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Fierce in Seattle: How To Become A Vegan In Your 30s


A blogumn by Kelli Bielema

Tofurky and almost all the trimmings

I was raised on meat, potatoes and more meat. This is what you feed on for 3 squares daily in the Midwest.  Living in Los Angeles I didn’t stop the carnivorous mayhem: hot dogs wrapped in bacon at the non-regulated food carts in the Fashion District, carne asada marinated over two days from the carnicero in Eagle Rock, Zankou Chicken with extra garlic sauce.  While I have claimed my charcoal-grilled baby back ribs were the best in the land, I made them for the last time in Seattle nearly 2 years ago.  That’s right, I am now a……vegetarian!

It all started a year ago January, not as any sort of resolution but prompted by reading Skinny Bitch, perusing the internet and talking to friends.  I initially became vegan.  I simply wanted to see if I could do it for 30 days and quite honestly, it was relatively simple. Vegans do not eat or consume any animal products. Naturally the list includes meat, dairy, eggs, seafood, and goes as far as honey in most vegan schools of thought. Now granted, I live in one of the crunchiest cities on earth, so access to organic, plant-based food in Seattle is a lot simpler than say, Prophetstown, Illinois, where I grew up.

When I shared with my family that I was now eating this way, well, you can only imagine the confusion.  My dad thinks that this means I still eat fish—I’ve never really eaten fish.  So, I usually explain to the fam, as well as others who are boggled by the mere thought of not gnawing on flesh of another being at a meal.  “Where will you get your protein?…your calcium? …your _____ — fill in random necessary nutritional element.”  This is the most common question, to which I can only say there are websites that contain outstanding information if you are curious about what the heck it’s all about as well as recipes to satisfy that pesky no-meat-eatin’-dinner guest. And if you’re ready to make that move into veganism, you can get a free vegan starter pack from Action for Animals, which includes multiple pamphlets, coupons and STICKERS!!!!

Now I am certainly no expert on being vegan. In fact, I’ve been a cheese bender (yeah, as in dairy) since Thanksgiving.  I’m getting back on track, damn those holidays.  For my first full year of eating vegan, I can certainly say that I have felt better physically and spiritually.  In the first 30 days I lost 5 pounds without lifting a finger. I would probably have a little more weight loss success if there wasn’t a cornucopia of delish vegan food out there –Tofutti cuties!  Late July peanut butter crackers! Liz Lovely Cowgirl Cookies!  There are markets like Sidecar for Pigs Peace in Seattle that are exclusively vegan but if you can’t make a visit here, shop Portland’s Food Fight Grocery which serves up online shopping with a side of sass.  Just a couple of damn fine ways to get your protein!