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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

An Imperfect Vegan is the Only Kind There Is

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[Psyched to report I’m on this week’s episode of the Tranquility du Jour podcast, talking with Kimberly Wilson about the connection I’ve found between veganism and creativity as well as the workshop I’m offering at Fall Squam! And now back to your regularly scheduled blog post.]

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Is there a perfect diet? Ha! You know what I say to that. But within veganism, is there a BEST way to eat? Should I try cutting all cooked food out of my diet? No oil, no salt, no caffeine? Will going raw make me even healthier than I already am? Should I start with a weeklong juice fast?

I can ask myself these questions in a spirit of curiosity, but I know that for some (particularly those with food and body image issues) this line of inquiry is fraught with opportunities for self recrimination. But I heard vegetables lose most of their nutrients when they’re cooked! There may have been refined sugar in those store-bought crackers, and white sugar IS NOT VEGAN! No Coconut Bliss for me, thanks—too high in fat!

But my conscience isn’t a drill sergeant—if there is a virtue scale on dietary choices, I have to admit I’m only fair to middling. I do eat oily, salty foods. Falafel is fried, and I can’t get enough of it. I love toast and ginger biscuits and other not-so-nutritious comfort snacks. And the vegan baked goods? OH YES.



An insanely sugary breakfast at Wildflour in Providence. (I ate the ginger green tea cupcake later on that morning.) And guess what? I don’t regret a single bite (or sip). That coffee cake was out of this world. (I usually eat oatmeal for breakfast, by the way.)


Sometimes I joke that “my body is a temple,” but my diet is far from ascetic. If a food gives me pleasure, I will  indulge on occasion (Taza? Taza, anyone??) Ultimately I’m not doing “the cause” any good by being self denying about it. I always eat what I want to eat, and I enjoy it. Also, as Sharon Gannon notes in Yoga and Vegetarianism, “Patanjali gives ahimsa, or nonharming, as a ‘practice,’ which implies that it can never be perfected.” No matter what I eat, raw and juiced and chia-seeded up the wazoo, I will never arrive at a place of perfection, and I’m fine with that.



Penne pasta with spinach, olives, sundried tomatoes, and sunflower seeds. Not the “perfect” lunch, but pretty darned good for using what was already in the cabinet and fridge.


2 Comments to An Imperfect Vegan is the Only Kind There Is

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    April 9, 2014 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    I try to abide by three eating rules: 1. cook/bake from scratch as often as possible (eating fritos is a lot better for you if you make them yourself), 2. eat the rainbow with lots of veggies and mushrooms (so many vitamins and minerals!), 3. minimize food that makes you feel bad (if it gives you pain, you’re probably not meant to eat it).

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.