Saturday, May 13, 2017

An Update

Hello. It's been a while. I didn't mean for it to be. I haven't known exactly what to say, because I have been in a major flux and having a sort of crisis of food identity or something, and then my country had an election, and I was a bit overwhelmed by the cultural and political shifts, and then some other stuff happened.

So. I have a new and very unpopular president, one fewer living relative, one parent no longer hospitalized, and a new-to-me car I didn't expect to have to buy, in addition to a new outlook on food.

Also, I went to England, which was gorgeous.

After my vacation, which was a much-needed respite with lots of hiking in West Yorkshire, I decided I wanted to talk to you guys again. But I need to tell you something first.

You may have already seen a sort of change in what I was eating. I did research into nutrition after my northeastern climate gave me a severe Vitamin D deficiency. I learned a lot from this research, and it also got me thinking about what our food choices mean--why we eat what we eat, and what impact it has beyond ourselves.

After a lot of flailing around and anxious bargaining I think came from a kind of grieving process, I reached the personal conclusion that I needed to transition to a plant-based diet. But what, then, of Food for Dissertating?

What we decide to eat is very personal. I was in a fragile state for a while for so many reasons and I knew that some people would have difficulty with the choice I've made. I had enough trouble with unsolicited criticism in the real world from people with apparently very strong opinions about not eating animal products and needed to go silent for a while. I didn't mean to go silent for so long.

In the end, though, I still enjoyed making appealing lunches for work and I was still taking photographs of them, and I still kind of wanted to share them. So you'll be seeing my lunches again soon.

I'm still in transition, not because I buy any animal products--I managed to stop doing that after a few weeks--but because I had an astounding number of animal-based things in my kitchen to get through. If you've never really thought about what is in what, it is an eye opening thing to make this sort of change. Dairy turned up in a variety of unexpected places, from bread to guacamole-flavored tortilla chips. Eggs began to frustrate me, as even my favorite vegetarian corn dogs had eggs in them. But I'm learning, and I'm eating new things. I feel more sure of myself now.

Veganism is a bit fraught these days. I am not, nor, I suspect, will I ever be, vegan enough for some people. I joined and left a vegan forum over a heated argument about who gets to call themselves vegan and who doesn't, and whether one can still associate with non-vegans and really be vegan. For some, me leaving up my omnivore lunches and my omnivore recipes online would be the wrong way to go. But I have to do what makes sense to me, so I'm not starting a new blog, at least for now. You'll still see transitional lunches sometimes because A) I've got a zillion pictures of said lunches to get through and B) every so often I open my freezer and find, say, some frozen shrimp under some veggies and I know throwing them out without eating them helps nothing and no one. Also, Worcestershire sauce seems to last forever and so I have no idea when I will end up buying vegan Worcestershire. But I am not buying animal-based foods anymore and the majority of my meals are vegan. At some point, they will all be vegan. I thought seeing that transition might also be useful to some people.

I thought about saying nothing about all this and just posting lunches, but I really didn't want to just come back with no explanation. A change in diet will be obvious. I hope if you've enjoyed Food for Dissertating you'll continue to stick around. My lunches, I believe, will still be broadly useful as inspiration to vegans and non-vegans. It turns out, as frustrating as avoiding hidden animal products can be, a whole lot of what all of us eat already is vegan. So yes, you'll see some new and unusual foods, or at least they're new to me. But there is plenty of stuff I'm eating now that I always did.

Enough pontificating. See you for lunch on Monday.


  1. hi, glad to see your update & well written.

    I always feel like it is one's own blog, ie the blogger decides what to blog about and how much you to share without feeling you have to explain or to justify your decisions.

    But I do appreciate and like to read more about the background of why people blog, so your update is nice to read.

    Glad you had a good time in the UK and looking forward to see your lunches again.


    1. Thanks so much. I am always amazed by your artistry!

  2. I'm glad to see you back and I hope your time away was restful, insightful and productive. To be honest, you could probably post lunches that showed nothing but different colored and shaped pieces of styrofoam and many of us would still read your blog. Due to many of the lunches you've posted in the past, I figured you were already headed in that direction or there on a part time basis. I, for one, will continue to look at your blog even as you make the transition to full-time veganism.

    1. You're very kind, and you made me laugh. Styrofoam, huh? Glad you're with me.

  3. It's your blog to write, no one else's. People will always find something to complain about. I'm glad things are starting to go a little better for you. I've enjoyed reading all along, what you choose and how you choose it for yourself. Sometimes I'm inspired to make something similar and sometimes I just note "Hm, cool" and move on for the day. You write for you, and your following will follow.

    1. Thanks. I had more or less decided that. This isn't a money maker for me or anything, because I've never had ads up or even tried to bother getting sponsorship. I just wanted a journal of lunch. Glad you're still around.