I am going on 15 years of being a mostly-vegetarian (occasional fish, mostly in the form of sushi), but vegan remains an elusive concept that I can't picture because I love eggs and cheese so much. LOVE. Like the other night we went to a diner and I got an omelet and cheesecake. I LOVE eggs and cheese.
Erica's mom apparently had success with weight loss after switching to a vegan diet, and thus Erica wants to try the same. We're going to 'go veganish' for four weeks - ending May 27 - and see what happens. "Veganish" means that, while we will read ingredients, I'm not going to be overly obsessive about it. I'll stick to it as best as possible, but if an Amazing Sushi Opportunity happens, I'm not turning it down. Capiche? So why did I agree to this? I think Erica is approaching it more as a crash diet, but I'm approaching it as a challenge. You know I love challenges. I'm curious to see if I can manage to eat mostly-vegan for a month.
Eating "veganish" will force me to really evaluate recipes and try new things with my cooking, whether it's trying something new or modifying something old. I read one of Denise's paleo cookbooks while I was in Oregon and, while the paleo diet is completely incompatible with being vegetarian, the idea of using fresh, unprocessed foods as much as possible is something that I want to try to incorporate into this challenge as well. I don't want it all just to be mock-turkey and tofu cream cheese and soy "cheeze" and all the other super-processed meat stand-ins. We all know I love my soy crumbles, but I'm not going to go out of my way to veganize a vegetarian recipe solely by substituting in mock dairy ingredients. The farmer's market opens next weekend and that provides an exceptional opportunity to really start working with fresh, local produce again.
So our first meal was Curried Lentil Soup, which I've made before and loved. Something was off this time - I'm not sure if it was the quality of the lentils or if it was the lack of butter? But it wasn't as great as it could have been. This was Erica's first experience with lentils and with curry, so eh, but yay for vegan day 1!