Mike and Ashley have arrived after a much anticipated trip to Fargo.We have already been so busy visiting family and friends that their time here will be over and done before we know it. Tonight we went out for a family dinner at Osaka. I’m not sure if I wrote about it back then but this was our very last meal before giving up animal products and trying the McDougall lifestyle. It has always been my all time favorite restaurant. The yum yum sauce alone was worth the $25 price tag. I would always try and convince out of towners that that is the must try restaurant. I made Ashley eat with me there one of the last times she was in town and she fell in love with it as much as me.
So when deciding what to eat for a family dinner tonight we chose Osaka as our restaurant. The hibachi portion of the restaurant is the side that is most fun in my opinion. You get the fun show and everything made right in front of you. But when you sit on that side of the restaurant it’s a bit more awkward to order off the menu and not have the teppanyaki food like everyone else. And the food made on the hibachi grill is all cooked in butter. So I was faced with a big dilemma: to eat hibachi or not. If I ordered sushi I would have to order enough to make me somewhat full and that would require about 3 rolls (two AAC rolls and one sweet potato roll) and maybe an order of edamame. That would probably cost as much as the hibachi meal if not more and really it wouldn’t be that much food for the price. I just didn’t want to eat something off the menu and I wanted to eat with everyone else on the “fun” side (as it really is a big part of the whole experience). So I ate hibachi. I did. I willingly and knowingly made the choice to consume animal products. It felt very weird to concede that meal.
Yes, I have mistakenly eaten some processed foods made with milk or eggs (as I think all vegans do as part of the learning curve) but I had yet to have knowingly consumed it. I had very conflicted feelings. The first one being that we didn’t make this switch to be vegan for the sake of animal compassion. When I was a teenager I had entertained the idea of veganism because of my love of animals but never thought it would be something I could actually accomplish. I had never met a vegan in real life. Later in life when I was dating M he told me jokingly (but not really you know?) that he’d break up with me or divorce me if I ever went vegan (not even if I made him vegan but if I myself chose to go vegan). Isn’t life funny? But as much as I have grown up with a deep love of animals and their welfare I can say with full openness that that is not what made us stop eating animals. For me personally it has always been an added bonus, an extra for choosing this lifestyle. For M he doesn’t care as much as me. So when we decided to eat these food choices tonight for him there was no guilt or shame and it was all about family, fun, good food, and a small temporary setback in his health journey. And I wasn’t mad about that at all. If he needs these very special occasions to eat “normal” and it helps him be successful long term than I can accept that.
For me it wasn’t so simple. Veganism for compassion reasons is a topic I have really only explored since making the switch. I attempted to watch Earthlings but was too horrified to continue watching it. I’ve seen and heard how factory farms treat animals solely as a good and not as a living breathing creature that feels pain, sadness, and fear. I’ve seen videos of how that industry has no laws dictating the ethical treatment of animals OR it’s “employees” which often enough are illegal immigrants that these corporations willingly and knowingly bring in so that they are too afraid to speak up about what goes in for fear of deportation. I’ve learned about how Tyson controls it’s local farmers by making them so far into debt that they will never be able to back out of the industry. That isn’t to say that local farmers don’t give animals a full happy life and kill them humanely but it isn’t the norm for big companies whose main concern is making more money. Or that hunting wild animals for population control and for feeding your own family is something I disagree with because it’s not. But the big animal industry as a whole is just something that has lost its appeal for me personally. And all of this is just a small side affect to why I am actually doing this. I’m doing this for my health, for weight loss, for healing my PCOS, for conceiving a child, for having a healthy pregnancy, for raising a healthy child, for my husband to be off of medications, etc. When I think about it like that “cheating” once in the big picture of things seems reasonable. I never even expected myself to last this long. I was secretly scared that we’d give up and go back to what wasn’t working in the first three weeks. So for making it this far and still having no desire to give up even after this cheat meal feels great. But at the same time I needed this meal to be as cruelty free as I could make it because it actually is important to me now. (Although can I have a tangent moment and say that I hate the vegan label. It makes me feel like a self righteous asshole and I feel like people always think that I am thinking that I’m better than them. And that’s just not the case.) Anyway I decided to eat the onion soup which I’m sure was made with some kind of animal stock/broth, the salad which I think was vegan, and then I ordered the veggie meal instead of a meat meal. All meals come with two pieces of shrimp and the rice and veggies are cooked in butter. The rice also included eggs. I chose not to eat the yum yum sauce because it was possible for me to say no. When the chef makes a family style meal cooked in butter I couldn’t really say no but I can say no to a no meat meal and no additional dairy. Plus diary is so bad for PCOS I just don’t want it messing with my hormones.
So I ate it. And I’m glad M enjoyed his meal as did the rest of the family. It was fun and sometimes family moments are worth relaxing control for. I did have some sharp pains after first eating the meal and some mild upset tummy for an hour or two afterwards. So I’m sure your question is would I do it again? And the answer is probably not and the reason is that what used to be the worlds best meal in my eyes wasn’t as enjoyable as it used to be. Yes the food was still very good. But not drowning it all in yum yum sauce I was able to notice how salty it all was. And since I love sushi and edamame and their salad I think taste wise I would be just as good as the meal I ordered. So if the taste level is the same why not choose the meal that has less baggage attached to it for me? All in all I think it was a good test to see where I’m at with everything. I’m not aiming for perfect, I’m aiming for the best I can.