Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I've always admired vegans for a number of reasons. As you guys ready know, I am a vegetarian and have been one for forever. No fish, no eggs, no chicken. I was raised by my Rwandese grandparents, in a village, on a farm with just cows and plants. 
So, needless to say, I am not a vegan. 

I would wake up every morning with ekyanzi* full of amachunda* with many refills throughout the day. My porridge didn't taste good if it wasn't 70% milk. Oh, have you heard of African tea? 3 parts milk, 0.5 parts water and 0.5 parts tea.

So, no, I am not a vegan. 

But I really wanted to try it for reasons explained in The Vegan Proposal. I thought I would try to go on a 10-day vegan excursion. Today is day 3 and I must say, so far, so good. However, I've changed it from 10 days to 7, to now 5. *insert embarrassed emoji here*. Here's what I've learned so far.

Vegans are not to be messed with
Anybody who can completely alter their lifestyle so immensely deserves some sort of award. Maybe its because of my close relationship with milk but I can not imagine living without. Milk is in everything!

I have an addiction
Okay, I have two addictions. I thought my only issue was milk, but I have an addiction to coffee as well. I never thought I'd stoop so low as to drink coffee without cream; but I just couldn't go without it. Even if that meant drinking it completely black - no sugar, no cream *cringe. I'm talking about actually holding my nose to drink it because my body craves it.

Almond milk tastes like breast milk
Don't ask me how I know this

Can you actually be vegan and paleo at the same time?
What are the ingredients in tofu? Needless to say, I could only choose one or the other.

I don't think I can ever be a vegan
I will stick it out for the next few days, however, and see if my mind changes. But I can't explain to you how it feels to go to bed without tea.

Now, here's a rundown of my food for the last few days.

I was feeling so lethargic from not drinking coffee that eventually I had to give into the drug. Spent all day feeling sorry for myself while staring at the leftover pizza, Boca burgers, chocolate bars, and milk in the refrigerator. I ate like 3 bananas and cassava with beans. The beans had ghee - which I realized later. However, the ghee is from my country and since my family made it, I know it was cruelty free so no shame there.

I went on a jog Monday night so I wasn't feeling as bad as I did Monday. I made a smoothie with strawberries, apples, bananas, and almond milk. I'm used to putting milk and yogurt in my smoothies so the taste really had to grow on me. Otherwise, I indulged in a quinoa, tofu, and brocolli dish with avocado on the side for dinner.

The cravings continue, I came this close to putting creamer in my coffee. I must say, the sugar cravings haven't been bothering me at all. I guess I am more of a salt person. We'll see how the rest goes.

Ekyanzi - Wooden pot you store milk in - I think it keeps it cool in the warm African weather.
Amachunda - literally yogurt in its most natural state. It's like fermented milk - more of a kefir consistency, Greek yogurt taste.

Thanks for reading♥
002 // The Vegan Experiment
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002 // The Vegan Experiment

Saturday, February 20, 2016

I tend to be very impulsive especially when I find new knowledge and I want to share it with everyone. Certainly this is not the most convention way to begin a blog but I felt I must share my passion now before the fire dies out. I will probably get nit picky about it in the future and regret the whole thing but for now I'll just share with you all.

As some of you may know, I've been a vegetarian my entire life. My whole family, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles on both ends, grands on both ends, cousins, great aunts and uncles, et cetera, follow the same diet. There is no religious motivation for this; my family just has a very strong belief against the killing of living things. I have never regretted not being able to consume meat and have actually always felt proud of this as my family did a great job instilling the value of a herbivorous diet. I can go into greater detail about my lifestyle history if anyone is ever interested, but for today I'd just like to propose an idea.

I have always felt like veganism is not for me. After all, animals are not killed in the process and milk is essential to my diet, so why would I remove it? I never felt guilty about drinking milk and this is in part because I grew up on a cattle farm and saw the way my family raised and treated the cows - I even milked some once or twice. There was never any mistreatment of our cows, they grazed all day every day, had a large space to live in, got treated when they got sick, got fed salt when they needed, et cetera. My grandparents never raised cattle for consumption or for selling and if and only when they died did they get sold for consumption - if possible. My grandfather used to bawl when he had to put his cows down when they got too old and sick. This really instilled a value of cattle in me. 
To this day, I have to say cows are my favorite animals on this earth and I could never even hurt them.
My grandfather during bath time for the cows

We never farmed any other animals and now that I'm older, I understand that it wasn't because we couldn't afford it but rather because we saw no need to. We don't eat eggs nor consume chicken so there was no need to farm chickens. We don't eat goats nor drink goat milk so there was no need to farm goats. I am so proud of the fact that not only did we not partake in the consumption of living things but we also did not partake in their exploitation. That's what I want to get into this morning - finally, right?

After watching the documentary Earthlings by Shaun Monson, I have a new outlook on drinking milk or eating milk products. Some vegans see the consumption of cow milk as unethical because we are taking away the milk from the calf. Again, because of the way I was raised, I see no issue with the way our cows were treated and therefore this idea does not sway me. However, the thing that bothers me most of all is the mistreatment of animals. While I have no problem with people eating meat or drinking milk or wearing fur and leather, et cetera, I have a BIG problem with the way the animals are treated prior to their death. This is why I'm considering veganism very seriously now.

Now that I'm living in the U.S. (although it happens all over the world) and do not take part in the process of milking my own milk, I cannot justify consuming guilt-free dairy with the way that the cows are mistreated. Again, I can go into great detail about this but the point I'm trying to make is that I feel terribly about drinking milk in my black tea, knowing that the cow that had to contribute to my enjoyment suffered its entire life.

Therefore, I'm writing this proposal to myself and any person interested in putting a stop to this terrible mistreatment. I really feel strongly about this and although I do love my ice cream, I have to find a way to enjoy it guilt-free. Until then, I am going to try going completely vegan and see where that takes me.

If you have anything to add, please feel free to do so below.
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