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.