January: Vegan

I’m vegan for January. Because: why not? I’ve never been vegan before. I’ve been veg-curious for a long time, though.

I love to cook (as anyone who knows me could tell you). And I’ve enjoyed dabbling in vegan cooking when hosting vegan friends or family. And I’ve often thought- I could do this. I could be vegan. But nothing has prompted me to try it before.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m a happy omnivore. In fact, I’ve been seduced enough by the low-carb style diets that my meat consumption has probably increased in recent years. On certain days, nothing calls to me quite as much as a cheeseburger. On others, I might yearn for a grilled piece of salmon, or some chicken thighs from Sol Food.  However, I certainly go days without eating any meat, and I don’t suffer for it. I suspect that my bigger challenge in going vegan will be giving up dairy and eggs.¹

I’m excited about this month of veganism: to see how my body will feel, to know what vegans go through on a daily basis, to have a set of rules to follow when making dietary choices (restrictions are comforting, in their way). Not to mention the benefits to our environment, and (one could argue) the animals themselves.²

I’ve survived day one, although I’ve already made my first rookie mistake: going to someone else’s house for dinner, knowing full well that the main course would not be vegan, and forgetting to bring the portobello I had bought just for this occasion. Omnivores 1, Jill 0.

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¹A reasonable estimate of my egg consumption over the past year would be, say, 500 eggs. I eat 2 eggs for breakfast most days of the week, and if I don’t have them at breakfast, I’ll often have one or more at lunch or dinner. So, yeah, this part of my vegan diet will be hard.

²One could also argue that animals benefit from our carnivorous ways, as without our desire to eat them, many of them would not be born and raised in the first place. But this is not the blog to argue for or against, merely to try.

What is “My Year of 40”?

I’m turning 40 in 2016 (on October 31, to be precise). As I thought about this landmark event, I wondered how I might commemorate it in a way that would be memorable and significant. Throwing a party or taking a trip might have been options, but they felt too brief, relative to the impact of turning forty. Instead, I have decided to celebrate the entire year- my 40th year “year of 40″¹- by trying something new (to me) each month. In some cases, these will be “bucket list” items; in others, they’ll just be ideas or experiences that have piqued my curiosity. I’ll be documenting my journey on this blog, and I hope you’ll enjoy the ride with me.

¹To be clear, my 40th year began the day I turned 39, as my Mom likes to remind me. This is confusing in adulthood, although it makes perfect sense when we think about babies: a photo album of “Baby’s First Year” would clearly show images from birth to baby’s first birthday. Somehow, the fact that my 40th year began when I turned 39 feels less intuitive and less palatable. Thanks for the reminder, Mom.