Friday, February 6, 2009

life without milk. and other hippie goodness

Way back in the day when I was still a livejournal user (heh), I remember writing about food choices. I think I was incensed by gardenburgers or somesuch, by how much energy/packaging/effort it took to get them to me. Becoming vegetarian was a choice that I made mostly because of the inefficiency and largescale resource-wasting of the meat industry, after all, so it annoyed me that even in trying to make conscious choices, I was thwarted by the relative waste of things that had initially represented the more ethical option.

I mention that because this month, starting 6 days ago, I've been trying out veganhood. This is something I've toyed with on and off for almost as long as I've been vegetarian, for lots of reasons that I don't actually want to get into right now. Suffice it to say that most of the problem of the meat industry directly relates to the animal product industry in general. So if I'm opposed to all the space and the other resources it takes to raise cattle for beef, it's no better to drink milk that also comes from cows who are raised on huge expanses of land, fed hideously unnatural diets, and themselves consume (not only through diet and space, but through antibiotics, hormones, fertilizer taken to feed them their ridiculous corn diets, government subsidies for those ridiculously monocropped diets, etc etc) much more than they produce. So this month is an experiment to see how feasible it is for me to totally avoid animal products, healthily.

So far, I've slipped and eaten one cookie that I'm pretty sure wasn't vegan, but other than that I've been good, and it's actually not that hard. I mean, I think it will take more than 6 days to determine how it's going in a sense that transcends the initial novelty of it, but I haven't really missed milk or eggs or butter or anything yet. Part of it is that I don't eat a lot of that stuff anyway, just because I don't even like butter on things or milk on its own anymore (funny, given how much of it I drank as a kid), but it is sad to have given up yogurt, eggs, and baked goods that include any of those things. James has been vegan with me so far, and says he thinks he's been more hungry than normal--perhaps because there's less protein involved, which we can probably fix in a vegan manner--but I haven't really noticed that yet.

I'm pretty excited about it, though. I think if I can pull this off it will be a good thing to get me away from implicitly supporting resources that I feel should be used differently.

And in other news, James and I have started taking yoga, I stopped using carcinogenic, heavy-metal deoderant, and I haven't shaved my armpits for months now, so basically, every waking moment brings me closer and closer to being a dirty hippie. And yet I still look (relatively, I hope) professional at school! Go me! :)


KatieGirlBlue said...

Good news about veganism: the vegan chocolate chippers at Whole Foods are WAY better than the regular.

Plus, when you buy them, you can feel smug.

Lots of luck with this endeavor; it's admirable. I've been trying very hard to feed myself and Brad with mostly local and in-season foods's been hard to ween him off ramen. Climbers.

little happinesses said...

heh. Climbers indeed. I was pretty stoked when Alex started introducing vegetables into his diet, even if it did take putting them into other shit like ramen (or pasta or mac-n-cheese, I guess, in his case) at the beginning:)

Anonymous said...

Way to go with the veganism, although I wouldn't equate dairy with beef. For a given amount of space and cattle, you can support much more people on a dairy-based diet than beef-based.

little happinesses said...

Honestly, I don't really know how the dairy vs beef breakdown all works out. I imagine because you can keep getting milk from a cow whereas you can only get beef once before you have to replace the cow, it helps on the dairy side...but even so, you still have to contend with all the rBST/rbGH, totally unnatural diet fed to cows, all that bullshit unless you're really careful.

There's also the whole thing in that China Study book (by T Colin Campbell, which I haven't actually read but have heard a lot about) about how animal products can help trigger cancer. Of course, on the other side, you've got your books like the Paleo Diet and whatnot that tell you that you should eat lots of meat and veggies. Who really knows, right?

So I guess there's the nutritional argument--where it seems like you kind of just have to decide what you believe in, since there are so many competing factors--and the ethical/resource argument, which I don't know enough about for dairy. Clearly this whole how-to-eat thing is a work in progress:)

Corey said...

i tried the vegan thing once while in santa cruz (most probably one of the few cities where it is VERY easy to maintain this lifestyle) and found myself feeling like James feels...more hungry than usual.
i ended up putting nuts in a lot more things i feeling more satisfied...also i ate HUGE amounts of tofu. and made lots of rissoto. (THAT, i can live with)
anyway, long story short...i am not vegan. it didn't last very long. i missed cheese the most.

btw, garden burgers are pretty easy to make on your own so you don't have to buy overly packaged versions. there are good vegan/vegitartian websites that will tell you how. You can make a bunch and freeze them so you can have them anytime!

good luck on your vegan quest!