By Josh Fernandez, Guest Blogger
Halfway through my Starbucks Protein Bistro Box I realized I was eating an egg. A giant hardboiled egg. “Nope,” I thought. “That’s probably not vegan.”
Hello. My name is Joshua Fernandez and I am new here.
So far, the hardest part of being a vegan is eating vegan food. Yes, that sounds really stupid when I write it down, but it’s true. My first week as a vegan was a series of half-eaten mouthfuls of food and mad dashes to the trashcan.
My office-mates probably thought I was suffering from bulimia because I kept running to the bathroom to spit out my lunch.
“Wait,” I’d say into the bowels of the faculty garbage bin. “Was that granola bar vegan?!”
It turns out it wasn’t vegan. At all.
Because milk chocolate chips aren’t vegan. Because they contain milk.
Neither is cheddar cheese. Because it contains cheese.
Yes, old school vegans are probably reading this and muttering, “Psssht, what a stupid newbie.”
But I don’t care. I am determined to get this right.
I love animals. And I don’t want to contribute to their suffering, only to my own, which is why I have sworn off the most delicious foods on earth. Well, there’s only one delicious food on earth, and that’s cheese pizza (goodbye, my old lover. I’ll see you in hell.)
One of the reasons I swore off cheese pizza and became a vegan has a lot to do with my friend Toni. We were on our way back from a friend’s house. The trip took about an hour. At that point, I was a happy pescatarian and felt morally superior to most people on Earth for my choice to not eat chicken or beef. I only occasionally ate fish. But Toni started telling me this horrific tale about what farmers do to the chickens that are too old to lay eggs. I don’t want to go into the gross details of the story, but let’s just say it involved live chickens, a big metal vat and fire.
That image stuck out in my head, shattering my vegetarian comfort into a million tiny pieces that I would never be able to reassemble. Even though I tried. Desperately. I’m really good at rationalizing and lying to myself. When I was a vegetarian I had successfully convinced myself that fish was a plant.
“I can find the farms that treat their chickens with dignity and respect!” I said.
The thing is I’m waaaaay too lazy to seek out compassionate chicken farmers. For someone like me, it’s easier to assume that they are all heartless murderers with a lust for dead chickens.
Another problem with veganism is that I’m a marathoner, sometimes clocking in at about 60 miles per week, and I told myself that if I only eat plant-based food I would most likely keel over on mile 25.
I haven’t actually tested that theory yet, but I will find out on December 6, when I run my first marathon as a vegan. And mark my words: If that happens, on my death bed I will write another blog post for Vegan Outreach, entitled, “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE, BUTCHER A COW AND EAT IT IMMEDIATELY.”
I have this other friend, Dave, who is a vegan and he runs ultramarathons. Sometimes he only eats fruit, which he calls fruitarian, a word that my spell check doesn’t even recognize. Most humans don’t even recognize that word. I don’t even think it’s a word. Maybe Dave isn’t even real. Like he’s just some hallucination I’m having from being so protein deficient.
But that, of course, is another misconception. I get all the protein I need from beans, avocados, fruits and nuts. I’m actually gaining
weight because I eat burritos filled with black beans, potatoes, spinach, onions, garlic, avocados and cashew cheese about 700 times a week.
I suck at being a vegan. I really do. I tried to make vegan lasagna and at once burned and overcooked it while forgetting half of the ingredients. A better name for that dish would be “Black, floppy noodles with some crusty red crap on top.”
Sometimes I feel so hungry and lazy that I’ll just lick almond butter off a spoon for lunch.
Also, I’m sort of a poser. I mean, sure, I love animals and I don’t want them to suffer, but I really want to be a vegan because I want to wear vegan themed clothing. Like, who doesn’t want to wear a shirt of a carrot riding a bike that says, “Go Vegan”?
I also want to be a vegan because people keep telling me not to be a vegan. If there’s one consistent motivator, it’s people telling me I can’t do things. Which, now that I think about it, is probably why I got kicked out of high school.
Anyway, I have no idea what I’m doing, but I have a network of good vegan friends who are helping me—inspiring me to live cruelty-free.
As I sit here in my office, waiting for a student to come into my office hour, I’m writing this blog post and sipping my
–Wait, is this coffee vegan?!
*runs to bathroom*
*regurgitates latte into trash can*