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.
I have been shocked, surprised, amazed and made uncomfortable about a topic I thought I already mastered early in my life – eating. Too quickly I found that the skill of wielding a fork and knife is not to be confused with the skill of a life-long vegan navigating a grocery store. As a vegan-virgin, I found myself dumbfounded and confused (Shane, what’s isinglass?), bumbling through humiliating mistakes (oh my god, there’s cheese in that?), and happy and proud (Shane, you can eat this!) all in a matter of hours.
To add the cherry to the top of the dairy-less cake, I was amazed by the people that contacted us, opened their lives, their homes and their stories during this journey, both correcting us and challenging us along the way. The breadth of knowledge each of you have about the vast expanse of our food-commerce system, the complicated impact of what we eat on our health and our planet, and the final challenge of assembling carefully collected food in a way that is not only edible, but delicious, is one thing to admire. But I find the power of the deep and convicted passion that drives the way you choose your food and live your lives truly humbling, enamoring and admirable.
Which leads me to Today—Day 90. From the last post, you’ll see that Day 79 through Day 89 is missing. Day 79 left off with a sluggish Shane. Many of you offered possible explanations, from B-12 deficiency to a release of toxins. Trips to the doctor, urgent care and finally the ER returned the verdict: vegan raw aside, Shane had the shingles. We were out of town when the worst of it struck. Relying on the kindness of friends and proximity of restaurants, we found ourselves not fighting not with WHAT to eat, but just getting Shane to EAT.
The ante was upped on Day 86. Both our daughter and I caught the flu, which we promptly gave to Shane on Day 89. We were rescued by my mom, a nurse by trade and care-giver by nature, who swooped in and made what she knew best – a big pot of chicken soup. Shane, as sick as he was, couldn’t bring himself to enjoy any of the flu-busting concoction. I’ll confess to you I did – I was sick, starving and couldn’t taste it if I wanted to anyway.
So, on Day 90, it’s an Un-celebration only in the sense that we can’t. Instead of gracing our tables with tasty raw treats and debating if meat will come back into our refrigerator (aside from my mom bringing it for the soup), we are focused on getting Shane back to the simple ability of being able to eat. And, instead of being at the end of 90 Days of Meatless, I now find us at the beginning of a new journey of foods and eating that I don’t anticipate ending anytime soon.