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Day One: We’ve only just vegan …

May 1, 2010 - Andy Gray


Over the years at the Tribune Chronicle, I’ve reviewed steakhouses, judged rib cook-offs, written food pages on lamb sliders and once made chocolate-covered bacon. My history as a carnivore is well-documented.

For the next 28 days, I will eat as a vegan. For those who don’t know, that means no meat (beef, chicken, pork, lamb or seafood) as well as no animal products (eggs, milk, cheese, etc.). I didn’t discover until Thursday night that vegan meant no honey, essentially eliminating nearly every commercially made granola bar, one of the breakfast/snack options I was counting on having available. Turns out the veggie burgers we buy all the time have egg in them too. One more option gone.

The reaction of one of my friends was, ``For God’s sake, why?’’ (Thursday’s grocery store trip -- with a belly full of Mako shark, beans and greens with sausage and parmesan cheese and other decadent treats from Blue Iris Café that are now off limits -- had me asking the same thing).

Well, some of it is health-related. My wife was interested in trying Dr. Oz’s 28-Day Vegan Challenge and it sounded intriguing. Since the Tribune Chronicle’s Fitness Challenge ended, I’ve been slipping back into some bad eating habits, and going vegan would be a way to correct that. I weigh at least 70 pounds less than I did when the photo that accompanies this blog was taken. I don't want that change, at least not in the wrong direction.

But I’m not doing this as a fad diet. It’s more an opportunity to spend the next four weeks having to think about everything I put into my body. I’m hoping that has a long-term, positive effect on my eating habits after I start reintroducing animal products into my diet.

Don’t look for daily updates – my blogging history is admittedly erratic – but I’ll try to chronicle this culinary adventure. When I’m judging something like the Mahoning Valley Rib Burn Off, people tell me I have the greatest job in the world. Maybe I can make them envy my salad.


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