“She’s the kind of vegan that just drinks until she’s not hungry anymore.”
-Randy, Friday night at the CC
One day when I was in high school some poetic soul handed me a few brochures about animal cruelty and, having quite the poetic soul myself at that time, I decided to save the world and become a vegetarian. For weeks I struggled silently against the delicious forces of evil. Oh, cheesy chicken surprise for dinner again, Mom? No thanks, I ate a big lunch. You like pepperoni on your pizza? Whoops, I forgot I’m allergic to Red #5. Things were going great (!) until my brothers caught on. Several days and infinite merciless taunts and intentional carcass-centered dinner requests later, I broke.
Over the years I’ve tried to have a conscience about it. I only eat meat when someone serves it to me (or when I’m at a restaurant, or when I go to my parent’s house to steal food, or when I crave it) and I always brake for baby cows crossing the street… but the fact remains. I like live animals a lot more than I like dead ones. And while I don’t believe that humans eating animals is inherently wrong, I do believe that the way the meat I can afford is produced is undeniably pretty grody and cruel.
So, like any other logical young go-getter would do, I decided to make up for my years of indirect quadruped slaughtering by undergoing one week of intense non-animal product consumption (I heard that’s how god balances these things out anyway).
That’s right, for “one week” I became an “all out” vegan!!!
Here’s a photo recap of how it went:
ME BEFORE VEGAN WEEK
ME DURING VEGAN WEEK
In all honesty, despite what the image of that peaceful, self-satisfied little ginger monkey might tell you, I actually did a pretty crappy job. After only four days of strict veganism my friends got me a little tipsy off Grandpa’s old cough medicine and FORCE FED me nachos and cheese curds until my eyes hurt. Not the most noble way to go out (especially since I just lied about the force feeding part) to say the least.
Even though I didn’t make it a full seven days and even though not eating meat or dairy for a week isn’t truly “living vegan” anyway, I did learn a few VALUABLE LIFE LESSONS:
1) It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp
What’s the worst part about trying to live a certain way? Other people, man. The consumer world is not kind to a vegan, not even a half-assed one like me. The first night of my experiment I had a dinner hour volunteer orientation at Famous Daves, where everything—even the vegetables—has some form of animal by-product worked into it. Two days later a student worker at my job offered me leftover pizza my coworkers had ordered for lunch and I had to awkwardly explain that I was going vegan for a week. She seemed nonplussed by my excuse and even less impressed with the “blog experiment thing” I was conducting. The worst part by far, however, was learning that my dear, darling Costco apparently hates vegans, too. A sample day completely devoid of joy is no day at all.
2) Patience, Young Grasshopper
I also learned pretty quickly that to be a real vegan in the true essence of the term, you have to be hardcore as shit, and you have to know what you’re doing. There are derivatives of animals or animal byproducts in just about everything if you trace it back far enough. And while ‘Merica has come pretty far in terms of vegan-friendly product availability, it’s still relatively rough, and expensive, for the animal huggers among us.
3) Iz You Iz Or Iz You Ain’t My Vegan
Probably the main reason I suck at being vegan? I don’t have any deep convictions about veganism. Vegetarianism I get, but not eating anything that may have come from animals? I’m not sure I’m really sold. On the health front I don’t really buy that veganism is any better for you than increasing your fresh vegetable/fruit intake, cutting back on processed/hormone injected foods, and making more time for exercise. On the moral front? Well, none of us really wants to go there right now, and I for one got my fill of self-righteousness from both sides in the philosophy class I took freshman year of college. Basically though, don’t do something if you don’t really believe in it, or you’ll end up in a spiral of nacho induced beery shame Just. Like. Me.
All right, so that does it for #51, thanks to all who skimmed or half-heartedly read. And if this entry was too wordy for your poor little brain (mine has already dissolved itself into a quivering blob of cheese curd-like goo), you’re gonna lurve next week, f’real.
Here’s a preview of #50 soon to come!