Guest Post by the Wife.
Today is Day 90 of the Meatless journey.
Long ago, back at Day 1, I had a very basic anticipation of this final day. Simply, (Former) Barbeque-lover Shane would power through 90 days meatless and, after facing some dilemmas, be they moral, environmental, or otherwise, we would examine them thoroughly, debate them seriously and then slowly return to our pre-meatless days with a little candle of enlightenment burning next to us.
Of course, hindsight makes me feel foolish and silly sharing the previous paragraph. I understand if you scoff –I was incredibly short-sighted. I thought we’d learn some facts, a few new recipes, maybe change our shopping style, and find some compelling stories that certainly wouldn’t apply entirely to us. We’d end up with an increased understanding of vegetarians and the origination of the food we purchased and of the environment. But something else happened that I hadn’t anticipated.
Its like giving your tastebuds a big hug
Day 2 of Raw Vegan and I am already feeling the dreads of moving to yet another diet style. I awoke to a banana and almond milk, which was tasty but hardly a meal to start your day with. I had an interview to shoot at 10am with the Edgy Veggie herself, Ellen Kanner. She was delightful, the interview went fantastic and all was right in the world of Meatless The Movie. Well, until she offered me coffee. I couldn’t resist. I was waning on energy and still tired from my B12 deficiency (more about that in a later post). She didn’t twist my arm, but I am at a point where buckling under the least amount of pressure is easy.
The concept was good, just not the results
Today began my first day of Raw Vegan with little fan-fair and even less enthusiasm. Being totally unprepared for this phase, I eased myself in slowly and then deliberately. I had my typical morning cup of coffee. I just couldn’t resist. I had a film shoot and interview at 10am and needed to be on my A game. I had some nuts and dried fruit for breakfast, as I didn’t have much left in the house to eat in a raw fashion. For lunch, our interview subject for the day, Rebecca Cofiño from mamaguru.com, made a wonderful banana and rice stir-fry. If that was not delicious enough, she also made a raw sweet potato salad that was as refreshing as it was delectable.
Last night, my wife and I went to our favorite joint, Deli Lane, in South Miami for a beer and some grub. We were meeting to talk about the film and try to get some business items taken care of. Since we go there often, are friends with the owners, we know a good portion of the wait staff and are friends with many. After I downed a delicious veggie burger, our waitress and friend Lisa asked us what we were up to. My wife replied by telling her about the film and my experiment. Her immediate reaction was, ” That veggie burger is not vegan, honey.” My face went pale as I tried to add up the number of times I had eaten a veggie burger here during the vegan phase. “What do you mean?” I replied. She answered with a calm and assurance that only comes from someone who feels strongly in their knowledge of a subject, “I am almost positive there is cheese in there. How do you think it is held together?”
Its easier to know what
When you feel “duped” by labels, wary of what to buy and what to eat, and you have generally hit your limits of frustration, the best way I have found to make sure you get it right is to make it by scratch. When making it by scratch takes too long in your already busy life, there is always pasta to save the day. A homemade red sauce in just about the easiest thing to make, doesn’t take long, and generally beats the jarred stuff any day of the week.
They said it would taste like steak. They lied.
Everyone told me, “Dude, Portobello mushrooms taste like steak!” So, I thought I would put on my cowboy hat, grill up some Ports, heat up some beans and veggies and make myself a down-home meal. I marinaded the mushrooms in a steakhouse sauce, took some canned pintos and made a homemade ranch style beans, steamed some broccoli with garlic and sat down to ‘eat me some steak-shrooms!’ I am sorry to disappoint all you Portobello fans out there (and I know there are many), but these tasted nothing like steak, but rather tasted a LOT like, well, mushrooms.
The beans and broccoli were fantastic though.
It seemed so harmless
I was duped. I couldn’t believe it. The wonderful onion and potato pierogies I enjoyed last night (and I believe one other time during this experiment) are tainted with dairy. Traces of milk and egg. I should have looked closer at the bag. I think I just thought for sure onions and potatoes with non-fresh pasta would be vegan friendly. Alas, they were not. I guess I should have wondered why the potatoes were so smooth and velvety. So, chalk yet another one in, thankfully, a short list of “Shane getting duped” by food. Cest la vi, right? I can only be more vigilant next time.
Penniless: One Man’s Departure From His Money At Whole Foods
Tonight, my wife and I went shopping at Whole Foods. We even had a gift card from a dear close friend who wanted to help us on our meatless journey. We still walked out with only a few paperless bags full of groceries and a whole lot less money than when we arrived. If the film doesn’t break us, the shopping surely will. Since our entire film is self-funded, it has strapped us thin. In an effort to buy new foods, faux foods and organics to explore the vegan diet, we are spending a lot on groceries. Where is that product placement check from Morning Star or Chiquita when you need it.
Looks better than it tasted
This afternoon my wife and I made a cheese-less pizza packed full of veggies and soy pepperoni. We topped it full of spinach, onions, roasted red peppers, garlic and olive oil. But, there was something missing. Something just wasn’t quite right. It was the cheese. The supposed downfall of people moving from vegan to vegetarian, or so I hear. We talked about it over lunch. We both noted that, though cheese-less pizza can be done well (Check out Amy’s Cheese-less Pizza, rarely at your local grocer, but always at Whole Foods), this one just wasn’t cutting it. Cheese is what makes pizza… well, pizza. Its the one thing that holds all the toppings in place. Its the experience of the stringy cheese still stuck to the pan when you pull up a slice. It is part of the experience! I know they make dairy-less cheese, but I have yet to try one I like. So, in this instance, we felt a longing for dairy. It hasn’t happened that often to me on this experience. Today was a different story.
Oh, and we had soup and salad for dinner and that was just dandy.