Chocolate and Cupcakes, Oh my!
Well, I did it. My first Christmas as a vegan. The most difficult part? The chocolate orange my mother gets for all of us every year since time began has “milk ingredients” in it even though it's dark chocolate (which is often “safe”). So I had a very sad moment when I read that on the box. My partner, however, gave me lots of vegan chocolate in my stocking, so all is not lost.
It's interesting how the mindset towards veganism takes place. Some of my family members had steak for Christmas dinner (none of them are turkey fans). Eons ago I loved a nice, rare steak – it was one of my favourite meals; even after many years of being a vegetarian, steak still looked soooo good, and I would sometimes have a small bite of someone else's (so I wasn't a very good vegetarian!).
When I first went vegan, I felt like I was really missing out. No more bites of steak – ever. No more cheese (this one was particularly difficult). I had to give up yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese; so many things. Funny thing though, the transition was pretty short. Now, not only do I not want those things, but some of them turn my stomach a little. Sitting at a dinner table watching three people eat steak was kind of icky. Not only did I not want any, but I was kind of grossed out even having it on the table; I just kept thinking about cows and how mind boggling (and sad) it is that eating them is still a thing.
My own plate consisted of a Gardein brand stuffed “turkey” roll thingie, some roasted mushrooms and Brussels sprouts, and some vegan stuffing – all covered in vegan gravy. I also had some vegan cupcakes I purchased. The meal was fantastic and I did not for one second feel that I was giving anything up at that table; in fact, I felt much more that I had gained something. So I missed out on a little bit of orange flavoured chocolate; first world problems, as they say.
I have absorbed a huge amount of knowledge and perspective during this first (almost) year of veganism. There was so much about farming, land use, global warming etc., that I knew nothing about. I have read books, and studies, and watched documentaries during this past year and I know a whole lot more than I did when I started. That knowledge is much of the reason that cheese no longer looks even slightly appetizing, and steak is just plain gross. Knowledge is power; I have changed my life based on what I know now, and my body and my mind are happier for it.
My Christmas was a good one – one of the best I've had for awhile. I still managed to stuff my face at dinner, eat ridiculous amounts of fudge and chocolate all day long, and do the annual moaning about eating too much. I did this while knowing that I was holding true to my convictions, and lessening the effects of at least one person on the environment. One person isn't much, but when you add us all up – well, change is upon us and it feels good.