Veganism felt so final. As in, I could never again eat some of my favorite comfort foods. Chocolate chip cookies. Brownies. French toast. Macaroni and cheese. Not that these were major staples of my diet, but they were things I enjoyed from time to time (more so then than now, as I've considerably improved my diet in the meantime, thanks to triathlon and my desire to be healthier).
As I explored, I found vegan versions of all of the above. Except macaroni and cheese.
And it wasn't just the run-of-the-mill macaroni and cheese that I craved. It was the blue box. Kraft. With the orangey powdery cheese with all sorts of artificial coloring and flavoring. It was a comfort food growing up, and even as a young adult a treat that I enjoyed every now and then.
I realized, though, that my craving for the blue box would not superimpose itself on my commitment to health, the animals, and the environment.
And then there was this:
Earth Balance's version of macaroni and cheese!
I whipped this up the other evening. It has the powdery vegan cheese and instructions to add a non-dairy milk and Earth Balance Buttery Spread margarine. I used almond milk, but I found that my Earth Balance margarine was moldy from sitting in my refrigerator and not being used (proof that I don't eat unhealthy food all that often), so I left it out.
It was delicious. I only ate half a box worth and made a salad to enjoy with it. At 640 calories in a box (one "serving" has 260 calories and there are 2 1/2 servings in a box, but let's be real, who eats just one serving?) with about 1300 mg of sodium, it's not the healthiest choice.
My point is this: Look hard enough, and I think there's a vegan version of just about everything. And when you find those decadent foods in a vegan version, don't imagine that they are magically healthy. When your diet is clean, a small rare splurge can be reasonable.
One last note-- this is not a paid endorsement! If only I was important enough to get paid to promote stuff...