Vegetarian or Vegan?

It has been awhile since I posted. While I haven’t been scanning my daily meal drawings, I have continued to research and delve into the whole vegan/vegetarian lifestyle.

The line between vegetarian and vegan seems to be huge, and I feel like I sit on the fence on it, but am ready to jump off. If you are vegetarian, there are plenty of food options, people seem much less intimidated to invite you to dinner, you seem a lot less, I don’t know, judgmental or uptight.

I always viewed veganism as being too extreme for me. It turns people off and is just more difficult. I did eat vegan strictly for one month, and have cut back on all dairy and eggs at home.

As I have learned more about the dairy industry, and egg production, I can’t enjoy these products. There are so many options here in Portland, it is pretty easy to find delicious alternatives.

I’ll admit, it is hardest for me on the social side. I feel rude sometimes, or like a difficult guest to stick to my food choices. Especially since all my life I have had no restrictions or food allergies. I know it has caused us to be off the list of guests at times for dinner because it seems really hard for the menu planner.

I would rather bring a salad, and join friends, than be left out of a gathering for our food preferences. I would guess that most vegans don’t expect the main course to be catered to them, and are happy to have a side dish to eat, or bring something to the dinner to share, that they can eat. I don’t know for sure since we don’t know many other vegans- but that is how I feel. I imagine it is the same for the gluten-free folks as well.

One weekend this summer, we had our good friends visit. We’re mostly vegan, they are on the paleo diet. Sounded like it might be a nightmare for mealtimes, but in fact it was fine. We focused on the foods we could share- fruit, vegetables, nuts… and for shared meals put the grains, breads, legumes on the side for us. Meat, fish and eggs on the side for them. It was surprisingly easy. If it can work with those two extremes, it can work with anyone.

Although I still feel like being flexible in some situations about dairy or eggs (for example, I see nothing wrong with eating a fresh chicken egg from someone’s backyard chickens), I’m going to stick more closely to my plant-based diet. Hopefully I can share some of the new foods and delicious recipes I’ve discovered with others.