Doing Good, but Maybe Not Eating That Way
**This entry was originally scheduled to go out on 7/25, but because I ended up publishing an entry about how incredibly inspiring I am (look here), I pushed it back one day. Like I said on Tuesday, don’t get used to this. Sunday, and I think Wednesday will be my blog entry days.**
This is a food blog (in case you hadn’t noticed) so I’m not going to spend too much time here talking about the service trip I went on last week. We stayed in Elizabeth, NJ, and worked at a pre-school called “The Little Schoolhouse,” also in Elizabeth. The kids were adorable, the work was gratifying, and the students I went with were impressive.
However, while I was there, there were very limited options for what I would eat. Notice I say “would” and not “could.” It drives me nuts when people say “Can you eat that?” I’m not actually a physical herbivore. I can eat just about anything I want to. I choose not to support the animal production industry for a series of reasons.
Dinner all six nights was catered by a wonderful Peruvian family who ran their own restaurant and wanted to feed 80 or so young people there to do labor for their community. Awesome. My options on Sunday night were rice and salad. The rice was good, but. . . no veggies. At all. I clarified with the cooks that the rice was not made with chicken broth, but I;m not 100% sure that they were sure, and I wonder if they were just telling me that to make me happy, because otherwise, I would have just had salad, and then I would have gone to the grocery store the next day.
Monday, thank goodness I had brought my cinnamon-raisin-nut bread, because the only option for breakfast on Monday was cereal and cow’s milk, and I didn’t like cow’s milk before I was vegan. Lunch? PB+J on white bread! I haven’t eaten white bread in years. At least they had Oreos and fruit. 2 oranges on Monday. Dinner? They had Caesar dressing, so rice and a plain salad. Mostly iceberg lettuce.
Tuesday: Bagels! and whole wheat bread! So, I had a different breakfast. Lunch was the same, but included potato chips instead of Oreos. Dinner? Well, they were nice enough to put ranch dressing on the salad before serving it, so rice again!
Wednesday: See Tuesday, but it was French dressing, not ranch. . .
Thursday: Seeing a pattern here? Dinner was slightly overcooked pasta, instead of rice.
Friday: I’ve loved peanut butter and jelly my whole life. I probably won’t eat it again for a month. Food? See Monday.
Saturday: Just breakfast. My bread, and then, like an idiot, I left it in the freezer when we left Elizabeth. For lunch, we stopped at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, where they do indeed have a vegetarian restaurant called “Basic 4.” It was closed, so I got Thai curry.
I was thrilled to be able to do service for The Little Schoolhouse, and I loved working with the people who were around, but, really, If I have to eat rice or peanut butter again for the next few weeks, I may kill someone.
Is it possible to eat vegan inexpensively? of course it is, and I had that conversation with a number of young people on the trip (one of who is on her way to gong vegan, but her parents aren’t on board yet, so soon) I also stopped a lot of the inane questions like “You don’t like marshmallows, do you? <tee hee>,” and “Have you eaten any Jell-o recently? <snicker>,” or the most famous question that every vegan gets, come on, you all know it, say it with me “Where do you get your protein?” My response after the first 8 or 10 of these was “Look, if you genuinely have questions, I’m more than happy to answer them, but if all you want to do is pick on me, I’m not interested.” I was polite, and a few of the kids actually converted from smart-ass questions to honest ones, so thanks to Erin Red for that brand new stock answer.
All of this aside, I had a wonderful time. . . when I wasn’t eating. This weekend will be a slightly different trip. The blonde, The High Impact Vegan, her husband and I are going on a food trip. Maybe we’ll do a cross-over, like in comic books where you have to read both Spider-Man and The Avengers in order to get the whole story. (Other recovering comic-book geeks out there? Anyone. . .?)