First I want to start by thanking those of you who participated in answering my questioned dilemma-vegan or not? It was interesting to read your answers! Wish more of you had piped in, but perhaps you will later. :)
Now, maybe you are wanting to know my take on the topic. I suppose I am like many of you seemed to be. Like Cassandra, I like cheese! And, I like some of the ease that cooking mainstream vegetarian brings. You can readily open a few more cans and dump and pour to have a delicious concoction for supper. Whereas, being vegan seems to take more time and effort. Especially when you have to make everything from "scratch." I really agreed with Jordan's comment when she brought up the many additives that are in so much of our foods. It really can tend to make more sense to forget about being strict vegan or what-not and focus on eating the unprocessed foods. Now that being said, on the other hand, if you do make all your own from the cupboard, then you do have a lot less of the additives and "keepers."
I will concur wholeheartedly with Laura's comment on having a love/hate relationship with being vegan! Sometimes it makes perfect sense and others, not so much.
I think that I have often thought perhaps that I need to be categorized one way or the other or something. But I am thinking that I am coming to the conclusion that I don't have to be. I can simply be categorized as eating Healthy, Vegetarian. I can strive for as many vegan options as possible, and keeping dairy-cheese especially- at more of a minimum. Strive for lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain dishes. Work towards eliminating the processed and ready-prepared foods and making more of my own and maybe freezing it for later uses. I think that Cassandra hit the nail on the head when she said that many vegan's tend to use Soy as a crutch after leaving dairy behind. We really need to find varied options. There are many, such as Almond cream cheese, Cashew milk, Rice cheese, etc...
On another note, I think that some of the leaving dairy behind and finding other neat options, depends on where you live and what you have available. I don't live in an area with a fun Whole Foods market just down the street from me! I have recently heard of a large health food store located about a 45 minute drive from me, however. I am interested in checking into it! I don't have Publix either, which often caters to more health-minded people; having options such as dairy free cheeses, icecream, milk, yogurt, meat analogs, and other fun things to try along the way! I have been doing some ordering from a bulk health food co-op and that helps to incorporate some things into our diet more easily.
I guess the main thing to remember is that when God gave us the original diet, it included fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables. So this should be our main substance.
At the start of this year, I made a resolution to eat more fresh foods and incorporate more of a healthy lifestyle. I think we've made progress! I make a lot more of our own bread, I even experimented with Sourdough for a while! I have begun making our own yogurt, We're eating less cheese, less processed and more fresh fruits and veggies. Using much more whole grain flours for baking and I'm not using refined sugar except for maybe very rarely, utilizing more of my healthy/vegan cookbooks and finding a lot of family pleasers within the pages! Overall, the resolution has been good, I'd say, and I hope to expound upon it more in the remainder of the year and into the upcoming year (can you believe this year is nearly over?!)
Anyways, that's my take on it all. What are your thoughts?