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My Vegan Life

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Hello. I’m Marly. I’m a vegan. For any members of my family who may be reading this post, it’s pronounced VEE-ghun. I have had several people (yes, in my family, but others too) who’ve asked me what the heck that means. Here’s the short and simple answer: it means I do my best to eat food that does not include any type of animal products. I also do my best to avoid purchasing things (like purses) that are made of animal products.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid all animal products. The book Vegan Freak points out how animal products are even in automobile tires and I don’t plan to give up driving my car any time soon. Rather, I try to aim for a more middle-of-the-road approach to my vegan life.

That’s an interesting statement. Vegan and middle-of-the-road are not often two descriptors that you see in the same sentence. Just on face value alone vegans are outliers. It’s a way of life for me, so I don’t think about it…until I meet someone who has no idea what a vegan is. I get the same blank stare as I describe my vegan life to virgin ears. The conversation usually goes something like this:

“You don’t eat any meat?”

“No, I don’t eat meat.”

“Not even chicken?”

“No, I don’t eat chicken.”

“Fish?”

“No. No fish. Nothing with a face.”

“Whoa. And you don’t drink milk?”

“That’s right.”

“Ice cream?”

“Nope. No ice cream.”

“Eggs?”

“Sorry, no, I don’t eat eggs either.”

“Whoa. That’s so strange. What DO you eat?”

Usually there’s some exchange here about nuts and twigs. I do eat almonds, cashews and other various nuts. And I drink kukicha twig tea.

We live in Kansas City, Missouri, the heart of beef country. BBQ is king. Steak houses are on every corner (almost). There are some restaurants where you can’t even order a vegetable side order without some kind of meat in it.

For me, it was easy to give all that up. But there were two things that weren’t quite so easy: milk chocolate and pizza. How could I live without them? I’m pleased to tell you that it really wasn’t that bad. Once I switched to dark chocolate, milk chocolate didn’t even taste good to me anymore. Seriously. I can stand next to an entire bowl of peanut butter M&Ms (I like to consider those my namesake) and still not be tempted. And once we found some tasty alternatives to milk-based cheese, we began making our own (and very tasty) vegan pizzas.

In fact, there are several restaurants in this little cow town that caters to vegans, including pizza joints. We cook a lot, but we frequent these vegan-friendly joints too. And we haven’t eschewed all comfort foods either. Oreos are in the category of “accidentally” vegan and we do have those from time to time.

I don’t proselytize about veganism. I choose rather to share some of my favorite vegan recipes on my site, Namely Marly. If someone’s interested in learning more, I’m happy to talk with them about veganism, but I’m not going to pound them over the head about it. My philosophy is that we all could benefit from having more whole-food based, vegetarian meals. Everyone has different approaches to how they get there. I watched a video of Graham Hill on TED recently where he described his week-day vegetarian plan. He’s vegetarian Monday-Friday, but then eats whatever he wants on weekends. It’s about finding what works for you.

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About Marly McMillen

  • David G.

    Nice post Marly. Im glad you found that a vegan life works well for you too! :-)

  • Patricia Buchanan

    My response to people who ask ‘what do you eat????’ is ‘EVERYTHING ELSE!”

  • http://www.namelymarly.com Marly

    David – thanks for your comment. It’s nice to meet other vegans.

    Patricia – great response! There’s no shortage of other things to eat!

  • vegan greenhorn

    respect!

  • http://www.namelymarly.com Marly

    Right back atchya, VG!

  • http://www.svmoms.com Jill

    I so enjoyed reading your article. I live in the heart of Silicon Valley/Bay Area and so many friends are now vegan. In this part of the country, it is considered “normal” and many restaurants cater to those who are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free…..

    Really, thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.namelymarly.com Marly

    Hi Jill,
    I’m so glad you liked it. You have SO many wonderful vegan restaurants in your area. I love going out that way. By the way, I’m in the heart of the midwest (KC) and we’ve got a couple of great vegan places to eat too. Let me know if you’re ever out this way!

  • Eric Hoyer

    Very good Marly! Excellent post.

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