Vegan Log: Week 3

Saturday, October 23, 2010

These are the books I've been reading. Well, not to mention Fast Food Nation, which is next on my list.

I started writing this post yesterday and realized that I didn't have much to say. This past week was pretty same old, same old food wise. Boring, right?

Well, last night was not boring. It was not boring in the least. Here's the story:

Scott has some very good family friends that live near us. They are incredibly nice and we even went out to dinner with them once before. Last week, we ran into them at the store and they invited us over for dinner and games at their place. Their kids hadn't seen Scott in a long time, and never met me, so we were excited. I did get nervous, however, when dinner was mentioned. If I've realized anything this past month, it's that most people have no idea what vegans eat. I laughingly told them I would pack myself a dinner since I was doing this for a school project and wouldn't want to inconvenience anyone else with my new, picky eating habits.

So, yesterday, I was all ready to pack my little dinner, when Scott told me that they had called. They said that they had made a vegan dinner just for me. How sweet is that?! I felt a little skeptical, however. I asked Scott, "Do they know that they can't even bake dairy into anything?" With which Scott replied: "Carrie, whatever they make you, you have to eat it. Because they think it's vegan." I figured if they had tried so hard, it wouldn't kill me to eat a little dairy.

Now, seriously- bless. their. hearts. They made a 5 cheese Manicotti. Everything but the salad had dairy in it. No meat, though. They made a full on vegetarian meal, but they did not by any means make a vegan meal. I sat there a bit nervous, Scott glancing at me to eat it. I felt so grateful that they had tried their best and gone out of their way to cater to me. What was I going to say? "Thanks for trying, but it's just not good enough. I'd rather sit here and starve than break my goal."

I didn't want to offend them. They are my husband's family's old friends! No way was I going to bust in and throw their dinner back at their face. Not when they had tried so hard. So I ate it. And as hard as I tried, I couldn't help feeling angry inside. If you know me, you know I get pretty intense with my goals. For 22 days, I had not had a LICK of dairy or meat. I have been baking my own bread, for heaven's sake! And then, there I was, with no control over what I could eat, drowning my goal in buttery garlic bread.

Scott says it doesn't count. But of COURSE it counts! It wasn't just some cheese on my salad- it was a full on cheese dish. Too be frank, my stomach is still recovering.

Avoiding situations like this is exactly why I choose to be vegan in October. We weren't planning on visiting anyone and I didn't want anyone to feel badly if I didn't eat their food.

The point is, I can no longer say I was vegan for the month of October. I can say I was vegan for 30 days, but still.

Now, you could say that I didn't have to eat it. But you weren't there. You don't know the pressure I felt. The anxiety. I'm sure there is a great, kind way of turning down food in someone's house when they have made a dish specifically for you, but I have no experience with these situations or those kind of comments.

The family was so nice and we had a lot of fun playing games, and the Wii and chatting. I just never should have let myself have no control over my dinner. I should responded to the dinner invitation like this: "I'm a really complicated person to feed, so why don't we cook for you/go out to eat/just play games instead?" But I didn't.

I feel a lot more empathy for vegans going through this, though. It has ended being a really positive part of my experiment. For a lot of vegans, veganism is like their religion. How do they deal with situations like this all the time? Ever seen that episode of Friends when Phoebe eats veal? What do you do when you are morally opposed to eating something when it will offend someone if you don't? For me, the cons of refusing the meal totally outweighed the pro's and so I downed it. But what if I hadn't felt that way?

I ended up talking to someone about this who said: "I think for the last month you were eating like a vegan, but today you lived like a vegan."

I can take that.


  1. I never eat beef or pork. NEVER. Anything that might have it in there, I use turkey or chicken instead. Chili, spaghetti sauce, hot dogs, you name it. If someone ever made food for me that contained beef or pork(which has happened hundreds of times on and since my mission), I would thank them for spending so much time on the food and it really smelled good, but I am not able to eat it. I never make a big deal of it and never say "yes" if they offer to make something else. I learned to always take my own meat/food to bbqs or gatherings where I know there won't be food I can eat. Basically, say it as if you can't eat it, not as if you choose not to eat it.

  2. we have lots of awkward situations because david is physically unable to digest even if someone tries really hard & goes out of their way to make something they think is dairy-free but contains something they didn't think of as "dairy," (like cream of anything, cream cheese, sour cream, butter, margarine...people just don't think of these things!) he can't eat it. we just can't afford the emergency room, even if we hurt someone's feelings! haha. i usually end up eating MORE to be like, "see? it's really good!!" my husband's health is just more important to me than saving feelings. but it is awkward.

  3. i totally understand. this happens all the time with max's allergies. i feel so awkward when i always need to ask "what's in this?" or when i'm looking at the labels. i don't want to offend anyone or make them feel like we're picky but truly we HAVE to be picky, we HAVE to! that is probably the worst part of eating a certain way that is not in the norm.

    oh so i made my husband these gluten free vegan cupcakes for his birthday in may and they were the best cupcakes i've ever had. seriously! thought i'd pass them on.

  4. Your post reminds me of this article I read a few years ago by John Robbins, son of the Robbins in Baskin Robbins ice cream. Ironically, he is an outspoken vegan advocate (you might have already heard of him in the course of your adventure in veganism). In this article, Robbins explains what he does in situations like these. It sounds pretty hard to me.

  5. Wow, ya that is a WAY hard situation. I applaud you for taking the "higher" road, and being willing to live with the consequences. I hope your tummy feels okay, and that you really did have a fun time after the meal. I'd look at this as a great vegan learning experience, not a failure. Keep up the good work, you are nearly there!

  6. What I've learned over the years is, when it comes to friends and family, is to make sure they absolutely know what is and isn't vegan. One Thanksgiving, about a month after I "officially" became vegan, my family prepared side dishes for me, but they used a margarine that wasn't vegan. I understand those situations are difficult, especially when you're first starting out! I ate the food and made sure future situations didn't happen as such.

    It does, however, get WAY easier the longer you've been vegan. People get used to your food choices and it's really not a big deal. Even my granny understands veganism now and will make me a vegan pie on the holidays. :) It just takes time.

  7. Carrie: This is where being a vegan over the long-haul (years), pays off. People already know how you eat, and if you don't you learn REAL quick to be VERY specific. I went to a resteraunt once, ordered the vegan fajitas, which came out smoothered in cheese. Most people don't have a clue about what vegan means, it's our job to spell it out. I've found this definition to be most user friendly--"I'm vegetarian (most everyone gets this, although some people think this still includes fish and seafood :) ) and I don't eat any dairy products (give them a list: milk, eggs, cheese, butter, ect. ect.). Most people are very sweet about it, and if they're not, oh well, what to do?

  8. This is exactly why my 30-days-vegan plan didn't work... Uncomfortable situations or flat-out sabotage. I'm to the point now where I have a flirtatious relationship with Veganism, which works best for me in my current socioeconomic situation. :)

    You're a warrior.

  9. Oh boy. This is exactly why I've never gone full out vegan for an extended period of time. I don't want my diet to be a religion. I'm way to sensitive about hurting other people's feelings, or making them (or me) feel uncomfortable. It takes a staunch mind and person who believes with all their heart that it is "the" right way to live and eat!

  10. I spy VCTOTW! A sure way to convert any omni to veganism (or at least veggie!)


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