Is Being Vegan Being Weird?

Have you ever tried that approach by introducing yourself to someone else saying “Hi, I’m vegan. What’s your name?” Well, probably not. And even if you did, it would sound quite weird, wouldn’t it? However, although the numbers of people going vegan is climbing rapidly, vegans are still considered to be more or less a bit “weird” to many people. I found out that challenging people to reconsider their diet habit is like touching a highly sensitive zone of their lives very often going along with opposition. Speaking about diet to others seems to be a restricted area or even a sacred place with forbidden access for strangers. Being somehow “weird” in the eyes of non-vegans is even more sustained when vegans start to include or remove certain diet or behavior habits from their life. Matt Frazier wrote a very interesting article about the 17 “weirdest” things he did after he had gone vegan. This list can also serve as an excellent guide for those who are still vegan beginners or still in the process of going vegan.

“Let’s face it. Being vegan (or even vegetarian) is pretty weird.

But that’s okay — weird is the new cool. It’s also the new normal, according to Seth Godin (whose post I borrowed the Dr. Seuss quote from).

It seems weird begets weird, though, because in the two years my family has been vegan, bit by bit we’ve gone a little nuts-o in our other habits — many of which have nothing to do with veganism.

And yet, in a way, they’re all tied back to that fundamental choice to be different from 98 percent of the rest of the world in our food choices. Being weird, I’ve found, is not just fun; it’s addictive.

And so — since my brain is fried from book writing and moving and NYC-Vegetarian-FoodFest-ing — I figured I’d write a fun post today about the kinky things we do since going vegan.

1. Live microwave-free. I thought I could never give up my microwave, but it turns out it was a lot like going vegan — I used it less and less over time as it became less appealing, and eventually it was just a matter of making the decision to go all the way. It’s great — lots of counter space, one less big, ugly box in the kitchen, and food that feels better for us (whether it actually is or not, I’m not sure). It’s slightly more work to steam or bake or simmer our leftovers, but it’s work that is somehow joyful.

2. Hand-grind our coffee. More oddly joyful work. After reading Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Chef late last year, I got a hand-crank burr grinder and an Aeropress, and it’s the only way I’ve made coffee since. The combination not only makes the best coffee I’ve ever had; it’s also convenient enough to bring on a plane. I did have a bit of disaster when I spilled the grounds all over my lap on a flight home from San Diego, though. [FYI, links to Amazon here are affiliate links.]

3. Have a freezer full of broccoli stems and strawberry tops. Why? To feed to our Blendtec, of course. Might as well waste one less thing and get some more green in our smoothies. Speaking of which …

4. Drink weird-ass smoothies. It used to be that I could give someone a taste of my morningsmoothie, and be met with a surprised, “Hey, this is pretty good!” No longer. Now our smoothies start with a base of pumpkin seeds (lots of iron), chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp/rice/pea protein powder, and that’s before the greens get involved. But we’re used to it, and somehow it tastes good.

5. Use pink salt. Since I got heavy into cooking six or seven years ago, it’s been a steady progression from the normal, processed salt to kosher salt to sea salt to real salt. It’s got a pinkish hue, and we keep it in pinch bowl. Sort of looks like a bowl of dirt that we put on our food.

6. Wear trail shoes everywhere. So here’s how this happened. I stopped wearing leather shoes (technically, I stopped buying leather shoes, and the ones I owned wore out). I bought a pair of faux-leather shoes from a discount shoe store (they sell them because they’re cheap, not because they’re vegan-friendly), but I hated them. So then I just started wearing trail shoes around, since they’re grey and look better than Danny Tanner white sneaks. Right now I wear a pair of Merrells that I also run in, and my wife usually wears her New Balance Minimus Trail.

7. Dehydrate things. We don’t do the hardcore stuff like making crackers and breads and fancy raw food — honestly, we got it so we could dehydrate fruit for our son to snack on. Except we end up eating most of it. So far, we’ve done several batches of apples and bananas, but we’re still learning. (Suggestions?)

8. Run with dates. I’ve never been able to stomach energy gels, but now that I’ve discovered dates, it’s not a problem. They’re small and packed with quick-digesting carbohydrate (just like energy gels), only they’re whole foods and completely natural. And they actually taste really, really good. Get fresh ones instead of dried; they taste way better and they’re kind of like gummies. PS — Victoria Arnstein, wife of Michael (the Fruitarian), stopped by our table at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival last weekend and told me that in her Vermont 100K win and Michael’s 100-miler win, they ate nothing but dates!

9. Make tons of stuff from scratch. From nut butter to dried beans to pizza dough (with some buckwheat flour, also weird enough that I wouldn’t serve it to guests), we’ve gone down a road of making an increasing amount of food from whole ingredients instead of buying it in packages. It’s fun and it brings us closer to our food, even if it takes a little more time. But not all that much time — we’ve found relatively easy ways to do this stuff, like making the nut butter in the Blendtec, dried beans in the slow cookers, and pizza dough in the food processor. No word yet on plans to go electricity-free.

10. Buy everything else Amy’s, Annie’s, Bob’s (Red Mill), Tom’s, Bragg, and Bronner’s. No, these aren’t our friends from the local farmers market (though I’m sure it’s no mistake they chose their brand names to sound like that). These are all brands that just three years ago I had never heard of, and now they represent most of what we buy that isn’t unpackaged produce or bulk goods from our local co-op. We actually refill our Dr. Bronner’s soap bottle from a big pump bottle at the co-op, which is fun. And pretty weird too, I suppose.”

To read the rest of the article, check it out on the original source over at Matt Frazier.

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