You Think You Love Food?

I love food. I mean, I love it in a way that extends beyond emotion. Good food can soothe the soul, tame a temper, or intoxicate a lover. There is nothing so satisfying as engrossing conversation between deep friends over a grand meal.

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Adopting a vegan lifestyle, however, can seem to limit food options. In fact, some people I know (even within my family) think the only type of person that can give up eating anything that is, or comes from, any animal must be the kind of person that hates food. After all, how can I say I love food but ban all meat, cheese, milk, butter, ranch dressing, and nearly every type of candy bar made by Hershey, Nestle, Mars, or Cadbury?

Was I born with malformed taste buds or something? How can I resist such yummy treats and barbecued meats?

Here’s the deal. In my opinion, vegans are the REAL foodies; everyone else just likes food.

The way I see it, most people eat indiscriminately. We stuff our faces with anything that says “tastes great!” on the label. (If you were just now protesting that you do not stuff your face with most anything marketed to you, consider reading the listed ingredients on the last hot dog you enjoyed.)

Vegans (and even more so, raw foodists) do not eat unconsciously. Instead, we discriminate, and sometimes with ardor. We choose to eat only the best food available, the most nourishing, and the most healthful. It is because of our deep love of food and the pleasure it brings our bodies that we typically choose organic over genetically modified, natural over highly processed, real over chemical, and healthy over fatty.

Where unconscious eaters see healthful diets as akin to being eternally damned to eating only grass and tasteless tofu the rest of their lives, my experience of being vegan is completely opposite. Going vegan taught me to appreciate more types and flavors of food than I ever knew existed before. When I was a “meatie”, I ate basically the same thing wherever I went. Regardless of the restaurant or time of day, every meal consisted of meat, cheese, and carbohydrates. Breakfast- omelet, sausage, biscuit. Lunch- burger, fries. Dinner- pizza.

Being vegan forced me into options I never would have considered before: tofu, tempeh, seitan, tomato kibbee, lychee, carrot juice, lentil soups, brown rice, vegetable sushi, and much, much, much, much more… Every meal is different now, each one offering a new experience, a new adventure. Traveling to other towns and finding their organic/vegan hotspots is always a rewarding journey with many pleasant surprises.

 

You see, you have to really love food to choose a vegan or raw lifestyle. You have to be willing to pay a little more for the finer things. And what is a more important expense than the fuel that runs your body? Don’t be afraid to throw a few extra bucks into the grocery bill and eat right; it is the best use of your money by far, against almost any other expense. To be vegan, you have to want the very best for your body and your health. You have to be discriminate, educated, and conscious about what you put in and on your body.

You have to want the best because you deserve it and you have to love food enough to say “No” to bad food. You think you love food? Maybe you do. But ask a vegan about her favorite dish and watch her zeal as she describes something that sounds more like a vacation than a meal.

Now, that’s someone who loves food.

2 Replies to “You Think You Love Food?”

  1. Good article. However, I think you’re assuming that all non-vegans are unconscious eaters. In fact, many meat-eaters are very conscious of what they eat, as are vegetarians. Similarly, many vegans are not entirely conscious, and require B-12 shots in the @ss for the rest of their lives. Everything is relative to an individual’s specific dietary habits. Anyone can love food, and I don’t think being vegan means that non-vegans cannot be as interested or involved in food choice as they are.

    1. Nope. Only vegans are conscious eaters and it’s all of them. Non-vegans, vegetarians, and people with other dietary habits have no clue. Also, all white people are racist and all women should stay home and wash dishes.

      My biting (or hopefully witty) sarcasm aside, of course I am generalizing. People like Tony Horton clearly have a good grasp of optimizing their diets and are non-vegans, but it would have doubled the size of the post to list all the exceptions. My intent was to exploit the generalization from the other direction–that non-vegans think vegans must be nuts for eating the way they eat.

      Great point, though. There are many vegans and vegetarians that are not health conscious. Whenever a pasty-faced, pale-skinned, overly thin, sickly looking person excitedly introduces themselves as a PETA-loving full-on veggie-eating vegan, a little part of me thinks, “Gosh, that’s too bad; people like you are the ones who get stereotyped and give the rest of us a bad name”. It’s just a little part of me, but it’s there…

      And B-12 shots in the butt? That’s horrible. Hasn’t anybody told them about multi-vitamins?

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