Week Three

Day 15:

Made a run to Trader Joe's. With Elisha in mind, I bought some vegan wraps, perfect for lunch on the go. Today I tried a spicy lentil wrap, which was yummy. On the way home, I passed by Whole Foods. My vegan senses were tingling, and I decided to go inside. I perused the dairy section, searching for that perfect cheese alternative.

Until now, cheese has been a cunundrum. I had bought some soy cheese, only to realize it contained milk protein. I decided to steer clear of soy cheese, and picked up Galaxy brand vegan rice cheese alternative. This seems promising. 

Day 16:

Before going to work, John and I sat down at Mao's in Hollywood. We told the server that we were eating vegan, and we proceeded to order the lunch special, which includes small portions of appetizer, soup and entrée. John ordered the vegan harvest soup; I ordered the hot and sour. John's soup had a creamy consistency, and the green color reminded me of spring. I looked into my hot and sour, and saw pieces of something floating in it… I know they usually add egg to this soup, but I had explicitly said we were eating vegan.

Before the server left the table John asked, "Is that egg in her soup?" The server looked down, and back up (perhaps pseudo) apologetically.

"Oh, yeah. I'm sorry, I'll take it back." John has saved my vegan life. She returned with another bowl of the harvest soup. "Yeah, we can only make it vegan if you get the larger bowl." Hmm. I was paranoid! Did she really not know? Did she know and think she could pull the wool over these vegan eyes?

The meal itself was lackluster, and John's entrée was cold. "We'll give Mao's one more chance," I told him.

Day 17:

At the Hamlet again with my family, I ordered the Sonora Grilled Flatbread Sandwich. Again it was delicious, but on further inspection of the pesto spread I was not sure it was vegan. I had told my server to ask the chefs to kindly 86 anything containing animal products, but had they done so? No use now. I'll be VERY SPECIFIC with them next week.

Day 18:

Burrito bowls have been my savior in getting me through the school day. Yes, sushi is delicious, but sometimes it just isn't enough.

In my evening class, two classmates approached me telling me my article really made them contemplate what they're putting into their bodies. This made me smile. The point of this experiment is not to convert or to preach, but to really make us consider what we're putting into our bodies in relation to how we feel. One of my classmates even said he was going to cut out red meat. Good luck!

Day 19:

Today, I discovered meatlessmonday.com. This is an organization that encourages us to go meatless one day a week. Meatless Monday informs us how going meatless one day a week may reduce our risk of disease while reducing our carbon footprint and fossil fuel dependency and minimize water usage.

This website is extremely informative, and they understand that going meatless one day a week may not be enough to make significant changes, in your health for example, but they offer advice, meatless recipes and resources to help in taking even that little step. I recommend this website to anyone who is considering reducing their animal product consumption, but doesn't want to jump in with both feet just yet.

Day 20:

John made the most incredible vegan lasagna. Like, hands down better than any lasagna I've ever had. Check in soon for the recipe!

Day 21:

I interviewed Professor of Psychology David Phillips, today. My friend Alessandra from the newsroom told me about her psych professor, the fact that he's vegan, and how he emphasizes the importance of not eating red meat to all of his students.

Phillips is a vegan of 25 years, but not in an entirely rigid sense. "In your private life you can run it just the way you want, and it's easy," said Phillips. He spoke of how sometimes, with the best intentions, his friends will cook him a "vegan" meal, that's not actually vegan. Out of respect for their friendship, he'll eat the meal. "Sometimes I'm out at a social event with my wife and other people, it's just awkward sometimes. If they don't have anything [vegan], then I'll lapse."

Phillips is a vegan not only for nutrition and ethical reasons, but for environmental reasons as well. "The single most environmentally destructive thing an individual can do is to eat meat." Phillips pointed out that we are an overpopulated planet in the first place, and with more and more humans eating meat, the inefficiency of the beef industry is taking a destructive toll.

"It takes close to 3,000 pounds of fresh water and 16 to 18 pounds of grain to raise one pound of beef." That blew my mind; this industry just makes no mathematical sense! Not only that, but he told me that methane produced by cows is the fourth leading cause of climate change. "So when you consider the environmental devastation caused by the raising of beef, it's really destroying the ecosystems that all sentient animals need. It's just devastating."

Read more of my fascinating interview with Phillips on thecorsaironline.com

So three weeks down. It's gone by quickly! I had a Tofurky hotdog for dinner tonight, and I melted some of the Galaxy vegan rice cheese on top—it was amazing! I could see this cheese being part of my everyday life.

I weighed myself today, and I have gained one pound. Hmmm… I don't know if this can be attributed to my going vegan, or the fact that I snack on candy and vegan cookies consistently. Elisha from Real Food Daily had told me that she was a "junk food vegan" at the inception of her lifestyle change, and I think I've done a bit of the same. In the same breath, she told me of how she'd learned to eat mindfully, be aware of what you're eating and eat with intention. This is something I'd like to learn to have a good handle on, and something I'd encourage everyone to look into.

Happy (and humane) eating everyone!