Accidentally Vegan

June 25, 2015 Leave your thoughts

 

Eating vegetarian is a breeze. In fact, I think it may be my calling. I’ve always gravitated toward fresh, green, crunchy meals. I love veggies. They never make me feel gross the next day. There are infinite ways to prepare them. Add in eggs and dairy (which means I’m actually eating ovo-lacto vegetarian-style), and I could live forever without another bite of meat, chicken or fish and be very happy.

 

But what happens when you eliminate the eggs and dairy and become – God forbid – a weird, hippy, stereotypical Boulder VEGAN!?

 

I’m going to come right out and say it – eating 100% vegan is not easy. But it’s not that hard either.

 

I implemented a one-week Vegan Challenge during June Vegetarian month. Here’s what I have going for me.

 

  1. I live in Boulder (population 103,166). We have three Whole Foods Markets, one Sunflower Market, one Alfalfa’s, one Sprouts, one Lucky’s Market, and every big grocery store has a massive natural and organic aisle. I asked someone in Whole Foods to help me find the vegan mayonnaise and he showed me eight different options and explained the differences!
  2. I’m surrounded by a diverse crowd of active people with varied eating philosophies who jumped at the chance to share vegan recipes.
  3. My husband was (semi) willing to join me in this challenge.
  4. I didn’t have to travel to places outside of Boulder that may have no idea what veganism is.

 

But my real ace in the hole has been Skirt team member, Jeanette. Jeanette is a Skirt Ambassador who basically steps in to help whenever we need someone at the last minute. Jeanette has an insanely inspirational story herself. Nutshell: She was a sheriff, living a fairly healthy life, mom of two active girls, eating the Mediterranean diet, pretty-fit, and out of nowhere one day in her early 40s, while she was sitting in her squad car, she had a heart attack. Thankfully she knew what the signs meant and called 911 from her car.

 

That event changed her life, including a huge change to her eating philosophy. Today her entire family is vegan.

 

Jeanette gave me some great shortcuts including some actual dishes, amazing recipes and a huge grocery bag of all sorts of vegan food. Did I mention she’s British and when she talks, it sounds like she’s singing? On Saturday, we were working the Boutique together and she surprised me with this amazing goody bag. As she went through all of the vegan items inside, she said, “And that Nature Valley granola bar is accidentally vegan.”

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Her message: Going vegan isn’t hard.

 

My message: It’s not hard; it just requires planning and constant reminders.

 

What I’ve discovered is that eating vegan can actually be very tasty, especially since many of the proteins that are allowed (tofu, beans, quinoa, nuts) do not have vibrant flavors, so you need to get creative with spices which I’ve been lazy about over the years.

 

I made Jeanette’s insanely good “Non-Chicken Salad” last week and I’m already making it again. IT WAS THAT GOOD! Recipe and photos here:

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In the end, I did a 95% Vegan week. I cheated everyday, accidentally or on purpose. I often caught myself right after I had a bite of something that I would never expect to include butter or eggs. Some days I just said screw it, and dug into a leftover piece of Kim & Jake’s cake from our 13er (at least it’s gluten-free!). Note: I did not apply the “no honey” rule because I had to draw the line somewhere!

 

Next up: I’m going to try to extend 95% veganism this week while traveling to the Fleet Feet Conference in Pittsburgh. Let’s see how the world outside Boulder reacts to vegan. Wish me luck!

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