My New T-Shirt, 2015
Sometimes I feel like the dinosaur with the hummus.
There were some people in line in front of me at one of our neighborhood cafés this weekend, and as they neared the pastry case the man said, Oh, what do they have here? I bet everything is whole grain..., and the woman finished his sentence, or vegan! And then they both slapped their legs, leaned their heads back, and let out a, BAHAHAHAHAHA! The funny thing is this café doesn't serve one whole grain or vegan pastry. I kind of wish they did. Anyway, this reminded me of the clear stigma attached to the word vegan. Notice the knee slapping did not occur until after she said vegan.
Maybe it's less about the definition and more about the actual word. Say it out loud. Vegan. It does have a dour sound, no? There are other terms. Plant-based, whole food plant-based, or simply herbivore. I rather like herbivore, although it doesn't appear to be working for the dinosaur, and it doesn't really help when ordering a meal in a restaurant, which requires a lot of, can I order this without ______? And a lot of servers wincing behind their smiles.
I get it. For many years I proudly answered, zero dietary restrictions, whenever asked. I felt I was doing everyone a favor. I was low-maintenance. Then I slowly transitioned from a pescetarian diet, to vegetarian, to dinosaur, and life changed.
Eating at home is pretty easy, it does require thought, but mostly nutritional thought, something I should have always been considering. I've enjoyed combining new tastes, textures, colors, etc. in my own kitchen. It is being out and about in the world that is challenging. And I live in San Francisco. I know some people believe we are all free love vegans over here on the left coast, but we are not.
So I'm finding myself in situation after situation where I'm different, really different, and this is new to me. Blending in quietly didn't used to be a problem. It's a little harder now. So I decided to just go with it and do things like buy this t-shirt. I feel good. My body feels healthy. Laugh if you must, but I'm going to carry on. I hope it builds character.