The week of Thanksgiving was such a lovely break. March was the last time I had that many days off with my kids. We spent Thanksgiving with good friends and had our first vegan/gluten-free Thanksgiving. Well, minus the salted caramel pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes. Those were the only dairy/flour culprits. It was very enjoyable and I never had that overstuffed, sick feeling. Rather blissful, actually.
I have been a vegetarian for almost nineteen years. The last time I tried going completely vegan was in 2001. In Texas. No easy feat. There wasn’t a vegan section in the local specialty grocery stores. Soy was the only milk alternative. Annie had just started making macaroni and cheese with her cute bunnies, no frozen options yet. Basically, I shopped out of the produce section. Somewhere along the line I lost my gusto. I was lured back by feta, pita bread, and cupcakes. I have only fallen off the meat wagon once and that lasted roughly five months. I met my husband during that time. Little did he know about his culinary future.
He is an omnivore so it can be challenging to balance our incompatible diets at home. We have gone back and forth on what our kids’ should or should not eat. Our oldest son did not eat meat until he was nearly four, nor did he drink cows’ milk. His pediatrician worried about his iron intake and I was often scrutinized by dentists, teachers, and other moms. I did have small victories. One of my favorites was the day my son’s doctor gave him an iron test and returned scratching his head wondering how his iron tested higher than the average meat eating kid. My son typically only sees him on wellness visits because he doesn’t get sick often. His doctor doesn’t question me anymore.
The first time my kid ate meat was at a family gathering. I did not receive a lot of support on the issue. Family was concerned. It was frustrating and I didn’t want him to be ostracized. We would then return home to Texas. I don’t have to tell you that Texas is a meat mecca. Austin may be the only exception. But, I don’t live there.
For the most part my husband and children eat very little meat, maybe twice a week. There is never pork or ground beef in our house. My kids don’t know that ribs or pork chops exist. They are clueless that people eat pot roast, meatloaf, corned beef, or rump roast. Do people still eat that? I doubt they would recognize a steak. However, they do know that fruit and veggies are seasonal. They love edamame, zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, and squash. They eat carrots without ranch and devour apples, tangerines, and pineapple. My point is that my husband is supportive and keeps meat consumption to a minimum. It could be worse. I hope it will get better.
Today I started reading, The China Study. It has been sitting on my nightstand for a few months. It is one of those books that will change your life for the better. That I know without reading it. It will change your life. That can be scary. It debunks food myths and downright lies and it is well researched based on studies, statistics, and facts. I know it’s a must read for anyone interested in health and quality of life. I am sure it will stir things up in our kitchen and affect the way we eat.
The past few weeks I have considered detoxing from dairy for a full month. I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to go completely vegan in December. January would be the logical choice. Not really too challenging, everyone is on some kind of special diet after six weeks of pure gluttony. December is full of parties, cookies, and Christmas dinner. There is no end to baked goods and potlucks. How would I maneuver through all that? Could I still bake cookies that taste good? Do I have enough time to practice making an entire menu for Christmas dinner that is so good my husband won’t be disappointed? Better yet, even notice.
I have a few days to make up my mind. Until then I am gathering a reservoir of vegan recipes. I’m also thinking about January. How nice it would be to not gain any weight. Who knows? Maybe even lose a few pounds. Imagine starting the year off completely guilt-free from December gorgefest. It may be worth it.
Do you have any favorite vegan recipes? Do you think it’s possible to succeed in December?
Peace and love,