My Husband the Vegan
To me, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of the scariest movies of all time. The premise: You wake up one day and realize the people around you have been replaced by aliens grown in pods to look like your people.
Well, I’m certain my husband has been replaced by a pod person. No, he hasn’t been replaced by alien pods. He’s been replaced by peas in a pod. And broccoli. And kale. And something called seitan.
Yes, my big beef-eating, barbecue-loving husband has joined the ranks of the vegans. We used to call that "the dark side."
For years we would go to my vegan sister’s house for Thanksgiving. There were two lanes on the buffet: The turkey, mac and cheese, and stuffing with sausage lane or the other lane filled with vegan versions of the same meal. For many years we were the lucky ones who got to take the meat lovers' leftovers home.
A few weeks ago we attended a seminar given by Dr. Ted Barnett of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine. https://rochesterlifestylemedicine.com/
The seminar was followed by an amazing vegan meal catered by Root Catering. https://www.rootcatering.com/
The next thing I knew, the husband had signed up for a two-week vegan boot camp.
I told him, Good for you — you can do the cooking. And he did.
That first weekend he bought an Instant Pot, which cooks with steam pressure. He started making all sorts of soups, stews, even fresh oatmeal. I felt bad that I wasn’t supporting his efforts enough, so I “baked” breakfast bars with chia flour and fresh blueberries.
His new diet had almost an instant effect. He slept better. He had more energy. Even his skin looked like it was glowing. For a big guy, he loved that there was no portion control. Of course there’s no flavor either, I joked. But I was wrong. He discovered things like herbs that make your food taste better. And he actually tasted his food because he learned to eat slowly. He even cooked a dish to pass for his vegan boot camp cohort. (He’s definitely a pod person!).
Meanwhile, I kept eating my meat, dairy, and eggs — and his food — and kept gaining weight. How could I be gaining weight when he was losing it? Perhaps beans and steak is a bad combination.
He wasn’t happy with me when we went out to dinner and I told people loudly that my husband had become a vegan; he didn't think it was anyone's business. (Imagine how he feels about this column.) But I am proud that after 37 years together, he finally decided to pay attention to his health and what he put in his body. That, and I wanted to make sure he had something to eat wherever we went.
But there’s really no need to worry. Vegans are everywhere. Almost every restaurant has vegan options or will find a way to accommodate them. Or you can just go to a vegan restaurant, which we did in New York City après theater at P.S. Kitchen, a vegan-only restaurant that makes the most amazing mushroom Buffalo wings. https://www.ps-kitchen.com/
The restaurant also gives its profits to mission-driven organizations, making me think that these vegan pod people are not only healthy but kind.
Honestly, I am proud of my husband. Not only has he lost weight, he has lowered his blood pressure and cholesterol enough to stop taking medications, which he had been taking for years.
I was worried about what he would do come barbecue season, since he has always loved to char a big piece of meat. But no worries. I bet he can char a cauliflower steak just as well.
As first published in the Democrat + Chronicle and on the USA Today Network