OK, so it doesn’t have the alliteration of Meatless Monday, the environmental movement that operates on the principle that industrialized animal agriculture is one of the biggest sources of carbon and pollution. Cutting meat out even once a week (Monday, for example) makes a major difference. It’s been estimated that going meatless even once a week lightens your footprint more than eating entirely locally.
I’ve been vegetarian for a few years now, so every day is meatless Monday (or Tuesday, or whatever), but I sometimes feel like I’m keeping the letter but not the spirit of Meatless Monday. Dairy and egg products, while perhaps less ethically problematic for me, are almost as bad for the environment as meat. I don’t eat either in huge quantities (yay for being mildly lactose intolerant!), but I do tend to have maybe 1-2 servings a day. A splash of milk in my tea, yogurt, scrambled eggs, the odd baked good. You get the idea.
So, in a fit of environmental zealotry, I declared Sunday my vegan day of the week. Instead of my usual yogurt and black tea, I started my day with green tea, a bowl of Life cereal, almond milk, and a slightly overripe pear. Things went well until about lunch time, when I bought fresh francesi rolls at the farmer’s market and then recalled that I had a wedge of triple creme brie waiting patiently in the fridge.
All afternoon I fantasized about making a brie bowl, brushing one of my rolls with olive oil and garlic and big chunks of creamy brie, toasting until the cheese melted into gooey gobs and the bread toasted up crisp and brown on the outside. I was borderline obsessed. I don’t actually eat brie that often. It’s certainly not a daily staple. But somehow, knowing that I couldn’t have any made me crave it madly. I contemplated cheating on my one day veganism. I even briefly considered staying up until it was technically Monday. I resisted and went to bed unsatisfied.
I suddenly feel a little more sympathy for omnivores who can’t face the thought of giving up meat for even one day. I’m sure I have days in which I am almost or entirely vegan without thinking about it, but the actual prohibition of all milk and egg products was…well, harder than expected. I’ll try again this Sunday, this time planning my meals in advance.
Things I learned from Vegan Sunday:
- Asian food lends itself much more readily to vegan fare. For dinner I had colorful stir-fried veggies with dark mushroom soy sauce. I could also have had noodles, curry, or fried rice. Since there’s no dairy culture in East Asia, most Asian dishes that are already vegetarian are also already vegan.
- I need to duct tape the cheese/butter compartment shut. Dangerous.
- Planning out my meals in advance could make a big difference in how deprived I feel. If I filled the day with vegan meals I loved, I probably wouldn’t think twice about dairy products. It’s worth the experiment.
- I should just buy fewer dairy products. Easier, more effective, and better for the environment.
But tonight? I am so making that brie bowl.