Day 9 or, I imagine some of you have lost a bet by now

As I sit down to write this, I am eating a heaping bowl of brown rice pad thai noodles with mushrooms, red peppers and tatsoi and topped with - wait for it - nutritional yeast.


Forgive me. I suppose you could say that the self-pity has settled in full-force. I think it started about five days ago and I expect it to last, oh, say, 18 more days. This eating plan, she wears on me.

And perhaps I'd be more chipper if I had undergone some sort of miraculous transformation in the last nine days but, sadly, this is not the case. Where I expected to feel energetic and invigorated, I am tired and cranky. I'm still not eating enough. I'm hungry all the time and my intestines are in a constant state of legume-induced agony.

I have hopes this will soon pass. Otherwise, I shall snap and kill someone.

I will say I owe the fact that I am still on plan to my kind and supportive husband, Chris. Were I doing this alone, it would be a nightmare. Can you imagine the marital fall-out if I sat eating a bowl of faro while he chowed down on a burger? No doubt our recent wedding anniversary would have been our last.

Chris deserves all the credit for keeping our eyes on the prize these last few days. Yesterday, I was rolling around on the couch, moaning, "French fries! Freeeeennnnnch frieeeeees!" He did not cave. He may have suggested I have a sweet potato instead. If I'd had the energy, he'd have been punched in the face. I'm still feeling very face-punchy. But ultimately, I appreciate his fortitude.

I think. Now that I'm writing about it, French fries are starting to sound mighty good again...

In other news, I am also feeling quite poor. Now, I realize I am not poor but I'd be lying if I wasn't having a little produce-induced financial insecurity. What I'm saying is: eating a ton of fresh produce is expensive. I've always known that this is a major reason that America's poorest are also our most obese and health-challenged. But I get it now more than ever. Yes, the whole grains are cheap, but the shopping carts full of fruits and veggies - which we are consuming, dutifully, in giant quantities - add up.

There's an anecdote in the Engine 2 book - which I have grown to hate with a searing, white-hot intensity (see, Rip Esselstyn's not the only one who can draw on fire analogies) - from a woman who says she's saving a ton of money feeding a family of four on a whole-foods, plant-based diet. Unless she was feeding her family a rack of lamb every night - and maybe she was - I don't see it.

Speaking of the book, I understand that its goal is to promote this healthy-eating lifestyle, and that from a Marketing 101 perspective, it's a good idea to pepper the text with glowing testimonies. However, I think I'd be more on board with this if there were also testimonies from people saying, "This is hard. It's challenging. It's not always delicious and it takes a good deal of adapting. I had to struggle for a while before I found my stride." Selling this sort of transition as easy and without obstacles, claiming that substitutions taste JUST LIKE their high-fat, processed food counterparts seems disingenuous to me.

And a final observation from the past few days: vegetarian products that fancy themselves meat-like generally a) aren't and b) suck. I'm looking at you, seitan. Although it's been 20 years since I last had it, I thought perhaps there had been some massive leaps and bounds with seitan. Alas, it seems the scientific community has inexplicably been focused on other things.

I thought, Hmmm. Maybe this giant, chewy lump of wheat gluten really does taste like chicken.


We won't be doing that again. Why, if we're eating a plant-based diet, do we even need to pretend like we're eating meat? It's not fooling anyone. So I'm sticking with tofu which, although not always pleasant, at least we understand one another. No block of tofu ever said, "I'm exactly like chicken!" Because we'd all just laugh at that, wouldn't we? SILLY TOFU!