Over the past year or so I have found myself gradually eating more and more food that might be styled “vegan.”
I wasn’t looking to be vegan—in fact, I wasn’t consciously doing anything to change my eating habits. I was just going with my gut. The first thing my gut told me was, “Ew, I don’t like cooking chicken any more, and I’m feeling kinda squeamish about eating it.” OK, out with the chicken. Then it was the fish. Fish had always seemed fine to me, but it started to seem just a tad nasty. Why? If I knew, I’d tell you. It was just a feeling I had, and I went with it.
Finally, it was the dairy products. I bought some Brie cheese and it grossed me out so bad I had to throw it away. What was happening to me? What would my friends think—that I was losing my marbles? So out went the dairy, too—the milk, the eggs (nasty), the cheese, the mayo, etc., etc.
I had already dumped red meat over thirty years ago, and had also been macrobiotic for seven years in the 60s and early 70s, as well as eating vegetarian food off and on over the years, so it was no chore for me to start eating vegan-type food. I say “vegan-type,” because I’m not really a pure, 100% card-carrying vegan. Although I’m appalled at the way animals are treated in the factory farms, I can’t say that I’m really convinced that eating meat in and of itself is wrong, and I’m not an animal rights activist—a sympathizer perhaps, but not an activist. I’m not any kind of activist, that’s just not me. The vision of the “lion lying down with the lamb” is a very appealing one, but I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon, at least not on this planet.
Anyway, I started getting into eating vegan, investigated some different kinds of soy and rice milk (not a whole lot of vegan “specialty” foods here in Brazil), and joined a couple of vegan groups on Facebook—one Brazilian, one American. The Brazilian group is really fun and the people are friendly and pretty easygoing. See, I’ve heard that vegans can sometimes be kind of militant and uptight, and I’m sensitive to that. So you can imagine my horror when the person who runs the American group posted this less than a week after the terrible attacks at the school in my hometown, Newtown, CT: “In his press conference the other day, our president said that we must oppose ‘a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence.’ — At a dinner function that evening he ate a steak dinner, the dead cow on his plate violently bolt-gunned from existence.”
Hello?!? I immediately dropped off the group. OK, says I to myself, I’m going to eat this food, but I absolutely refuse to be a fanatic. Who’s to say that I won’t eat a piece of chicken or fish ever again? I just can’t get on other people’s cases about what they eat. It’s none of my damned business. When you get down to it, self-righteousness is worse than eating meat.
So I’m enjoying eating my beans and grains and veggies and fruit and chocolate (oh yeah, chocolate!), but if someone has me over for dinner, I’m going to eat what’s set in front of me and be grateful. I know that the judgmental vegans can’t help themselves—I used to be that way about macrobiotics when I was much younger, so I can’t get all up in their faces, either. I’m just gonna mind my own business and see if I can pick up a few good recipes along the way.