Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Everyone Is a Little Vegan

My friend just came back from Canyon Ranch and was going on about how lovely it was, how good the food was, how restorative restorative yoga was. Just listening to her made me want to go so I checked out the web site and looked over the menu. They clearly label vegan items, like miso soup and smoothies, which is really great. However, I noticed that some clearly vegan items did not garner a vegan sign next to it. Apparently, bananas, berries, melons, rice, and potatoes are not vegan.

When many people think of vegan food, they often think of tofu or fake meat strips. They are vegan and I happen to like both. We often forget that the fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and nuts we are eating are vegan too. It’s strange that the completely unadulterated foods—almost all of which are vegan—don’t get labeled as such. Why are they not immediately deemed vegan by your average meateater, then? When Brian and I bring fruit salad to a lunch, it doesn’t get labeled vegan so everyone gobbles it right up. When we bring out the cake that doesn’t contain eggs and butter, though, trepidation often kicks in because it’s V-E-G-A-N. But it’s no more vegan than the fruit.

What makes a diet without meat and other animal products seem daunting is the idea that we will have to eat food that isn’t “real”, is too different, isn’t good enough. I certainly used to think that way and still have some of that thinking to a degree (hello, cheese). Thing is, I always ate vegan food even when I was an omnivore. The banana in my cereal, the beans on my rice, the salad for lunch—all vegan. We’re all eating vegan food all the time. Thinking that it’s an entirely foreign diet is inaccurate and makes something already familiar and available in abundance seem unnecessarily weird and lacking.

Mutual Menu is giving away one copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. To enter to win and for more details, please leave one comment here.

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