So instead of making two or three different dishes for dinner, I shifted to one-dish meals: pastas, stir-fries, gigantic salads, smoothies, and a grain, a green, and a bean all in one pot. I didn’t expect friends and family to change as a result of my decision. But — completely aside from this blog — I’ve had at least a half dozen friends excitedly tell me about how they eat less meat now.It was a matter of practicality and simplicity, which, although less “gourmet,” fit perfectly well with other shifts in my lifestyle precipitated by my change in diet. Some have become pescetarian, vegetarian, and even vegan. Be prepared for a feeling of responsibility, and the compulsion to hold yourself to a higher standard than before.
So instead of making two or three different dishes for dinner, I shifted to one-dish meals: pastas, stir-fries, gigantic salads, smoothies, and a grain, a green, and a bean all in one pot. I didn’t expect friends and family to change as a result of my decision. But — completely aside from this blog — I’ve had at least a half dozen friends excitedly tell me about how they eat less meat now.
But just about every family or friendly gathering yields a joke from someone who must think they’re the first to make it. If you do the math, there’s no reason eating vegetarian or vegan should be more expensive than eating meat.
At three, five, or eight dollars a pound, meat is one of the more expensive items you’ll buy in the grocery store.
Two and a half years later, now that this once extreme lifestyle now feels familiar, I have just enough perspective to wish I could go back and give my pre-vegan self (or someone else in my shoes) a few pointers. Laugh them off, or take the opportunity to explain how important your diet choices are to you. I thought I’d miss cheese as an appetizer, with a glass of wine or a beer.
So whenever they give us the promised time machines and jetpacks and I get the chance to go back and talk to that guy, here’s how I’ll help him prepare: 1. So get used to them, and understand that they don’t necessarily indicate a lack of respect. But it didn’t take long to discover that when I replaced the cheese with nuts or crackers, these foods were just as satisfying for their saltiness between sips, and I felt a lot better ten minutes later. I quickly found that cheeseless pizza wasn’t nearly as good as the real thing, but it did the job, and over time, I came to tolerate (and even like) Daiya.
As the plant-based fitness movement grows, this is beginning to change.
But keep in mind that even though are aware of this shift because you’re so closely involved in it, most people have no clue about this.My dad’s favorite line, when he tries some of our food: “This would be great with some meatballs! ” An uncle once presented me with a single piece of iceberg lettuce on a plate and announced, for everyone to hear, “Hey Matt, look. Now, vegan pizza is just pizza in my mind, and I haven’t lost a thing.” It’s a joke, of course, and the fact that he says it so often has itself become a joke. As it turned out the key to giving up that last bit of cheese — which I clung to for months — was simply deciding to do so. Being vegan doesn’t have to be more expensive, but it will be.But over the past two years, there have been a few points where I felt like I was alone in the way I chose to eat, and those moments were tougher than any fleeting desire for gustatory pleasure or convenience.I’ve gotten through those times by reminding myself that I’m not at all alone.To them, vegans are still skinny and weak, by necessity.Of course it’s your choice whether you want to play into this stereotype or make yourself a stark counterexample. The reminder that I’m an ambassador (as anyone who is vegan is, wittingly or not) has been a big part of my drive to stay fit, to go after ultrarunning accomplishments and to make an effort to keep on at least a little bit of muscle, even when running and my body type make that tough.Some people will think you’re judging them and won’t dare try to prepare a meal for you, even if only because they’re afraid they’ll do a poor job of it.Others just don’t want to make the effort, and that’s totally understandable.Thanks to the connections technology affords us, there is a huge and supportive community that will make you feel ecstatic about your choices, whatever they are.You only have to look for these people — and sometimes, you don’t even have to do that.