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 Post subject: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:18 pm 
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Has a Guru
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Hi all! It's been many moons since I posted here. I love you all and miss you greatly, and still lurk, but I would feel (and be) such a hypocrite if I partook of your companionship because I am no longer vegan. I haven't been for several months. Here's what happened:

I was going to see my guru in CA this past June. Well, the chai. The chocolate chip scones. The Devi Bhava Mattar Paneer. OH. MY. GOD. I really wanted these things. It was a planned vacation from veganism. The problem is I never got off of the vacation (and to add insult to injury? I never even got the mattar paneer - we ran out).

So, that was in June. Here I am all these months later and still vegetarian. But I have a problem. A huge one. I've been vegetarian for about six years. Vegan for about a year of that. I'm also a recovering alcoholic and addict, as some of you may remember. This is relevant because I will use the term "using dreams" which refers to the dreams a recovering alcoholic or addict has in which they are using their drug of choice - horrible things.

Here's where you can help me - did any of you long term vegans reach a threshold (I don't know exactly what the term would be) or a point in your life of eating compassionately where you were craving meat again? If so, did it go away?

I am having USING DREAMS about eating meat. It's awful. But even worse? I'm craving meat every hour of every day. I want it *so badly*. Fried pork chops, fried chicken, barbecue, all the deep south southern cooking I grew up with. This has been going on for about six or seven months now. The intense craving, that is. The using dreams have been going on sporadically for six years. You know what's funny? After that first year of being clean, I never *once* had a using dream about drugs or alcohol again. But meat? All the time.

I used to just crave murder when I was very hungry. Now it's all the time, even on a full stomach. Now, all I have to do is imagine the moment of death of the poor animal (I was (un)lucky enough to be in agriculture when I was a teen and was made to watch videos of animals being "processed" for meat - from execution to final product packaging) and my heart aches and I know I don't want to eat meat. My heart doesn't, my mind doesn't, but dammit, I think my body does. I'm afraid I'm going to spend the rest of my life longing for meat and never getting over it. Wise words would be a balm right now. Help?

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I wish I was eating a vegan kielbasa in a yurt right now.... Tofulish


Last edited by Jagadeesh on Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:21 pm 
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Get yourself a copy of Cookin Crunk, the new southern vegan cookbook. From the thread here, it seems pretty amazing. I got a copy on iBooks and reading through it was fun; tons of things marked to try.

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:24 pm 
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I dreamed about food a lot when I was pregnant. I didn't choose to eat it in reality. Because I am a vegan. And dreams are just your brain processing random neural fires, not actually meaningful messages from your body.

Because if they were, then my body would want to bone George Clooney, and clearly that couldn't be the case.

Oh and I did totally crave eggs and dairy and meat, bc they were my long term comfort food. Never ate them though. I found comfort in vegan analogues.

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:28 pm 
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Yeah, the dreams don't really bother me even a minute after I awaken, but the intense cravings do. Well, maybe not the cravings, just the sheer number of them and the fact that they've been here for a good six months at least.

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I wish I was eating a vegan kielbasa in a yurt right now.... Tofulish


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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:54 pm 
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I think you need to tell yourself that cravings are just cravings and not an emergency. Notice them and let them pass. I have meat and egg cravings all the time and I've been vegan for many years now (interestingly, I don't crave dairy, which is what most people seem to crave longest). Deep down these are foods I find some comfort in, obviously, and that's where those cravings come from. As a result, I don't believe in "you crave what your body needs" or "cravings will diminish over time." It is true that if you get better at noticing that they're just cravings that they stop bothering you as much, but I would expect them to come in waves in relationship to your moods and need for comfort foods.

Also, like tofulish said above, it makes your life easier if you just make a permanent decision about veganism and don't leave it up to momentary decisions. It doesn't matter what you crave, you're vegan, the end. Don't take vacations from veganism! That makes no sense and just makes it harder the next time around.


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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:56 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
Because if they were, then my body would want to bone George Clooney, and clearly that couldn't be the case.


Clearly.


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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:57 pm 
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Hi Jaggy,
I'm sorry to hear you're being plagued with such cravings, they sound horrible to deal with. Honestly, the only cravings I ever had were with cheese, and those went away eons ago. Do you think it would help you to try to figure out what aspect of those meals you are craving, and then try to find something vegan that would satisfy your urges? Or, do you think it would help you to watch some online videos of animal exploitation (such as Earthlings narrated by one of the dreamy Phoenix brothers) to put you off of meat when you crave it. Warning: if you go there, I think you might be traumatized by the section on pets, so maybe skip that part--I couldn't watch it).

Also, many omnivorous folks hang out here, you're welcome here. No shame in the game, your heart is in the right spot. Also, have you heard about Artisan Vegan Cheese? The cheeses are fran freaking tastic.

xo
kittee

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:04 am 
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Also, I want to add that there is a ton of vegan food at Amma! All the stuff you mentioned (besides the prasad) is snacky stuff, not meal time stuff. Are you not getting to the meals? I've noticed over the last few years that all the of the menus are posted with ingredients. Most everything is usually vegan, but sometimes dressings and stuff aren't plus the raita, but it's easy to steer clear of them and still be satisfied. I eat so well on Amma time. Plus there are tons of vegan snacks, too! I always see vegan desserts, fair trade chocolate, bhonda, samosas, etc!!!!! I usually also bake some stuff to eat in my room, or wherever I'm staying if I miss a meal. The prasad, you're on your own for that. I don't think it's ever vegan, but you could bring some vegan snacks for Amma to prasad for you to take home. I used prasad as a verb, I am awesome.

YOU CAN DO IT BUB!
xo
kittee
xo
kittee

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:05 am 
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It's just shitty because for years after going veg I never craved meat. I was disgusted by it. I still am. It's like my body is turning on my mind! By the way, let me state emphatically that I will never eat meat again - just no. And that's the very crux of the problem - I'm too strong to give in to them but I don't want them plaguing me forever! I don't think videos would help because I have the aforementioned footage burned in my brain forever.

I guess I just wanted to know if meat had a half-life.

Bubalah Berns, I love you so much. You know this, though. :)

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I wish I was eating a vegan kielbasa in a yurt right now.... Tofulish


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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:08 am 
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Jagadeesh wrote:

I guess I just wanted to know if meat had a half-life.


I think you need to analyze your cravings and figure out just exactly what aspect of those meals you are craving, it doesn't sound like it's the flesh part at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:09 am 
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Yeah! I ate vegan 90% of the time - but I just didn't want to go without the aforementioned foods. Two chais a day. One scone a day. Never had the paneer. I'd never been to see Big Mama as a vegan and was really dreading the the thought of not getting those foods. Silly, I know.

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:14 am 
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I dunno how else to help you friend. Let me know!

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:17 am 
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No! You've helped! As have others. I really need to sit down and see what it is about the cravings that I'm wanting. I may work up the nerve to call you. I'll have to write up bullet points ... maybe even a script. Ask our mutual friend. :P

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I wish I was eating a vegan kielbasa in a yurt right now.... Tofulish


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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:19 am 
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Jagadeesh wrote:
No! You've helped! As have others. I really need to sit down and see what it is about the cravings that I'm wanting. I may work up the nerve to call you. I'll have to write up bullet points ... maybe even a script. Ask our mutual friend. :P

oh dear. i am really easy to talk to on the phone btw, i can carry the conversation if you need me to. i will help! i also wonder, i was vegan before i started seeing amma, so i was never tempted, but you had already established patterns in traveling her you had to change.

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:20 am 
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kittee wrote:
Jagadeesh wrote:
No! You've helped! As have others. I really need to sit down and see what it is about the cravings that I'm wanting. I may work up the nerve to call you. I'll have to write up bullet points ... maybe even a script. Ask our mutual friend. :P

oh dear. i am really easy to talk to on the phone btw, i can carry the conversation if you need me to. i will help! i also wonder, i was vegan before i started seeing amma, so i was never tempted, but you had already established patterns in traveling to see her you had to change.

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:51 am 
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Jagadeesh!! Everyone else has said all the helpful advice stuff so I'll just say YAY, you're back, I missed you!

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:06 am 
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A bit off topic here but can I say that as a newbie to this site I am (amazingly & pleasantly) surprised at the support and encouragement to this thread.
The last vegan forum I was on would want to tie someone up and flay them alive for this type of topic (which is really rather non vegan of them!) and which is why I left that particular forum!

Its so refreshing to see so many supportive open minded people here!

Hope you nail those cravings! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:09 am 
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Purepsycho wrote:

Hope you nail those cravings! :)


Welcome to the PPK, this is a great place.
xo
kittee

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:47 am 
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Hey Jagadeesh!

Your post reminds me of something I heard on the Vegetarian Food for Thought podcast, which was basically that we are craving the salt, fat, and savoriness of meat, not the actual meat itself. That's definitely been true for me, but as someone who never particularly enjoyed meat it was easy for me to identify with this observation. But, I think it can be really helpful for everyone in figuring out what flavor you're actually craving when these things hit you. For example, when I smell people barbecuing in the summer I really crave BBQ steak or chicken, but then I realized what I really wanted was that yummy charred flavor which I could totally get just by grilling portabellos or other veggies.

It doesn't sound to me like you are wanting things that would be hard to simulate (like steak, which I think would be hard to imitate!) so I would think you could satisfy these cravings by making the vegan analog. Like, the chickpea cutlets in Veganomicon have always reminded me of pork chops. So maybe you could make those and fry them or whatever, serve them with all the normal side dishes, and that would satisfy your cravings! You could also try to batter and deep fry soy curls or gardein to make a vegan fried chicken. There is a recipe for vegan fried chicken in that book Ellen's been promoting, Vegan Cooking for Carnivores. I've also seen vegan riblets in the freezer section of the grocery store. I once found them at costco, they seem to also be at walmart (I think it is Morningstar brand). I don't really remember how ribs tasted, but these were really good and had a tasty BBQ sauce!

As for the dreams, I don't really have any advice. I've never had using dreams, so all I can say is...they're just dreams! You can't be held accountable for them and it's what you do IRL that matters! Be kind to yourself and good luck!! <3

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:04 am 
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I sometimes dream about smoking in intense vivid detail. I've never smoked, but I get the sensation of hot smoke in my lungs and everything. It's pretty freaky. I don't think it means that I actually want to smoke.

I wouldn't worry about it meaning actually craving meat-- it may be that your subconscious is rebelling against limits you've put on yourself.

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:22 am 
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couroupita wrote:
Your post reminds me of something I heard on the Vegetarian Food for Thought podcast, which was basically that we are craving the salt, fat, and savoriness of meat, not the actual meat itself. That's definitely been true for me, but as someone who never particularly enjoyed meat it was easy for me to identify with this observation. But, I think it can be really helpful for everyone in figuring out what flavor you're actually craving when these things hit you. For example, when I smell people barbecuing in the summer I really crave BBQ steak or chicken, but then I realized what I really wanted was that yummy charred flavor which I could totally get just by grilling portabellos or other veggies.

This.

I've been largely vegetarian since I was nine. I never craved meat or meat analogues except maybe sausages. This changed when I got into my twenties. I really started craving meat. I started eating meat occasionally, but the cravings only got worse and I decided this was not the way I wanted my life and diet to go. I really had to remind myself that meat = animals and I didn't want to eat animals at all. I started eating more meat analogues. I learned to make my own seitan and tempeh bacon etc. This worked really well to satisfy the cravings and I could eat as much of them as I wanted, because no animals were killed to make them.

All the time I spent on the internet looking for recipes also exposed me to a lot of vegan advocacy. My partner was reading Peter Singer at the time, so we decided to try and eat vegan more often. We are of the gradual transformation type, so two years into the vegan journey, we still occasionally eat animal products when visiting other people etc, but we're almost there. I hope you can find the key to unlock those food cravings, because I know how troublesome they can be and you don't deserve to feel like you are missing out on something you crave so much.

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:23 am 
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Hi Jaggadeesh!!
I think it's nice to see that you are coming back and seeking ways to help. Keep up the good work!

so much good stuff has already been said that i won't repeat.

I am an ex-smoker. I quit more than 5 years ago. Maybe 7. Not sure.
I have using dreams still. I would say weekly. They're incredibly vivid. I don't blame myself for it, it's a dream, and we do weird things in dreams. All without wanting to.
I will be (awake) in a store and smell someone smoking the same clove cigarettes I used to smoke, and my body turns into a springer-spaniel-pointer thing and i have to say, okay, calm down, yep, it's a smell. I see you're excited, you know we don't smoke anymore. change topic.

I used to drink a lot. I still have strong desires to. Something will happen and I'll think immediately "I could use a double whiskey right about now" (this happened at 730 this morning reading emails). Again, I have to remind myself "we don't do that anymore." change topic.

acknowledge, empathy, redirect. and don't beat yourself up. in my case, i trained my body, for years, to love cigarettes and whiskey. is it any wonder that my body still remembers it fondly?

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:00 am 
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I think it is different for every one but I grew up in a Mexican family where many dishes contain animal products. Not a lot of it is straight up meat though except for some things like carnitas (I can do without and jack fruit carnitas are pretty tasty), tamales (I can make my own vegan ones and I did last year), tripas (ha, no clue how to veganize this although even though I loved it, I haven't craved it) and a few other things. What I've done is focus on the easy stuff like good beans, rice and tortillas, those are easily made without animal products. Salsa is always vegan (well in my family) so that is something good to concentrate on. Having a good vegan cookbook that represents some of my family recipes is good as well (Viva Vegan) as well as trying to veganize some of my own family recipes that aren't as common.

So I think the idea of getting Cookin Crunk is a good one as well maybe looking into some Indian cooking. Making paneer-like tofu isn't too hard and you could make yourself some mutter paneer.

I wish you luck, I know it can be a challenge but you can do it.

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:39 am 
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I have found that it's helpful to not see veganism as an all or none proposition. So you had some foods that were not vegan. It's not the end of the world and the rainbow unicorns will not kick you out of Veganatopia forever. There is no ritual cleansing needed if you eat something that is not vegan; you just move on to the next thing.

Everyone here has offered some great advice. Onward!

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 Post subject: Re: Help a brother out?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:21 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
I dreamed about food a lot when I was pregnant. I didn't choose to eat it in reality. Because I am a vegan. And dreams are just your brain processing random neural fires, not actually meaningful messages from your body.
Exactly!
Ariann wrote:
...like tofulish said above, it makes your life easier if you just make a permanent decision about veganism and don't leave it up to momentary decisions. It doesn't matter what you crave, you're vegan, the end. Don't take vacations from veganism! That makes no sense and just makes it harder the next time around.
Just adding my voice to the wisdom quoted above. If you want to be vegan, be vegan. End of story. You're spending too much mental energy on these random cravings; energy that could be spent on a million more worthy things! Cravings are just cravings, they are not the boss of you, they don't have the power to shitcan your ethics or ideology or anything else unless you grant it to them. Because at the end of the day, we are talking about the momentary urge to put something in your mouth, versus a serious, considered, adult decision to live in a way that reduces as much suffering as possible. Even if those urges are recurring, think about all the other passing, desire-based urges we don't act upon because we know better: we don't just steal things because we want them, or have sex with every attractive person we meet regardless of whether we've made a commitment to another person (Tofulish, you leave that George Clooney alone!). So think about the reasons you want to be vegan, and where they fit in your value system, and then ask yourself if a dish of paneer or a grilled cheese sandwich or any food in the world is more important to you than that, and I think you'll have your answer. (Then go make some tofu paneer, or a grill up some Daiya cheddar wedges between two slices of good bread, and be happy, because being vegan is amazing and wonderful!)

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