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Helen Bennett Harvey promises that no animals were harmed in the making of this blog. Vegging Out is a recipe for a new way of life. Or at least a new way of eating. Pull up a chair. Contact me at:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ready, Set, Go

By Lauren Garrison

I wish I had some profound thought or funny story to share with you all on the occasion of my first day as a vegan, but it's been surprisingly smooth sailing so far. I think Helen hit the nail on the head in her last post when she said preparation is key.

Thanks to weekend trips to Trader Joe's and Stop & Shop, my cupboards are fuller than they've ever been with vegan-friendly foods. I have plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, almond milk, crackers, pasta, tofu, and Oreos to satisfy my sweet tooth.

With my crazy reporter's schedule, I've gotten in the habit of cooking a big batch of soup or stew, or something else that will last a few days, on Sundays. This week, I tried two new vegan recipes: a green lentil and cashew dish from Mark Bittman, and a butternut squash soup made with coconut milk from a vegan cookbook my sister-in-law got me. I also baked some healthy pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, made with whole grain flour. I was happy with the way all three came out.

I feel much more confident now than I did last week that I'll be able to find enough different tasty vegan things to eat that I, 1. won't starve and 2. will be happy. What I'm more concerned about is missing some of my favorite non-vegan foods. I realized that I don't miss meat at all, and never did after becoming a vegetarian. But I have an emotional attachment to certain foods that contain dairy -- ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, English breakfast tea with milk -- that I've felt a sense of loss over them. Is that silly?

I'm also expecting to miss a certain freedom and pleasure that comes from being able to eat food socially. No longer can I reach carefree into the dishes of M&Ms put out for visitors in stores and offices. I'm almost certain I won't be able to eat out at a restaurant that doesn't cater specifically to vegetarians and vegans. When our resident baker here in the Register newsroom brings in cakes and brownies, I won't be able to partake (this one already happened today!). I can't even go to my parents' house for dinner without causing trouble.

That aside, I'm feeling upbeat today about my decision. I'm happy that what I'm doing is good for the environment, farm animals and my body. I like being challenged to try new things. I'm excited for the next three weeks.

Incidentally, when I turned on my favorite NPR station today, the show "Here and Now" featured an interesting segment with social psychologist Melanie Joy, whose new book is called "Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows." As the show's Web site explains, "She says it's because of carnism, the belief system which makes us disgusted by the thought of eating golden retrievers, but allows us to eat cows and pigs, even when they are just as intelligent as dogs."

You can listen to the segment here.

One more thing -- I've never been one for taking vitamins, but do I need one to supplement a vegan diet?

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Anonymous Rich said...

Yay Lauren - you rock! Way to go. You are off to a fabulous start. Between you and Helen I am getting more inspired every day! I wanted to address your question about taking vitamins now that you are eating vegan. I won't belabor the point except to say that as long as you are eating a balanced vegan diet and have no other underlying health concerns you should not need to take supplements. That said, I would like both you and Helen to pay my friend Sassy Knutson a visit. She is a nutritionist, vegan chef and coach as well as a writer extraordinaire. This page in particular will answer a lot of your questions about the nutritional aspects of a vegan diet.

Keep up the good work you guys!


February 22, 2010 9:08 PM 

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