Day three began with a question: cafe au lait, or cafe au soy?
Whichever would I choose?!?
I conceptualized the vegan week experiment a few weeks ago, and shared my idea with my friend N. We're both vegetarians and yoga dorks, and we were curious about eating detox programs or plans, and I told her my tentative plan.
After a semester, nay, an academic year of stress, and laxity about my healthy habits, I needed to do something more dramatic than simply eating less and exercising more in order to shake up my system.
I settled on veganism rather than the more hard core (and, in my mind, unhealthy) juice fast, or the more challenging all whole, unprocessed foods paths. I've read about the dairy and egg industries enough to know that they're both problematic. I've read about the side effects of dairy foods--and wondered how my allergies (trees, grass, pollen, certain raw fruits) might react to no dairy. I wanted to know how much more difficult it would be to live and eat vegan rather than vegetarian.
The fact that I was ready to quit after two days speaks volumes--for me, this was a difficult leap.
With supportive comments on this blog and the various social networks I'm part of, as well as the inner over-achiever cheerleading loudly, I did not give in.
I went to Starbucks.
On Wednesday mornings, my favorite yoga teacher leads a power yoga class that challenges me...and also keeps me from eating a full breakfast beforehand. On occasion, I've gone to Starbucks afterwards for their perfect oatmeal (meh, but quick and tasty and healthier than most restaurant breakfast options in this town) and a latte. Yesterday I ordered a double tall soy latte, and somehow the baristas worked their corporate coffee magic, because the steamy, creamy beverage tasted blissful.
I survived the coffee test, and ate light vegan foods throughout the day, including a plate of hummus and veggies alongside a broiled smart dog for lunch, and a snack of triscuits and peanut butter once again in the afternoon.
The second test of the day was dinner. Late afternoon temperatures soared towards 90, and after an overheated walk and with a slow-to-kick-in air conditioner, I wasn't in the mood to cook. Gregg and I walked to our favorite Italian deli, where I ordered the veggie pasta salad: tri-color rotini with crisp carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, red peppers, and onion in an Italian vinaigrette. Our server set down a plate of garlic bread. To eat or not? To question or not?
The irony: today I wanted to eat it, so I hoped they didn't use real butter. Every other time I eat it, I hope and pray they use butter.
The night was lovely--an orange sun glowed in the Western sky and the warm air was tempered with a fragrant breeze. We walked to the nicest restaurant in town for good wine and beer, and the server poured my second glass (of Vermentino) full, full, full. We walked home through damp streets and heard echoey thunder in the distance. Upon reaching the top of the stairs, I promptly went to bed.
Lessons of the day: a day of light vegan food is not enough to support several glasses of wine! Also, wine is a delicious part of any dietary plan! And, finally, being surprised by difficulty is a wonderful challenge.