The Rules of Cheating

A worthy cheat -- strawberry rhubarb galette at Stone Brewing on Sam's birthday.
A worthy cheat — strawberry rhubarb galette with goat cheese creme at Stone Brewing on Sam’s birthday.

I think the hardest thing about being mostly vegan in the hopes of lowering my cholesterol is negotiating the rules of cheating.

My cardiologist’s thoughts were: Occasional fish is okay, and it’s fine to cheat on special occasions (mitzvahs, as he put it).

The word “occasional” has really got me agonizing about how much fish I ought to eat. Fish once a week? Fish once a month? Did he mean that I SHOULD have fish because overall it’s pretty healthy (omega-3s, but then again a lot of veggies have them), or that I SHOULDN’T but it’s the least offensive?

Really the question is, how often can I have sushi? I love me some sushi, and definitely steeled myself to go have salmon sushi one night, only to walk out of the restaurant, unsure of myself. My final-ish thought on the matter was that I’d only eat fish at the really tops sushi places in my book, the Katsuya in Studio City (the best, non-SBE one) or Sugarfish (many locations, our closest is also in Studio City). They’re both expensive and often crowded/long waits, so there’s only so often we’d realistically be going there.

But then I discovered something that has held me over for now — avocado sushi.

It’s like it sounds — just avocado, seaweed paper and rice. But A) I love avocado and B) it actually kind of feels like squishy sushi-fish in your mouth. Perfect.

When I discovered it, I had it two days in a row. And I didn’t even have to worry about mercury poisoning.

Thanks, avocado. Never change. I love you. CA loves you.

Other than that, my arbitrary rules of cheating are pretty basic:

Once a week, on a special occasion or the weekend (which is ALWAYS a special occasion, because it’s the weekend), I can have —

1) One fish cheat.

2) One egg-white cheat.

3) One dairy/dessert cheat.

4) One fried food (usually French fries or chips) cheat.

If I don’t use it, no roll-overs. Like a cell phone plan.

So far, I’ve actually gone for weeks at a time without using my cheats, except for French fries — which are technically not a vegan cheat, but are a heart-healthy-living cheat.

The dessert cheat has only really been employed on birthdays. (Both Sam’s… once on his actual birthday, and another the next week when we got him a Cuban cake from Porto’s. It was delicious.)

The egg white cheat is mostly for brunching, and was first employed yesterday.

Oh, and if we’re going to get technical about veganism, I still eat honey. Sorry, bees.

The best news/biggest relief is that I can still have Chipotle, and that I actually like the tofu sofritas. Who would have guessed? (My first date with Sam was at a Chipotle, so it has all sorts of special places in my heart.)

What do you think of my cheats? What would your cheats be, if you were me?

Veg-ish-ly yours…

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