In honor of MoFo, some rare candid musings from the mind of Bonzai Aphrodite:
Last week I got into a bit of an . . . erm . . . discussion . . . with an acquaintance on Facebook. Usually I’m good about avoiding Internet drama (practicing positivity!), but then every so often . . . I’m not. Sometimes it’s just so hard to stay silent. Especially when it comes to misrepresentations of veganism.
In this case, someone had posted a status update snarking vegans. She proclaimed them to be self-important and preachy (I know, creative right? Such a tired old cliché, but I digress.) and added a sarcastic “sure, I’ll give up everything that tastes good, yeah right!” (paraphrased). The first part has been discussed to death, but this second sentiment got me thinking. And that’s what I want to talk about today.
Eating is such an emotional act, whether we realize it or not. And preference is a funny thing, where the flavors we favor are formed by a lifetime of positive and negative reinforcements. If you grow up eating curries, you’ll have a taste for spice. If you eat a lot of collards, you won’t mind bitter greens. And if all you ingest is fast food, you’ll have a penchant for grease and salt. This is pure training – tongue training – plain and simple.
Even if you understand this, you might not think to apply it. After all, *patience* is not often brought to the table when one is changing their diet. But patience is the most important ingredient!
In this modern world we want a quick fix and instant results. The decision to go veg is often epiphanal – a shocking connection is made (be it health, animals, or environment), and we’re inspired to act fast. We decide to go veg*n all at once, rejecting in an instant our whole history of habits. And when the cravings hit – and of course they do – then we cave, and give up, and tell ourselves “It’s just not worth depriving myself of such pleasure!”
But it doesn’t have to be like that! Take the story of Damian and the Tofu, a parable that perfectly illustrates what I’m getting at:
A long long time ago, Damian had a girlfriend. She was a vegetarian, he was a meat-eater, and they were together for two years. Once a week or so they’d go out for Thai. He always got the same thing – pad thai chicken, and she always got the same thing – tofu yellow curry. And can you guess how many times Damian tasted her dish? None. Never. Not *once*. Each week, every week, for two years, he turned up his nose because he “didn’t like tofu”.
Flash forward through the years, and one day poor Damian’s wife (that’s me!) declares that their home is now vegan. Damian is skeptical but supportive. The wife works hard to create the most tastiest meals. Damian genuinely gives them a chance. He slowly drops meat, and then removes all animal products.
And now, a few years later (Thanksgiving will be 2 years vegetarian!), Damian is practically begging for tofu with every meal (and that wicked wife just won’t make that much soy, haha). Tofu has become his absolute favorite, full of happy memories and delicious flavor associations and a whole new nostalgia. And it’s been that way for almost two years – it didn’t take long for him to come around at all.
The moral of the story is that you can change your tastes! You’ll never have to “give up everything you love”, because if you keep a truly open mind and allow yourself some time, then “everything you love” will become vegan!
I mean seriously, seriously, does anyone really think that vegans just sadly slurp down their flavorless food, secretly coveting cheese like some joyless moral martyr? Hell no! We are eating the MOST AMAZING food, and enjoying every. damn. bite.