According to UK psychologist Cliff Arnall, Monday was the most depressing day of the year. I tend to agree with him. His reasons include soupy weather, holiday debt, and New Year’s resolutions that have failed before February. For me, Monday was the day my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Before you feel so bad you stop reading, her prognosis (so far) is quite good. They caught it early, and it doesn’t appear to have spread. But I’ve already lost one parent to cancer, and I’m not ready to be Orphan Andy just yet. So I did what I could do: I gave her a copy of Forks Over Knives, dropped a bill or two at Whole Foods, and While You Were Out-ted her kitchen into a vegan one.
Ordinarily, I would never ever do this. To anyone. Ever. I’m happy to share my beliefs (exhibit A: this blog post), but I have never been a proselytizer, nor have I ever judged anyone else’s eating habits. Actually, that’s not true– I make fun of my boyfriend all the time, but that’s because he exists on a steady diet of jerky, Oreos and soda and he’s not twelve. But I digress. People have to come to these sort of life-changing decisions for themselves, or else they won’t stick. But I know my Barbara (your mom’s name is Barbara, too?) and sometimes she needs help to get going (exhibit 1: she’s been on Nutri-System for years). I should also note that she has always been super supportive of me and my eating habits, loves her veggies, and has expressed interest in becoming a vegetarian before, so it wasn’t 100% crazy, only 97%. That’s a percentage I can work with.
So, if you or someone you know needs a vegan starter-kit, here’s what I got:
- A giant bottle of Bragg Liquid Aminos
- Gardein Beefless Tips
- Gardein Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers
- Gardein Chick’n Scallopini
- 365 brand Chickenless Patties
- Original Almond Breeze Almond Milk
- 365 brand Unsweetened Almond Milk
- Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
- Follow Your Heart Creamy Garlic Dressing
- Follow Your Heart Grapeseed Vegenaise
- Galaxy Vegan Parmesan
- Daiya Cheddar Wedge
- Daiya Jalapeño Garlic Havarti Wedge
- Tofurky Italian Sausages
- Sabra Classic Hummus
- Amande Yogurt
- WholeSoy Yogurt
- SoDelicious Coconut Milk Yogurt
- Zen Almond Milk Pudding
- Vegetarian Plus Vegan Citrus Spare Ribs
- Tofutti Sour Cream
- Arugula (not pictured)
- Sweet Potatoes (not pictured)
- Red, Yellow and Green Bell Peppers (not pictured)
- Portabella Mushrooms (not pictured)
In addition, I also made her my favorite veggie pâtè (let me know in the comments if you want the recipe), some homemade pesto (her fav! Let me know in the comments if you want this recipe, too), and shared some ground flax seed.
Then I confiscated everything I could find that does not adhere to a plant-based diet:
- Parmesan Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Kakuana Port Wine Cheese Spread
- Kraft Cheddar Slices
- A gross of String Cheese
When she walked in the door, the surprise greeted her in aromatic form; the smell of dinner cooking– a pesto lasagne with a filling of Tofurky Italian Sausages, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and green beans, topped with a generous dollop of hummus (did you know pesto and hummus are amazing together?) and a sprinkling of arugula. It was pretty darn tasty, evenifIsaysomyself, and there were lots of leftovers for her.
So, how’s she doing? It’s only been a couple of days, so she still has cancer (it’s veganism, not magic).
But, “Us vegans be doin gooder!” she says.
Yes we be, Barb. Yes we be.