I arrive at the small local restaurant to meet my co-workers for breakfast before work. The waitress is expecting us for our weekly breakfast date. She knows what to bring for us to drink. Hot chocolate for one, coffee for another, Mountain Dew for the other and hot tea for me. None of us need a menu, we know what’s on it. The other’s order a typical American breakfast with some kind of breakfast meat and I order a small oatmeal. Plain.
“No milk, or sugar, or raisins?” she asks.
“Just plain please”
She walks towards the kitchen shaking her head and coughing her chronic smoker’s cough that she no longer notices.
I had learned that there isn’t any fresh fruit or real syrup or alternative milk choices and I had never even expected those items in this inexpensive, locally owned, busy breakfast establishment. I bring my own container with frozen organic berries, walnuts and a bit of real maple syrup. No problem. I accept that I’m weird and take ownership of this fact. I adjust and bring my own oatmeal bar additions. Even my breakfast club friends shake their heads or make jokes to cover the weirdness of my special orders. I could bring my own mug of Yerba Mate’ Tea, but decide to order the microwaved mug of water and choose from the basket of dollar store tea bags.
Some mornings I feel like some fried potatoes. So I order Deb’s Special with no meat, no cheese, and no gravy and if you could saute some more vegetables from the salad bar that would be great too. The waitress writes and writes and writes and then reads it back to me with a question in her voice as if this is not something a person would really eat. One time she brought it back with cheese on it. I picked the cheese off because she said that would be quicker than making a new one. And she didn’t charge me for it. Most times they get it right and I bring a little container of homemade salsa to add some flavor. Last time I ordered the altered Deb’s Special, I took the first bite and thought; bacon…. that really taste like bacon. I look into the plate, pull out a dark brown something, hoping it’s a mushroom.
“Is this bacon? Here taste it”
“That’s bacon” my co-worker and taste tester confirms.
The waitress takes it back cussing the cook for confusing bacon for broccoli on her long list of notes for my order and brings me another one in a to-go box.
It’s not easy being a Montana Vegan.
“No, it’s actually tempeh which is a less processed soy product than tofu, but thanks for asking.”
Another day for lunch I had gone into a different restaurant. This is a small town and people know everyone. I explained to the waitress what I would like and watched her go to the cooks window to give him an explanation. I couldn’t see the cook/owner but knew there must have been a look of disgust when the waitress explained;
“it’s for Lisa”.
Then all was clear.
When I occasionally go to Papa Murphy’s in the next town up the valley, the young crew working there actually laugh at me. I order the Herb Chicken Mediterranean, no chicken, and no cheese. That’s when they laugh; assuming I’m joking. Then I ask to have added onions and artichoke hearts, which they charge me extra for. They start the pizza. Get the dough, spread on the olive oil, add the garlic and then throw on a large amount of cheese; push it to the side and start over. It’s just automatic to add the cheese next in the process. Am I the only vegan in this cattle country? Does everyone get cheese on their pizza? I had one person tell me it’s not legally pizza if you remove the cheese.
I’m leading up to the book that I am reading right now. It’s not going to be a book of the month, but it is going to be a highly recommended book by this Montana Vegan.
“How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease” by Michael Greger and Gene Stone
Although this book may not be for everyone, I found it very interesting and more evidence to continue my choice to be a vegan.
“Where do you get your protein and why did you choose to be vegan?” are the questions most asked. Oh, and the other question is “what does Brett eat?”
I believe that protein is overrated and I get plenty of protein from oatmeal, quinoa, beans and nuts.
I choose to be vegan because all of the research I’ve done has led me to believe that this is the right choice for me.
And, Brett eats everything I eat and grills up a deer burger or bakes a piece of fish for himself. Pretty simple. I don’t think it’s legal in Montana for vegans to marry vegans, so you have to make it work.