Well, I have to admit that being Bastish has proved harder than I initially thought. Here's a brief recap of my first four days…
First off, this isn't the first time I've tried being vegan. I did it quite faithfully for about a year in 2002. And when I was strict about it, I felt great. I lost 20 pounds without trying, my terrible seasonal allergies made nary an appearance, my asthma diminished to nothing, I fell asleep faster and woke up refreshed, and was generally more superior in every way.
Of course, it did take significantly more time to prepare my food—the downside of getting to eat twice as much food for half the calories is that it takes about an hour to chop up the vegetables each night, and that doesn't even count the time spent searching for non-disgusting vegan recipes, shopping for bizarre ingredients, cooking said bizarre ingredients, and packing up the leftovers for lunch the next day.
But even the extra time was worth it—where I really broke down was dining out. Back in 2002, I was working in an office where we ate out almost every day for lunch. Nothing fancy—just a sandwich or salad from the corner deli. Unfortunately, there was only ONE decent vegetarian option, a veggie burger that contained egg as a binder. I was ready to overlook that tiny bit of egg, but seriously, how many days in a row can you eat veggie burgers? After about 6 months (interspersed with the aforementioned leftovers), I found myself caving into the occasional delights of a turkey and avocado sandwich, or perhaps even the greek salad (mmm, feta). And then, after cheating a little bit for another couple months, the fabulous health benefits vanished and it was all to easy to just go back to a regular diet.
This time around, I've noticed two changes right off the bat. First off, since I'm working from home I don't have the immediate temptation of eating out. Now, I generally meet up with friends at coffee shops, where I'm sure to find a vegan-friendly soy latte to keep me happy. Second, my forays to the grocery stores have surprised me with the wealth of vegan-friendly packaged food options. In my refrigerator right now I have vegan pita pockets, vegan enchiladas, vegan noodle bowls, and vegan ice cream (not as good as the real thing, but quite sufficient when the only other alternative is no dessert).
All of which brings me to my point—even as a vegan, I'm no Bastish.
Mr. Bastish would surely scoff at packaged food in general—preferring instead to grow his own soybeans in the rooftop garden (perhaps writing an ode or two to the insects visiting the garden), build his own time-delay soybean mill, ferment his own tofu, and then use the resulting foodstuff to concoct a mysterious sustainability soup that he would then proclaim needs no refrigeration at all.
On the other hand, I did feel a Bastish-like holy outrage when unpacking my purchases from this weekend. And before you get all uppity about the "un-Bastish-ness" of buying, well, ANYTHING, please note that my purchases were relegated to things like toothpaste. Mr. Bastish doesn't make his own toothpaste, does he? I can actually picture him digging through dumpsters, looking for not-quite-completely-squeezed-tubes and muttering something under his breath about wasteful consumerism. I'll make sure to add that to my list of things to do next week.
But for right now, I'm concentrating my Bastish-like activity to bemoaning the sheer volume of packaging associated with personal care products. Between the toothpaste cardboard carton, the body lotion cardboard carton, the mouthwash plastic wrap, and the various tags and extra buttons associated with my new pair of pajamas (sigh, I admit that wasn't in accordance with my "30 Days of Bastish" promise to you, dear readers)—I had nearly an entire bag of trash. AN ENTIRE BAG OF TRASH.
Oh wait, Mr. Bastish doesn't use capital letters to express his outrage. In fact, does Mr. Bastish ever get outraged? I have to think it happens rather infrequently. Mental note: less outrage, more laid-back introspection.
So here goes: aside from the obvious questions which will plague me tonight as I lie in bed and try to find sleep (like, "How has consumer society so manipulated me that I believe lotion is an acceptable way to spend money that could better be spent on ecologically-friendly bike accessories?"), I have to wonder about the true environmental cost of packaging.
I will ponder that topic, dear reader, and get back to you with some deep and meaningful thoughts tomorrow.