What to Expect When You’re Expecting…to Transition Between Vegan and Non-Vegan

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There’s me, folks, wearing my amazing sunhat and posing with my husband in Florida traffic. This is pre-sun, and also hours before the topic at hand: our vacation from the Buffalo winter that was also a vacation from our vegan lifestyle. The reasons? 1) We were traveling with a friendly carnivore, 2) We are still foodies, so we wanted to sample foods from the area, and 3) Since we’re not entirely ethical vegans or even 100% vegan, the lifestyle change was partially an experiment (mostly for Jonmark), not easy, and admittedly not always super fun given our many passions for food. So, we tried it a week away.

It began with Aunt Donna’s dinner: sausage and vegetable soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, great comforts after traveling through snow and wind to North Carolina. Normally, my body revolts against sausage of any kind, the mere smell or subtle taste on the tongue sending me into a blurry state of headache and salivation as my mouth reacts with tingling pain to the oral memory of nitrates. But this soup…mmm. And then I was suddenly a little kid treated to her favorite sandwich, legs swinging as I cheerfully and heartily partook in copious amounts of cheese for the first time in about 8 weeks. The apple pie with goat’s milk cheddar…that was when I knew we were past the point of no return as that first bite snapped, crunched, and slid down the tofuhole (piehole is too literal).

I was even dedicated at Subway the next day in one more attempt at salvation, but to no avail. Monday I horked down lox with toasts, capers, onions, sour cream (!), and the cherry on top of my fishy metaphorical sundae: hard-boiled eggs. Eggs may be a more recent love of mine, but damned if it’s not hard to give them up. I ate them with delight, in addition to some kettle corn during the girls’ night showing of Dirty Dancing later that evening. Ignoring the cheese and fish that normally comprise our diet, my other indulgences included a bacon cheeseburger from Sonic, a chicken enchilada at an authentic Mexican place we checked out, an ice cream sundae at Baskin Robbins, a few small sausages and meat pastries at a fun Middle Eastern restaurant in West Palm, quiches and berry crisp at Aunt Donna’s (oh her house!), and a mixed cold cut (aka turkey) sub from Subway today. And of course, various aeolis, dipping sauces, milk chocolates, and processed foods along the way. That’s a long list right here, kids.

I can speak for both my husband and I when I say that the transition back to meat-eating wreaked havoc on our bodies. I am absolutely certain when I say that the combination of putrid odors, gummed-up bowels, and organ-pressing gases that we experienced are enough to deter me from ever returning to a fully carnivorous diet again. Ever.

I wrote some of these words to you from Sandra, my best friend’s Elantra, as we made our return journey from Florida. My husband had recently released from the depths of himself a smell so repulsive that, as he locked the windows and cranked the heat, the fog cooked and morphed into an almost liquid state of human excrement that hung dense in the air and clung desperately to our nasal mucus. If you can imagine the smell of Frito corn chips and the swampy, rotting carcasses of former road kill, that is the best estimation I can make.

And now that we’re back to “normal”? Hungry and mildly craving a meaty sandwich, but feeling better, more regular, and less sluggish. So folks, from two people who experienced it firsthand, this is what to expect when you’re expecting to transition between between vegan and non-vegan.