Today we close on our first house and we couldn't be more excited. This is one of those great big life steps that you only get to have once, so I suppose it's a good idea to take a moment to pause and look back at the last few years.
When we first moved into this apartment I was very comfortably vegetarian and he was very comfortably omnivorous. I did my best to find cheese without animal rennet but didn't question it when it was on my veggie burger at a restaurant. He liked buying Wegmans' organic grass-fed meats to use at home but didn't think too much about it when dining out. We were doing the best we thought we could at the time and what we were comfortable doing.
Then I started looking around the web for vegetarian blogs and news and I came across Vegansaurus. I'm not a vegan, I said, but this blog is crazy interesting and well-written, so I'll read it religiously. And I did. And I saw that it was possible, that there were plenty of people out there living happy and food-fulfilled vegan lives. It started to gnaw at me. Somewhere deep down I felt the guilt, the cognitive dissonance, that uncomfortable feeling where you know, you know, that you're justifying behaviors you suspect are wrong.
I learned about Farm Sanctuary, the wonderful place just an hour's drive away where farm animals are saved and given a second chance at life. I would periodically poke around their page, looking for updated animal news, checking out their special events, and one day I came across their virtual factory experience. It was what I learned about baby male chicks that put me over the edge, and it's what I posted about in my very first post on this blog. I texted Hubster and told him that I couldn't ignore this feeling any longer and that I was very sorry for the stress it would cause him, but that I was going vegan.
It was an interesting adjustment to make. I learned about sugar processing and went through a freak-out trying to avoid refined sugar, then eventually settled into my current “I can buy organic cane sugar for use at home but I'll just have to deal with it while dining out” groove. I avoided the Wegmans bread I usually buy until the results came back from customer service about whether they used animal-based or veggie-based mono and diglycerides. I was serious. There was a period of attempted bread-baking (I learned that I am not good at bread-baking) before I found the crazy expensive organic bread at the health food store. I had to learn how to bake again. I spent forever Googling cookie recipes.
I had to re-learn how to go to restaurants. I learned to get used to asking questions about ingredients, which is a big deal for me since my M.O. was always to just order the sandwich however it was and pull off the lettuce and tomato afterward. I really learned to appreciate helpful and knowledgeable wait staff and to despise impatient and lazy service. My most-frequented restaurant list shifted considerably, which means the same happened for the Hubster.
He tried his best to be patient with me and understanding, but I know the change was hard on him. He always worried about me finding something to eat whenever we met friends out for dinner. He was afraid I would come to think less of him for continuing to eat meat. He was afraid that if we have children some day they would think Daddy was a bad person for eating animals. He was even afraid I'd leave him and run off to be with a vegan! We got into more than a couple arguments that were fully my fault because I'm unable to just shut my mouth and keep my opinions to myself.
He spent a lot of time going back and forth with diet plans and deals, periods of routine and excess, trying to find his new normal. And we kept plugging along, kept shifting, kept learning about food, the world, each other, and ourselves.
Now I'm quite confident that going vegan and starting this food blog are two of the best decisions I've ever made, and I think he would agree. I'm proud of how I live. There's no more guilt, no more hiding from information about the world. There's only joy and creativity. I love experimenting with new recipes, and I love feeding my family and friends delicious, cruelty-free food (and they love being fed!). I love proving that it's possible to happily be a vegan in Western New York, far from the bright lights and bistros of NYC. And I love being a source of information for people around me who are interested.
We're looking forward to getting into the new house and painting and organizing the furniture and everything else that comes with a new house, but I'm most excited about the kitchen. It's gorgeous. But I have more reason to be excited. Within the past two weeks, both the Omnivorous Hubster and my very good friend Nacho Kate have decided to try vegetarianism of their own free will. They're both doing it for similar reasons, for health and safety and for disgust with the factory farming system. They don't like how they feel physically when they eat meat and they're going to try to avoid it as much as possible. An exciting new chapter is about to begin and I can't wait.