First, the usual disclaimer: while we keep a vegan diet (with the exception of honey), we do not live the “vegan lifestyle,” eschewing wool, leather, etc. Thus the categorization pseudo-vegan.
Before we adopted our diet about a year ago, I suppose I shared many of the conscious and subconscious biases against vegans. Weird, weak, anemic and self-righteous zealots they are, in the minds of your average omnivore, who may not have met many vegans. When we started eating this way, we got a moderate amount of apparently well meaning push back, mostly from people who feared we would slowly waste away, devolving into blind cave-fish with translucent skin and a wan, pinkish hue for lack of animal products. Turns out, that hasn’t happened! Here are a few things that have happened, and that no one warned me about.
1) Our fridge filled with bags of strange hippie foods like nutritional yeast, farro, bulgur, vital wheat gluten and chia seeds. I like chia seeds. But what no one tells you is that, after eating a nice helping, when you go off for a public speaking engagement, some of the tiny seeds will quietly migrate up along your gum line and lodge there, slowly hydrating in your saliva, expanding, lying along your teeth like tenacious leeches. Or flatworms.
2) Some vegan products meant to resemble animal based products will be surprisingly, worryingly convincing. Faux chicken nuggets and chicken fingers for instance. This will make you wonder about what was in all the breaded chicken products you ate all your life long. Others, like soy yogurt, will ooze out of the container in a gelatinous shudder and lie in your bowl, gray as old underwear. And no amount of chia seeds will cover it up.
3) The high fiber content of all this bounty of grains and vegetables will clean a person out like a brush-wielding Dickensian chimney sweep. This is great, unless your enthusiastically vegan, Kalamata olive loving, straight miso paste eating almost-four-year-old is not toilet trained yet. Then it is a horrifying thing.
I will probably think of some more tomorrow I meditatively shovel several feet of snow away from the cars and house and chicken coop. Or as I run 15 miles in preparation for my 20 mile race in March. How many Ozark cavefish do you know that can do that?