“So you're a little weird? Work it! A little different? OWN it! Better to be a nerd than one of the herd!”
― Mandy Hale
Since becoming Vegan years ago, I do things I NEVER in my midwesternm meat-eating life thought I'd do…..
Like shop in the yuppie vegan food stores, or spend more time in the produce aisle than the meat aisle, or actually get excited about searching online for new recipes to try.
And then there was the time we bought a pre-packaged Tofurky Dinner for thanksgiving….
But we won't talk about that.
So I guess becoming vegan has made me weird… as if I wasn't weird enough already.
But that's ok - weird is the new cool. And if being weird keeps me being healthy - then I'm ok with it.
How weird am I? Here are a list of things I do now practically every day that would once upon a time make me stop and pause.
I guess it's a good thing I live in Portland…..
I Eat Weird Foods
If you would have told me 10 years ago that one day I'd be eating Tofu, I would have laughed in your face and probably snorted Mt. Dew out of my nose. Tofu? Yeah.....right......sure.....um okay.........Heck I'm not even sure I knew what Tofu was back then, let alone weird things like Miso, Tempeh, Soy Curls, or especially Seitan.
And speaking of Seitan..... I mean really guys??? SEITAN??? You couldn't come up with a better name than THAT?! People are going to think I have upside down crosses or something.....
Nope - no flippin' way. I was a strict Midwestern meat & potatoes kinda guy so none of that hippie, yuppie, healthy crap for me.
And Nutritional Yeast? What the holy heck is THAT? Isn't that something you buy in one of those vitamin stores along with your green seaweed powder….? That's just pure craziness!
Have you ever tried my BBQ Soy Curls? Or my Seitan Beer Brats? They're really quite good….
I Cook Complete Dinners From Scratch
Not only do I LIKE Seitan - I make my own.
In fact, today I cook ALL of my meals and hardly anything I buy is processed.
Every meal I make now is completely from scratch....just like grandma used to do back in the day. I know to some people it's like a 4 letter word ....cook. But I love it.
I know, weird huh? Who woulda thought??
Not only that - when I am in the store picking up staples - I actually read the nutrition facts on the label…. I know right?
I Actually Like Whole Foods
Whole foods as in real unprocessed foods you eat - and also Whole Foods as in that hippie store I swore I'd never set foot in.
Whole Foods is kinda spendy, but you got to admit they have one heckuva produce section. Of course mine is about 30 minutes away, so I normally shop closer to home.
But believe it or not, I don't shop at my local grocery, which is just 5 minutes away. Why? Because they're just as expensive as Whole Foods and honestly - I guess they're just not weird enough.
I mean they hardly carry any of the weird-ass hippie ingredients I've gotten used to! So I drive an extra 10 minutes to the neighboring town's grocery store.
They have Nooch. 🙂
I Post Recipes on Food Blogs
I'm a guy....
So I guess I'm supposed to do what other guys do.
You know, like playing golf, or watching the game, or polishing a gun, or at least playing the latest FPS....
But instead I'm setting up placemats and napkins so I can take a good picture of those Cauliflower Tacos to post on my food blog.
Good God - shoot me now. I've become a food nerd!
Oh, it doesn't bother me that much, as I'm not really into sports, or guns, or video games anyway.
I guess I am weird that way ..... but what I really AM into is food!
I have found that there is a real sense of community in the plant-based world. People actually caring and trying to help each other.
I like that. There's nothing like surrounding yourself with like minded people to keep you on track and to inspire you.
Besides - one day maybe I'll be able to say, "Move over Guy Fieri, there's a new Food Network Star in town."
Yeah and maybe I'll have my own line of cookware too.
Oh and by the way - I DO like Game of Thrones so don't take away my man card just yet....
I Wrote a Cookbook And I Brag About It
Speaking of doing guy like things..... I wrote a cookbook.... (actually.....I have two now)
Please don't tell dad.
Me? A writer? And of all things a COOKBOOK?
But since my wife handed over the apron and I had to start cooking.... things just kinda naturally ended up that way.
Oh in the beginning my recipes weren't anything to write home about - far from it. But slowly.... gradually.... as I began to learn how to use all these new weirdo ingredients..... the food started to actually taste good.
I mean REALLY GOOD.
Did my taste buds change or did I all of a sudden become a good cook? Both I think. And judging from the hundreds of amazing comments .... I think you agree.
So a cookbook was really the next logical step. Well that and the fact I had over 10,000 people at the time all begging for one....
And so Brand New Vegan: Soups, Stews, and Chili was born.
And did I mention I'm even published in a magazine too? I still have a hard time wrapping my head around that one.
So I Guess It's OK To Be Weird
Mandy Hale said it best when she said, "I'd rather be a nerd than follow the herd".
And where is that herd heading?
It's the path millions of Americans will take this year..... the path to sickness, disease, and maybe even death.
All because they're unwilling to give up their meat, cheese, and processed foods. And because most doctors still don't have a clue that it's the food that's causing most of our problems.
The obesity, the diabetes, the heart attacks..... yeah it's the food.
So, I'll BE that weird Vegan guy and they can laugh all they want. I may be the weird one - but I'll be the HEALTHY one.
And that's perfectly fine by me.
Wanna be weird with me? Come join us! You'll fit in just fine 🙂
Here's to weirdness.....
I enjoyed this post as it's only this year that I've become 'weird'. It's easy when it's just me. I just returned from a week long vacation with a house full of meat lovers, and thank goodness they respected my choices and cooked to include me in every meal (I had to do some adjustments). You mentioned broccoli in a smoothie - if you add a roma tomato with the broccoli, it actually neutralizes the strong broccoli smell/taste (credit to vegan bodybuilder Thomas Tadlock)
Linda Smith Lewis
I just got back from Portland - I'm so envious of your farmer's market. You're fortunate to live there vs. here in Virginia where I am very weird.
Reading this I guess I'm weird too. But we are becoming more and more the status quo 🙂
I hear you on the whole Tofurky thing. YUCK! I do like Gardein products as a starting point for dishes with loads of good veggies, and rice, couscous, quinoa, etc., but my best dishes are always the ones that have no pre-packaged items. Being Vegan may be weird, but it's a whole lot easier than I expected it to be.
Kat (going on 2 years as a full vegan)
2lbs of Starch
Well, since you asked, yes I'd say Veganism is still considered weird by even educated Californian standards. Maybe it's more accepted in Portlandia, but people seem to take it as an attack on their meat habit. And yes, "tofu" is 1.0 correlated with "more-liberal-than-thou" out here 🙂 I really try to avoid talking about diet around the "moderation" crowd.
Oh yeah - I keep my mouth shut too. Had a holiday dinner at work put on by the maintenance guys - pounds and pounds of beef, smoked on a traeger grill. i had a salad and thank GOD not one person said anything. I did get a few weird looks though 🙂
It will be interesting to see what's offered at your next holiday dinner Chuck, if your veganism becomes public. It is, as 2lbs of Starch (love the name!) expressed; "an attack on their meat habit". But confrontation is not imminent, as few have any monetary or intellectual 'dogs in the fight'.
Gather your resources (articles, videos, books) and such, and hand them out (if and when) questions arise.
Its just such a good thing, for such a great, great many animals, that you've raised this issue amongst those you know.
Also, perhaps next time, bring a tasty "alternative"! Otherwise others might believe that salad IS the alternative!
I seriously thought about brining a vegan dish Richard, but as I work 12 hr shifts - graveyards no less - time just got away from me. But next time ? Look out! I'll wow them! 🙂