Monday, August 31, 2009

Vegan Meals on Amtrak, and a Vegan's Confession!

First of all, it's kind of hard to concentrate on this blog post because I'm looking out my window on the 49th floor in downtown Los Angeles towards the San Gabriel Mountains, and seeing what I can only describe as a mushroom cloud. And it just keeps getting bigger. So prayers and best wishes to everyone fighting the fires today.

Let me get my confession out of the way: I fell from Vegan grace this past week. Sigh ... yes, I ate not one, not two, but THREE animal products.

First, on Friday, I added a can of Trader Joe's Tongol Tuna to our regular supper casserole. I don't know why, but I'd just been craving it all day. My rationalization was: it had already been purchased, long before I became a vegan. And it would be disrespectful to the fish to have put it through all that pain and suffering, and then just throw it away. Right? OK, so also, I really like tuna. So I ate that.

Then I went to Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park, which has primarily vegan stuff but also vegetarian. And I gave in to yet ANOTHER temptation and bought real cheese instead of the fake "Chreese"!! (Well, actually, I bought some Chreese too, 'cause I like it. But I digress!). Actually a tiny little container of Goat Cheese from France. I figured whatever they sell at FYH is probably OK as far as meeting basic humane standards.

And finally, last week when we took the Coast Starlight from Van Nuys, California to Olympia, Washington (a great trip, by the way!), I didn't get my order for Vegan meals in on time for the trip up. I was able to find suitable meals at breakfast and lunch, but for supper, I had the Vegetarian Pasta ... which contains cheese.

Sigh. Well, in my defense, I've said all along (and my husband can verify this) that I don't think it's intrinsically wrong to consume animal products, just to do so in any way that causes pain and suffering to the animal. And I'm going to continue to aim towards veganism.

However, once in a while I will probably indulge. You know why? Because I'm a human being, and human beings aren't perfect. (In case you hadn't noticed.) But I will at least do the best I can to find the most humane possible animal products available.

Now, about those Vegan meals on Amtrak ... I did manage to get them on the way back. They insisted on the phone that I select from three different styles - Moroccan, Chicken, and Veal (I made sure they meant FLAVORS, not actual Chicken and Veal!!!). So I picked one of each.

And guess what ... they all looked EXACTLY the same. (Sort of like that Simpsons episode where they show Duff, Duff Light and Duff Special Brew all coming out of the same tank!). Half the plate contains a big fake-meat cutlet which tastes sort of like chicken-fried steak, and the other half contains rice.

And that's IT. That's the "vegan option" on Amtrak! I had this exact same meal FOUR TIMES IN A ROW, and by the third time I was stealing salad from my husband's plate just to get some variety!

Hey Amtrak, guess what? There are all SORTS of Vegan meals you could provide which are easy, cheap, delicious and provide variety to your customers. For example, all your salads could have the option of being served without cheese. You could have the fake meat and rice, but dump some frozen veggies on top.

You could even have soup! In fact, next time I travel Amtrak, I'm going to skip the "vegan option" and just bring my own stuff. Because by the time the second dinner rolled around, I was ready to roll off the train at the next station and start eating the grass!!!

(P.S. - weigh-in 181.4 - up by 0.6 - not too shabby for two weeks' vacation!!)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You realize you are not actually vegan, dear, don't you? But I am delighted to learn that you are someone who eats a mostly plant-based diet, so there is hope that one day you may actually be vegan.

Oh, by the way, there is no way to consume animal "products" withOUT causing "pain and suffering to animals" - no way, it doesn't happen.

You are in a fantasy dream land if you think there is a nice and cozy, kind and gentle way to treat animals as commodities, and kill them. Uh uh, it doesn't happen that way. Anywhere. Ever. Please wake up to reality.