I went into Starbucks the other day, as I was starving and needed something to eat. I was anxiously waiting in line until it was my turn. Finally, when I reached the cash register with my avocado spread and coconut macarons in hand, I put them on the counter. Can I please have any of the vegan bagels? The barista stared at me like I just asked him for the most ridiculous thing. Vegan bagels? I don’t think we sell vegan bagels. I smiled at him and pointed towards the bagels. Yes, you do. He looked a bit embarrassed at this point, but then out of the blue started asking questions: What is the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan? What can you eat? And, the most often asked question, Is it hard?
Some omnivores, not all, are shocked when they meet someone who is vegetarian or vegan. Well, how can you even do it? Many ask. I simply smile and respond with, It’s actually quite easy–sometimes a bit challenging, but it’s not hard.
I’ve realized that the reason omnivores ask these sort of questions, are due to their curiosity in regards to our fulfillment of meals that contain zero meat. It is unimaginable to them. When you describe what you eat, they think of what is lacking in your meals. Meat.
One of the most difficult things I had to deal with when I became vegetarian, was reimagining my plate. Even when I was satisfied with my food, I felt something was missing. Among the sea of legumes, greens, and nuts, there was a feeling of lack of incentive. Meat, being the incentive that was supposed to motivate me to eat the “healthy, but rather boring” foods. That in itself is the wrong attitude, you’re supposed to want to eat legumes, grains, and greens because they are good for you. Meat should not be the incentive as to why you’re okay with eating a salad.
Now, It’s been a while for me. I now see avocado, eggplant, fried sweet plantains, pomegranate seeds, and tofu as the real incentive to eat greens or legumes that seem kind of dry and well, boring.
Recently, I, once again, had to reimagine my plate, this time without any dairy products, I really thought this was going to be impossible. How was I supposed to enjoy my Starbucks toasted bagel without cream cheese or butter? Well, turns out that in cutting out dairy, I just had to look for another option, one that was there all this time. Avocado spread. There are dairy-free and vegan options everywhere.
We are creatures of habit. That is why certain things seem impossible. The great thing is that we can create different and better habits.
I mean, who needs a bagel with cream cheese when you can have a bagel with avocado spread?