Monday, September 20, 2010

the meal that made me a vegan.

hunkle josh eating a bodacious bacon beef burger.
it gives people the crazy eyes.

For the past few years, I knew it was coming.
I even told Nick sometimes, told my friends - "I think I'll eventually be a vegan."
Why? Who knows, it just seemed like something lingering inside.

I guess because I'm a little bit of an extremist and to me, the extreme of clean eating seems to be veganism. But maybe not even, because maybe the extreme is raw foodism. But come on, I REALLY like my veggies cooked. In the back of my head, the idea of meat and dairy lingering in my small intestine has just bothered me a little. I know that a good grass-fed burger is entirely good for your soul and not so bad for your body. A yummy organic greek (homemade, even!) yogurt parfait makes me smile to think about. It's all good, all permissible, and I think even beneficial for us. And yet still, somewhere in the back of my head - I knew this was coming.

I was sort of playing around with it as it was. Though it sounds stupid and obnoxious to say, I already considered myself a ovo-flexitarian-who-didn't-eat-dairy. I eat eggs and occasionally eat meat, but don't eat dairy because of an allergy. Unless you're talking about frozen yogurt, and then I'm willing to make myself silk to ingest that stuff. So I wavered. Until this meal.

A simple black bean burger. Roasted Veggies. Staple salad.
But it was so good. So good. So good I groaned a few times.
I'd made bacon-beef-bodaciously-awesome burgers for the rest of the crew, and I wasn't even jeal. Cause come on, look at that BEAN BURGER.
I took about three bites and thought this is the meal that will make me a vegan.
Because if I can eat this and be fully satisfied, I have no business eating meat or dairy.

But here are some more solid reasons for those of you who haven't
tasted a black bean burger than changed your life:
- The "cheating" or unclean eating I do, is always meat or dairy. So being official about stopping consuming them will hopefully only clean up my diet further.
- I'm hoping it will make me more creative with fruits and vegetables in the kitchen.
- A good experiment makes me excited about life.
- Did I mention I like extremes?
- Because in all honesty, there is a big part of me that hopes if I keep running, eating clean, and doing yoga - I'll feel better when I'm thirty than I do at 26. And maybe I'll feel better at 36 than I do at 26. And if not eating dairy or meat helps that, I'm on board.

So, I'm giving it a try. Maybe for a week. Maybe forever.
Are you a vegan? Ever thought about it? Think it's stupid?
I'll be your guinea pig. I'll let you know if I feel better after a week or after two days or if it really stinks and if it's actually just impossible to give up fried eggs, bacon, and goat cheese.

While we're on that subject though, here is the list of foods I already miss:
- eggs
- goat cheese
- bacon

Hm. we'll see how this goes.


  1. I tried to be a vegan (who ate fish) and it was fantastic for my body, but hard to maintain given my work and social life. I still avoid red meat and pork and limit dairy where I can. What it did was teach me discipline - that's never a bad thing. Don't think about what you can't have and instead think of it as CHOOSING what you can have.

    This is a huge decision and I support you 100% in it! My prayer is that as others question the way you eat they would be encouraged and encourage you!

  2. Jess, first, I miss you and I wish we could have clean eating convos in person! I am just about 2 months with no dairy, gluten, sugar, fatty meats (I have "broke" this four times - 2 baby showers and 2 weddings because - wait, I don't need to explain to you ;)you know). Anyway, I felt H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E every time... So, while meat and eggs aren't thoroughly out the door (or probably will be) I can see the majority of our eating heading in this direction. Discipline - good. Feeling good after eat - excellent! Miss you!

  3. Hello! This is Lauren (Jessi's oldddd friend) - I don't have a blogger account, so not sure if this will register that I'm commenting here. But here it goes:

    I honestly don't think I could live without meat. Not because I can't live without it, but because my body thrives on the protein. I am allergic to dairy, eggs, wheat, peanut, almonds, and much much more.. So, I could get protein from nuts (only some) if I wanted, but that just doesn't do it for me. When I cut out all those allergens, my body started to crave protein (MEAT protein specifically).

    I also work out a lot.. A lot, a lot. So, for me, cutting out meat would just leave me kind of ... sluggish. But, if there was such a thing as a vegan who eats meat, that'd be me! Lol, kind of defeats the purpose.

    Sometimes I kind of feel like food is joy.. and I already can't eat so many yummie things (pizza, ice cream, cheese, crackers, peanut butter, etc) - so I can't deprive myself of any more of the goodness!

    Not me, no sir, I say! But, good for you Jess- you can do it! But be careful, make sure you are getting the protein in there.

    P.S. When I found out about my dairy allergy, I immediately switched to soy. Did you do that? But, come to find out, soy isn't so hot either... It's one of the hardest things for your body to digest.. especially if you have thyroid issues like me... I don't see that you use much of it, so that's good. But if you do, be careful! I don't think all the hype is true...

  4. i literally read this whilst eating a string cheese and cooking meatballs. i don't know if that means something??

  5. Jessi, I am SO proud of you! What a tough decision. Lauren, I had a friend who is similar to you; she has so many foods that she CANNOT eat, that she seldom chooses not to eat things.

    Also, Jess, I have been drafting a post in my head similar to this. I had a meal Friday night in which the only vegetables were potatoes (cheaters) and a *sprinkling* of arugula. It tasted amazing. I felt horrible. I think once your body gets used to wonderful, it won't go back. I can't wait to hear how running goes for you with this change; I had to incorporate some meats back in when I started running intensely, but not too much. YOU CAN DO IT!

  6. Bah - I wrote a comment and it erased it all. So here goes again.

    First, I think it is AWESOME that you have found a way of life/eating that works well for you, not to mention that you actually enjoy.

    But since you asked, and if I may...labels like "vegan" or even "Republican" or "Democrat" kind of rub me the wrong way, and here's why. I don't think it's wrong to ascribe to a certain lifestyle or political stance; however, I have rarely met someone who - being incredibly passionate about something enough to label themselves as such - could make it through a conversation without mentioning it and/or elevating it to a superior level of life or thought, even if they don't mean to.

    Of course you're just beginning this journey so I'm not talking about YOU, but I just would encourage you not to make this a big part of who you are and trust me, speaking as someone who has done this in many areas of my life, particularly for me surrounding the organic/natural movement, that is WAY too easy to do when you're passionate about something.

    My dear friend in high school was vegetarian for moral reasons and it was awesome because if we went out for pizza she'd just pick off the pepperoni rather than ask for her own meat-free version, even though I know it probably bugged her. She didn't make being a vegetarian a huge part of her fact, few people probably knew she was.

    The only thing worth signing next to your name is "follower of Christ". Other than that, ways of diet and exercise, political beliefs, childrearing methods - they'll ebb and flow and change as we change.

    Vegan or not, I adore you, sweet friend!

  7. oh whoops, i clearly hadn't read this post when i made my judgy comment about veganism...but i'll just go ahead and echo marcy! good words, i totally agree.

    another thought is that i've always thought it would be so difficult for someone in full-time ministry to have strict food restrictions, since it would be hard to accept the kind of mainstream-style hospitality. almost all my entire extended family is in ministry and people host them and cook and bake for them all the time, and i've always thought it would make it difficult for those wanting to serve and love them via food....they'd have to reject a lot of things and it would be hard to appear grateful. But I am sure there is a way to do it that will work! Way to go veeg!