Monday, October 10, 2011

new world

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but

I love to learn new stuff.

I'm sure you couldn't guess from, oh, the title of this blog, or the things I talk about. Like our homeschool discoveries, our freedom experiment, our journey into life learning, and choosing a life of As-Much-Yes-As-We-Can-Stand. In fact I'm sure my announcement comes as a complete surprise!

now you know. :)

So it has come as quite a shock to find that our New Adventure Into Veganism

hasn't been 100% fun.

Since starting homeschooling, I've come to find—to my delight—that learning on our own terms, almost always brings joy. So I'd come to think learning would always do that. Bring joy. Lift us up, fill us, bring us light.

So I wasn't expecting this new journey to feel so hard. Or for my body to take so much time to adjust, in every way.

It's had to adjust to learning challenging, difficult things,
to not eating things it had come to love,
and to be occupied for days with things Serious and Life Changing.

I've never been great at the Sad/Serious Stuff. I take it so much to heart; I take it on board. I sometimes let it collapse me. This time has been no different.

And yesterday, as strong as my resolve has been,

I felt close to caving.

We went out for the afternoon to buy some goodies from the appliance store, and

we got SO hungry! We forgot to bring snacks, so we drove home, tummies rumbling, and we still had to get some vegan-y stuff at the shops. Which involved going down the dairy aisle to see what sort of tofu and soy yoghurt we could find (that had no GMOs, was not overly processed, etc), and


We saw the cheese.

The cheese! Glowing there, the cambembert, feta, cheddar, ricotta.

Calling their sweet siren calls. They looked just gorgeous there, on the shelves.

And Oh!
The Instant Pining! 
The Terrible Longing! 
Hungry now more than ever! 

In a way it was kind of funny, our drive home from the supermarket (having resisted, just). All my son and I could talk about was cheese.

We simply could not stop talking about cheese.

What cheese we'd eat. How much cheese we'd eat. How we'd never stop eating the cheese if only, if only, we ate cheese. It was pitiful!

(My daughter and husband were strong. Somehow (perhaps they'd had tofu stuck in their ears?) they hadn't heard the Song of the Feta, the dulcet tones of the Edam, the Call of the Brie…they made it through the dairy aisle hungry but unscathed—they were the lucky ones!)

So what did we do when we got home?

After we crawled in, sand in our mouths, there on our hands and knees, just about to crack, hungry to our very depths…?

Well, we ate, of course.

We ate fresh-made, still warm, gluten free bread I'd baked before going out,

with delicious dairy-free spread and organic apricot jam.

I made a fruit platter of pear and apple and orange and strawberries and we discovered that a strawberry eaten together with a pink-lady apple is seriously divine.

We gobbled up pistachios

and then I made air-popped popcorn in our new, just bought, handy-dandy air-popping-popcorn maker!

It was all so scrumptious. Utterly filling.

Slowly we uncurled. Slowly we unclenched, and slowly we returned to our Selves.

And we looked about in this new world

and we called it


And today

my son and I hardly thought about cheese at all!


(having read this over, I can hear people out there saying, "Dude. Why didn't you just eat the dang cheese?" Well, we've decided we don't want to. It's complicated. We don't want to eat anything that's connected in any way to the suffering and/or eating of animals. And even in the most humane circumstances, dairy food is connected. So that's us, what we've chosen for ourselves, and that means we aren't eating the (lovely) cheese.

I found a recipe yesterday though, where you can make your own. How exciting! You just need agar agar powder, and nutritional yeast, and the feather of a gryphon and the eyelash of a fairy… It'll be a piece of cake to make. Now, where's my chef's hat?)


  1. Your post made me laugh as it was so reminiscent of my own forray into veganism. I was 14 years old and had been a super militant, ALF badge wearing vegetarian for 2 years. I had a Saturday Job in the wholefood store and was as clued up on nutrition as could be. I did it for a year - I handled the lack of eating out (In Shetland all those years ago it was a challenge eating out if you were veggie - never mind vegan), the lack of anything convienient. I sprouted my own beans and seeds, I stir fried and curried, I staved off the many critics with intelligent arguement and told them at length how i was balancing my diet (funny how all meat eaters ASSUME that they are eating nutritionally balanced!)

    But in the end, what got me was my summer job working the cheese counter in the local delicatessen - it was torture! And I'm sorry to say I cracked. Thanks so much for your recent posts, it has certainly given me food for thought again about the whole vegan debate. Our family are all veggie, but rely (probably far too much) on cheese and eggs. Will be looking at the links you gave too. Thanks again for a refreshing and thought provoking insight.

  2. I love your posts. I am glad you didn't cave on the cheese. Very good of you and your boy. It is the same concept as "Never buy groceries when you are starving" It never turns out well. ;)

    LOL on the recipe for cheese. Sounds simple right? ;)

  3. Recently, I introduced vegan cheese to our daughter who is allergic to dairy. Her eyes grew wide with excitement, "Is this what everybody else has been tasting?" I didn't have the heart to tell her it was probably different. She loved it and asked for more vegan cheese. Sometimes it's easier when you don't know what real cheese tastes like. Good for you for staying steadfast!

  4. Is there vegan icecream (other than sorbet) out there as well as vegan cheese? Could be good.Sounds a bit like but better than the veggie chicken (i.e. tofu) sausages I've seen!

  5. Have you looked into regional organic dairy farms? I'm sure that there is one that could provide you with an occasional cheese product that doesn't go against your beliefs. Just to get that cheese fix now and then. :)

    Good for you guys, that you stuck to your guns, though.

  6. So inspiring!

    I was a vegetarian for 7 years but had issues when I was pregnant and nursing Allie that made me start slowly eating meat again. Now I am a full carnivore but I could VERY easily and VERY happily give it up...I would love to actually and at times I say I am going to give it up...but my husband wants to eat meat and wants me to cook meat for him and when I was a vegetarian I literally used to get dizzy even holding raw meat. It was purely psychological but I was so disgusted by the whole thing. I still am...I just try not to think about it as much!

    Anyway, great for you!!!! I do hope to be a vegetarain again someday!

  7. It is hard when you are HUNGRY!!! :) I can't eat regular dairy (alleries & lactose intolerance) but can handle raw milk cheeses. Sometimes something looks SO GOOD (is it that salty earthy smell that is so good?) though that I eat some anyway, and always regret it. Ouch. You have willpower. ;) And the meal sounds delicious!


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.