Being a vegan, I get asked what I eat more than most people.* (“Not even chicken?” No, not even chicken.) So I recently realized that something weird had happened to me…turns out I only eat 6 things about 90% of the time. Here’s the list – all vegan:
- Overnight Oats – MUSH brand, blueberry flavor.
- Salad/veggies/a ton of veggies.
- Vegan protein – Currently Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage Sausage or Beyond Meat Burger.
- PBJ – I’m counting this as one. Also, it’s almond butter on Ezekial bread with St. Dalfour’s jam.
- Bars – These rotate between Kind/Lara/Clif.
- Sliced Cheese and Nuts – Counts as one also. These are my take-a-couple-slices/handful-to-tide-me-over-until-my-next-meal staples. Violife (Greek brand) smoked provolone and raw cashews.
I’ve totally been known to eat oatmeal for breakfast and dinner, and I’ve had that Mrs. Winston’s salad every work day for over ten years. I know. It’s slightly freaking me out too. However, these six things seem to meet all my nutritional requirements and allow me to run well and perform athletically at a level most 20-something year olds would be hard-pressed to do (see Instagram account).
When I go crazy and stray from this fairly low fat, low sugar routine, I also tend to go for 6 things:
- Have’a Chips – It’s the soy sauce!
- Better Bites Cookie Dough – Chocolate Chip
- Ian’s Bread – My friend Ian bakes ridiculously good bread from scratch. Yes, I have a Bread Man.
- Whole Foods Mac N Cheese
- Maple Donuts – Just the frosting.
- Earth Balance Butter – For when my body is craving fat. I’ll put it on bread…and Have’a chips. I know. I’m gross.
So the first reason I eat like this is because I like what I like. Sometimes I think I’m being weird only eating six things, so I’ll throw in a curveball to shake things up a little. Like I had saffron rice and some potatoes last week. Meh. Probably won’t do that again. I like my 6 things better.
Another reason for the minimal menu is that I’m an athlete. You can be vegan and eat a wider range of foods – you can even be a seriously unhealthy vegan — since for most people going vegan is an ethical choice. I love Indian food, and it’s obviously vegan-friendly, but I’m not going to be able to put away Indian food for dinner and then run 5-6 miles the next morning. (I actually did this the night before a race one time, and that was a bad, bad call.) I have to eat a certain way if I want to perform at my best as a runner, so I’m more limited. And, it should be noted that articles about the diet of Kenyan distance runners also point to a limited variety of foods – especially the elite athletes: bread, boiled rice, poached potatoes, boiled porridge, cabbage, kidney beans, and ugali (cornmeal paste molded into balls). My oatmeal sounds downright exotic at this point, right?
Thirdly, I’m lazy. I don’t want to plan out a menu for the week or spend hours in a grocery store on the weekend. If cooking made my heart sing, I would do it, but it doesn’t. I prefer to spend my time running, reading, sleeping, and basically Not Cooking. It’s so easy to just grab 1-6 and eat.
Lastly, my tastebuds have changed. Is this what happens when you get old? I like food, and I definitely like eating, but it’s not like every meal has to be a festival of flavors. Besides, I’ve already had that. Before I went vegan, I was a foodie – a well-traveled foodie. I have dined at French Laundry (enough said), Alain’s in Paris, Le Bernardin and Jean-Georges in NYC. I have eaten a $17 piece of sashimi in Singapore and experienced a decadent White Chocolate High “Tea” at the The Ritz in Madrid. What I’m saying is that I’ve eaten enough top-notch delicious food to last a lifetime. I’m good. Now my tastebuds and body just prefer the taste and feel of healthy clean food — 90% of the time.
Ugh, I’ve become every insufferable LA stereotype.
Anyway, I hope this has been useful. Maybe it satisfies your curiosity? Hopefully it inspires a Meatless Monday? Possibly it confirms that you will never go out to eat with me? In any case, feel free to hit me up* with any questions. I know the idea of going vegan or starting that transition can be daunting, so I am here to help. I’m totally not the Judgy Vegan — not out loud anyway. Ha. I kid. For real, reach out. I struggled for seven years to go completely vegan and am happy to help.
*S/o to my friend for texting me at 6:10 AM to ask what I ate and inspiring this post.