Livin la Vida Vegan Day 4 (gray hairs and soybean compost)

September 20, 2017

“Hey girl! How’s that food thing … vegan thing, going?” a friend asked via Facebook messenger.
“Oh my gosh, hi! Good, good. It hasn’t been too bad actually. You just really have to plan” I answered.
“Have you lost weight?”
“I mean, maybe? But I don’t think so. Lol It’s been 3 days, so …”
“So crazy. Good for you tho. And you’re writing about it every day on your blog, right?”
“That’s the goal” I typed.
“Are you worried about losing followers, if they aren’t into the vegan thing?”
“Well, ‘followers’ might be a generous term … but I haven’t really thought about it. I guess I definitely could.”
“I’m sure it will be fine. Good luck! Let me know how much weight you lose. Maybe I’ll try it.”
“Yup, thanks for checking in!”

So, I guess I should start by saying that, if you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you for checking in on our progress and showing interest and hanging in there for as long as you choose to hang in. We here at DSS hope you get a new recipe along the way, at the very least, or get inspired to play around with your food a bit, at the very most. We will return to our irregularly scheduled content on September 30.

If you aren’t reading this, I’m sorry you’re a total turd.

Juuuuust kidding, friends! If you aren’t into this vegan journey, I don’t blame you. It’s not on everybody’s bucket list and certainly extreme by certain standards. I realize a lot of people don’t want to look at their plate as a prescription of any sort, and that’s totally cool. There’s a joy in just enjoying what tastes beautiful to you – butter, goat cheese, tender ribs, warm chocolate chip cookies – oh my gosh, somebody slap me across the face and shake my shoulders right now!

This friend’s questions came the night before I started questioning this whole thing myself. I am exhausted. If my energy level was a gas tank, the needle would be at the level where you start searching for your AAA membership. I could have slept forever this morning. I have zero desire to work out. I’m feeling the opposite of everything I was hoping to feel.

Plus, Hank and I are both up 2 pounds. Isn’t that hilarious? I mean just a freaking riot?

7:30 a.m.
I had the same breakfast shake I had yesterday. It’s pretty much a staple for me. I almost always have the ingredients on hand and surprisingly it gets me through the morning rush. No cinnamon this morning though.

“Mom, I used the rest of your cinnamon,” Spike said, when I came downstairs this morning. “I needed it to make a bowl of cinnamon and sugar for my toast. Put it on the grocery list, I guess, K? From the spices store.”

Yup, yup, I’m on it, Chief.

It’s raining here. Zero juice in the tank, plus a gray, cloudy sky and rain streaks on my office window equals struggle bus. This is best illustrated by the fact I forgot my backpack at home, which had my work laptop. I realized this, of course, standing in the office parking lot under an umbrella. I stood in a puddle and pouted for a solid minute. Because I am a grownup.

If anything, it bought me an extra 15 minutes with Rich. This morning he started getting into his actual switch to the vegan diet. His rules are simple: Eat plants, as close to their natural state as possible, at every meal, every day, all colors, all forms. He avoids most processed foods and goes easy on the sugar. Seems totally manageable.

He wrote about the cleanse that initially brought him to this dietary transition, and how he was so sick, down on the couch feeling like shit. Is that what this is? Is this sluggish state my version of his cleanse? (Oh my gosh, you guys, I’m just like Rich Roll!) I’m just 12 days away from running 13 miles, so let’s hope things pick up here, preferably by the time I step to the starting line.

12:15 p.m.
Lunch was a repeat as well. Quinoa/rice blend, mixed greens, salad topper nut and dried fruit mix and Greek dressing. Plus that bomb ass vegetable hummus with tortilla chips. If it ain’t broke …

Hank called to check in. He took a frozen vegetable bowl I picked up at Costco and a whole cucumber from the garden for lunch.

“A whole cucumber?!”
“I’m really starting to get serious, here,” he said. God love this man.
“Do you feel tired?” I asked.
“Yeah! I didn’t sleep well last night. You’re tired?”
“Yeah, but I slept fine. I’m just so sluggish today.”
“You should really think about altering your diet.” he said.

One problem with my go-to midday meal? Those little black bastards in the quinoa love to settle in between my teeth. I had a black bullseye right in the dead center today heading into a meeting. Thank goodness for brutally honest work friends who grab you and say, “What the hell is in your teeth?” It looked like I ate an army of baby ants for lunch.

5:30 p.m.
Another day, another crazy night. My dear friend Kelly squeezed me in for highlights and a trim tonight, but she needed me to come as soon as I could after work. Hank volunteered to pick up the chicks from the sitter so I could rush home and throw dinner together.

I went back to the Vegan for Everybody cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen again. This time Shiitake Ramen. Hank might be a fungi, but he isn’t much for mushrooms, so I was a little nervous about this one. (I know, let’s just move on.)

All was sizzling and poppin’ along until I got to step 4. Simmer for 1 hour. FUUUUUQQQQ!! Who do these test kitchen people think I am that I have an hour to let dinner just hang out on the stove? I turned the burner down to low heat, put a lid on the pot and left Hank a voicemail: “The ramen needs to simmer for an hour … I’m so sorry … please finish it up … I’m so sorry … I won’t be home late … sorry.” That shit better be good, I thought, grabbing my favorite crackers and a pouch of Justin’s angel spread on my way out the door.

The great thing about having your best friend do your hair is that you get an hour and a half to download each other on everything. The kids, work, your foolish dietary pursuits. There are just a handful of scenarios that can sabotage a night like this, and they include but are not limited to, the discovery of a patch of gray hairs and having your stray eyebrow locks ripped from your face like a hundred foot-long carrots from a late summer garden. Coincidentally both of those things happened tonight.

I came home and Hank had the girls up in the tub (a saint, he is) so I started piling the components of the ramen into a bowl. Anything that simmers for 60 minutes on my stove better have unicorns and diamonds in it. It didn’t. The taste was … earthy. Almost nothing. I think the ramen could be dressed up with the right recipe, but this wasn’t it.

“I think I might have put too much miso in,” Hank said.
“What is miso, anyway?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I think it’s compost. Like, soybean compost. It’s aged a year.”

We went down to inspect the label. It had blue ridge mountain well water listed on the label. It smelled a bit like compost … it looked a lot like compost … And the worst part is, I went looking for this. I sought it out. At three different stores. I don’t know what I’m doing to us anymore.

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