Because I’m just THAT much of a geek I actually considered researching what to write on a blog before I started this. So I guess that pretty much tells you more about me than you needed to know, or at least gives you some insight. This is going to be the blog that documents my family’s ups and downs as we change lifestyles from one of nightly television watching, boxed cake mixes and oven-smoked Hawaiian pork to one of daily exercise, no television, and a vegan lifestyle. We want to bike ride, kayak, hike and go on adventures. And bottom line… the couch will never get us to those places.
We’ve discovered that vegan has a very wide range of definitions that runs the gamut between scary political types to those that feel that cheese is a vegetable, albeit orange and melty, but a veggie nonetheless. It serves to remind us that the world is a wonderfully diverse place and we don’t know as much as we often think we do. But back to us, the 2 chubby ones. We are doing this for health reasons primarily, less so for political and compassionate reasons, but they do play an important part in the decision. Health because I don’t even want to imagine what my arteries must look like after 44 years of “clean your plate” eating, political because we are tired of being at the mercy of corporate food politics and Big Agriculture greed at every turn, and compassion because no living creature should suffer the way we treat our “food” animals and we both truly believe that anything we put in our bodies that is born of so much misery and pain cannot be doing us any good, spiritually or physically.
But how do WE define vegan? We are going to focus on whole plant foods. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Honey is okay for us. But no meat, no dairy and as much as I can, no processed foods. Does this mean we won’t ever slip. No. I’ve learned the hard way that the fastest way to fail is to make it impossible to succeed. We will do our best. It also means that we have several whole wild sockeye salmon, trout, sole and halibut in the freezer that will not be wasted. So, occasionally, probably increasingly rarely until it’s gone, we will have fish. We are growing as much of our food as possible. We are learning what wild foods we have in our area and foraging and preserving as much as we can. We have learned to can, both water bath and pressure canning, and we will preserve as much of the spring and summer bounty as we can for the coming winter.
And lastly, who are we… we are a non-traditional family in many ways. My partner is an electrician and musician and I am a fresh-water ecologist and artist. A few years ago we looked at the actual cost of 2 people working and decided it was cheaper for one to work and the other to do the work that so many pay for in ways they don’t ever realize. We buy all we can second-hand, from clothes to furniture to appliances. Even our pets are second-hand. If you can learn to wait until the perfect item presents itself instead of buying what you want the minute you want it you would be amazed at the wonderful things you can find, in perfect condition, for a steal. We decide what we need and “put it out there” and eventually we find it. I do all the cooking, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not eating out as much saves us so much in both money and health. I cook for friends when I cook for us and it brings in extra income and helps them eat healthier. I forage, can, and dehydrate foods to take advantage of as much free food as possible. Why pay $6.00 a pint for berries that grow wild all around me?
So, consider this our lifetime vegan challenge. Come along and join us if you’d like or laugh hysterically as we try making our own “wheat-meat”. Whatever makes you smile!