I miss cheese. I know…pathetic.
I keep talking about it. It’s the only thing I miss since I started my vegan challenge. And don’t tell me to try vegan ‘cheese’ because it won’t do.
I’m a cheese person.
By choice, I went to a farm in Northwestern NJ to take a tour and meet the cows.
Yes, really. It’s this great farm that lets the cows roam free. They personally milk the cows and don’t use those horrible milking machines.
I’ve also gone to cheese boot camp. In one weekend we tasted and learned about 60 cheeses. Wine was also involved. It seems redundant to mention that this was an outstanding weekend. A final exam was given at the end of the boot camp and yes, I welcomed it.
More than just good eatin’, these experiences opened my eyes to the Slow Food Movement. Slow Food promotes the idea: real food, grown sustainably and cooked– not processed. The Slow Food Movement supports national and local projects like urban gardens and green markets. These folks do good work.
Other than my cheese fantasies, eating vegan has been a wonderful experience. Food and meals should be a time for expression and sharing. Cooking has always been a way for me to relax. I was afraid that my vegan adventure would mean a six-week sentence of rice cakes, hummus, black beans and salad.
Somebody shake sense into the lazy minded yogini! Like anything else, effort and thought is required.
I must take a quick detour to the Black hair care world. It all comes full circle, promise. Previously, I chemically straightened my hair. It’s just what I (and millions of other Black women) did.
There was a period when I cut it short and wore it natural, but for reasons that I can’t remember, I relaxed (straightened) it again. It wasn’t good for my hair. My hair was dry, the ends split and no good can come from slathering chemicals on your scalp every 6-8 weeks. Over a year ago, my sister who was known for her absolutely stunning head of hair, chopped it all off and began to wear her hair natural.
I followed suit about six months later. I loved it. I loved the texture and the freedom. But I also had to learn how to care for my newly chemically free head. It required work, a little effort, research and patience. It’s second nature now- and honestly- my hair is awesome, but I may be a little bias.
So I said to myself as I tackled this vegan challenge, ‘Self, you’ve never eaten a vegan diet before. Do research. Do homework. You’re a research geek and book nerd , go crazy.’
It’s been a very interesting time. I’m learning a lot about food. I’m learning that I don’t miss certain things that had been a regular part of my diet.
I’m finding out that I miss other things. But, if I want to make changes, change has to happen and it’s not always comfortable.
Good stuff is on the other side of discomfort. Stuff like health, happy animals and a smaller carbon footprint. The Yamas and Niyamas teach us about Tapas, or that burning but disciplined passion. I think this is what sustains change.
Tapas, fresh ingredients and love. Hmm, sounds like a recipe.
This is yoga. And it tastes fantastic, even without cheese.