Ten days into the Two Week Vegan Challenge and I'm not dead yet.
Apologies for over a week of radio silence -- unless you're annoyed by my self-serving exploit, in which case, you're welcome?
A few days into the challenge, my brother asked how I was feeling, to which I replied, "There's no way a slaughtered cow feels worse than I do right now." But after the initial 48 hours I've felt mostly ok.
Also, I should note that I've already received more invitations to get vegan lunch/dinner than I have regular lunch/dinner throughout all of 2015. Maybe it's just part of the vegan recruitment effort, but the sentiment is nice.
Eating food is no longer something I give much thought to; it's more of an emotionless process now. Before this vegan challenge, my mind would often ponder how, when, where, and what my next meal would be. I freely admit that untethering myself from these thoughts feels liberating, as I can focus my time and energy elsewhere. (Like on writing things that sound even more douchey than that last sentence.)
Most mornings I've had almond milk and vegan cereal for breakfast. The consistency and flavor is close to what I'm used to, and I could actually see myself continuing to include these things in my post-vegan diet. That's right, soon I'll be self-identifying as "post-vegan", which I hope takes the country by storm and lands me my own crappy reality show.
Monday, Day 3
I'm convinced that staying busy at work will be a blessing because I'll be too busy to remember that I'm depriving myself of regular food. By cruel coincidence, I've chosen not to eat animal byproducts during the same week I'm tasked with staring at mouthwatering sausage recipes/pictures for hours on end at work. It's part of a website launch for a client that specializes in -- you guessed it -- sausage products! I get it, God -- you're a first rate novelist, but maybe you could dial it back every once in a while?
A late night at work and I didn't bring dinner. So I've convinced a coworker to order from Green Peas, a local joint with a reputation for tasty regular food and vegan options. I opt for a vegetable quesadilla. In hindsight, it seems strange to have ordered a dish that basically has the Spanish word for cheese, "queso", in its title. Of course we all know that "dilla" is the Spanish word for "delicious". If cheese is the mortar that binds together Mexican food, guacamole is the layer of paint that hides all blemishes. And boy did I smother that quesadilla in guacamole. It was my first run in with the impostor vegan cheese, which was decent, but a world apart from the real deal.
Tuesday, Day 4
I've stumbled upon PETA's "Top 20 Accidentally Vegan Foods", a list of junk food that's technically approved for me to eat. This is a huge loophole, and a sight for sore stomach. So now I'm loading my shopping cart with items like BBQ Pringles, Airheads, Wheat Thins, Sour Patch Kids, and more. After showing friends this list, they'd remark that I could be the first person on a vegan diet to gain weight.
Wednesday, Day 5 and Thursday, Day 6
I don't really remember any significant Vegan-related events happening. The lack of protein may be causing my body to consume my brain. But I've noticed that all I've done with friends is talk about my vegan experiment, and in this way I'm only furthering the stereotype.
Friday, Day 7 - The Challenge Within the Challenge
I've grown so tired of saying the word "vegan" that I've challenged myself to go a full day without uttering it. This challenge was nearly a success until about 10pm, after I'd imbibed some whiskey and the forbidden word came barreling out of my mouth.
Saturday, Day 8
A very late night out and I realize there's no satisfying or convenient late-night vegan option to soak up the booze. So I'm in my kitchen at 5am slicing a red pepper and dipping it into hummus. Later this morning I wake up amazed that my fingers weren't victim of a drunken knife accident.
I take a nighttime trip to the Getty Center with some friends. For being an art museum and a place you'd think would cater to progressive types, the cafe lacked any decent vegan options. Aside from fruit, the next best/only other option is a $7 pita/hummus combo.
Sunday, Day 9
I'm perched atop a bench on the back patio of Big Dean's Oceanfront Cafe, watching friends binge on beer and fried food that I can't touch. This is one of my favorite places in L.A., but seeing as they don't serve liquor, it's a completely different experience as a vegan. There's basically nothing on the menu I can eat/drink.
Later I meet friends for dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Playa del Rey. Based on the menu, all I can do is cobble together a meal of side items: tortillas filled with zucchini, lettuce, jalapenos, and guacamole. We think the zucchini was probably prepared with butter or something non-vegan, but I'm not about to run into the kitchen to find out.