So long, veganism. Hello, February.

It’s February first! Time for a new adventure in My Year of 40. But first, some closing thoughts on my month of veganism.

  1. Bowls are my number one meal as a vegan. They’re an easy and satisfying vehicle for vegetables, and they’re quick to throw together. They’re also endlessly adaptable- toss anything you want in them. Roughly speaking, a bowl “recipe” would include a whole grain (or not), a legume (or not) and lots of veggies (cooked- otherwise we’re just making a salad). Add some enhancements- maybe some seeds, avocado, or nuts- and then flavorings- aminos (see below), sesame oil, vinegar- you get the picture- and you’re off to the races.
  2. Aminos make everything taste better. I first discovered Coconut Aminos two years ago: vegan, gluten- and soy-free, they’re your new best friend. I put this stuff on everything: grain bowls, salads, raw or cooked vegetables, veggie burgers. It’s the bomb. A little salty, a little umami, a lot delicious. More widely available, but not soy-free, is Bragg Aminos, which is nearly as good.
  3. Quinoa is a breakfast food. I need to start my day out with some protein, which has been more challenging as a vegan (gone are the eggs; gone is the Greek yogurt). Luckily, there’s quinoa. Besides being the only “grain” (actually a seed) that’s a complete protein, it plays well with both sweet and savory foods. While I eat it for lunch or dinner in one of my veggie bowls, at breakfast I pair it with apples, cinnamon, walnuts, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a bit of almond milk.
  4. Within limitation, there is freedom. Knowing that I had a narrower spectrum of foods to work with forced me to be more creative. Maybe this is no longer the case after many months, or years, of being vegan, but in a one-month timeframe, I felt forced to think outside my usual food norms to arrive at meals and snacks that were satisfying. And I enjoyed the challenge.

In the end, I’m not entirely parting with veganism. For me, right now, there seems to be no better way to stay motivated to eat so many vegetables, while also forcibly avoiding foods that aren’t good for me.¹ For now, I’m going to be “88% vegan.” Here’s how I came up with that:

(3 meals + 2 snacks per day) * 7 days per week = 35 eating occurrences per week. If I have 4 non-vegan meals per week, then I’ll be 31/35 = 88% vegan.

Which leads me to February, and my “try something new” for this month. In February, I’ll be trying:

Landmark Bay Area Restaurants²

Frankly, this is a compelling reason for me not to be 100% vegan in February.³

First up: a surprise restaurant for date night with Graham.  Stay tuned!

¹I’m talking to you, butter.

²That I haven’t already tried, or perhaps that goes without saying.

³With apologies to my vegan cheerleaders. 88% is still about 500% more vegan than I used to be.

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