I have nibbled around the edges of a vegetarian and more recently a vegan diet for over 40 years. For much of that time, I referred to myself as a weekday vegetarian or vegan as I pretty well lived on my curried lentils or black bean chilli and brown rice or quinoa as well as fruits and vegetables from Monday to Friday. My early motivation was the book, Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe. It provided my first inkling that a carnivorous diet was putting a strain on our home. At the time (pre-internet), my primary source of vegetarian recipes was the cookbook Laurel's Kitchen but many of the recipes were not great. They might have been tasty to the hard-core hippy vegetarians of the time but I had a hard time finding joy.
For literally decades, while always making an effort to keep my consumption of animal products to a minimum, I gave in to the excuse that it was inconvenient and impractical to go vegan. If I am honest, I just really loved Taiwanese fried chicken, crispy pata, kare kare, birria tacos, sushi, dim sum and...well you get the picture (and don't forget cheese). Plus maybe a little bit of FOMO?
Yes, over the last few days as I have worked on this posting, I realize that the fear of missing out is a significant part of my problem. It's not because I am concerned about missing out on the animal foods as I am all in on the plant-based eating and know it can be amazing. In reality, I am afraid that I will feel left out of the foodie community! Not like I am hard-core buds with anyone in particular but it is unlikely that I'll be able to participate in Vanfoodster's Food Challenges or Tasting Plates events! I could never ingest animal products again with no problem but I will morn not being able to try each new place that is blowing up on Instagram or on the Food Blog Rolls! But really? What kind of lame, whiney excuse is that, especially in the face of a global climate crisis and in the face of animal suffering on factory farms which are the greatest contributor to our diet and fancy restaurant reviews? I'm feeling some shame now...
Additionally, at least at the beginning (decades ago) my motivation to pursue an animal product free diet was more selfish. It was more about my own health and finances but as the evidence mounted up, it was hard to ignore how badly we are fucking up this planet and how god awful we treat other sentient beings in the name of eating fish, meat, eggs and cheese. The more that I read, listened to podcasts and fell down the rabbit hole of plant-based eating videos and documentaries, the less I was able to put my desire for grilled cheese, ahead of the future of your children and grandchildren on this planet, not to mention animal well-being. One of the clinchers, having previously watched Cowspiracy and Seaspiracy was the documentary Game Changers that we watched more recently. I believe that with all that information, I have no choice but to conquer my FOMO and cravings for Xia Long Bao (unless I can find the vegan version).
So on into what I already know is not a void having played Veganuary, No-Meat May and World Vegan months in the past. In the future, I will not be posting about Fogo de Chao or the Abbatoire but I do look forward to getting to Folke! In fact, I have 25 restaurants on my list currently that are vegan or vegan-friendly. When I am done, I will start over at the beginning with the at least 50 vegan places that we have already visited, starting with Virtuous Pie where we first had plant-based pizza in November of 2018 (actually, The Naam has been around so much longer and we went there years ago). So, there is still lots to do for a guy who likes, just for fun, to post restaurant reviews and post on Instagram.
Let me say in conclusion, that I cannot guarantee 100% purity but I am not claiming to be a "flexitarian" either (I hate that lazy assed term). I will use this space for confession if necessary. LOL.
So I hope that there comes to this a bit of a purpose beyond telling and showing you what we ate. I hope that readers including other bloggers will think about the world that their children and grandchildren will have to live in if mankind does not have the political will to change greatly. Is it already too late? If we all think that it is someone else's problem, then maybe it is. I think I'd rather be part of the solution.
In conclusion, again, I'd like to say thank you to Earthling Ed who calmly presents rock-solid evidence and logic in the face of ludicrous arguments (this means you, Joe Rogan) against pursuing a plant-based diet. You should definitely seek him out on YouTube.
And in conclusion, again again, I notice that even though I started this post at the beginning of August, it has taken me a month to finish and have the nerve to commit fully!