Last night I had a full pound burger and added the whole shebang : over easy eggs, sautéed onions, mushrooms, thick slide of extra sharp cheddar cheese, ketchup, dijon mustard, dill pickles, and mayo. Just remembering the juicy patty on my taste buds makes my mouth water.
The carnivore supper celebrated the end of 10 days of vegan eating, where I decided to not eat anything of animal origin (including but not limited to eggs, milk, honey, cheese, or meat). Part of it, I think, was to see if it would help with some stomach issues I’ve been having, the other part because of a fast. Even if that meant abstaining from my Cuban tamales because the ingredients listed dry milk. But seriously, why would anyone make tamales with milk? The same question made me realize I should probably be buying fresh tamales anyway, in favor of frozen ones.
Experiencing life from another’s lens opens new worlds, and thanks to the vegan challenge, I feel a lot closer to understanding vegetarians and vegans. I rediscovered through vegan-on-a-budget fasting the joy of choice, and a deeper appreciation for both meat and veggies.
What were my impressions overall?
1. Depending on how you go vegan, it’s probably not the diet for those worried about diabetes. I discovered during the 10 days that my hemoglobin A1C is high. I have a family history of diabetes, and I was eating a lot of carbs to replace the fullness factor of meat protein. Veggies don’t fill me up.
2. Finding vegan eats in Miami is miserable. I went to hamburguesa on Bayside, and ordered the “veggan burger,” for $8. They ask me what kind of bread I want with it… But their bread isn’t vegan. They can replace the bread with sweet potato fries for $3, which includes a drink, but it’s not worth the money since I drink tap water. I’d think vegetarians and vegans also refrain from artificial drinks. Sorry, it’s overpriced to ask customers for $11 for a patty and a small order of fries. Lesson learned: Being vegan can mean spending more. There should be a way to replace the bread for something else free of charge. Another lesson learned: Don’t trust a “veggan burger” if they can’t spell vegan right.
3. Be prepared to go hungry. Be ware of going to restaurants. After browsing the menu, you might settle for a sad item on the menu, like a house salad or sweet potato fries. Neither which are cheap enough or exciting enough to consume in big quantities until the stomach is full.
4. Find creative ways of getting protein. Chia seeds and sesame seeds have a lot of protein (3 tbsp sesame seeds = 6 g protein), plus other nutrients like iron. Peanut butter also has protein, but now you’ll have to figure out what to eat it with since you don’t eat bread anymore If you like Tofu, buy it at the Asian market, where you can get $4 worth of Tofu for $1.50.
5. Be open to try new things with veggies. You can sprout your own beans, cook with coconut oil instead of butter for a sweeter flavor, make malanga chips. The possibilities are endless. Try new options, like bok choy or taro root.
My fridge is full of the produce section, even after the vegan challenge ended. It was a good fast, as my stomach issues subsided by the second day, as well as the associated back pain that came in pairs with my stomach issues. Will I keep this lifestyle if it worked out so well?
Nooooooooo. Noooooooooooo, it’s too inconvenient but I’ll compromise. I’ll try to eat more protein from nuts and tofu, and include more veggies in my diet. That also means cutting the amounts of processed and canned foods in my diet.
But not burgers… I will never give up burgers… burgers and bacon.