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Not Vegan

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While pregnant, I made a decision: if I had a craving, I would go for it. This decision mostly came to be when I made a quick-whim choice to have a croissant. Things were hard (very hard), when everything went down, and I found myself alone. I was a mess, in an even messier situation. Between stress, tears, and morning sickness, I found it almost impossible to eat. In the first few weeks of pregnancy, I lived mostly off: (vegan) cream cheese with cucumber on toast... and pasta with red sauce. Well, one day, after a morning full of tears, I found myself at a farmers market near my house. I saw a table covered with pastries and breads and said "f*** it, I'm hungry, I'm pregnant, I need to eat, and I'm eating a croissant". It was good, but not everything I had hoped for. I thought "whelp, I guess I'll have to try another one later". It felt good to give myself an excuse to not think too much about ingredients. Of course, I still over thought ingredients, but It was nice to not think of "milk and eggs" as a no-no ingredient. And there it was, my decision to eat what I want, when I want, while being pregnant (well, in healthy moderation of course). I stayed vegan through-out my pregnancy with the exception of: three croissants, two pizza outings, and one mini kit-kat bar. All of the experiences were kind of, well, bummers. Kit-kats were nothing like the amazingness I had remembered from childhood, they just tasted like sugary garbage. And one of my pizza experiences had caused the one of two puking incidents I had through-out my entire pregnancy. I never really craved much else... or anything at all for that matter. Not one real craving the whole entire pregnancy. I was surprised that I didn't want more. I imagined myself wanting cheese or getting a good whiff of bacon (the gateway meat) and running to the kitchen in a mouth open attack. But no, I was perfectly content in my vegan pregnancy... and not just content, but incredibly healthy. I mean, I don't have much to compare my pregnancy to, but from what I can tell, it seemed pretty high on the easiness scale. 
Anyway, fast forward to now. My hormones are very much out of whack, (but I guess they were never in whack between breast-feeding, weaning, and a miscarriage... but whatever), and I am definitely not pregnant, but now, for the first time, in a very long time, I find myself almost craving wanting non-vegan items. And I occasionally find myself questioning if I want to continue being vegan. I really do LOVE being vegan. I love how healthy I feel... and everything else (you can read my "why I'm vegan post: HERE"), but I wonder... what if I changed my mind? Obviously, the world wouldn't end. And well, animals wouldn't die. But then what? What really changes? One. the obvious, I don't call myself a "vegan" anymore. Two. I have brunch options. But where does the line get drawn? Would I become like that crazy couple on Portlandia asking if the chicken was happy when he died? I mean, I wouldn't be eating chicken, or any meat, but you know... am I going to hunt down the chicken who gave me eggs for brunch? I would like to... because I wouldn't want to eat eggs or cheese without knowing the source and the treatment of the animal... but then, is it even worth it? It seems like a lot more work than its worth. It almost seems easier to be a conscious vegan than a conscious vegetarian. If I let my rambling thoughts focus on health, then I know the answer, I'm staying vegan. If I let my rambling thoughts over flow into the world of experimenting with new food and recipes... then my taste buds take over and say "but think of how that brie would taste with honey on toast!" My mouth and mind always seem to know what might pair well together, and my curious side just wants to let that part play. I would like to see if I'm really as good as I want to believe I am. 
Once a week or so, I ask Alex "Can you bring me bread?". Half the time he does. (To those of you asking what bread I use for "Things On Toast", it's the bread Alex makes for work, and if not, then it's from Whole Foods bakery).  Well, this week, while telling me about work, he mentioned spending two days on perfecting croissants for the restaurants mother's day brunch. I responded with: "I want to try one". He didn't take me too seriously, he hardly does when it comes to my attempting vegetarian statements, because well, I'm usually not very serious. A few days later, I ask him to bring me bread, and he shows up at my house empty handed. "Where's my bread?". He reaches into his bag, and pulls out two of the croissants he had made. Part of me was disappointed... and part of me was happy and excited. I said "well, that works!" and brought them to the kitchen. 
The next morning, I ate a croissant. 
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I'm not sure where to go from here, it's been almost six years since making the jump from vegetarian to vegan. I hate the term "mostly vegan", but I don't mind the term "strict vegan", because it gives a little grey area to having to choose between "vegan" or "not". I could coin a term for a vegan, non-vegan croissant eater (I'm kidding). Or I could just give myself room to play, experiment, and enjoy food without thought... maybe for just a moment, or maybe for a bit longer. I love being vegan, but for now, I'm unsure. 

__ vegan 
__ vegetarian 
X  unsure  

66 comments:

  1. YES! Ugh, I've been going through a slump like this lately. I'm constantly wondering "is it worth it?"...and I miss the non-vegan things a lot. It's especially harder when I can't eat gluten. I just get bored of the same ol' foods all the time.

    This post is great though. Thank you :)

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    1. Well, I was wondering if it's worth it to be vegetarian, for me, it's easier to be vegan :) I cannot imagine no gluten though, it's so hard!

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  2. I like to say I eat a mostly plant-based diet. Voila, instant wiggle room without the judgment of misusing a label, and I don't beat myself up if I want cheese on a pizza or don't want to sweat ingredients in baked goods. As always, I love your honesty. Oh, and sorry you don't have better brunch options there. I can eat the hell out of some vegan brunch.

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    1. very true. I also like Mark Bittman's term: "flexitarian" even though it applies to people w ho eat meat. :)

      We have one spot around here that serves vegan brunch... but I tend to stay away from it, as pretty much the only options you have there are raw foods or fake meat. I wish things would have more "accidentally vegan" items! :)

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  3. Your blog has opened up my mind to the vegan world, and in all honesty o can say that I've wanted to go vegan. In reality though, I love my meat and every now and then unhealthy treat! I keep my label at vegan testing, healthier choices! Great post!

    http://hopefullittleone.blogspot.com/?m=1

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    1. everything in moderation! I'm not a stranger in the cookie section at the WF's bakery :)

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  4. I agree with saying "plant-based diet" if you choose to no longer be vegan.

    I can relate to some of what you've written here, and I've definitely had my own issues with veganism. For me personally, I just can't imagine going back. It's like, how can I "un-know" what I know? But I'm vegan for animal and environmental reasons. It seems like when people are vegan for health, it's more likely that they'll go back. I guess, because it's easier to let yourself down (same reason everyone cheats on any other diet) than to let go of a bigger-picture ideal.

    Can I risk sounding a little presumptuous? I'm just wondering if you've thought about these recent non-vegan cravings sort of contextualized within the rest of your life right now. Just from an outsider perspective, just going on what you choose to share, it seems like you've had a rough couple of weeks. A little inexplicably blue, maybe some growing pains with Marlowe. I know that for me, when other parts of my life seem dissatisfying, I start looking around for a cause or an explanation. And I've definitely found myself turning to my diet as, if not *the* reason for my rut, then at least an opportunity for a little exciting change. (I do this with all sorts of things, like deciding I'm over the city I live in, etc).

    But (again, speaking only for myself), it's usually a matter of fixing something more internal. Once I pinpoint the real root issue, the other stuff melts away and as far as my diet goes, I always come back to the same place that led me to go vegan in the first place. Because for me, that is a place of truth.

    Anyway, just some food for though (oh HA).

    I think this is my first comment but I've been reading your blog for months. Hello from a fellow momming blogging vegan!

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    1. I totally agree with "how can you un-know". If I (or anyone, I'm sure) were to really stop and think about it, then most people would be vegan. I also do it for animal and environmental reasons, which is why, IF I were to eat eggs (or the occasional cheese) I would do it from one of the local farms around here (20 minutes west there's a few). But yeah, I can't get behind the factory system of chicken raising and cow-milking.. because even if you aren't actually killing those animals, they are suffering.

      My body and mood and the food I eat very much go hand in hand. I can see it when I eat sugar and more fats my mood starts to decline. But when my mood is down, my food is down too. I'd be the opposite right now, and wouldn't want to experiment with anything. I guess I should have used the word "want" instead of "crave" because sounds like I'm yearning for, but really, it's more along the lines of "well that looks like a beautiful egg dish I'd like to maybe try". I know it's different for everyone, for me sadness or stress = no eating. Admittedly, I am sort of waiting on an exciting change... but I'm hoping thats a new house change ;)

      Thanks for your thoughts, vegan mama <3

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    2. Have you thought about learning more about the health reasons? I agree that maybe it's easier to let your self down rather than 'the world', but I think it's even harder to let your KIDS down. And for me, we turned to a fully plant-based whole foods diet when we learned fully what the health benefits are to eating like that and shit, I want to be around to see my daughter grow and have kids and I want to be the HEALTHIEST i can be!

      So it's a combination now of wanting to make sure that my daughter gets the full health benefits and I get the full health benefits for HER. Much harder to let your little ones down. I imagine it's like people who give up smoking when they have kids.

      Food is meant to nourish you - dairy and meat don't give you ANYTHING that your body needs that it can't get from plants and whole grains so WHY would you do it? Especially if you have philosophical reasons for it, I just can't imagine choosing to let animals be killed for our dining pleasure when there's no good reason for it.

      Good luck hun. Hopefully you can find an exciting change in another area of your life and your food will start to nourish you again :) Look at that gorgeous daughter of yours and that should help!! x

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    3. I'm not really sure if you read my post or any of my previous food posts and are responding... or if you're just ranting in general about people who eat meat and aren't conscious about their choices. I highly doubt I'd be letting my kids down if I had one free-range egg a week. Have you seen what my kid eats? I post it monthly, she actually eats everything pictured, and when she doesn't: I state it, she eats better than most grown Americans do. (Yes, that's a slight brag, I put a lot of work into the food I give her), it's not like I'm going to start saying "oh hey honey, lets forget about all these fresh vegetables, beans, and whole grains I'm giving you... here's a boiled egg and a stick of butter or a slab of 8 oz beef in front of you" ya know?
      Food never not nourished our bodies and our home. Our home revolves around spending time together, cooking foods from scratch, and eating our homemade meals together.

      And I'm not trying to be on the defense, but it just seems like you never even read my blog (or any of my food posts, which seems to take up half my blog) and just came in here to tell me I'm doing it wrong, because I'm considering adding (not even subbing out, mind you) an egg or two to my diet.
      I suggest you maybe check out this section: http://ohdeardrea.blogspot.com/search/label/diet%20water especially the older posts, a few pages back, maybe it will help you see how much we really care about food in this home. I unfortunately don't have time to rant and rave about food like I used too... which well, might be a good thing, since people took my good food advocacy as "preachy", but we really give a shit about the food that goes into our body around here and especially Marlowe's body (even Alex's makes sure of that when I don't have her) and thats something thats not going to change.

      it seems you have good intentions behind your comment, so thanks for that at least.

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    4. and because I'm sure I'm doing it wrong, I should mention this is addressed to pamelaminett, not Sayward Rebhal.

      ps. I never once mentioned killing animals in my post. we also do it for animal reasons-- its the same reason why I wouldn't eat butter or eggs from a store, I feel terrible at the idea of an animal suffering for my food. Not going to happen.

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  5. I've been vegan for 7 years and have had a few 'slips' - by that I mean eating milk chocolate in my early days or trying fish in my early days because my doctor said I should be eating some meat- for reasons I still don't know! And he was an ignorant so and so who didn't understand anything about vegan diets.

    I think it's part of the process to crave or want foods that are non-vegan but it's when vegans think it's too hard for them that they just slip back into eating eggs and stuff which is fine because people have personal choice it's just not something I can see myself going back to. I feel like you do about sourcing, it's too much effort and being vegan is just ultimately the easier option for me.

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  6. It's always hard when given or giving yourself a label beacuase then people can be harsh about it when you might want to try something else. They love to come down hard on the croissant eating vegan because it makes them feel better about the choices they make. my husband is a vegetarian. but i like lisa's comment on eating a plant based diet. i think that sounds like a good phrase. people love it when my husband has to buy something leather (say some half decent work shoes...) and they say "ooooh but i thought you were a vegetarian?!" or if he accepts pasta with non-veggie parmesan. they comment again. really half the time he is just trying to make his life easier, or be polite at a meal that is cooked for him. he has become much more relaxed lately. he will still never eat meat or fish. but he isn't so bothered if some rennet from cheese happens in his meal. he knows what he is doing is good. he is thinking about where all his food comes from. we only ever buy local, organic dairy and eggs and that way we have some control over what we are putting into our bodies... i think if you want to mix it up a little you should. if you are aware where this things started out you should never feel bad. try not to attach a label to your food habits and then everyone will leave you alone!!!!

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    1. It's true. I hate the labels. And I try to stay away from labels, but when it comes to food and trying to explain to people what you eat or don't eat, one simple word is a ton easier than going into a whole explanation of it! I've been told (half-jokingly) by a co-worker than I'm not a vegan because I kill bugs or go to the zoo. I'm just like ughhhh really? I do more than enough. :)

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    2. I feel the exact same way about labels! I actually own chickens (rescued) and the ONLY reason I don't eat their eggs right now, is because it's just so much easier to say "I'm vegan" than it is to say "Well, I'm 99% vegan but I, er, um, see I have these chickens, and I think *that's* okay, but not your stinky eggs, and well . . . " Oof, not worth the trouble.

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  7. I was vegan for 10 years and one stressful day at work (it was 5 stressful months in the making) said, "f*ck it" and ate eggs and a english muffin with butter.
    I am a "mostly" vegan now although I don't really ever say that. I still prefer soy/almond products to diary but deep down I wish I never made the switch. My body LOVED being vegan. Now my once intense willpower is gone (damn eggs).
    Thank you for sharing! It makes me feel a little bit better about my consent struggle.

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    1. Yeah, even if I decided to become vegetarian, or just not be vegan, I know I still wouldn't eat products with eggs or milk in them, and I still wouldn't buy real milk or butter. I think I would pretty much only do it so can eat homemade items with farm eggs or eat brunch at restaurants who purchase their products from local farms.

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  8. I love how quickly your post appear! It's Monday morning and I can enjoy your words. xxx

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    1. haha thanks. Sunday night ritual.... well almost every night, late night ritual.

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  9. I think you have to do what's best for you, without focusing so much on the label. Even if you don't like the term "mostly vegan", you can still eat that way. I think a flexible diet is important regardless of its parameters (vegan, vegetarian, omnivore). What you choose to eat is no one's business but your own, so if anyone gives you any flak for it just ignore them.

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  10. Oh no, don't turn to the dark side Drea!! :) Just kidding.
    When I first became vegan about 6 months ago after being a vegetarian for 13 or so years, I was super judgey, and looked down on vegetarians and also vegans who 'slipped up'... Probably because I had immersed myself so deeply into why the dairy and egg industries were so bad, that I couldn't see past that.
    But as each month passed, I felt that sort of attitude (that SO MANY vegans have, especially on the internet) is what turns people away from veganism. I started to think, even if you're trying and make mistakes, even if you make intentional slips ups: you're still making a difference.
    Even eating vegan 90% of the time has an impact environmentally. Ultimately, you need to do whatever is right for you, even if it means being "mostly vegan". Luckily there's no such thing as the vegan police, eh? :)
    By the way, the croissant looks DIVINE! x

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    1. I agree. Having the overly strong "VEGAN OR DIE" attitude is a turn-off. Anything overaggressive can be a turn off (PETA for instance, turns more people away from veganism, than onto veganism). But I will admit, I am slightly judgey when people say they are vegetarian. But probably in the most hypocritical way, and only because I was one of the worlds worst vegetarians and ate crap cheese in every meal and processed fake meat in every other meal. I've posted a video before on Mark Bittman saying that if you really want to do something for the environment then you have to be vegan, and not vegetarian. I don't think thats a 100% true, it depends on how you choose to live both lifestyles, but it's mostly true for people who shop at supermarkets, rather than at local farmers markets (not everyone has these options). I'm going off on a tangent, but yeah, I think it'd be better for the environment was 'mostly vegan'... or you know, a self sufficient farmer ;)

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    2. this is also true. vegan makes more sense i think sometimes than being a right lame vegetarian that eats crappy cheese pizzas from the supermarket all day long and makes no effort what so ever to see what is going on in the dairy industry buy buying the cheapest cheese and milk etc....
      from reading all these quotes i definitely think flexitarian works best. with a side portion of making sure you only eat animal based things if you REALLY know where it's come from. do you know the book plenty? by ottolenghi. his diet is the one i'm after...and i like his thinking....
      http://www.amazon.com/Plenty-Vibrant-Recipes-Londons-Ottolenghi/dp/1452101248

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  11. Here's a thought. Don't be vegan, don't be non vegan, and don't be unsure. Be whatever you want to be and don't try to "categorize" yourself. If you want to be a strict vegan except for your croissant craving, then so be it. Nobody will care except yourself.

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    1. I knowwww! I hate labels with ANYTHING... I don't put labels on myself for anything. But sometimes with food, I just find it easier... I guess except for now ;) It just seems easier to label things with food, than to not, and to have to explain it later. We'll see.

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    2. That's a tough one though. Labels make the world go round - it's how we can quickly and efficiently communicate with one another, especially strangers (like waiters). The issue is that it's tempting to call yourself vegan even if you're not entirely vegan, because it describes your diet as far of the rest of the world is concerned (ie, in restaurants and out of your own house, you eat vegan). The problem with that of course is that it muddies the meaning of a word who's meaning is *really* important.

      Then you end up going to a restaurant and asking the waiter "Is this vegan" and getting the affirmative, only to end up being served something with parmesan on top. And the waiter says "But my friend is vegan and HE eats a little local cheese" or something like that.

      I think that's the conundrum, regarding labels.

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    3. I like what Madalynne has to say!

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  12. I'm not anything, deep desire to be mostly vegetarian. No will power to stick to it.

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    1. It can be hard. I guess that's why its easier for me to "be vegan" instead of not. No grey area, it just is what it is. It's also easier when you just don't want the other options too. I never had any real desire to eat meat.

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  13. I am HIGHLY SUPER MEGA supportive of eating pastured eggs. There is SO MUCH nutrition in there! I think there are very sustainable, animal friendly ways to eat some animal products and I think some of them are very much worth the health benefits they can provide. Eggs, honey, and butter top the list. Either way, everyone should eat as they feel comfortable, and if that means that one day butter is okay but the next you feel it's not, you DO YO THANG.

    I should add: butter is healthiest when from a grass fed happy animal. Packed full of nutrients that way. :)

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    1. "I think there are very sustainable, animal friendly ways to eat some animal products"

      I agree. But It can also be very difficult. Very possible, but very difficult... depending on your location and options of course.

      I guess that's part of my problem, sometimes I want things, but I'm not sure if I really even feel comfortable with it. I should figure that part out first, huh?

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  14. hi, it's me again. lol
    well, i was a non-meat eater for just about 20 years. the one thing i always craved was prosciuto. like the whole time. when i was 5 months pregnant with Lily and in portugal visiting my family, i finally said "pass me the prosciuto!". it felt good to not deny myself of something that i had deprived myself of for way too long.
    the only thing i do is try to eat healthy and make the right choices. i like the fact that if i want chicken, or pork or what have you, i will now eat it.
    i think towards the end it was more a matter of staying strong willed. if i hadn't eaten meat for that long, why start then? silly really....
    xo

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    1. oh, you again. Take my to portugal? I've always wanted to learn Portuguese.

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    2. entao vem ca a casa aprender

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  15. Oh my goodness, this is the same conversation that happens at our house about every other day. Except we are not vegetarians nor vegans. The great debate is where our meat came from and the eggs and the milk. What is the difference, nothing. It's the great debate, where is our food source coming from. What is your definition of healthy. Ours: Making sure that these sweet baby girls that were given to us are well fed, from a healthy source and that we are honoring what God gave us. Some of our best friends are farmers. We can not afford their food, but we asked them for some other recommendations.
    My point is this: Go to the farmers market, and ask around. Go to the farm and check it out. If they are raising their animals and treating them the way that they are suppose to be treated, then they will GLADLY give you and your sweet babe a tour! They will gladly tell you about what they feed their chickens and their definition of "free range" and "organic".

    *By the way, if you are going to start eating eggs and drinking milk, you need to know this:
    Just because it says "free range" on the package, doesn't mean that the chickens are truly free range. Free range, according to USDA, is a coop with a door on it. They should have the coop for shelter and shade, but they should have TONS of room to move around. They are really dumb animals and don't know to go outside.

    Good luck!

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    1. I have always felt that is the most important thing. I have ZERO problems with meat eaters, it just depends where your food is sourced from. I'd rather be a conscious meat eater than a vegetarian (or vegan) living off processed, mass produced items. It's so incredibly important to look at where your food is coming from, the work it takes to get there, and appreciating everything behind it.
      When I'm in my home, everything is easy. I know what I buy (or the bread alex brings me) and what's in it. It's restaurants that offer a whole new level of difficulty and wonder.

      I actually started this whole diet water series going into organics, free-range, and all other important food topics and issues... but it all kind of suffered when life got even busier. Hopefully it can pick back up again to help others make choices. I (and even Marlowe) are not unfamiliar with farm ours. Even the little one has seen her fair share :) If I did get eggs, I wouldn't even be purchasing them from the store, it would only be from the farms around here... depending on the coop/caging/whatever situation. :)

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  16. I'm not a big fan of labels. But, if I had to pick one, I don't think there would be anything we fall into. My daughter is pretty much vegetarian though. By her own choice. She's two and all she likes to eat are fruits, vegetables, and veggie cheese. Very, very rarely will she eat chicken. But my husband and I have never really been into reading ingredients or taking the time to prep all of our meals.

    Still, I wanted us to make healthier decisions in our life when it came to what we were putting into our bodies. So I try to buy as many organic things as possible. When it comes to eggs, I always get the organic cage free kind. We still eat meats (my husband refuses to give it up and I have zero will power), but we do frequently buy the vegan/vegetarian substitutes. I'm happy to say that "veggie cheese" has stayed with us permanently.

    I think you should eat what makes you happy. In moderation of course. But I understand that it's not such an easy change especially if you've been living that way for such a long time already. So good luck! May whichever direction your choose to go in, make you happy. :)

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    1. everything in moderation, always :)

      Maybe we can just keep pushing "flexatarian" in hopes that everyone just starts consciously eating more vegetables and less meat.

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  17. I could never give up eggs and croissants and cheese. Meat could go without too much fuss but um, those things are delicious. I don't think if you decide to "fall of the vegan wagon" you'll be a bad person. It is all about moderation. It isn't like you're going to start eating tubs of butter and bacon. If eating a croissant here and there makes you happy, I think you should allow the indulgence.

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    1. The thing is, Im not even sure if eating the croissant made me happy! It was beautiful and it was delicious, so I was impressed, but I'm still unsure if I was happy. Maybe I would have been happier if I had made a better cup of coffee ;)

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  18. I've been a vegan for just about 16 years, but my fiance was vegan for a almost two before he decided he didn't want to feel like he "couldn't" eat things, so he's a "sort of vegan" now. For about 95% of the time, he's vegan, but in those moments of wanting a pizza, or he's at a party where everyone's eating cake, he doesn't say no. I was so young when I started being vegan and have been doing it for so long, I don't really have cravings for non-vegan things much. But I think if you are a conscious eater, a croissant every so often definitely won't kill you. And actually, I think being a "mostly vegan," or whatever you want to call it, is a very sustainable way to live.

    On a side note: my dad makes an awesome vegan croissant. I'd be happy to share the recipe :)

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    1. yeah, I think I'm going to go back and edit the word "crave"... "crave" is wrong. Like you, I don't get cravings anymore. It's kind of more "well that might be good" wonder. I wouldn't get some store bought croissant, I would feel bad eating something like that, but knowing Alex (or whoever, along as I knew they cared about their food) made it, I felt okay with it.

      I would LOVE your dads recipe!

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    2. True true, I guess cravings is the wrong word. And I definitely do have those "I'd like to taste that" moments. I mean, how can you not?! But I'm usually deterred by knowing my stomach wouldn't like me very much after I ate it.

      I'll email you the recipe!

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  19. Confession: I LOVE being vegan and it's the most amazing thing I've ever done for myself. That said, for one week a month (PMS week!) I *CRAVE* cheese, and sometimes meat, like there is nothing else in the world that I want. It takes over ALL OF MY THOUGHTS. It's compulsive. And definitely hormonal. It means that about once a month, I end up at midnight in a pizza parlor ordering a slice with cheese, or in a taqueria ordering a taco with carne asada (this is a much rarer occurrence -- usually its the pizza parlor). I usually end up feeling RIDICULOUSLY guilty and bad about myself afterward, but I MUST HAVE IT in those moments. I am trying to work on NOT feeling bad about this. One slice of pizza a month doesn't mean anything, you know? A croissant once in a while doesn't have to mean anything you don't want it to mean. When I go on vacation I don't adhere to my vegan diet 100% because then I truly feel that I'm being a difficult asshole for myself and those I'm traveling with. I'm vegan for health reasons, and animal rights reasons, but as I tell my friends, "don't worry, I'm not going to be a jerk about it." What I mean by that is that I'm not going to be That Guy who is so rigid about it that I'll ruin a night out if there are no vegan options somewhere, etc. So I think a bit of flexibility isn't something to have a crisis over, its just common sense.

    I realize that everybody feels the need to label themselves but seriously, I think we take those labels and what society says they have to mean too seriously. Here's how I think about it: When I am on my deathbed, will I regret eating this piece of pizza (or croissant)? I mean, given that its not a croissant / piece of pizza every day, or even every week? The answer is no.

    Anyway, I don't know if this makes sense but I wanted to try to express to you that I have moments of uncertainty in my own mind about my path as well, and that of course life is fluid.

    I actually DO know the chickens at my CSA where my eggs come from, yet I don't like eating eggs so I just let my husband do it. I always have a crisis about that. I don't like letting food go to waste. We get eggs. I know the chickens. Why not eat them? But I don't know.

    So yeah, I will stop talking now ;)

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  20. I'm with you on this one. I've been a vegan for about 4 years, and although I love being vegan, there are moments when I crave certain things. Eggs mostly. Which is hilarious, because my bf who is vegetarian hates eggs. But I crave eggs and dream about all the ways to prepare them. I just wish I knew where the eggs were coming from. Other than that-I don't want anything else that is meat/dairy related. Sometimes when it comes to sweets, I'll crave something that isn't vegan either. I think it's okay to eat a non-vegan treat once in a while. My friend who is a vegan-raw food chef sometimes takes fish oil supplements and other non-vegan things depending on if she thinks her body needs it. There have been times when I was traveling and didn't have a lot of vegan choices and ended up having something with cheese on it. I didn't find it enjoyable at all. My bf allows himself to have some fish on a special occasion, and that doesn't bother me. Moderation is key I think.

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    1. I RARELY ate eggs when I was a vegetarian. I would eat them if they were in things, but not an actual egg dish. They grossed me out too much. Now I think I mostly only want them because the dish will look really beautiful... and it will be something that is impossibly to veganize. As far as traveling, I've always said I wouldn't be too concerned about being vegan when traveling (out of the country). It's mostly Americas food food standards, especially in the dairy and meat industry, that bother me. Moderation is always key!

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  21. Oh man, I struggle with this allll the time! Lately, it's been with sugar. I stray from being vegetarian, to wanting to be vegan, to then eating bacon. Oh man, oh man. I put a lot of pressure on myself and stress out a lot. I'm just trying to eat as healthy as possible for now.

    Good luck to you, Drea!

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  23. (sorry if this is a double-post, I couldn't tell if my post worked or not!) I would highly recommend the book Real Food by Nina Planck. It has really shaped my families food philosophies, and she talks a lot about sourcing food and how food is grown/raised affects the nutrition etc. She is pro-eating meat, but obviously you can just take what you like from what she says, and what makes sense to you, and leave the stuff that you don't care about. She still says a lot that would be useful even to vegetarians/mostly vegans. She also has A book called Real Food for Mother and Baby which has great information for feeding small children. Obviously, if you don't have regular access to things like pastured eggs or grass-fed cheese, you can just take advantage when you do, and not feel pressured to eat non-pastured products when you don't. :)

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    1. Nina Planck is not just pro-meat, she is vocally anti-vegan and has written numerous NY Times op-ed pieces conflating raising vegan children with child abuse.

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  24. I love this post. It is often thought that a person is nobler to stick to their principles and stay true to their beliefs, but it is so much more difficult, and so much more enriching to see that nothing is an absolute and we don't need to be so rigid in our lives. So, go ahead and have that croissant. and know that you are perhaps a better person for having some bend to your ideals.

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  25. Also, not sure if you were asking for this, but if you wanted I could certainly give you some very good reasons to not eat eggs (unrelated to health - I actually believe that pastured eggs are a healthy food). I don't want to just go ahead and offer them because I certainly don't want to "preach", but if you were looking for someone to help sway you back to the solidly-vegan side, there are some really good reasons to avoid ALL eggs. Just offering. =)

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    1. haha thanks dear. I've been saying for a month and a half now "I might eat eggs" but when it comes down to it, someone will probably make me the most beautiful egg dish and I'll have one bite, and be like "no I can't do it".
      My thoughts on eggs: I don't think they'll add THAT much more, that I'm not already getting from something else. And they have cholesterol... which M and I have NONE of. SO while, I don't think they could hurt us that much ( a tiny bit of cholesterol isn't going to kill us), they may not overly benefit us either? I dunno. I'm not pro or anti eggs. BUT if I decide one day that I'm really going to do it and have and eat eggs... I'm looking for you to solidify my choice in one direction or another ;)

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  26. it is weird isn't it... I find myself forgetting why I ended up eating a vegan diet from time to time. I am no longer a "hard core" vegan.... and I will have a nibble on holiday treats because I fear that I sometimes "miss out". a year ago, it wouldn't even had crossed my mind to eat a mars bar. But now, it seems to be getting harder to pass the chocolate aisles, and I often find myself wondering if I made the right choice after all.

    the bad thing is: after I gave in once eating a mars bar, it is now impossible for me to have non-vegan chocolate in the house: I will eat it. while before i was quite content having my fiance eat his m&m's next to me... something changed. like, because I "cheated" (what a stupid word!) once, I can do it now all the time. the focus of my diet changed from wanting to be vegan, to sometimes see it as restricting. very awful! especially because all the non-vegan food is not even worth it!

    I am surprised though, that YOU crave non-vegan food. the food you prepare looks so beautiful, varied, healthy, yummy....

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    1. Honestly, I feel like I would maybe be the same way. I do that with sugar in general.. I don't eat a lot of it... but when I have one bite of sweet, I can't stop, I'm like "Well, why not? I just had some!"... Its just easier to stay away.

      :) I just changed the word "crave" to "want".. cause it's not so much of a crave, it's more that it looks really good and I would like to make something like it too :)

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  27. I know a lot of people say they eat a "plant-based diet" instead of saying they're vegan because the word "vegan" now holds a lot of connotations, that you're a self-righteous animal rights activist, or some sort of militant anarchist. (Of course, those are only negative perceptions some people have of vegans.) Some vegans don't become vegan for animal-related reasons at all.

    If you go back to Donald Watson's definition when he coined the term "vegan" in 1944, he said, "the word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment."

    I think it's good to remind ourselves of the part "as far as is possible and practical" and be kind to ourselves. There is no such thing as a "perfect vegan," and for me personally, my goal is not to be perfect, but to cause the least amount of harm to the best of my ability (to borrow from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau).

    It's also helpful to remember the "philosophy and way of living" part of that. Veganism is so much more than vegan cupcakes and veggie dogs! Sometimes we focus on the food part way too much, and not on living with compassion and mindfulness.

    There will always be critics out there no matter what you do, so just do what you feel is best and right for you!

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    1. I like this comment a lot. everything about it.

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  28. there are some serious discussions going on here ;)

    after being vegetarian for some time, vegan for some time and now whatever the hell I am (non dairy, free range meat eating , local eggs, fish lover) i say go with your instincts and don't slap a label on it. you said it best "enjoy food without thought." you are one healthy lady who does a fantastic job instilling that lifestyle in her daughter. i would say you're doing something right ;) more than most americans!

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  29. My husband and I have been vegan "off and on" for 2.5 years. I craved and ate some cheese and ice cream in my pregnancy and don't regret it. We recently took a cruise vacation and were vegetarian and I dont' regret that either. I think you have to allow yourself to have those moments - because nobody is perfect and it's too stressful to think that way. We try our best and take it one day at a time.

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    1. ah yes, I've been on one cruise since becoming vegan... it was interesting. It was when I first made the witch (I think), but I tried not think too much about everything :)

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  30. I'm not vegan, or even vegetarian, but my goal has always been to eat consciously. I wish I had the willpower to be at least vegetarian (hopefully I reach that point one day). My biggest issue is with big factory farms, processed food, antibiotics in meat and unsafe and torturous conditions for animals, and the extreme amount of pesticides that are used on produce. I try to source my produce, eggs, meat, and milk locally and organically. There are so many people out there who label themselves hardcore vegetarian/vegan but then they are eating loads of processed food that are not environmentally conscious.

    It's so hard to be vigilant in any type of diet. I certainly eat fast food from time-to-time and have been known to pick up one of those rotisserie chickens from the grocery store because I'm stressed/short on time. Like some of the other people who commented said, it's just a matter of your total approach towards your diet and stewardship and not necessarily every single food choice. I applaud you for being honest about your deviations from your diet and engaging with those who have commented on this post!

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    1. I couldn't agree more. I hate when people assume I am a preachy vegan, when in fact I'm kind of the opposite. It really depends on how and what the person eats. There are meat eaters out there that are much, much healthier than some vegans. While I don't plan on ever eating meat again, I think it would be much better to live off real- farm raised meat, than living off processed crap all the time. I've always said if I'm traveling out of the country I would be more inclined to eat eggs/dairy. I just cannot stand being the "farming" system here in America. There is nothing good coming from it. It's just mass produced, processed, chemical filled crap. I'm ranting a bit, I should stop. You made the same point I'm trying to make, in a much better way. ;)

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  31. I occationally eat some dairy when it's cooked into other things. I'm perfectly fine with this (usually disappointed by it, but fine with allowing it). I only do this around people who really "get" me though. It's difficult to accept food with dairy in it one day and then refuse it the next with some people who already have a *really* hard time understanding my veganism, so to avoid having to defend myself I'm just consistently super strict around those people. It took a few months for the boyfriend to get this concept, there's no vegan police and I'm in charge of what goes in my body so some days I'm super strict (and you need to respect that) while other days I'm not. I'd say I'm 97% vegan 10% of the time and the rest of the time I'm 100% vegan. Is there a word for that? Ha.

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  32. Such a fantastic post, I am about to write one myself in fact (which refrences you as inspiration for vegan cooking). I was born and raised veggie but since have Wilf (who is coming up to 6 months) i've thought more and more about the Dairy industry and that I just dont agree with it..now I I dont want to say I am a vegan as I havnt decided to fully cut out all cheeses (I am planning on still eating goat cheese) and eggs to yer not a vegan at all! Although I think at some point i want to become a Vegan at the moment I guess I will be a veggie who doesnt eat cows products?? xxx
    http://www.tigerlilyquinn.blogspot.com

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