Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Life Without Cheese

There will probably be some serious intervention happening after I post this blog. I will probably get phone calls asking if I'm okay, if I hit my head, if maybe it's time for me to move out of this Hippie Town. It's like I don't even know who I am anymore-- like aliens abducted me, brainwashed me & inserted cantaloupe-seed-like pods into my skin (I actually sat next to a man on a plane once who experienced that-- but that's anther story).

Even as I write this, I fear for my own sanity, but here goes: I've gone vegan... and I love it.

Now, before you call the authorities, let me tell you that's it's just a temporary thing-- at least, it
began that way... and knowing me, I probably will cave sooner rather than later.

It started off innocently enough: wanting to grow spiritually. Sounds noble, right?

I have always been terrible at fasting. First of all, food is a spiritual experience to me-- I am insanely passionate about it. I read cookbooks for fun on Saturday mornings, and baking sends thrills up my spine. Second of all, when I go even a few hours without eating, I will practically deny my faith and kill family members to get a hold of an energy bar. My blood sugar drops, my emotions go crazy, and I become Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Fasting does nothing to bring me closer to God. I barely even believe in God when I fast. Gandhi would be most disappointed.

So when I had this epiphany about wanting to grow spiritually, I decided to try a different approach to fasting-- one more like the Jewish prophet Daniel, who ate only vegetables. That way I could s
till focus my mind & spirit, sacrifice something physical for the sake of something spiritual, and not even have to kill anyone around me. Brilliant.

The "Daniel Fast", as it is called, is essentially just being vegan-- something that people do all the time... and something that I have always scoffed at with a mixture of pity and judgment. A life without meat, I could handle. A life without cheese just isn't worth living. And when you cut out butter, eggs & chocolate, it sounds like my own personal hell.

But strangely, when Chris & I decided to embark on our Daniel Fast for 3-4 weeks, I was excited. Despite my love for chocolate, butter, cheese, and all things French, I also love vegetables... and fruit. I thought it would be nice to eat healthy for a few weeks-- to cleanse my body of all the rich food I eat, to fit into my jeans a little better, and especially (hopefully) to grow spiritually. The first night was hard. I looked in the fridge and wracked my brain for something to eat that didn't involve animal products. The next day, Chris & I took a trip to Trader Joe's, and the local market for produce. It's possible that we spend $160 in groceries that day. Don't tell anyone.

Filled with guilt, we stuffed our kitchen full of tofu, nuts, soy milk, soy yogurt, Cliff Bars, whole wheat pasta, and every kind of veggie known to man. We promised ourselves we wouldn't go shopping again for another month. And then I started cooking. And ladies & gentlemen, let me tell you: if this career as a Professional Christian doesn't work out, I'm becoming a hippie. I make a mighty fine vegan chef, if I do say so myself. Not only that, but I feel great.

Some magic switch flipped inside my brain, and I love being vegan. I don't even want sweets anymore. I do crave yogurt, and a little Parmesan cheese... and maybe some chicken broth-- but really, other than that, I could do this forever!

I know: you don't understand. I know: you think I've lost my mind. You probably even pity me a little but. You're probably concocting evil schemes to convert me back-- thinking through all the reasons why it's healthier to eat meat & all that. And don't worry-- I'm sure I'll cave in. But for now, allow me to live in my happy little hippie world, where vegetables are delicious, "milk" comes from a box, jeans fit great, and spirituality shoots up like soybeans.