I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas or a happy holiday. I hardly consider Christmas a “christian” exclusive holiday since most of the traditions are not rooted in the birth of Christ. And there are many books and articles written about how Christmas is pretty much a bunch of pagen celebrations that no one would give up, so they tacked on the celebration of Jesus Christ part, and made it okay to celebrate.
Now that Christmas is over I have been mulling over a few things. What I want to do with my life, different aspects of veganism, health, and whatever else. And I figured I would share what I have learned this year for Christmas, then eventually my New Years Resolutions/Goals.
1 I need to clear up what vegan means
I noticed what I got for Christmas this year has shifted. Clearly people are getting me things that they thought were vegan, like my sister got me some nice beauty products from a hip brand in Brooklyn called Flynn & King. Most of their products are vegan, except the lip balm (beeswax), which my sister got me (she also got this cool soap, which is vegan). I have also gotten some foods that I think people picked up THINKING it would be vegan, but they weren’t like candy cigarettes. Which is a bit of a bummer since you just check the ingredients it would be quick to see that there is cow gelatin in it. Sadly no chocolate, which can be somewhat easy to find vegan.
So most everyone is starting to understand what vegan means, but it is the uncomfortable transition to non-food items. Leather, fur, suede, beeswax, wool, silk, alpaca, and so on. I am pretty lenient on certain things. Like I am keeping the non-vegan lip balm since I already used it, and they used locally sourced beeswax which is better than nothing. But truthfully now that I am starting to use more vegan products I am learning that beeswax is pretty shitty.
2 My Family now remembers I am vegan, this is good and bad
I’ve been pretty much vegan for 3 years now. The first year I went back to veganism I let some things slide with family, like my Aunt bought me a special quiche since there wasn’t anything vegetarian, and I felt pretty bad for it. I was still transitioning out of seafood and eggs so I figured I would let it slide. My Grandmother was shocked that I was vegan (or vegetarian) even though I kind-of dabble in and out for a few years before. The next year, I made something, and yet again my Grandma was shocked to find out that I was vegan, even though I was a year ago. At this point I was pretty strict and got my shit together. This year, my Grandma FINALLY remembered, though my Aunt still hasn’t figured out the difference between vegan and vegetarian and I had to decline her special meal she made for me. But now everyone is assuming I am “so healthy.” Which is funny since my husband yells at me when I make some vegan mac and cheese, and how I am always craving ice cream. Health is relative, and I wish people didn’t look at my food as healthy, it isn’t. I use oil and whatever else that most people use.
The other downside is that my Father remembers that I am vegan. That means he doesn’t touch my food anymore. Ugh. I’ve tricked him into eating vegan donuts and vegan lasagna (he had no clue we was eating tofu, his mortal enemy!) Now he introduces my food as “vegan” instead of names. It is also worth noting that my Father has a very weird relationship with food. He eats like a 5 year old, and loves meat and grease. I think he is the main reason why I never liked steak (he did a poor job cooking it.) So I need to be stealthy about my food, maybe hand off to my sisters to bring into houses instead of me so my Father doesn’t know who cooked what. I get a little petty when people don’t eat my awesome food.
3 Vegan food isn’t global and therefore diverse
One thing I thought about a lot was what Jon and I do when we travel abroad. Part of me knew we could be vegan, but I was scared it would mean not being able to try some of the local foods. But over the year I have followed so many different blogs and everyone really has their own local vegan cuisine. There are so many guides on how to eat vegan in certain cities and the food looks truly unique from American food. Heck, I can noticed a different between West Coast veganism and East Coast veganism!
Even countries that I wouldn’t think that would be all that different seem to have their own flair. Like some Australia blogs pop out new recipes I’ve never heard of. There are foods I never thought was particularly American end up being so. And there are some countries that are actually naturally vegan friendly like Taiwan, which is high up on my must visit list now. I think I might make some exceptions if I was in a jam while traveling, but it seems like I could still plan ahead of time and still be pretty darn happy.
4 I really miss spontaneity
I have to admit, I miss not thinking about food all the time. Going to a party? It would be nice to never have to think about what to bring. Going out, it would be nice to just walk into a place and “try it out” rather than looking at what is vegan friendly before hand. Yes, there will always be a way to get a vegan option, but sometimes it is nice to go into a vegan restaurant and know I can try ANYTHING on the menu, and not have to ask no this, sub that, etc.
If someone would ask me what I miss most about going vegan it would be spontaneity. Never having to question your products. And I guess the end goal as a vegan would be that everything would be friendly for the animals. But that isn’t how the world works now. It stinks that I have to think out what I can eat before heading off to a restaurant, or ask a million questions before hand. Things are changing and I know it is much easier now than say 10 years ago.
5 My kids will grow up to be freaks
I was checking my social media feeds since I had the time, and found this picture on Instagram. A kid who is straight up PUMPED about chlorella tablets. I love sea greens, and I know most people don’t love spirulina. It is an acquired taste, and kids that grew up on spirulina loved it (I know my friend Devin loved them when he was a kid). And I know my kid will not be the “norm” if I choose to have one.
But then again my 5 year old niece loves shoes and still freaks out when she gets them for her birthday or Christmas. No joke, this year she opened the gift from Jon and I (these shoes by the way) and proceeded to put them on, and prance around the living room. I also use to love drinking carob soy milk, so I guess every kid will get excited about their own thing.
6 My relationship with desserts is frustrating
No, I am not talking about a fear of eating too much dessert that I will get fat. It is more complicated and annoying. I love dessert, but I need to be in the right mood, and I need the right dessert. I don’t like how most Americans make sweets so sugary. Then there is the whole vegan issue, and I have learned that vegan baking is pretty easy. But no one puts there effort, and I kind-of understand why. Lots of people just buy a pre-baked goods, there are classic family recipes, and people assume that to bake something vegan, you need special “fake” stuff. Which is mostly true.
BUT here is the problem, I like baking, I like certain sweets, but I HATE coming home with a whole cake. I made a whole bunch of cookies, probably gave away 60% of them, but now I have tons of cookies. Not too big of a deal, just send them to work with Jon. Then there is the pudding cake from Oh She Glows. It was pretty good, but no one touched it at the one family Christmas get together. So we have a full cake, and I don’t want it. I am all desserted out. So I think I come off as a “health freak” to family and friends
7 Boxed Gingerbread Houses suck, but I knew that anyways.
My husband said he never decorated a gingerbread house before and it is kind-of of the things I grew up doing. I know Gingerbread Houses aren’t something most kids do, truthfully. At least to the extent that we did. Yes we did the graham cracker houses when we were low on time, but we have baked our own gingerbread and put together our own houses. Those are the best.
But I haven’t tried making vegan gingerbread yet, so I am a little nervous how it would turn out. So the other day I passed by a Chanukah House and laughed at how little effort was given to hide it’s “stealing” of Christmas traditions. But as I mentioned, Christmas isn’t Christian to me so I am not judging. I bought it since it looked vegan (I am not use to reading labels with so many bi-products and dye names) and we made it.
Our house looks like shit. Yeah, super horrible. Part of the problem is the garbage frosting. It was way too thick, it wouldn’t stick to the cookie, and the bags were chunky making it impossible to pipe. How do people use these things? Plus everyone has questioned my motives of eating it, because taste isn’t the number one thing with these kits. So now I am not sure what to do with this ugly house…. I don’t even want to eat the much better tasting cake I made let alone crappy cookie. **NOTE I tried the house, it actually was pretty good for a hard biscuit cookie.
8 My Mother is horrible at buying gifts
We aren’t getting any Shamwows from my Mom, she actually is very good at buying thoughtful gifts. She is just bad at communication, and there are almost always doubles at Christmas. In fact, I can’t remember the last time we haven’t gotten duplicates. This year was pretty bad, though some of it was on our end. I got a whopping 3 double gifts! It usually works out fine, like returning the gift, or in this case, giving away the extra copy of Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen.
But here is an example of the crazy Mom gift buying escapades. My older sister was trying hard to get this creepy unicorn doll for my niece. It was apparently one of the few things she asked for Christmas. But the doll was backordered and it didn’t look like it would arrive in time for Christmas. In a panic my sister tried to buy the doll from another supplier. Both dolls arrived in time, and SURPRISE! My Mother heard my sister talk about how she was concerned about not getting the doll in time so she bought one too! It is thoughtful, and not totally her fault, but now there are three creepy unicorn dolls.
9 My Cat is the fuzziest
As a semi gag, I put on the Lil Bub Yule Log video on Christmas morning as we were getting ready to go to my sister’s house. We had a ha ha moments then mostly ignored it. Then we noticed Toulouse started to watch. She jumped on the TV stand at one point and sniffed the TV, looked behind the TV, then eventually sat on her pillow and just watched the TV like we would. It was probably because the video had a loud purring that she must of liked, but it felt a little bit like we helped give a little Christmas gift to her.
10 How did I live so long without a tofu press?
I just got one for Christmas and it was awesome. So many wasted paper towels, and the tofu still didn’t get as pressed as using a special device. Sold!