Sunday, June 10, 2012


I got 99 problems but pepperoni ain't one.  Seriously, it's hard being a vegan, but it's got nothing to do with red meat.  It's cheese baby, cheese. And it's not because I crave cheese; it's because the world is covered in cheese.

In the past two weeks The Herbal Remedy Wife has forced me to go to two really good Mexican restaurants, where I couldn't eat anything. That is just cruel and unusual punishment, because there's nada for a vegan at Casa Del Cheese.

There is a website called Vegan Eating Out, which is dedicated to informing vegans about what options they have at various chain restaurants in the United States.  You just type in the name of the place and website tells you all the things you can eat, which usually isn't very much. And herein lies the big problem with being a vegan: you've got no social life because you can't go out to eat anywhere! You've got to stay in your house like a hermit and eat tofu and tempeh.

Even if you are a recluse and never leave your house being vegan is still hard, because you have to stay on your toes.  I accidentally cheated on my diet when I ate some Italian Sausage-less sausage. I thought it was safe, but only after I had a couple of links did I take a hard look at the ingredients and discovered that it contained egg white powder. It's vegetarian, but it's not vegan. Can you believe it - foiled by egg white powder! I immediately called the vegan police and reported the crime.  You know, the vegan police.  The people who refuse to sit on a leather couch, and junk like that.

And if all that wasn't bad enough - here is the big kicker.  Last week a hard-core vegan tried to convince me that Guinness, the beer I love, isn't vegan. Whatcha you talkin bout Willis? Beer is barley and hops and stuff.  There's no meat in Guinness!!! But he told me they use isinglass in Guinness, so it's not vegan.  Isinglass?  What the hell is isinglass? Well, I Googled it, and it's the bladder of a fish and it's used - no joke - in the production of some types of beer to remove yeast. If Guinness isn't vegan... well baby, that's a deal breaker!

I've got one more week to go in this 21-day challenge and my refrigerator is stuffed with vegan options, like a frozen Tofurkey Pepperoni Pizza. It's got meatless pepperoni and non-dairy imitation cheese.  Now, that sounds yummy!  But seven days from now I'm having a Guinness and goat cheese party.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


The Skeptical Husband brings up some interesting points to ponder. Is he losing weight by avoiding fast food alone or is it the vegan diet that is causing him to lose weight? Here’s the deal, one pretty much avoids all saturated fat by eating a vegan diet. That’s big time. So let’s say The Skeptical Husband eats 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. So 5 times a day for 7 days straight he has chosen not to consume saturated fat. That’s 35 times he said no to saturated fat. No wonder he is shedding the pounds.
The other thing is that when you're vegan you say no to the many foods that you are offered throughout your day. You're offered a slice of pizza at a kids party. You ask if it is vegan. Of course the answer is no. This little scenario repeats itself throughout the day and week at potlucks, parties, bake sales, food samples at stores, etc. As a vegan you are forced to say no to most of these calories you never wanted or needed anyway.
Recently we discussed whether a vegan food truck would do well in our community. Here’s what I’ve concluded, unfortunately the answer is NO. Most Americans have developed an addiction to saturated fats because they taste good. That’s why there are so few vegan items on most restaurant menus.  Just think about how the husband said that the vegan cheese was acceptable. Most diners don’t want to part with their money at a restaurant that has acceptable food, they want their food to taste amazing. For most long term vegans health, the planet, and ethical eating are their top priorities when it comes to food. Fantastic flavor is a bit lower on the list. Sadly, for the general population this mindset is rare.
Regarding the husband's circulation issue, I am quite surprised! You would think if a vegan diet causes nutritional deficiencies, the side effects would not be noticeable for months or even years. I’ve read that stores of Vitamin B-12 in your body will get you through the first few months of veganism. Honestly, I think perhaps The Skeptical Husband’s body is undergoing a bit a shock to the system after regularly consuming animal products for his entire life. I’d love to hear a nutritionist weigh in on this issue.
I can say for certain that long term vegans should find out what constitutes proper vegan nutrition, and then, if necessary, supplement any nutritional deficiencies with plant-based protein powders, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D2, vegan DHA capsules, iron, and calcium. Keep in mind that it is not advisable for pregnant women and babies to consume a vegan diet.  

That being said The Skeptical Husband brought up a good point the other day. According to Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet, humans are not meant to eat meat. If we were our teeth and digestive systems would be designed differently. The husband’s argument is that if humans are designed to only eat plants then vegans would not experience any nutritional deficiencies and would not need to supplement their diets with vitamins to stay healthy. Hummm??? Food for thought.    


Monday, June 4, 2012


I completed my first week as a vegan. I am proud to report that I went hardcore and there was ZERO cheating.

In just seven days I've lost four pounds.  I don't know if that is normal, but it seems like a lot of weight in just one week - especially considering that I am not starving myself.  In fact, I am eating a lot, but I'm just eating differently.

So here is the big question - did I drop four pounds directly or indirectly as the result of the vegan diet?  Is my weight loss the result of not eating any animal products or is the weight loss the result of not going to Taco Bell because a 7 Layer Burrito isn't vegan friendly? What I am wondering is this - could I have lost four pounds last week if I continued drinking milk and eating meat at home as long I just simply avoided going to fast food restaurants? 

The weight loss has been a nice benefit to the vegan diet, but the diet has not been all positive.  I have some tingling in my hands, which I have never experienced before. I am guessing that the tingling is some type of blood circulation problem.  I did a bit of internet research and discovered that blood circulation problems are a common side-effect from a vegan diet.

I read that vegans are vulnerable to deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids, which are commonly found in fish. Your body needs omega-3 fatty acids for brain memory and performance, behavior, vision, reduction of tissue inflammation and heart and nervous system health.  A deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids can cause a lot of health problems, including poor blood circulation - which I suspect is what is going on with me. 

The Herbal Remedy Wife gave me a vegan omega-3 supplement to take, which tasted like this awful "medicine" my Aunt Versie would cook up in the hills of Kentucky in the 1970s. 

If a vegan diet is so healthy why do I have to take supplements? Seriously, if a vegan diet is so great than shouldn't the diet by itself provide a person with all of their nutritional needs?

Maybe I was a bit naive, but before I started the vegan diet I thought the only potential risk was that it would be low in protein and I'd have to eat a bucketful of nuts each day to make sure I was getting the amount of protein I needed. But it turns out there are a lot of potential health concerns with being a vegan.  But if you don't believe me then listen to Lance Armstrong:  

Friday, June 1, 2012


Nothing makes my mouth water like the sound of these two little words… vegan cheese. Hmmm, yum. Just the thought of this dairy substitute stirs me into a frenzy. I jest of course. Vegan cheese is totally nasty, or so I thought.

Last night The Herbal Remedy Wife made me a vegan pizza, using a vegan mozzarella cheese.  I didn’t have high expectations.  It looked like cheese.  It felt like cheese.  But would it taste like cheese?

Now I should preface my review of vegan cheese by saying this - I really like mozzarella cheese. I mean, I really like it. And I am not talking about just any mozzarella cheese.  I love the real stuff – unpasteurized buffalo mozzarella, made from the milk from an Italian water buffalo.
Well, the vegan mozzarella didn’t taste anything like buffalo mozzarella. Not even close.  But it didn’t taste bad.  If I had to describe it in one word I’d say it was “acceptable.” 

On the vegan diet “acceptable” seems to be the benchmark to strive for. So I was pretty happy that the mozzarella cheese passed the test. 

Overall the vegan pizza, with mushrooms, olives and acceptable cheese, was decent.  I am actually looking forward to having it again, but next time I’m going to make it a bit more posh and add some capers.

Oh, one caveat – vegan cheese will make you very, very gassy. The Herbal Remedy Wife is telling me I need to take a digestive enzyme.  Right, either I could do that or I could just eat buffalo mozzarella.