Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

No need to say it. I know, I know. I'm late...

But I'm celebrating the New Year in true French fashion-- that is, no matter what time of year it is, if you see a friend for the first time since the calendar changed, you wish them a Happy New Year. It's a nice cultural tradition that I guess gives me an excuse for being such a lazy blogger (oops!).

The truth is, January has been one of the busiest/craziest/give-me-prozac-now months I've had in a while. I thought that winter term would give me plenty of time to relax, socialize, and maybe get straight A's (well, at least I managed that one...phew). But in reality, I barely had time to unpack.

Couple classes everyday with my full-time winter term gig as a Recruitment Counselor, and you may understand why I've been a little stressed. But add this new vegan (yes, vegan) diet I'm trying... cut to me in full panic mode.

I've been a pescetarian since January 2nd, 2010. And yeah, I remember the date. And it's all because of a particularly traumatizing back-to-school grocery shopping trip at good ole Wal-Mart. Sorry, but Wal-marts anywhere are bad. Wal-Marts in Burlington, North Carolina? Ugh. Barf. No.

I took one look at the "Great Value" frozen chicken breasts and practically gagged. What the heck made that chicken so much cheaper than, say, Perdu? I didn't want to know. From that point on, meat and chicken and pork and anything that came from a lovable animal was off the menu.

Before that point, I honestly did love steak. I loved chicken. And I really liked turkey. But I just learned too much (not to worry, I will spare you what I know now). I also had my trusty New Year's resolution to keep me on track-- I figured I'd try pescetarian for a month and if I liked it, I'd keep going until I didn't.

Well, fast-forward to New Year's 2011, and I moved on to a new resolution-- vegan. Scary? Yes. Challenging? Yeah. Most people flat out ask, "Uh, whyyy?" There are a lot of reasons to explain why, but mostly I just respond, "because I want to." So, like the year before, I decided to try it for a month and see how I liked it. (For 2011, I've also vowed to completely give up tanning, take public transportation whenever I can, and support local farmers. The french culture made a pretty big impact on me.)

At first, yes, I liked eating vegan: not so hard, plenty of options at restaurants, and I genuinely like eating vegetables and tofu. I bought all my vitamins, and by January 1st, 2011, had given up all meat, fish, and dairy. I figured that the sheer volume of cheese that I had consumed while in Paris would hold me over for a while.

But after a week or so, I was feeling down. I couldn't really explain it, but it was probably a combination of superstress and being (what I'm calling), a stupid vegan. I hadn't had time to do the proper research, and it was coming back to bite me in my non-dairy ass.

After 30 days of vegan livin' (with one or two slip-ups that I fully blame on chocolate), I didn't really feel satisfied. I love to cook, yet I had racked up less than 10 vegan recipes in a full month. I wanted to do it the right way before I gave up.

And with that, I officially enter Month #2. I've got new books, a new schedule, and a new goal.

Let's hope stupid vegan doesn't follow me to February.

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