I make poor choices when I am tired. This was never more clearly illustrated than when I visited my son and his family in Portland Oregon last month.
We LOVED Portland and can’t wait to go back. It has it’s own vibe. I can see why my son and daughter in law love it there. Great people, great energy, great food! Including an abundance of vegan options.
The eco-diversity is amazing! Charming neighborhoods, a Cannon Beach day trip that showed us beautiful sea life up close at low tide, a Forest Park hike that led us to a Witches Castle, a short bus trip to downtown Portland that included a trip to a block of food truck unlike anything we had experienced before.
For the 10 days before we left, I ate a raw, vegan detox diet (diet as in how I ate, not diet as in starving myself.) I felt great. I don’t think I could eat that way as a lifestyle, but I love how it not only detoxes my body, but my taste buds as well. I do this detox a couple of time a year and I am always amazed at the results.
Back to our Portland vacation. Our flight left Milwaukee at 5:30 AM, which meant we had to leave for the airport at 3:30, so I was up at 3:00 AM the day we left. We arrived at 10:00 AM Portland time. We hadn’t eaten anything yet. My son suggested we have breakfast at his favorite food truck, MF Tasty. And it really was MF Tasty! The Chef/owner Eric Gitenstein, is an amazingly creative chef. My husband (who is NOT vegan) had the paella of the day, which looked amazing! (My husband said it was delicious)
I had the brunch burrito. It was delicious as well! It was most definitely not vegan. I could have had it vegan, but I did not. I am pretty sure Chef Eric would have accommodated my request for a vegan burrito, and as long as he was still able to pile green chilies and his fresh salsa on it, I think he would have been happy to do it. But I did not ask. I was tired, I was hungry, I didn’t ask.
So yes, I went from a raw, vegan detox diet to a brunch burrito. As I stated above, I make poor choices when I am tired. Not an excuse, just a statement of fact. This continued throughout our vacation, at the end of which my son said to me that I was a terrible vegan. He said it with love and humor, but he is right. I can’t just continue to be vegan when it’s convenient.
As a matter of course, I eat mostly vegan, I NEVER eat meat, but occasionally I consume dairy and eggs. I am very transparent about this. I would say I eat an average of 95 percent vegan. That other 5 percent invariable happens when I am out at an event, or very tired. I get lazy, I take the easy way out. But we all know it really isn’t the easy way out, because the dairy industry and the egg industry are as horrible as the meat industry. 95 percent is not my goal. 100 percent is. But if I do consume dairy, or an egg occasionally, I am still leaving less of a carbon footprint on our home planet than someone eating a SAD diet. I am still having a positive impact on Mother Gaia. I am gentle with myself, and the next meal is the next opportunity to strive for that 100 percent. The past 2 weeks have been 100 percent. I feel great. I do not feel deprived. But the Holidays are coming. My solution? I will make a dish or two to bring with so that I do not have to feel deprived. I will take control of my food choices. I will stop being vegan only when it is convenient to do so. I am very fortunate, my family is very open to trying new food. My goal is to continue my 100 percent and perhaps convince my family to eat less animal products.
I recently read an article on this very subject, The 95% Vegan Movement and the 5% Exception, by Robert Grillo, written in 2013. It is still relevant and you can read his article here. I do not disagree with him. His article is spot on. My only comment here is that we need to be patient, encouraging and give a hand up to everyone (myself included) who is trying to get to that 100 percent, who are nearly there, but may slip up occasionally. I don’t believe that we should settle for 95 percent, but I feel that 95 percent is a pretty good place to be while we strive for that 100 percent. We need to be gentle with ourselves while we learn to navigate the vegan lifestyle while ensconced in a carnivore’s world. We have so much early programming to overcome. So much familial tradition that includes meat, dairy and eggs. Many of us are on our way, but it is not unlike trying to leave a cult. There is so much programming to overcome. Sound overly dramatic? Watch an hour or two of TV. The food ads are almost all meat and dairy forward. Think of your family’s Holiday food traditions: Ham, turkey, duck, goose, cheese, butter, cream, whipped cream. It’s a lot to overcome, so let’s be gentle with ourselves while we journey to that 100 percent.