The Flaming Vegan

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The Accidental Vegan
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The Accidental Vegan

I wish I could tell you that the idea to become a vegan was born out of some noble truth. That being vegan gave my life the purpose and meaning it was missing. It didn’t. No, I became a vegan simply because I was poor. And when I say poor I mean I had no money. What money I did have went to keep the water and power on. You see, after I graduated high school my father passed away leaving my mother and I in a mountain of debt. My mom had her own medical problems and couldn’t work, so that left myself; an unprepared teenager with the unwanted burden, of trying to dig my mom and I out of this unforeseen hole we were in. Fortunately I still had my little job working retail at the local mall by my house, but when the economy went south my hours were cut. At the end of the day I made enough to barley keep my head above the rising waters. What I couldn’t account for was having enough money to eat.

When I was growing up my family never ate "high off the hog", as my mom would say. I grew up in a small little town in Colorado nestled by the foothills. We were the steak and potatoes kind of people. Now I found myself standing in the meat isle at the grocery store looking to buy a steak for dinner and finding that its thirteen dollars for ten ounces of beef. Anyway I couldn’t afford to eat meat anymore, and that went for all meat. And for a state that also produces dairy, I couldn’t afford that either. At this time I found myself at a local church food bank, waiting in line with my canvass sack to help myself to their food pantry. And when it was my turn to get some food all they had to offer was beans, canned vegetables, and pasta. I remember at the time thinking of this as "poor food". But when I got home and showed my mother what little I had gotten, I remember her smiling gently and saying "This is all we need". That night my mom made the best dinner I had ever eaten. She had taken the beans and vegetables and with an array of spices concocted a soup that I could have never dreamed of. And with some canned tomatoes and garlic my mom made some pasta sauce just like her grandmother use to make in Italy.

From then on whatever hodge podge of vegetables and lentils and fruit I would end up getting from the church my mother viewed as a challenge to make something special out of. My mother taught me how to cook and experiment and come up with original healthy food. We were cooking together, which we had never done before. It awoke something inside both of us, and we were happy even though we didn’t have as much as we used to. Up until then I had never appreciated food. I ate to satisfy an instant impulse. I never thought about what I was eating or where it came from. Now rather than eating to live we were living to eat.

Eventially I got a second job and things calmed down and I no longer used the church food bank. My mom got healthier and  volunteered at the church helping families plan out healthy meals. Now I find myself walking past the meat and dairy isle knowing I could buy it, but what would be the fun in that. I think in the end I did stumble upon some purpose and meaning to my life where I wouldnt have normally found it. I can say now that it was a happy accident.

 

 

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  1. Veganara
    Veganara
    Voted. A great, inspiring blog. People go vegan for all sorts of reasons, so there is no shame in doing it for the financial ones! That is how I first became vegetarian actually: I was a poor student, and it was cheaper not to eat meat. But I didn't really want to eat dead animals anyway, and now I am vegan. Veganism is not only cheaper, it is better for your health, is not cruel to animals, is better for the environment, and far more people can be fed on a purely plant-based diet! Knowing all that, I don't suppose you will want to go back. Please check out my latest post, Pull Down The Ivory Towers, and if you like it, please vote. :-)
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  2. Anita Vegana
    It's a reason to go vegan like many others. I am glad you stayed vegan because quite a lot of people would've simply gone back to their regular diets. Anyhow, if you did try a steak now, you may not even like it - your taste buds may have changed enough to not appreciate the flavour of meat anymore. When I became vegetarian, I was already thinking about doing it, but didn't have the willpower to actually go for it until I became dirt poor. I stopped eating meat most of the time and eventually got used to the meatless meals, and went vegetarian even though I started getting a regular paycheck. So really, I'm not that much different from you. I just had other reasons for becoming vegetarian, which was to help the social justice aspect of it. I voted. Please come read my post, Why Are Illegal Drugs so Harmful For the Environment?, and vote if you feel it deserves it. Thank you.
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    1. Veganara
      Veganara
      Exactly the same with me Anita; I was thinking of going veggie anyway, for ethical reasons, but my will power was a problem, and then when meat became pretty much unaffordable to me, it gave me the final push I needed. There are often a lot of factors at work in someone's choice to do something.
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      1. SnakeWitch
        For me it was partially because my diet was mostly organic at that point, and organic meat was 20$ a kilo. That's around 18 euros, I think...
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  3. SnakeWitch
    Accidental or not, you know what the advantages of going veg are, so you surely want to be veg even without the health benefits! You get my vote! For a great smootihie, you can come read my new post, Sweet Banana Blackberry Smoothie, and give it a vote if you like it!
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  4. BuddhasDelight
    BuddhasDelight
    awesome article! i love the spirit of it. :) also, i have to recommend a great cookbook, it's called the accidental vegan! by devra gartenstein. it is one of my go-to books for quick delicious vegan meals. i am so happy for your happy accident!
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    1. SnakeWitch
      Yup. going poor has its benefits! Looking at the glass half-full!!! ;)
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      1. Veganara
        Veganara
        Definitely Annie! It makes you appreciate everything so much more, everything you have! You also learn to be much more resourceful and budget money and make the best of everything. So it is character-building!
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  5. sweedly
    sweedly
    I am trying the vegetarian diet because of allergies to so many things. I made the mistake of trying a small bit of chicken the other evening and was immediately sorry that I had done so. I have found that I can eat wild game as it has not the chemicals that domestic animals have been pumped full of and yet I eat very little meat anyways. It is as you say easy to make lots of good meals from veggies and I am learning more every day. Voted.
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