Life with a Veganista
One day my daughter came home from school and told me a joke: How do you know someone is a vegan? Answer: They tell you. There is some truth to that joke as vegans have a reputation – rightly or wrongly – of being preachy at times. Last December, my daughter decided to become a vegan and started on a journey to live a complete animal-free lifestyle, which means no meat, no dairy, no honey, no leather, and no products that have been animal tested.
When family and friends learn she is a vegan, they look at me perplexed with the most common question being “where does she get her protein from?” Although my daughter finds this question annoying because she believes everyone has been brainwashed in this country to think the only good source of protein is from an animal, I remind her that people ask because they don’t realize there are many plant-based protein sources. Just tell them “I get my protein from the same place a cow does: from plants.”
Nevertheless, my home has been invaded by a veganista – a young woman who enthusiastically adopts a vegan lifestyle and who can momentarily throw other family member’s vegetarian or carnivore lifestyle into a tailspin. With a deep respect for a journey that has been challenging, humorous, and enlightening, I offer you the following telltale signs that your home has been invaded and conquered by a veganista:
- You learn words like “Namaste” which really means “Now all must acquire seaweed, tofu and edamame” or “No animals, meat, antipasto, salmon, turkey ever.“
- Everything she drinks is in a glass mason jar.
- 3-year olds always ask “Why?” Veganistas always ask “How was that prepared?” and “What’s in it?”
- Any utensil that so much as touches a meat or dairy product is discarded with disdain into the dishwasher.
- Green is the new pink.
- You find yourself hiding your Bruegger’s toasted bagel with cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion so you won’t feel judged.
- The Veganista asks you to stop buying Tide detergent and to instead purchase detergents at Whole Foods that cost two or three times more (who buys detergent at Whole Foods?).
- Your fast food haven becomes Robek’s Juice.
- Your grocery cart contains products that nobody else buys. A year ago you would ask “who buys this stuff?”
- Your refrigerator now has two different kinds of mayonnaise (regular and veganaise) and ketchup (regular and organic with no honey).
- Instead of parmesan cheese, the veganista sprinkles nutritional yeast on food.
- You have 6 different kinds of “milk” in your refrigerator including almond, soy, hemp, oat, 7 grain – made from things you never knew could make milk.
- You no longer wake up in the morning to peace and quiet but to a whirling juicer and blender which causes you to briefly consider buying ear plugs. A cup of coffee never looked so good.
- Food that used to be put in the bird feeder is now in your kitchen cabinet.
- Coconut in all its forms – fresh, shaved, dried, oil, milk, water, flour, chips – becomes a major food group in your home.
- “Sushi night” now means “vegetable sushi night.”
- Your digestive system goes through a major adjustment to 16 different kinds of beans. There’s Bean Pureé, Refried Beans, Bean Burgers, Bean Dip, Bean Soup, Rice and Beans, Bean Salad…..
- The dog will no longer eat what falls on the floor.
- Teenage gatherings become “Smoothie Socials.”
- Instead of t-shirts that say “WTF” or “Bacon is Meat Candy,” your veganista is wearing t-shirts that say “Lettuce Turnip the Beet,” “I’m Partial to Spelt” or “Kale.”
- Your veganista is cooking dinner and the menu includes Simmered Bamboo Shoots, Katmandu Stew (the dog hears the word “kat” and her ears perk up), and Outrageous Brownies (which really are outrageous because they are made with black beans). Upon hearing the menu, your husband – carnivore man – says he’s working late so you gently suggest to the veganista that she may want to make the next vegan dinner a surprise.