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And There Goes That Label

April 28, 2010

Yesterday was would have been my 28th day of being vegan. Or eating a vegan diet. Or whatever you might call it. However, last night Anthony and I needed to get out of the house, and he really, really wanted to go to Mela, which is a fabulous Indian restaurant in Asheville. Practically every single time we’ve gone there in the past I’ve ordered Saag Paneer (spinach with paneer cheese) and we split an order of naan stuffed with goat cheese and spinach. (Do you see a spinach and cheese theme emerging here?)

I knew the restaurant was vegan friendly, so I happily agreed to eat dinner there. On the drive over I thought about what I wanted to eat and if I wanted to stick with the plant-based only diet I’ve been consuming. As I looked over the menu trying to choose my entrée, I thought about what I wanted to eat, not what I thought I should eat. And I genuinely did not want the saag paneer, at all. Instead I settled on the vegetable korma, a dish cooked with ginger and garlic and coconut milk, served with lentil dal and Basmati rice. However, when it came to the naan, Anthony wanted the goat cheese stuffed naan and I thought that sounded good, too.

I really, really enjoyed my dinner. I loved the fragrant vegetables and deliciously spiced Basmati rice, and I also really enjoyed the goat cheese stuffed naan. I haven’t been eating any animal by products for health reasons and ethical reasons. I’ve been really reluctant to call myself “vegan”, though, because it felt very restrictive. Here’s what I’ve learned happens to me when I label myself or restrict a certain food item:

  • I get crazy.
  • And then I get slightly crazier.
  • And then I go nuts.

Yup, that’s what happens. If I tell myself not to eat something, I’ll eat it. If I tell myself I can’t eat something and then I do eat it, I eat so much of it that my armpits smell like it for a week. Too much? Sorry.

My point is, I don’t want a label. I was never really “vegan”, anyways, because last night when we went out to dinner I was wearing my 12-year-old leather Doc Martens. Those things are built to last and I have three pairs of them and they are not leaving my closet or my life anytime soon. However, I don’t plan on adding dairy back into my life on a regular basis, either. I want to eat a mostly plant-based diet with some inclusion of dairy or maybe eggs once in a great while. And I really want those dairy cows or egg-bearing chickens that provide that occasional food to me to be humanely raised and treated, because the thought of contributing to the mistreatment of animals is a terrible thought for me.

It’s a great relief to have just gone with what I was feeling in regards to what I wanted to eat instead of following some misguided doctrine set forth by some other health expert or diet guru. I don’t want a label.

Does that mean I’m now labeled as someone who doesn’t want a label? Hmm.

Do you have a label for the way you eat or live? Have you recently stepped away from a label?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2010 11:11 pm

    I agree, labels make everyone crazy. I think it’s best for people to have ways they want to eat but also remember that there are many many ways to be ethical, and that it is all right to allow yourself to be free of hard and fast rules. Who wants rules that deny hospitality and make you crazy? I totally agree with you.
    Personally, I eat mostly plants and when I eat a non-plant I try to get it from a good place.

  2. May 1, 2010 5:35 pm

    I am so with you there!!! Once I labeled myself as a vegetarian (because I was literally eating meat once a month) I started dreaming about hamburgers!!! And obviously caved a few weeks later. Now I’m back to eating the way I did before, without a label, and once in a while I’ll have meat.

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