You may or may not have gone back to my other blog by now and read my "about me" post. A lot has changed since then, but I never changed that post. I just trusted that people would figure it out as they followed the blog. So what's different? Here goes...
In November of 2004, I left my job at the TV station in Maine for several reasons... but mostly to prepare to move to Cambridge, MA, following my boyfriend Kevin, who had gotten a new job in TV news. I moved in May of 2005. I, however, did not get back into TV production. But I'm over that now. Instead, I ended up in the natural foods industry, at a famous chain of natural/organic grocery stores that tends to remain nameless in my writing. I'll tell you that it's NOT Trader Joe's. Don't get me started on them!!!
In January of 2006, Kev got a job in The Very Big City, AKA New York. I stayed in Cambridge until our lease was up, and then moved to NYC in May of 2006. I stayed with the same company I'd been with in Cambridge, and am still with it now, though I've moved from the Grocery department to the Body Care department, as a buyer. It's OK, but I'm pretty tired of retail. I spent 9 years in retail in Maine before moving along to TV.
So what's this blog about? The following is the post I wrote for Culinary Epiphanies in late January. I thought that since that blog has evolved from a food blog to a more general life blog, and since my lifestyle has recently changed, and since I'm working on a little project now, that I'd start a new blog to reflect those changes...
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Just so you know, I'm going vegan.
For all intents and purposes, I'm well on my way to veganism. I've been a vegetarian for almost fourteen years, and I even went through what I lovingly refer to as "my vegan phase" ten or so years ago. I read some John Robbins, but skipped over the really graphic parts (can you say "denial?), but still was convinced to do away with dairy and eggs. But I was weak then, and only lasted a couple of months. I, like so many other vegetarians on the planet, thought I couldn't possibly kick my cheese addiction. So I lived in denial for many, many years. Until last Thursday.
But let's backtrack for a moment.
I've always been hypersensitive toward animals and their welfare. I've never been able to watch nature shows on TV. I still, to this day, well into my 30s(!) can't eat a chocolate bunny. I can't even watch happy Disney movies about animals, because something bad always happens somewhere to someone, even though I know there will be a happy ending. I just don't need that stress in my life! When I did eat meat, I only ate beef, poultry, pork, and seafood. No deer. No rabbit. No veal. And absotively, posilutely NO DUCK. Nothing that I thought would make a good pet (of course, now, I think chickens and cows [and especially ducks] could make great pets!). I always tell people it's a miracle that I didn't "go veg" long before 1994.
So over the past few years, and more so in recent months, I've contemplated a return to veganism. But the cheese kept holding me back.
Over the past couple of years, I've grown increasingly fascinated by the world of nutrition. I've done a lot of reading and researching, and my fascination has recently morphed into an obsession. I scan websites, newspapers, TV, and bookshelves for information on the subject. I've learned so, so much about the effect food has on our health. Especially the effects of animal products. Remember when I mentioned my "cheese addiction?" Well, it just so happens that casein, a protein in milk, is closely related to morphine! And it's much more concentrated in cheese than in milk, yogurt, and the like. Yikes! And that's on top of all the mucus that dairy produces in our bodies, the hormones and antibiotics so prevalent in commercial dairy products, the excessive protein content of milk leaching calcium from our bones, and the fact that human just aren't made to digest the milk of other animals. In fact, humans aren't even made to digest human milk after about the age of 5! So why is it OK for us to consume the milk of other mammals? Ever?!?
And don't even get me started on eggs. I'm shuddering just thinking about them. Maybe I'll rant about them another time.
I got an ipod earlier this month and put a ton of music on it. And then I started exploring podcasts. On food. And nutrition. Because that's what I dork out on these days. And I found a podcast called "Vegetarian Food for Thought" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I listened to a few episodes, and told people how much I liked the podcast, but that I still didn't see myself ever returning to veganism. Even though I totally believe in the evils of dairy. A little cheese is OK once in a while, right? Because no one dies for milk, right? Cows make milk. We drink milk. Everyone's happy, right?
Then I listened to a podcast about the poultry industry. About how all those "cage-free" eggs I've consumed over the years aren't any more humane than conventional eggs. "Cage-free" means nothing. at. all. Right then and there, I swore I'd never eat another egg as long as I live. But I was still OK with cheese.
A couple hours later, I listened to an episode about the dairy industry. And how it feeds the beef industry. And the veal industry. Yes, people… it all ties together. Milk begets beef begets milk begets veal begets milk.
Away went the dairy products from my life. Just like that.
Not much of what Colleen talked about in these podcasts was anything I hadn't heard before. But she just conveys information in a way that really has an effect on me. She was, for me, the final straw. She really got through to me.
Now, in reading this, you may think that I was a total cheese freak. I really wasn't. A few ounces a week was pretty much it for me. But I thought I at least needed the option. Milk, however, I've always been able to live without. I never had to sit at the table until I finished my supper. I was always a "good eater." I had to sit at the table until I finished my milk! With fluoride drops added. Because all my teeth would rot away by the age of 12 without all that calcium and fluoride.
What's interesting about all of this is that there was almost nothing in my house that I had to throw away to exorcise the animal products. An almost empty box of crackers that had milk in them. Half a carton of eggs. Some parmesan cheese. And an almost empty tub of Boursin. I've been very low dairy for a long time. This won't be much of an adjustment for me at all.
I know what you're thinking now. "But Kelli, you can't eat cheese anymore! Or ice cream! Or pizza!!!"
Let's get something straight: I can eat anything I want. But I choose not to eat those things anymore. So don't feel sorry for me. Please. And Amy's makes a fantastic cheese-free pizza. You really should try it!
So why, at the top of this page, did I qualify myself by saying I'm "sort of" going vegan? Because I'm never going to be a perfect vegan. I'm not going to throw away my leather shoes and purse, but I won't buy new ones. I'll always have cats, because I love them so much, and I'll always feed them meat-based food, because they're carnivores. And I haven't yet heard or read anything that convinces me that I should stop consuming honey. But I'm going to do what I can to save a few hundred animals' lives each year. I'm going to do what I can to lead a more compassionate existence. I'm going to do what I can to make a difference, no matter how small people may think it is.
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There you have it. I still plan to keep up the other blog, but I will post info related to my new lifestyle and my "little project" here. Stick with me... on both sites! I'm more motivated than I've been in the past couple of years. =)