The Accidental Vegan







Remember this post? The one where I proclaimed that my omnivorous ways did not make me a bad person? How times have changed. Turns out I’m a very fickle woman.

Eating meat worked well for me during the winter months. A nice stew of vegetables and grass-fed beef on a cold day warmed my bones and blood. But at the time I was sharing most of my meals with a friend. It was easier to prepare one meal, and even if I’d wanted to I knew I didn’t have the discipline to say “no” to bacon on a Sunday morning. So I was an omnivore. And I loved it. What I noticed, however, was that when I was on my own the foods I craved were foods that hadn’t been born. They didn’t have a face and they didn’t have a mother. They were grown from the earth.

When spring arrived our schedules changed and my friend and I had to say goodbye to the beautiful tradition of breaking bread together. I miss sitting down at a table and sharing a meal. It’s a ritual good for the soul. I miss the conversation and the laughter and I even miss cleaning away the dishes.

But I don’t miss the meat. Or the eggs. Or the dairy…except for the feta cheese I used to add to my kale salad.

I remember attempting a vegan diet about six years ago. I don’t think I lasted two weeks.

But I’m a different person now, and being a vegan wasn’t really something I thought I was moving towards. It just sort of snuck up on me. First I let go of the meat. The eggs came next – that was easy. The goat milk was more difficult because I love it warmed with honey before bed and I love milk in my coffee. But I did it. Last was the feta cheese.

So here I am. My favorite meal these days is a bowl of steamed veg with a spicy tahini sauce. Go figure.

How long will this last? Who knows. That’s the thing. I’m not really putting any pressure on myself to eat any one way or be any one thing.

I have to say, though, that this time it feels different. My first challenge arrived yesterday when the staff and teachers of Samyama had a dim sum celebration with owner John Berg at Ming’s. I passed the challenge. The next big test will be in two weeks when I fly home to Pennsylvania for my mother’s 80th birthday. I don’t know how to break it to her that I really don’t want pork chops fried in butter and mock seafood salad in mayonnaise.

I think sometimes you have to choose your battles. Besides, you just can’t argue with an eighty-year-old woman with a cigar in one hand and a slab of raw pig hanging from a fork in the other. Sigh.

Wish me luck.

4 thoughts on “The Accidental Vegan

  1. Terri

    I so love your writing and musings. I’ve been on a food journey all my life. Like the seasons, my eating habits, preferences and needs changed. in the beginning, it was due yo outside influence. When I first heard the term “vegetarian” in the early 60’s i quickly axed all animal products and was suddenly with the “in” crowd. It didn’t matter that i felt tired and spacey all the time. i was pure!

    On and on i went– vegan, macrobiotic, Gerson. when i lived in Argentina ate red meat almost daily.

    then the term “gluten free” which seemed to indicate some level of food godliness, I starting looking for indicators that I was gluten sensitive.

    Maybe all those forced changes pissed my body off because like Almond Joy commercials on TV I was listening and succumbing to the commercials and hype rather than talking to my own internal guidance.

    What I found works for me is to sit and listen to my body and it tells me exactly what it needs. When i do that (and i mean really tune in and not eat emotionally but rather primally) i feel energetic, vibrant and rarely get cravings like i did in college for pints of icecream.

    My tastes also change with the seasons.

    In the cold and dreary months my body asks for more nourishing foods and those that produce serotonin, to ward off SAD. In the spring all I want are fresh veggies. Now, as I recover from illness and having lost a fair amount of weight that wasn’t needed, I crave protein, fat and nutrient dense food like nuts and green smoothies.

    So for me it’s tune in, listen and your body will tell you when it’s happy. It will also tell you when it’s not.

    A Provecho!


    • And you’re absolutely right. I think that’s what was happening to me over these past few weeks – I was simply ‘intuiting’ what my body wanted instead of intellectually giving it what I thought it needed. That’s why I’m pretty certain this is a phase and not permanent – my needs will change as the seasons change, as my chemical balance changes, as my emotions change. It’s the one thing we can count on: change.


  2. Kathleen

    I think the best approach to eating is to not be completely dogmatic about it. Just choose your food wisely (like your battles) and you won’t be setting yourself up for failure. I have given up dairy, except for a little dollop of organic milk in my morning coffee. I don’t really miss the rest. Who knows, I may even have a slice of pizza at some point, and I don’t think it will kill me.


    • I agree. That’s why I’m really sort of surprised how my diet has changed. I was just getting used to eating anything I wanted in moderation so to feel this need to really step back from that and then to have my body lead me more than my conscious intention…it’s just been a surprise. As I wrote, I’ll be even MORE surprised if I’m still a vegan in twelve months (or even twelve weeks) time. I’m just going to pretend my week in Pennsylvania is not a part of this particular space/time continuum.


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