A few weeks ago, I accidentally became a vegan. I guess it can't really be called an "accident" because I consciously clicked on the Facebook ad for a vegan meal delivery service, typed my credit card number and my address, and selected my meal plan. But since I was — appropriately for this column — under the influence, I can't say I really gave thorough consideration to this life decision.
I've never been a huge fan of meat. I've spent most of my life flirting with vegetarianism but could never quite commit. There was the occasional cheeseburger calling my name, I love fish, and I think chickens are dumb enough that I don't feel guilty about eating them. But in general, the idea of eating animal flesh has always been unsavory enough that I choose to avoid it whenever possible.
Despite my natural proclivity towards a meatless existence, I have never, ever understood vegans. We all know vegans who extol the health virtues of a plant-based diet, but I still can't wrap my head around a healthy diet that excludes sushi and eggs. Or an enjoyable diet that excludes cheese. CHEESE. Is life worth living without cheese? I'm fairly certain that at the time I made the decision to try on veganism, I was enjoying a cheesy omelet with my wine. The next morning, I struggled to soberly recreate my rationale for ordering a box of vegan food. Although I couldn't remember why it seemed like a good idea at the time, I decided not to cancel my order. I decided to give vegan a go. And I gotta say, I absolutely love it.
When the first meals arrived, I assumed I would cook it up and then add some chicken. I could make up my own rules; I could be Veganish ... Vegan Plus, if you will. But honestly, I don't miss meat at all. I've been gorging on cauliflower fried rice, peanut satay tofu, Italian lentil soup and sweet potato coconut breakfast hash. Never once have I wanted to add chicken or fish or cheese to any of the recipes.
I'm not sure what the life lesson is here. I haven't changed my whole life. As I write this, I'm drinking coffee with cream in it and eating a yogurt. And my Chardonnay decisions are not always wins (I have five different never-worn jumpsuits in my closet to tell that tale). But occasionally, Chardonnay Liz knows something that Coffee Liz doesn't yet — in this case that a happy and satisfied life as a vegan is possible. And for those of you who, like me, assume vegan food is akin to cardboard for dinner, I urge you to pour yourself a big drink and go out on a dietary limb. Try a completely meatless meal. You might surprise yourself. And if not, you can always add some cheese. I won't tell.
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