong to think that living beings of any kind are treated like that. As time goes on, it becomes harder and harder for me to understand how people don't see that... or how the very first step you have to take in stopping this insane, awful behavior is to stop eating meat. And honestly, it is a small step. Really, honestly. Sure, I miss fried chicken and cheeseburgers a little tiny bit, from what I remember of them as a kid, but is a yummy meal worth what it costs? No. The worst part of the downward spiral is realizing that more people are joining this earth every day, and more formerly veggie-oriented countries are welcoming McDonalds and the shit American diet into their lives every day. Yay heart disease, yay obesity, and yay factory farms!

Anyway. This was going to be a short post about this whole vegan thing. I did want to mention how amusing(?) it is to me that I've had a similar reaction from more than one of the few people I've told. You know, I say I've been a vegetarian since 14, but I just stopped eating dairy... and I've heard, "I could never give up cheese." My boss said that; he is lactose intolerant, but he just could never give up cheese. I'm like, "Oh my god, ME NEITHER!" And really, that's true. I have/had an unnatural love of all things cheesy. Enchiladas, pizza, feta cheese in my salads, cheese sandwiches, etc. Ice cream was always my pick-me-up of choice. I am talking LOVE here, folks. But there are things even love cannot overcome.

I do have to share, speaking of my love and loss of cheese; I found an awesome FAKE CHEESE. We love our little pita bread / flatbread pizzas, right? LOVE. We ate them all the time. Chris told me over and over how glad he was that I made the "discovery" that we could have healthy pizza that we both love. Then I went.... VEGAN! And then we had a couple of weeks with no little pizzas. I tried some tofu cheese in my burrito and, let me tell you, it was nothing to write home about. But I decided to give the rice cheese mozzarella a shot and omg yum! And the Smart Life ground "beef"? Get some flat bread, slather it in pizza sauce, cover it in fake meat, then sprinkle grated fake cheese on it and slide it into the toaster oven. I laugh at it because it looks like a real pizza with sausage or something, and loads of cheese, but it's all FAKE! I think, "Mmmmm! Fake pizza!" And it's delicious! Score one for the Rice Dream cheese. :)

Also, score one for Chris. He has been absolutely nothing but supportive. He hasn't made fun of me or my food or anything. In fact, he eats the fake ground stuff with me. The only meat he ever eats here is a turkey sausage every now and then... we're talking like once a month. He still eats cheese on his pizza, the real kind, but he switched to the super low-fat kind and he said it is absolutely no better than my rice cheese, so once he runs out of it we may both be eating the faux stuff.

OK, one last thing. Going to a nearly-all-the-way vegan diet has given me something so huge and awesome. I have never had the best "relationship" with food. It sounds so cheesy (haha) but it's true. I like to eat stuff that is really, really bad for me. And then I apparently like to feel bad about it. And I try to lose weight and get so upset with myself for not being able to, and then I feel weak for not being able to resist eating both enchiladas on my plate or from buying a pack of M&Ms to snack on. Being fat was just an outward expression of my weakness inside. But now? It's like I've been fucking freed from all that. I read it put like this before, and it's true... Giving up bad stuff for the sake of my health was just too huge of a thing. You know, how could I give up something I relish SO MUCH? But giving it up out of heartache and compassion has made it not at all feel like a sacrifice. It's just, you know, the right thing to do. I don't weigh myself every day now, because I certainly am not eating perfect, but I don't eat cheese for chrissake - CHEESE! - so what more can I do? So this is me. Hopefully there will be less of me in the future, but I'm not eating stuff that is bad for me on a daily basis; today's indulgence was a late-night bowl of granola. What more can I ask for?

And my fridge? I am so proud of my fridge. Chris and I never were really much for junk food or anything.. but it's gotten so much better. Moreso when I have just gone shopping and am being good about vegetables, because then my the refrigerator is something when I was a kid I would've been horrified about, but now it's like, "Yeah, yeah, this really is how we eat!" You want a sweet, cold treat? You eat SORBET, mothafucka!

So that's what I have to say about that. In case you wondered. :)
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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