I am possibly the world’s worst vegan. The fact that I’m saying that probably means I shouldn’t be calling myself one.
I’m not even a very good vegetarian. Saturday was a good example. I had ham. And bacon. And then some pork loin. If Easter lunch was like “Jurassic Park,” I went from being a big, friendly leaf-munching brontosaurus to a hungry, drooling velociraptor, sniffing my way around the kitchen for meat – sweet, sweet meat – in a matter of minutes.
You’re probably thinking, “Oh, one time isn’t a big deal. Lighten up a little.” (People always think vegans need to lighten up. Omnivores are like alcoholics in that way – they always try to pressure you to join them because they think you are judging them if you don’t.)
But here’s the thing, I cheat all the time. I have zero willpower. I can find almost any excuse to fall off the vegetable cart.
Excuses I have made:
- I want to see what the free prize is inside that bag of Cracker Jacks.
- It would be rude not to eat the cake.
- I’m having …ummm… “hormonal” issues. I NEED that pepperoni pizza, damn it!
- It’s my birthday.
- It’s Christmas.
- It’s National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day.
- Catholics don’t consider tuna to be meat.
- I don’t know what’s in it, so it could be vegan.
- Cadbury Creme Eggs aren’t real eggs.
- Nobody saw me eat it, so it doesn’ count.
- I’m drunk.
I was pretty good at being a vegan at first. This surprised me more than anybody. I come from a family that is more hunter than gatherer. Growing up, I don’t think I had a vegetable that wasn’t drowned in melted butter unless it was a salad and then it was drowned in ranch dressing.
But, my husband has been a vegetarian for 15 years, which kind of made me a vegetarian by default. And it wasn’t that bad. Going vegan seemed like a logical step. I would eat healthier, save a few animals and help out the environment.
(If you haven’t figured this out already, this isn’t going to turn into a rant on why you should stop eating meat. I want to clear that up, because people get really defensive when you start talking about food choices. I didn’t become a vegan because I think everyone should be a vegan. I became one because I thought I should be one. I could care less if you eat a Big Mac.)
Suddenly food became interesting again. I bought quinoa and nutritional yeast. I learned how to turn tofu from something that looks and smells like a Magic Eraser that’s been in a dog’s mouth to something that tastes as good as chicken.
I felt great. I lost 40 pounds and my double chin.
But I also got crippling gas. (I’m not sure what good it does to try and look good naked if you also smell like sulfur.)
And it was next to impossible to eat out. Any time we traveled, I had to pack a cooler full of soy milk and hummus in case we got stranded in a produce desert.
Which is how I got seduced in the first place. We took a four-day trip to Minneapolis and didn’t think ahead. We had trouble finding vegan-friendly restaurants and the hummus was running low. So, we gave in and found a place that at least served vegetarian. I don’t remember exactly what I got, but I’m pretty sure it was covered in cheese.
After that, it was easy to find justifications for cheating. A slice of pizza here, a bag of Cheez-Its there. Slowly, it went from a once-in-a-while kind of thing to a once-a-week thing. And now I’m back in the grip a full-fledged meat-and-cheese addiction.
It’s like Axl Rose sings in “Mr. Brownstone”: “I used to do a little but a little wouldn’t do, so the little got more and more.” Only he was talking about heroin and I am talking about cheese. Some would say heroin is worse. I don’t know. I’ve never tried heroin. But I can’t seem to leave the cheese alone. It’s powerful stuff.
I guess all I can do is keep trying. I read somewhere that men are more likely to stick to a vegan diet than women, and that just pisses me off. So, if anything, I need to do this for womankind. It’s time to go cold Tofurkey – just as soon as I polish off this egg and cheese Croissan’wich.