Friday, January 22, 2010

Explanations and Experiences over the Past Week

Where the Heck I've Been
For any or all of you...if you're out there (Hello!): We have had a visitor all this weekfrom the States, and so I have been derelict in my duties to this blog. I'll share some experiences from my days spent away from the keyboard.

First, I'm getting comfortable with admitting to people in a public way that I am now a vegan. It feels permanent and like it's going to stick, and with each "telling," I become less afraid of people's reactions and more confident in my reasons for doing all this. I am becoming a master of finding ways to eat vegan in restaurants, and I no longer feel that impulse to apologize for my dietary requirements.

The Amy & Amy & Julia Project
I ate a small portion of a special meat dish on Wednesday and, thus, consumed animal flesh for the first time in two months. I did this because it was important to my friend that we cook this dish. Months and months ago (well before I went vegan) we planned to spend an entire day in the kitchen, preparing this recipe and a watching a movie we both loved. I felt it would be incredibly rude to change our plans, and I felt it would make my friend feel that she had somehow imposed on me or hurt me if I didn't at least taste some of it after laboring over it all day in the kitchen. I won't go into detail or bother "defending" my choice to participate in this with my girlfriend of more than a decade. I had my reasons, and I felt (and still do) that they were good ones. This lady has been a friend for more than ten years. I've been vegan for two months. People who love me need time to adjust and realize that I am not a different person--that my love for them hasn't changed and that my "normal" with them is not gone forever just because I no longer eat animals. My veganism brings joy, not sadness, rejection, or judgment. I want to demonstrate the truth of that statement to my family and friends, and I can't do that if I present it to them as a life change I value above my prior promises to them, their feelings, and their relationships with me.

But back to the meat: I was not revolted as I thought I might be. It tasted just like I remembered it always tasting. The meat itself was good and the sauce that was made for it was much, much better than good (we're both excellent cooks). The mouth-feel was the first thing I noticed in a different way. I no longer like the feel of meat between my teeth. The texture was wrong and off-putting. It doesn't feel satisfying in any way to chew on meat, anymore, and being hyper-aware of what I had in my mouth just reinforced my belief that eating animals is not something I want to have in my life. That reinforcement was a huge comfort. Part of me secretly feared that, because it was going to be a tasty dish, that I would really like it and repent going vegan. I was gratified and relieved to experience the opposite. I didn't "enjoy" eating this dish. I ate a small portion of it because I felt obligated to do so. I honestly don't care if anyone approves of this or if it makes sense to anyone else or not. It made sense to me, and I gained valuable perspective and reinforcement from the experience.

In addition, my darling friend knows that I am vegan now, and going forward, she will know to assume that I won't be eating meat or dairy anymore. Because I did not blindside her or reneg on the plans we made long before I went vegan, she has accepted my choice with extreme good grace and support. She is even considering the facts that I shared with her for application to her own life. I can't find a negative anywhere in this visit, and I have nothing to reproach myself for and a great deal of confidence about how to present my new life to other loved ones in the future.

Dairy in the Curry
Next, there was another "lapse," only this one was neither calculated nor committed with my knowledge. We ordered curry, and I got a vegetable dish. Nothing in the ingredient list notified me of a non-vegan component, but then the English translations on Japanese menus are sometimes not as complete as one could wish. Turns out, my dish had copious amounts of dairy in it. The spices being so dominant, I did not notice until I'd already consumed quite a bit of cheese melted into the curry sauce. I pushed my plate away in dismay and embarrassment. Having already made a conscious and calculated choice to compromise my values the day before, I was quite angry to find I had, albeit unintentionally, done it again. I forgave myself, however, because the pain my body put me through was way, WAY worse than I deserved. Cramping, intense acid reflux pain (I suffer chronic reflux, but this was incredibly painful and much worse than my typical episodes), gas pain and pressure for hours, and 36 hours of frequent visits to the "facility." I've never reacted to dairy like that in all my life. I will wear my body's new response to lactose as a badge of honor and a reminder of the truth that humans are not designed to eat this stuff. Dairy is for cow babies...not people.

See You Next Week
So, I'll be busy spending time with my friend and her daughter until next Tuesday. After that, it will be back to business as usual in the Nix house. Everyone reading today...take care. I'll be babbling at you and posting recipes again next week.

No comments:

Post a Comment