Judy and I have our 14-year-old vegan granddaughter living with us while she pursues her dancing career. The only huge adjustment has been cooking for a vegan. The rest is easy by comparison. Along the way we have learned a lot about the impact of livestock agri-business on our environment. We have also listened to Ana’s pleas concerning the animal cruelty of it all.
I think she expects to make us vegans. Well, perhaps some day, but not all at once. There has to be a progression. Below are my steps to becoming a vegan. I have heard of all of these, except the first two. Those are my additions to the process. I think they are as critical as the others. Without them it just ain’t going to happen. So, don’t skip any or you will never get there.
You have read stuff about the impact of growing billions of animals for slaughter, and the land use to grow their food and graze them, and the methane from all those burps, and the hormones that impregnate the meat, etc. It begins to gnaw at you. You drive past a field of grazing, cud-chewing black angus steers. One swings his head your way. You push it out of your mind. You look at your butter burger and think you should have ordered just one patty and not two. You become haunted. You are now a Thinkatarian.
You hold your pen above the check-the-meal card for your nephews wedding. Reluctantly you move past the steak and check the baked chicken. I don’t know, maybe we can eat meat just twice a week instead of five times a week. I certainly don’t need to eat that big steak. Maybe we can share it. I guess I’ll make a peanut butter sandwich instead of the salami and cheese.
Screw the red meat. I can do this. Just have the chicken and turkey ready. I mean, hell, have a lot of it ready. At Culver’s it’s now only the chicken sandwich or the chicken salad. That ‘Impossible Burger’ is looking mighty good. You nod when you see the "eat mor chikin" ad.
OK, OK, I can dump all the meat but don’t take away the fish. I need something for crappie sakes. I just wonder if the red snapper is really red snapper, and how much micro-plastic and mercury is in the damn thing, and is it line-caught, and does that make any difference now-a-days. Jesus, this is complicated.
Oh my god! I can do without the fish too. I have found so many wonderful vegetarian recipes that I’m tempted to write my own cookbook. Why was I eating meat in the first place? Bring on the noodles!
Goodbye cheese. Goodbye eggs. Goodbye milk (I’m already on almond milk). Goodbye gluten. Goodbye life as I knew it. I wouldn’t mind getting to this point, but I still break out in a cold sweat when I think about it. One step at a time, Bob. One step at a time.
There is no timetable for this metamorphosis. I think Judy and I are somewhere between a lessatarian and a chicatarian. If I can just scrap the bacon and sausage I will be a full-fledged chicatarian. I am tempted to leap over the pescatarian thing and try a 60-day vegetarian diet. I’m a little nervous about it though.
Veganism seems out of reach. I believe it is the right thing to do for my health and that of the environment, but I don’t know if I can dump the cheese. Our live-in vegan doesn’t eat any sugar or honey either. That’s just crazy. There must be another level after vegan. How about Nutsatarian.
So, there you have it. The stairway to veganism. Go ahead, put your toe in the water. Start reading up on the impact of all that meat on the environment (and your body). I dare you.