Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 1. A Day in the Life of a Vegan

Welcome to my blog. I am glad that the fact that "Bourbon" was in the title overcame the fact that "Vegan" was too, and that you decided to risk it and check it out!
What is this blog about? Well, it's about, "vegan" and "bourbon" as well as the many other enjoyable things vegan in the world. I hope to provide some useful information to all of you, as well as document things I eat. These things may or may not be my original creations, but my goal is to convince you that the things I eat are consistently tastier than the things you eat, you carnivore. If I made something up myself or have found it free on the web elsewhere, I'll pass on the recipe to you! If not, I'll direct you to the genius who came up with it, so that you can pay them for their hard work and creativity. If I find an awesome vegan restaurant, or a restaurant that likes to appease vegans, I'll show you what I ate and where I found it! If I find something lovely to wear that only pretends to have been made out of the living (pleather!) I'll tell you all about it. 
So that's what I hope to do here. At least just open the discussion between carnivores, ovo-lacto-vegetarians, pescatarians, and, my fellow vegans. I'd like to convince you all that you should become a vegan, like, tonight if that's at all possible. But, realistically I couldn't even be convinced that quickly. It's taken me nearly three years to get to this point. Regardless, it can at least eek its way into your life, meal by meal, and you'll be all the better for it I'm sure. However, I'm also sure you didn't come here to listen to my inspirational words of vegan wisdom. I'm pretty sure you're here, because you wanna know exactly what it's like to be the sort of nut-job that would become a vegan. If thats you, keep reading.
I didn't do it of my own accord. In fact, it is my husband's fault, almost entirely. While we had been vegetarian-ish for two-ish years and had just read Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, you could say that I was not yet fully committed to the idea. Nonetheless, it was his turn to do the grocery shopping that week. He came home with soy milk, oat milk, almond milk, hemp milk, tofu, nutritional yeast (yeah, I thought exactly what you are right now), and diaya (ditto on that as well). I guffawed, but I dove in anyways. Fast-forward a month and I was in for the long-haul. Oddly, I fell in love with it. Not without hiccups though. Once in my excitement upon learning that focaccia is vegan (as are most yeast-based breads) I came home from the grocery store only to realize that I bought focaccia that had cheese, like, all over it. 
Since then, people have rolled their eyes at me, or been extremely concerned about me and my eminent malnourishment, or gotten overtly angry at me, or asked me if I still eat tomatoes (yes, this really happened), while others have gone way out of their way to accommodate me and hear me out. It is an interesting thing, to suddenly not be able to eat at virtually any restaurant. Or that you have to check every label. It really brings to light just how much our society relies on animals. You can't escape it. Anywhere. The weird thing is that it doesn't appear to be necessary. I definitely thought it was impossible, probably until a month or two in. But despite that, my One Year Veganniversary will be in January, and it surprises even myself to approach that date. I never imagined living la vida vegan, especially, for anything longer than a week at most. So I am even more surprised that I want to continue down this path. I suppose it surprises me that there is not even a question in my mind about that. 
Anyways. I love being a vegan the most when I'm doing my grocery shopping, or cooking my dinner, drinking my soy latte, eating at a vegan restaurant, etc. I don't like it when I'm making people uncomfortable, or coming over to their house for dinner and they are panicking, or when I'm turning down food that's been prepared because I'm too cool for cruel. I didn't become this sort of wacko because I wanted to inconvenience and alienate absolutely everyone I love. Although this may appear to be the case. I did it because I don't think animals should be tortured and because one day I realized the irony behind loving pets and eating things that could be pets or who could outsmart the animals we call pets.
But, I've made concessions. I've realized that you can't tromp around being unrelenting and self-righteous, to the point that you could pass for a Catholic nun (although with more than a few different opinions, and, no-offense). Some of you may beg to differ, but I am trying. My guess is that no one became a vegan because they had to learn to cook an entire vegan meal for some snarky vegan guest. But, if said guest agrees to be less of a hassle in exchange for sharing some of their vegan treats, perhaps they can lure some unsuspecting bystanders to the dark side. So, if I'm coming over for your dinner party, don't freak out. No, there's no way I am going to eat meat, but I'm not going to turn my nose up at the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting that you worked on all day. It took me months to learn how to cook as a vegan, you shouldn't have to learn how to, in a day, for one persnickety guest. However, I will arrive at your house with a host of scrumptious vegan goodies, and similarly to the witch in Hanzel and Gretel, I will try to lure you into the veganbread house, in hopes that you ask for a recipe. After all, its not about my personal purity, its about doing something good for animals. Because they're fantastic.
So, I love being vegan. I love that I can feel like I did something good for the world despite the fact that I didn't get dressed, hell, I barely got out of bed, and I spent the entire day in front of the tv, or knitting, or sewing etc. etc. Well, at least no one had to die, or bear babies all damn day, so that I could be an overgrown potato. 
Somethings are easy. Like the fact that unless you're eating mayo, cream cheese, or butter with a spoon, you're not going to notice the difference between them and their veganified alter-egos. Vegan baking is usually indiscernible from conventional baking. It takes the same amount of effort too! Well, I suppose I never was one to use boxed baking kits though. If you like a hint of coconut, vegan ice cream is gonna rock your sox (red OR white). If you love pasta, store bought pasta is already vegan. Done. Bagels are vegan. Done. Tortillas are vegan. Done. Chips, salsa, and guacamole: all vegan. Done. Somethings are hard. Like making faux ricotta. And making seitan (see "What the heck is that?"). You spend more time cooking, because nothing is prepared for you at the store, or at the restaurant down the street. 
But, you definitely are more connected to your food. And I feel like I appreciate food in a way I never did before. It's as if someone told you food was gonna taste like cardboard for the rest of your life. And you come to terms with that. It'll be fine. You'll trudge through anyways, without cupcakes, milkshakes, and enchiladas. Food as you know it will be reduced to spinach, no dressing. For. Ever. (Yes, this is what I expected when I became vegan). And then, you sneakily figure out how to make all those things that you once enjoyed. And you make them taste good, sometimes better, and they're all guilt free and what-not. You'll be giddy. Guaranteed. 
And it's fun too! It's like constantly being a kitchen magician. "Look ma! No eggs!" The best is when you have unsuspecting victims, who don't know you as a vegan. Take, for example, my Italian aunt-in-law who complemented me on my delicious lasagna I made for her. After "vegan" came up in the conversation, she turned and asked if I had made an exception for cheese tonight. I turned to her and told her that she had just consumed certified-vegan lasagna. Can you say "best compliment ever?"
Ultimately, what I hope to accomplish here is to convince many of you and likely only a few of you, that, besides being a nut-job, I'm really onto something here. This stuff is delicious. I hope you stick around and check back to see what I'm having next week! For now I'll just leave you with a picture of the Pumpkin Cake with Pecan Streusel that I baked up last night.  



  1. Jess this is awesome!!! Obviously the Pumpkin Cake w/ Pecan Streusel was so delicious from the other night. I'd love to have the recipe please!

  2. Yay you're my first comment! :) I will be posting it in a few days hopefully lady!! It just seemed like a really long post to add it on to this one.