|Photo Source: Food Hacks|
This exchange was all pretty normal. It doesn't really happen to me that often, so when a stranger asks about being vegan I am more than happy to share my experiences. But what she said next really surprised me: "I've been vegan about 15 years but I just don't think my diet could...you know... sustain a baby!" Whaaaat???!!!
Her revelation totally surprised me in the moment but later when I was still thinking about it, made me really sad. There are many reasons to go vegan and I assume that she probably does it for the animals rather than for health reasons, so it's certainly not a given that any vegan (including this one) would necessarily be an expert on health or nutrition. But one would think that somewhere over the course of 15 years one might have learned a thing or two about how vegan food tends to be healthier than, you know, the average meat-eater's diet. Something about a long-time vegan doubting herself to the point of thinking that she couldn't sustain a vegan pregnancy made me feel incredibly discouraged. Just when you think that veganism is becoming more mainstream, with countless studies touting the health benefits of a vegan diet, you mean to tell me that there are vegans who themselves don't trust that it's the healthiest possible option? How are we going to convince non-vegans if can't even convince actual vegans?!
So maybe this woman was just unusually clueless and I'm overreacting, or maybe this particular vegan lives on a diet of Oreo cookies and tequila, in which case she might be justified in wondering if she could nutritionally sustain a pregnancy. But I'm still completely befuddled that a vegan - a vegan who works at Trader Joe's for crying out loud, with plenty of healthy vegan food options literally staring her in the face all day - would find it surprising that another vegan managed to survive two pregnancies without, you know, needing more protein or something.
I'd be happy to hear what anyone else thinks about this exchange, as it is entirely possible that I'm reading too much into it or making a big deal out of nothing. Am I? Was this conversation as strange as I think it was?
Anyway, just to make sure I'm not going crazy in my thinking that Trader Joe's is a treasure trove of vegan delights, here is an actual list of TJ's vegan options, here is a 10 Best Vegan Items list, Vegansaurus's TJ's Pinterest page, and even a vegan TJ's Tumblr. Myself, I'm a big fan of their Soy Chorizo, the Vegetable Masala Burgers, the Speculoos Cookie Butter (duh), and their coconut milk yogurts are fantastic. My son especially loves the Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels (stir fry with some broccoli - delish), and the Japanese Style Fried Rice. Oh, and we just tried their Chili Pepper Sauce and their Sriracha Sauce, and both are awesome! I don't know what took me so long to discover those!
Please stay tuned for the next post in which I preview for you some good things I tested for Annie Shannon's next cookbook. Now there's a vegan mama for you who knows what's what.