A Vegan Vacation
Cory (or should I say my fiancé) recently decided to do a 5-day Pressed Juice cleanse to kick start a new vegan eating regimen. Before committing to the juice, Cory ate meat. So why the sudden dietary change? To his credit, being vegan is something he’s talked about becoming for quite some time now for reasons mostly related to health and exercising purposes. Our busy and frequently changing lifestyles, however, had always prevented him from trying it. After all, it’s a practice that takes a lot of time, effort and preparation. Between moving cross-country, constant birthday and wedding celebrations and vacations, I imagine it just never seemed like the right time to commit.
What I think sealed the deal for him (and his meat-eating lips) was the documentary Forks Over Knives. One afternoon I laid down for a nap and woke up to a changed man. “I’m done eating meat,” he said to me. I was in a fog, and still adjusting my eyes to the brightness of the room. “Hello,” I replied. Apparently, the documentary shared facts relating some foods to diseases like cancer, something he obviously took very seriously.
I will not commit to being vegan, nor will I ever. I happen to love meat, and dairy and cheeses. And while I also want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I believe meat is something my body needs. My cravings for meat may be psychological and not physical (So no need to send facts or reasons why to go vegan vegans. And besides, Cory has properly informed me in this matter), but in my mind it doesn’t matter. Just like Cory had recently become firm in his practice of eating vegetables and unprocessed foods, I am determined to continue eating the way I always have been–plates full of meat and potatoes. I am a Southern girl. I love Southern food. And no where in the South is dinner served without meat and potatoes. In California, however, food and the lifestyle that revolves around it is different.
Most every restaurant in Los Angeles has vegan options. There are also many health stores available for those who are in the vegan practice. Already, it seems Cory’s chances of surviving as a vegan are higher than other practicing vegans around the world. Still, it takes a lot of vegetables to satisfy a six-foot-three man. So how do Cory and I make it work with such different dietary habits? We take it day by day. And just like anything in life, some days are easier than others.
Cory thinks he’ll return to the meat-eating world one day, but today is not that day. So until I hear otherwise, we will continue to make it work. I imagine we can’t be the only ones in this situation (or maybe the only ones thinking about going one way or the other), so I created a small list of tips to make your dietary day a little more pleasant. And good luck, to both parties!
A Spouse’s Guide To Supporting Veganism
1. Eat red meat when dining out. You may have heard of some people eating only fish, or white meat, or sacrificed lamb, and no other animal products. Rarely do you hear of someone who eats only red meat. It’s one of the meats vegans cry “ew” at, and the meat I’m sure Cory will never cook for me. Still, I love cheeseburgers. So I try to order all my red meat favorites when we go out to restaurants.
2. Chicken is your friend, and hopefully your spouse’s too. Now that we’re eating a lot of cous cous and vegetables, I ask Cory to add chicken breast to my plate when I’m feeling like I need more protein. He bakes the chicken two breasts at a time, cuts them up, and stores what’s left in the refridgerator. So it’s an easy add to any lunch or dinner.
3. Praise your spouse. Even though you may not understand why he/she decided to sacrifice themselves in such a terrible way, congratulate him/her on any successes. Trying to be healthier is a behavior that shouldn’t be punished. After all, the longer your spouse lives the longer you get to enjoy his/her company. I’m often impressed by Cory’s dedication and perserverance to the vegan practice. And I like to think those same skills will make him a wonderful father one day.
4. Try something new. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not an advantageous eater. However, I have been tasting my way through the vegan diet and some of the recipes aren’t too bad. In fact, they’re quite delightful. Just the other night we went to a vegan Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo. I ordered the Orange Chicken (which was really seitan) and was quite surprised by my dish’s delectable taste and it’s ability to fill my tummy. If you prefer trying foods that are not trying to mimic other foods, there are plenty of dishes out there for you too. At Mohawk Bend, a restaurant with vegan options located in Silver Lake, we ordered Buffalo Cauliflower. I shit you not, it tasted amazing and strangely enough the weird texture of cauliflower nearly tricked my mind to think I was eating chicken, or at least something hearty.
5. Be gluttonous on your own time. I try to eat with Cory as much as possible, but sometimes I like to splurge (usually with a giant chocolate chip cookie or chocolate ding dong from the bakery across the street). If I want to eat foods I know he likes and misses (but shouldn‘t have), I try to buy them discretely and then eat ’em up while he’s not looking. After all, I don’t want to torture the poor guy. I love him too much.
6. Embrace the difference. If Cory decided to eat meat again tomorrow, I’d still be proud of his vegan vacation. His decision to eat differently has simultaneously and consequently improved my diet and well-being. I eat more vegetables than ever before, and have become much more conscious of the foods I’m putting into my body. I also enjoy our weekly trips to the farmer’s markets. Our difference in food choices makes each day a new adventure.