28 Days Just Flew By

September 13, 2013 at 8:45 am

Am I a Vegan

vb6 meal

Such a nice Bittman approved meal! Whole grains, ample veg, and the protein also from a plant.  That’s locally made, organic Phoenix tofu with sprouted spelt and local tomatoes. As the Chinese learned long ago, if you dose it all with soy sauce, you’ll get the same glutamate high that a t-bone steak provides, and you’ll leave the table satisfied. Did I do this for 28 days. Am I now a vegan.  Would Tony Bourdain erase me from his holiday card list?

Yes. No. And not only did I complete my 28 day VB6 challenge, I made it 37 straight days of VB6. It could have been 38 days and counting if not for this:


It was not so much that as the meal that followed. As I explained, right from the start, I slightly modified Bittman’s schedule. VB6 stands for “Vegan before 6,” his idea that if you could book two vegan meals during the day, you could go wild after six or for dinner, and those two vegan meals would be so good for you, it would hardly matter what happened after six. My problem.

vb6 challah

In a world filled with too many tempting non-vegan pleasures, I had to divvy them out in a different fashion than Bittman. Somedays I wanted to have challah toast slathered in butter. Do you know that challah’s not vegan? To maintain my overall commitment to VB6, I would have all vegan food the rest of the day.

Except for the other day. I made myself one of my favorite summer treats for lunch, frisselle salad. That is, great Tomato Mountain tomatoes* and other seasonal vegetables tossed with a light dressing and dropped carefully onto a whole wheat, locally baked friselle (what’s a friselle, like a Cretan rusk, it was twice baked bread produced for times when wheat would be scarce; these days they’re more enjoyed for their flavor and texture than for their utility as fresh bread is pretty much always available.) The hardest part of friselle, keeping the salad from falling through the hole. And keeping off the cheese.

I could have enjoyed the lunch without some shavings of local provolone, but I assumed I’d have a vegan dinner. There was lots of veg and a some red rice already prepared, so I knew it would be easy to V (I’ll return to this in a day or so). Then, fate intervened. My wife, the vivacious Condiment Queen, left her phone at home, a phone she’d need shortly at the Riverside Farmer’s Market. I got in the car and raced after her, but we did not intersect until all the way in Riverside. I delivered the phone, but I was slaked from the running around in the extreme September heat. On my way home I went looking for a store to buy a can of fizzy water (no more pop for me). I did not find that but I found a little Bohemian restaurant in downtown Riverside. I had to pop in. I saw a room filled with people enjoying large plates of appealing looking food. There was a lot of beige on those tables, and I wanted some.

I could have, should have, waited another day for Bohemian food; waited for a day where I had not expended my “B6″ on lunch. Yet, by going this night, I could entice my daughter with gravy and the opportunity to help She pack up from the market.

I’d love to tell you that I ended VB6 with the most pleasurable 2,500 calorie meal imaginable: light as air dumplings, crisp, greaseless, cutlets; nuanced, yet impossibly rich gravy. I’ll say this about dinner at Little Bohemia. It was ungodly cheap. Two dinners, with gobs and gobs of meats (one a combo of roast pork and breaded pork, the other svíčková, a braised beef dish with a vegetable sauce) bread dumplings on one plate, mashed potatoes on another, sides of cabbage and sauerkraut, soup (split pea and beef noodle), very good bread, AND home made kolacky came to $18. Except it was not. My only comfort is knowing the Czech Paradox.

In the day hence, I returned to having only one non-vegan meal. Why, how, and what I plan to do going forward will be explained in posts to come.

*My wife works for Tomato Mountain.