Preachin’ Vegan and Q&A

Waking up late for work…
Getting notifications for some not-so-nice comments on blog…
Spilling my oatmeal all over the front seat of my car…
Managing to spread said oatmeal onto EVERY surface of my car…
And getting to work and realizing I was about to miss one of my own deadlines…

Thursday came in like a lion, but then I realized I get to spread the word about the awesome vegan-friendly, Okie-friendly, Southern-friendly dinner I made last night.

The past couple of days, I’ve been trying to make meals from the suggestions the wonderful people who have been following along have sent to me (Really, y’all are awesome.) Tuesday night I made Vegan Cheeseburger soup. Fail. I was trying so hard to be open-minded about it, but it was also my first try at vegan meat & cheese. The smell offended me, but I charged forth on my mission. Upon finishing, I loped some of the concoction into my bowl and carried it to the table. In the short walk from my oven to my table, my soup had “set up” into some type of consistency that would be used best for laying bricks. Horrified, I tried it anyway. Not a fan.

BUT, for anyone that may have thought it sounded good, don’t completely give up on this recipe. Here are my suggestions: use unflavored and/or unsweetened soy milk, and use a higher quality vegan meat & cheese. (Not the, only-option, “hey that’s cheap!” kind your local Walmart has to offer.)

So last night as I looked for ideas, I was kind of wary as to what my other readers may have suggested, but then the Heaven’s opened and shined down (I’m not dramatic, not even the slightest.) on Very Vegan Chili.

Halleluiah! Can I get an Amen? My little Cajun-Okie heart seemed to sing as I took my first bite. I made some vegan cornbread (Because eating chili without cornbread is Un-American.) to go along with it topped with vegan butter and honey (Honey disclaimer at the end.) and for dessert made Vegan Chocolate Chip cookies. (w/o chocolate chips, yeah… I know.)

That's just beautiful

That’s just beautiful

So moving on past my food Epiphany. Let’s get down to business, the Q&A part of this experiment. I’m just going to cover the frequently asked one’s, as this post might go on for days (more than it already does) if I answered them all.

Q1: What have you missed the most being vegan?
A1: My actual “most missed” item hasn’t been food… it’s been my Cowboy Boots and my hair products. (The higher the hair the closer to God people.)
Q2: Have you noticed a drastic difference in your grocery bill?
A2: Yes, because I typically don’t make full meals every night, and eat something quick and easy before heading to the gym, my grocery bill for a two-week project has totaled what I would normally spend for an entire month of groceries.
Q3: How much has it cost to be vegan?
A3: Y’all are all about price huh? Groceries for two weeks have cost approx. $240.00 and Makeup $50. Ouch, those numbers were painful to calculate and type. The makeup end of this was actually low because I only purchased a few items, since I already owned a lot of Urban Decay, and the grocery part could be lowered over time if you were making a long-term commitment to veganism and could stock up.
Q4: What item was I most surprised wasn’t vegan?
A4: Sugar, I just thought it came straight from the cane, I had never given much thought to the ‘refining process.’ Also alcohol, (it’s a very small list that’s actually vegan, certain flours and vinegars, and honey.
Q5: What items were you surprised to discover they WERE vegan?
A5: Oreos, I’m still kind of confused about that. Certain generic cheese and crackers (not real cheese), a large selection of L’OREAL haircare products, Fritos, Tostito’s Spinach Dip, and the fact that you can purchase vegan makeup at the Dollar Tree.
Q6: Have you lost weight being vegan?
A6: Nope, nothing, notta, zilch. I kind of assumed I would going into this. However, I normally workout 4 days a week, during this project I haven’t worked out at all. Trying to juggle my job and cooking every night put the gym on the back burner. (Oh Elliptical, I miss you so.). Plus there is a whole lot of junk food that is vegan-friendly.
Q7: Are you tired and fatigued?
A7: I’ve gotten a lot of questions about my energy levels during this. For those of you who don’t know I’m hypoglycemic. No big deal, it’s fairly common in women, it just means I need to make sure I’m getting lots of protein. Because of this, I’ve really focused eating lots of plant-based proteins. So have I been tired? Yes, work is busy-busy right now, is it from my diet? No.
Q8: What will you do Monday when you aren’t vegan anymore?
A8: Put on the flashiest pair of cowboy boots I own, apply a whole lot of mascara, blow the dust off my hair products, and march into work, cowhide purse on my shoulder. I’ll probably still have oatmeal for breakfast though, and organic sugar in my coffee… That’s really grown on me.
Q9: What has been the hardest part of the two weeks for you?
A9: I’m going to reiterate the “juggling” analogy again. My job takes me to feed yards, chicken houses, fescue fields, cattle conference, etc. In order to completely stay true to being vegan, I’ve had to turn down invitations to packing plants because they would be serving me “Buffalo Stew” (Still bummed about that, I happen to LOVE buffalo stew, go ahead make jokes about how cliche it is that the part Native American chick loves Buffalo.), and politely decline steak dinners at conferences with “I’m not hungry.” (Lies, all lies)

…and I’m quitting there, because going to an even number 10, would just make too much sense, and well, that’s not in my character.

Be sure and check out my counterpart, David, and his posts at Farming America and follow us on Twitter at #DandDgovegan. As always thank you all for the continuing support and encouragement.

####
Honey Disclaimer: Upon researching whether honey is vegan or not I found it’s debatable by many. Determined to stay true to this project, I was not planning on consuming honey. One of my co-workers heard this and informed me she had “vegan honey.” Turns out during a storm one of the trees in their pasture was struck by lightening, as a result of the storm, all the bee
s had left their hive in this tree. My co-worker and her husband cut down the tree, took the hive and squeezed all the honey from the comb. Since no bees were harmed or effected by their actions, it is in fact organic, all-natural, vegan honey. Honey

14 thoughts on “Preachin’ Vegan and Q&A

  1. Kelly M. Rivard (@KMRivard) says:

    Nice lesson on honey! The chili and cornbread sounds delicious, too. I still need to get myself some cast iron and learn how to make “real cornbread” as my southern friends have called it. (I’m sorry I born above the Mason-Dixon, friends.)

    You’re almost there, girl, you got this. As far as having a rough morning. I’m sorry. We all feel that sting now and then. Just remember that you’re lovely, talented, and this too shall pass. This too shall pass, and the vegan project will be over, and I’ll raise a toast to you and David on completing it!

    Also, take pictures of the boots.

    • High Heels & Shotgun Shells says:

      Hey thanks! While we’re at it, thanks for all the support along the way! I’ve gotten a kick out of your posts about trying my vegan approved foods!

      Kelly, there needs to be more deep fryin’, sweet tea drinkin’, y’all saying in your life. Stick with me and David, we’ll show you the way, in exchange for some of your northerness. 😉 I’ve started drinking hot tea… I hear that’s exceptable above the Mason-Dixon Line, right?

      Boot pictures, on it.

      • Kelly M. Rivard (@KMRivard) says:

        NOW HOLD UP. Just because I’m northern, don’t mean I can’t deep fry food and say “y’all” — THAT has been a part of my culture from day one. (I was raised up a good ol’ fashioned hick, regardless of where I might have fallen in relationship to that line. Also, someone thought it was funny that I say, “OH HELL NO” when I’m mad. I didn’t know that was a southern stereotype.)

        Even though I prefer traditional ice tea over sweet tea (and I drink a hell of a lot of hot tea) I feel like “backwoods” is a language we can all (you, me, David, and all my other southern friends who enjoy my northernness) understand and appreciate. 😀

        And it’s been a pleasure to watch this adventure unfold!

      • High Heels & Shotgun Shells says:

        I started giggling from the moment I read “NOW HOLD UP,” through the end. Fantastic.

        And as to your PS I feel like this is the greatest idea I’ve heard all week. I’m feeling some brainstorming coming on!

    • High Heels & Shotgun Shells says:

      It was great! Thank you so much for that recipe, I even had the leftovers for lunch. There’s a good chance I will still make it even after this project is over. 🙂

  2. Morgan says:

    http://www.barnivore.com/

    Long list of vegan beer and wine, there are many options available actually.

    Also, many vegans (like me) spend less on groceries than when we ate meat. The pitfall is buying fake meat and fake cheese products as well as packaged foods like Amy’s soups and frozen dinners. Stick to whole foods like beans, grains, veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds and you end up spending much less on groceries.

    • High Heels & Shotgun Shells says:

      Morgan,
      Thank you for the website link! The list David and I were using as a referral was much shorter. I thought it was strange it seemed the only vegan-friendly alcohols where brands of Vodka and a few different types of beer. This makes much more sense, so thanks for clearing that up.
      Because my family has cattle, I am fortunate in that I do not have to purchase beef from the grocery store, and I stock up on bacon and sausage through Blue & Gold, a brand sold by FFA members in Oklahoma, so my freezer is well stocked and it’s probably safe to assume I spend much less on meat because some of my sources eliminate the “Middle Man.”
      I briefly touched on it, but I should probably explain better… I had to start from ground zero with purchasing vegan groceries, so I was/am fully aware it wouldn’t be so expensive over time. I also think part of the high-cost part has to do with it being January, fruits and vegetables just aren’t in season. But I was asked several times to figure up my grocery cost during this time and post them… so I did.
      You are definitely right about processed and packaged foods being costly, that being said I LOVE Amy’s soups. Before the past two weeks, I probably ate Amy’s Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich once a week. The Amy’s Tomato isn’t vegan though, so I’ve stuck with the Black Bean. (My second favorite.)
      Thank you for stopping by and your help! I appreciate it.

  3. Jake J says:

    My go-’round with the one vegan over the definition of “vegan” aside, it does occur to me that if you did this for more than two weeks you’d find ways to cut the bill. When anyone is in exprerimental mode about anything, especially when it’s new, they are understandably going to be more ingredient-sensitive than price sensitive.

    That much said, I give you big credit for giving this a shot. The one vegan who I tangled with over the definition did have a point, which (if I may freely translate) seems to be that you have been following a “vegan diet” as opposed to a “vegan life,” which apparently requires people to be St, Francis of Assisi toward all critters high and low.

    Which, by the way, I respect. I have a friend who’s like that. Not “doctrinaire vegan” or even “vegan” (to judge from our last steak dinner together), but he’s got this way of being in tune with animals that you kinda-sorta have to see to understand. So I guess the “true believer vegans” go beyond just what you eat, into what you think.

    Sounds like a lot of trouble to me, to be honest. Just the diet would be hard enough. I’d suggest giving it a month, or two months, or whatever, but I don’t think “time” is the issue. Anyway, your account has been interesting, and your two weeks is approximately 13.5 days longer than I think I could handle.

    Even if the high church vegans give you no credit, I sure do!

  4. Tammi says:

    This has definately been an interesting read. I am a meat eater through and through. I also have an ag based job, and travel all over the US, mainly the midwest but we do get to both the coasts. I know for a fact that I could not go the vegan route. I eat a lot of salads and nuts, fruits etc while traveling just so I don’t develope platter butt syndrome while traveling. And by the end of the week, all I can think about is a nice big steak on the Traeger grill (beef or deer) I’m not picky. I try to utilize plant based protein but wow, it just doesn’t cut it for me, I crave lean red meat. So yes I give you credit for the effort and the ability to relate to those that have made the life decision to go “vegan”. I think that the Ag industry can and does encompase both worlds, but the idea behind this is to keep an open mind from both sides of the fence. I am not a foodie person but I am watchful to keep preservitive levels down in the foods that are in our home. Way to have enough stubborn, willpower and tenacity to stick to your guns and do what you said you were going to do. Not many people would have made it at all or made it with out cheating. Maybe people will take this as a lesson that open minds are the key here and to not label people in a bad light just because they choose to think differnently from others. We can agree to disagree on issues and still be friends, and the Ag industry can still feed both sides of the fence in a safe and practical way.

  5. Jamie Rhoades says:

    I’ve recently found your blog and have been reading your vegan journey. I just wanted to leave a comment of support – I definitely couldn’t do this! But it is so interesting and it seems like you’re really learning a lot! It sounds like your journey is almost over, so an early congratulations for sticking it out!

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