When I moved out on my own at the ripe old age of 18, I discovered the painful truth about meat – it was effing expensive. But while I lived off of bagels and cream cheese, pasta with tinned tomato sauce, chocolate donuts, green apples, and cafeteria coffee for two years, I never considered myself vegetarian. When I moved to Toronto, AB and I ate McDonald’s 49 cent cheeseburgers, chinese chicken balls with frightfully red sweet and sour sauce, and late-night chicken shawarma. Washed down with tonic water (who can afford gin?). Even after reading “Fast Food Nation,” and successfully swearing off shitty fast-food joints (8 years clean on the McDonald’s etc. front), I wasn’t really moved to give up BLTs and while I outwardly identified as a vegetarian, this was about as accurate a label for me as ‘heterosexual’.
My initial foray into the land of veganism came about for completely selfish reasons. My primary goal was to be thin and I figured that a vegan diet would be the easiest way to accomplish this goal. I was, unsurprisingly, correct and promptly dropped all of the weight that I had gained while in hairschool and working at a Mexican restaurant that served everything with a thick layer of cheese. Having no real moral investment in this dietary decision however, once I was thin again, I gradually started eating the odd shawarma/bacon sandwich/steak. And when I moved to Nova Scotia, land of the never-ending steak and lobster, and especially when I moved in with DM, a proud meat-eating Scotsman, this diet choice became next to impossible to maintain. I was surrounded in bacon, breakfast sausages (my eternal weakness), and heaps of seafood and quickly became a meat-eating vegetarian.
Since meeting A., I have remained a wishy-washy vegetarian/vegan. I go through phases when I eat raw tuna every second day and then phases when I eat cheese like it’s going out of style. And when I go out to a restaurant, I rarely worry about what I’m eating, although I generally opt for the veggie option. I have always justified this by saying that I don’t want to be difficult (when out or at friends’ houses) or that I don’t want to be a slave to my diet.
There is something in this last idea – I don’t want to be a slave to my diet. But in the past few months, I have (quite accidentally) been researching food politics, water politics, nature ethics, and ecofeminism, all in the context of the great MA thesis. And after book upon book upon article upon article I have become firmly convinced of the following: I need to commit already. I am finding it increasingly difficult to avoid thinking about the impact that my dietary decisions are having on human and other-than-human species. And as someone who regularly advocates green living, I am becoming increasingly irritated by my hypocritical positions when it comes to food. It’s time to make the total switch over. It’s time to be “difficult” at parties and to be that person at restaurants who has to make a million special requests in order to get a meal.
In celebration of this renewed commitment to what I’m going to call ‘contextual veganism’ (a label that allows me the freedom to eat when visiting countries where meatless, dairy-less, egg-less options are next to impossible to find – I’m looking at you, Czech Republic), this blog will join the growing number of vegan blogs dedicated to providing healthy vegan awesomeness recipes. I’m hoping that doing this will help to keep me committed to this lifestyle choice – I’m also hoping to convince the modest number of readers I have that veganism is the awesomest. My cocoa bananas were a start, but stay tuned: the next post will explore the mystery of the red lentil.
Healthy Ezmy is taking it to the next level!!