Everything was bathed in olive oil, fresh foods, roasted potatoes…if you could avoid the feta and the fish, you’d be in a vegan-approved land of culinary delight. I got the hummus with pita, roasted lemon potatoes without the feta, the gigantes (giant lima beans), the roasted veggies, and the beet salad with walnut (sans – you guessed it – the feta). Deeeelicious.
I left stuffed to the gills.
I’d been downing my Udo’s oil every day. It was a little weird to drink oil – kind of like drinking something you weren’t supposed to. Udo’s has a light, nutty flavor to it, which wasn’t so bad if the texture weren’t so slippery and strange. I assured myself that I was doing the right thing for my body, and quickly rinsed my mouth out with something else after.
One night, I met my formerly vegan friend Ina at Café Baru, a cubana place serving delicacies like plantainitoes and guacamole. With a few subtractions (namely, the cheese), we had a vegan-licious time of it.
As a former vegan and stickler for health, Ina was on me in a flash about nutrition. I told her that I’d been a good girl, taking my supplements and drinking Mr. Udo’s oil. Ina warned me about oils: “Nobody tells you, but they can go rancid in 5-7 days. Buy the small bottles, keep them in the fridge, and expose them to air as little as possible.” She sighed, “You’re inspiring me. I want to be vegan again. Why’d you do it?”
“An experiment,” I said, “to see how it feels. So far I’m eating a lot better than I ever have. Lots of fruits, veggies. I try the weird stuff in the supermarket. You know, those leaves that look like a brontosaurus should be eating them. That kind of stuff.”
She looks knowing, “How’s your digestive track? I used to have the most rancid farts. It’s like you become a human compost pile.”
I blushed, “Still in growing pains, I think.”
She nodded, “Keep an eye on that. Your body will give you signals if you’re not digesting properly. And chew your food. Digestion of carbohydrates is done by your saliva. If you don’t chew your food, it just sits in your tummy. Your tummy doesn’t have teeth. So chew.”
I nodded slowly. I’ve always been a stupidly fast eater; this will be a good (and olfactorally pleasing) reason to take more time.
“And sesame seeds. Eat sesame seeds. Tons of calcium in sesame seeds. Nutritional yeast has tons of B12. It also has this great cheesy taste. Eat, eat!” She pointed to the plate. “That yucca stick has your name on it.”
I’d been finding that my vegan diet had been leaving me surprisingly full. I am stuffed from my meals and haven’t been getting food cravings during the day at all. I get full on less food. And in general, my energy has been consistent and good. Last night I did go to bed an hour earlier than usual, but there’s something …authentic…about my fatigue. I figured I was detoxing like Stephanie warned and am supposed to sleep it off.
The danger I can see looming is boredom. Sure, vegans protest about the abundance of food choices, but I’m a far cry from a culinary expert. Without the cacophony of usual ingredients or foods, I was worried that I would get tired of steaming veggies all the time. I must learn new recipes. Like Baru’s fried yucca and tomato salsa. Freakin’ delicious.