Tuesday, March 19, 2013
I have a dear friend who is vegan. She and I used to have lunch at a vegetarian/vegan cafe in Seattle where I would happily eat a vegan meal with her, even though I am an unabashed omnivore. This wasn't your normal vegetarian/vegan cafe, though - it was gourmet. Seriously. People in the PacNW can do veggie dishes right. Instead of weird tofu concoctions designed to be meat substitutes, they use -- vegetables! If I ever were to be vegetarian, Seattle would have been the easiest place to do it.
I have dabbled with vegetarianism and flexitarianism in the past. I lack the conviction to hold to it, though. My vegan friend is dearly devoted to the cause that she will never do harm to an animal. I have a more cycle of life philosophy. Big fish eats little fish until it dies and is consumed by organisms of decay. I believe more in the ethical raising and slaughter of animals.
We had a potluck once when we worked together, and I thought I would do my research to make something that she would be able to eat. I've heard vegetarians and vegans complain that potlucks often exclude them. I went to FoodGawker and put in the search term "raw food vegan". I was kind of taken aback that almost all the recipes were a dessert or soy disguised as meat substitute. It was very hard to find a recipe that was just vegetables or fruit.
When I was talking with her recently, it occurred to me that I am mostly a raw food omnivore, especially if I eat sushi. Cooking meat is required because of modern processing contamination, but our biology is capable of digesting meat raw. I prefer to eat whole veggies and fruit. I don't buy a lot of low-carb substitutes for wheat products or desserts. I've dabbled with it in the past, and was unsatisfied with the results. If I want pasta, bread or a dessert, then I'll go for a small amount of the real thing.
My raw food vegan friend and I seem to be on the diametrically opposed scale, but we have a lot more in common than you would think. My friend doesn't eat a lot of grains. Why? Because a raw 'whole grain' is indigestible to us, and some are toxic. Grains have to be broken down, milled, and cooked in order to be digestible. Some raw food vegans eat sprouted grains because the natural process of sprouting removes the toxins so they are safe to eat. We agree grains are not as essential as we have been told.
We both believe you can't go wrong eating more vegetables. No doubt fruit is good for you, but I go easy on them. In a world where oversized, honey sweet apples are the norm, I opt for the very small, tart ones.
We agree soy cheese is disgusting. Just...no.
We differ greatly on the protein. To be honest, I'm not sure where she gets her protein from (I'm guessing nuts and seeds), but it's not a condition of our friendship. I respect and support her space, and she respects mine. We aren't missionaries out to 'save' the other person from the error of her ways.