If you remember my blog post from last week, then you know that my first few days as a vegan (getting in the head of the main character of my book) went quite well. I was feeling satisfied! I was energetic! I was snacking less than before! And I wasn’t tempted by cheese or any kind of animal product. I stayed strong.
Then Day 4 happened.
I met my friend for lunch at a Mexican restaurant known for having decent vegetarian options, which could have easily been made vegan. Thing was, I was allergic to the main ingredients to 2 out of 4 of them, and am also trying to avoid grains. That left me with salad and salad, one of which was a Caesar. I could have easily had them leave off the dressing, but, nope. I didn’t. #VeganFail
So, what happened? you ask. Eroded willpower from decision fatigue and having to ask the waitress too many questions about allergens. She already seemed kind of stand-offish and even kind of forgetful, so I didn’t bother asking to take the dressing off, knowing that at least the worst of my allergen problems were solved. Luckily, when the salad arrived, it had very little dressing, but a wee bit of cheese did cross my lips. At said moment, imaginary vegan sirens blared and I sweated being hauled off kicking and screaming by the vegan police. Needless to say, that didn’t happen, but I did eat my salad with a small side order of shame. Next time, I’ll be stronger! I said to myself.
The next snafu came when I made a yummy vegan shepherd’s pie using mushrooms as a meat substitute, topped by peas and vegan mashed potatoes. It was filling, and delicious. But I should have known better, because in my pre-vegan life, eating mashed potatoes always sent my blood sugar in a death spiral pretty quickly. I wasn’t surprised, when, at midnight, I was staring at the ceiling, unable to fall asleep because I was so hungry. My stomach was gnawing on itself. Feed me, Seymour! After a while, I couldn’t take it anymore, and padded down to the kitchen to munch on a Larabar, a snack bar made of dried fruits and nuts. It quelled the hungry monster in my gut and I went back to bed, finally able to sleep.
Lesson learned: Mashed potatoes are the devil.
The weekend rolled around, and some friends visited from out of town, one of whom used to be hardcore vegan, so he was cool with my vegan experiment and the other friends who joined out of solidarity. Eventually, the eight of us landed at a restaurant for an early dinner, where there were few vegan options, but the chef was a rockstar and accommodated the six vegans at our table without breaking a sweat, subbing out aioli in our veg sandwiches with a tasty avocado-lime spread, and making special vegan pesto on the spot for our friends’ pasta. We were all pleasantly surprised and satisfied. But they had no vegan dessert options, so we moved along, ending up at a vegan bakery.
This is where things got sad. We all ordered different things, and tasted each other’s desserts. I dipped my fork into my vegan chocolate cake, pleased by the moist, chewy texture…but, hey, this doesn’t taste chocolatey at all. I dipped my fork again and again, trying to see if the cake would improve, but it didn’t. Then I looked around the table, seeing if my friends fared better. They all got cakes of different varieties, and most were pecking, murmuring that their cake had nice flavors, if you like cakes made of tasty sand. Except one friend got the “cheesecake” made from cashews, and was really happy with her dessert. It was convincingly similar to real cheesecake, and sweetly creamy. Let’s just say I stole a few bites.
At this point, mostly everyone around the table said that this epic dessert fail was killing their vegan enthusiasm. A friend looked at me solemnly and said something to the effect of, “I thought that I could be vegan forever, but this dessert thing proves to me that I cannot.” My husband echoed this sentiment. Life is too hard and too short for sad desserts, they said.
To be fair, having one bad experience doesn’t mean that amazing vegan desserts aren’t possible. It just means we have to keep trying. I’m still on the search for that perfect vegan, gluten-free, soy-free chocolate brownie. If you possess such a thing, will you share?
Well, I’m officially on Day 8, and back to staying strong. One of my friends, who only committed to joining me for seven days (relying heavily on Mike and Ike), is now done and back to eating meat, to which my other friend, who is committed to staying vegan with me for at least a month, said, “I hope you enjoy that blood-soaked burger seasoned with orphan’s tears.”
Ha. I love my friends.
My hubs has decided to end his vegan experiment, citing not feeling well as a reaction to certain vegan foods, which I totally get. I never expected anyone to come along for the ride, and was really surprised when so many friends decided to join in, but I understand if people can’t do it. Trying veganism was a personal choice, mine and mine alone.
I’ll keep going for the rest of May, and I’ll report back in a few days with new experiences. In the meantime, to quote my friend again, “I hope you enjoy that blood-soaked burger seasoned with orphan’s tears.”