I feel pretty good today. I think it has something to do with the fact that I shaved my legs this morning. Plus, I made my bed before I went to work. Accomplishing tasks always lifts my mood. Check, check, check.
I’m supposed to be napping right now. I told myself I’d come home from work and lay down for awhile before heading back to the city to meet Ashley and her fiance for dinner. It’s Restaurant Week in NYC, something that I’ve never taken part in. This evening, we will be dining here. I have very high expectations for their olive oil. THEY BETTER NOT LET ME DOWN.
The thing that kills me about veganism is the constant “What am I going to eat?” debate that begins every time someone suggests going out to eat. I’m not always sure I can find something I’d like to eat but I LOVE LOVE LOVE going out to restaurants so it’s caused me a bit of stress over the past year and a half, trying to reconcile the two parts. I’m finally in a very comfortable place with my eating habits and since I’m not napping, I think I’ll keep telling you about it. (Please, cover your mouth while you yawn.)
I’ve made peace with the fact that my eating philosophy shouldn’t necessarily be labeled “veganism” anymore though it’s true that on any given day, you’d be hard-pressed to find me eating any animal products. For someone who has been known to have a somewhat tumultuous relationship with food in recent years, my attitudes have changed slightly. I have adopted a diet entitled “Whatever Laura Wants, Laura Eats, The End.” This works for me better than anything has ever in my life.
And it’s been so interesting to see exactly what my body actually wants to eat. My body, for the most part, adores following a vegan diet. It wants fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fried tofu, pasta, soup, peanut butter, black beans, guacamole, rice, hummus, etc. Oh yes, my body also wants lots and lots of cupcakes, regardless of the ingredients used to make them. So, on a daily basis, this is what works for me. Plus pancakes.
I find that occasionally (once every few months, maybe?) my body likes an omelet. It also has been known to seek out a piece of fish or some shrimp. It has been known to have a bite of someone else’s cheese and then later, object with sharp shooting pains in my stomach. But oh, that bite was worth it.
In Kathy Freston’s book, “Quantum Wellness”, she speaks quite eloquently on becoming a vegan. My favorite thing she says is not to stress out about things that may or may not have been made with a tiny bit of animal product. i.e./ a tiny bit of butter on a plate, cookies made with whey, etc. She basically says that you do the best you can and it’s a philosophy that’s helped me immensely with my relationship with food.
One of the most ridiculous things anyone ever said to me when I went vegan was, “UGH! Vegans are SO ANNOYING. They always have to look at the nutritional information for EVERY SINGLE THING THEY EAT.” I just kind of blinked at the person who said that because, uh, isn’t that a good thing? Are you comfortable ingesting just about anything without realizing what’s in it, vegan or not!? (Sidenote: My other favorite comeback for veganism that came out recently was, “But…but…bacon tastes good.” Uh, yeah, I know, I think you’re missing the point.
I am an avid label-reader so I still tend to stay away from all non-vegan products when grocery shopping. I find that I make exceptions usually only when out at a restaurant, something that makes me feel comfortable socially and also gives my tastebuds a treat. It’s interesting to note that I have never once made an exception for meat. I won’t go so far as to say that meat disgusts me and it smells like rotting flesh blah blah MEAT IS MURDER. I mean, it is, I don’t believe in eating it. But I did eat it up until a year and a half ago and I can honestly say that since then, I have never once craved nor have I ever once looked at it and wanted a piece of it.
There is no point to that paragraph. I just wanted you to know. YOU ARE WELCOME.
I wanted to just jot down exactly where I am with my food and stuff. I am not yet brave enough to delve into the entire story of my food issues, perhaps one day I will. For now, I will say that this works for me. And it’s kind of at the front of my mind lately since the recent NYC Laws went into effect mandating every chain restaurant to list calorie content.
It kind of startled me at first, not because I was surprised but because I wasn’t used to seeing the little numbers in the display cases. I have known for a long time that Starbucks’ pastries are the devil and can’t remember ever eating one in my entire life. I’m kind of disappointed with Chipotle’s labeling since they categorize their food with a RANGE of calories. Depending on what you put inside it, your burrito MIGHT be 400 calories but also might be 900. GOOD LUCK FIGURING IT OUT.
But honestly, I think some of that is just common sense. Sour cream and cheese = bad. Lettuce and tomato = good. Since reading Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food, I have most certainly gotten more careful with my food selections, preferring to think less of calories and more about what I’m gaining from eating a certain item. More than five ingredients or a list of ingredients I can’t pronounce? No, thank you. This is the main reason that I’ve switched out my Luna Bars for Lara Bars. Small change, but I feel so much better about it.
IN SUMMATION, I’d like to tell you all that I’m enjoying a lovely summer of CSA fruits and vegetables and an occasional vegan cupcake recipe. I love how I feel after I’ve eaten a good meal of whole, unprocessed foods that have had a minimal negative impact on the earth and on other creatures. Please give me a gold star.
And now, I am going to send that philosophy to hell by going out to eat with Ashley. I hope to ingest some seafood though I am torn about what to order for dessert. A trio of homemade sorbet? Or the berries and cream? Or everything on my plate AND Ashley’s? OR SOME BACON JUST BECAUSE IT TASTES GOOD!?!?!?!?!?
Who knows, with my legs shaved and my bed all made up, I’m feelin’ crazy.