How Can You Tell If Someone’s Vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you (because they’re desperate to save the planet.)

Many vegans have heard this hilarious joke many times: “How can you tell if someone’s vegan at a party? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.” It makes me laugh every time I hear it. People telling that joke or identifying with it, have a legitimate complaint: many vegans talk about being vegan. It’s true! You got me.

Here’s a slightly less funny version of that joke: How can you tell if someone’s passionate about something? They talk about it.

But maybe the sadder reverse of that joke is that people often talk about things they REALLY don’t care about when they’re around people they don’t know. In our culture, that’s encouraged and validated. People talk about the weather. The latest political scandal. All the weddings they have to go to this year. Maybe these things seem relatable, so people feel more comfortable sharing them with people they barely know.

But what if we create a conversation at a party that’s about the bigger stuff?

People also like to talk about their families, their career, their hobbies and I’m not knocking that! In fact, that’s what I’m talking about. Sharing your passions or your pride in your favorite people is a shortcut to really connecting with another person.

But if I want to complain about something or rehash my day, I can do that at home with my husband or my journal. At a party, if someone is interested, of course I’ll talk to them about being vegan. If they don’t care, I get that. Having a passion for something doesn’t mean foisting it on everyone you meet in every situation. You have to have a genuine connection with someone in order for a conversation about your passions to be heard.

Remember the first time you learned about something awful or wrong that was happening in the world or maybe even in your hometown?

You can’t stop thinking about it. Telling people about it. “Have you heard what they’re trying to do to Planned Parenthood?!” or “Oh my god! Did you see Blackfish? SeaWorld is so messed up.” or “Can you believe that the USDA counts ketchup as a vegetable in public school lunches?!” It just comes flying out of your mouth! You want everyone to know.

That’s how I feel about factory farming. And health. And our planet’s resources.

“Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, 20 pounds of CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life. “

learn more here

If I don’t talk about it, who will? And I know that you don’t really care about the weather either. The weather is a circumstance where talking about it doesn’t make any difference at all. The food that we eat is an area where each person on the planet has the power to make a difference.

What you talk about and the way you talk about it matters. Challenge yourself to raise the bar of conversation next time you’re at a party! People can handle it. In fact, most of the time they prefer it. 

photo-1446569971295-057569541991

What do you think? Are you shy talking about the things you care about? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

 

Image

10 Easy Vegan Substitutions You Can Make Today!

I get that not everyone wants to go vegan cold-tofurkey over night. For many people it takes time and small incremental changes to their diet to see how truly easy it is to be vegan long-term. I put together this list of 10 easy substitutes for products that you may currently be buying. Making the switch to these vegan versions is fast, easy, delicious, and affordable.

Any shift you can make towards a more plant-based diet makes an impact on your health, the environment, and animals lives! Why not try some of these super easy alternatives today and start making a difference?

1. Switch from Butter or Margarine to Earth Balance.  

This is one of the smallest changes that you can make that will have a tremendous impact on the amount of dairy that you consume. A little butter here and there can add up. While some have avoided Earth Balance in the past for their use of palm oil, they are now leading the industry in sustainable and equitable farming practices. I love rewarding corporate responsibility and happily purchase their products, knowing that they listen to the concerns of their customers!
Source: http://earthbalancenatural.com/product/original-buttery-spread/

photo source: earthbalancenatural.com

 

2. Switch from Mayonnaise to Vegenaise or Just Mayo.

I know mayonnaise is pretty divisive. People take a pretty hard line pro or con for mayo and I get it. It took me many years to get on the mayo bandwagon but it was a quick switch over to Vegenaise. This creamy, delicious spread is light as air and has a fantastic taste. It doesn’t spoil out of the fridge the way traditional mayonnaise can- perfect for picnics or potlucks where you know it’ll be sitting out for a little while.

 

http://followyourheart.com/products/original-3/

photo source: http://followyourheart.com/products/original-3/

 

3. Switch from Cow Milk to Almond or Soy Milk.

Many people don’t know that cows need to be pregnant or nursing to produce milk. If you, like many people, wonder how the dairy industry is harmful to the animals, this website is a great place to start:  http://www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/dairy/

With all of the incredible options available on the market, why not try an alternative to cow’s milk? Soy, Almond, Cashew, Hemp, Oat, Rice- take turns trying them and see which one is your favorite. I recently have gotten into making my own cashew milk and its deliciousness prompts a sweet dance in my kitchen every morning. Drinking my coffee with homemade cashew milk and cinnamon makes me want to get my day STARTED.

5-Best-Milk-Alternatives

photo source: http://organicpowerfoods.com/health-topics/5-best-milk-alternatives

 

4. Switch from Sandwich Bread to Bakery Bread.

Sliced bread is awesome.  What’s not awesome? All the weird additives and extras that have now become commonplace in commercially available sliced bread. Anyone know what DATEM is? Remember the whole Subway sandwich-gate with the yoga mat bread additive? Bread is one of the simplest foods on the planet: flour + water + yeast. How has it become this frankenfood all of the sudden?!

Check out the fresh bakery section of your grocery store for baguettes, loaves, or big boules of fresh bread. At our local supermarket, we have La Brea Bakery bread. We like to buy those, slice them ourselves and keep them in the freezer. They make our sandwiches fancy, delicious, and cost about the same as all that yoga mat bread!

La-Brea-Bakery-Bread

photo source: http://printablecouponsanddeals.com/Tag/la-brea-bakery-bread-printable-coupon

If we’re talking straight-up sandwich bread, we sometimes buy Trader Joe’s or Dave’s Organic, but by far my favorite is Alvarado St. Bakery. These brands may not be available at every supermarket, so be sure to check the labels of the bread you usually buy and figure out what all those ingredients are!

 

5. Switch from Parmesan Cheese to Nutritional Yeast or GoVeggie.

Adding parmesan to a dish of pasta or a caesar salad always used to make me feel fancy! Now I top my pastas and salads with Nutritional Yeast.

nooch

photo source: http://www.evitamins.com/premium-nutritional-yeast-season-bragg-52209

Nutritional Yeast, lovingly referred to in our house as Nooch, is basically a cheesy vitamin B-12 supplement that you can sprinkle on everything. It’s healthy, delicious and so good for you! Even if you’re not ready to dump your parmesan, adding nooch into your diet is just extra fortified B12 goodness for your digestion and nervous system.

Nooch can also be used in recipes for soup, pesto, salad dressing, or even to make a mind-blowing cheese sauce (see #7!).

64003_GV_VG_Parm_2.25
photo source: http://www.goveggiefoods.com/products/grated-topping/vegan/parmesan

Another good option is the GoVeggie Parmesan, which has double the calcium of dairy-based parmesan and 30% of the fat. It tastes exactly like parmesan to me. My non-vegan husband says it smells exactly like parmesan and tastes very similar.

 

6. Switch from Ground Beef to Ground Lentils.

I know you’re wondering, how can lentils be ANYTHING like ground beef? Just trust me on this one. The incredible Angela over at Oh She Glows has created a recipe that will blow your mind. Her recipe for Lentil-Walnut meat is a great way to pack any meal with extra protein and no added cholesterol.

Check out the recipe here! If you’re not that big on lettuce wraps (me either!) go for the gold and use a regular burrito tortilla. I’m giving you permission!

vegantacos-8785

photo source:http://ohsheglows.com/2014/06/17/ultimate-green-taco-wraps-with-lentil-walnut-taco-meat-vegan-gluten-free/

 

7. Switch from Nacho Cheese to Potatoes and Carrots.

Stay with me here. It’s about to get even more magical. Did you know that you can have the most delicious nacho cheese in the world and it will count as your daily requirement of VEGETABLES? I’m speaking the truth here.

These cheese is creamy. It’s dreamy. IT’S MADE OF POTATOES AND CARROTS. And Nutritional Yeast. But you already have that from #5, so you’re good to go!

Check out the recipe here.

vegan-cheese

photo source: http://www.veggieonapenny.com/vegan-cheese/

8. Switch from Chicken or Tuna Salad to Chickpea Salad.

My go-to quick lunch is Chickpea Salad. Drain the chickpeas (keep the liquid- it’s a magical ingredient called Aquafaba…I’ll get to that in a bit), rinse them and put them in a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher, mojito muddler, or a fork if you’re old-school. Add a few tablespoons of heaven from that shiny new jar of Vegenaise. Add carrots, celery, pickles, or anything else you’d normally add to a chicken or tuna salad. Sometimes I add minced apples and raisins to get real highbrow. Sprinkle on some celery salt (or regular salt) and pepper and you’ve got yourself a tasty lunch!

I then take the chickpea salad and put it over a bed of lettuce. Or roll it up in a wrap. Or add salsa and hot sauce and chips and Daiya vegan cheese to make a taco salad. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS! THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER MUSHROOM!

9. Switch from Eggs for Breakfast to VeganEgg or Tofu! (Advanced)

Ok. You’ve made it this far! You’re ready for some more advanced options. Many people say to me that they love having eggs for a quick meal and wonder how they would replace that if they went vegan.

I love this question. There comes a point when you have to break out of your mold and find new quick and easy things to eat. Now, I love a good tofu scramble. I find it incredibly delicious and satisfying. My all-time favorite recipe is from the wonderfully talented chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz and her website ThePPK. This tofu scramble may make you re-evaluate your relationship to tofu. 

But I understand tofu is not everyone’s jam!

VeganEgg to the rescue!

VeganEgg-packaging

photo source: http://sproutedmag.com/follow-your-heart-introduces-revolutionary-vegan-egg-product/

Watch this snazzy video. You have to see it to believe it. We’re living in the future, people!

 

If you’re thinking, “Wait, what’s wrong with eggs? It doesn’t hurt the chicken,” check out this informative page: http://www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/chickens/

 

10. Switch from Baking with Eggs to Baking with SO MANY OTHER OPTIONS!

Baking without eggs prior to going vegan seemed like an impossibility. “Eggs are an essential ingredient!” I would think to myself (That never happened…I’m just saying that for dramatic effect. I never even thought about eggs in any critical way before. I just assumed they were necessary for baking because…that’s part of Western culture!)

Baking without eggs is easier than you ever imagined! You can go the healthy fruit route and add in a mashed banana or some applesauce instead of an egg. You can use extra vegetable oil in some recipes. My usual go-to is ground flaxseed. Take 1 Tbs of ground flax, add 3 Tbs of water and stir. Wait 5 minutes and you will have a thick gelatinous substance that is a great source of Omega 3’s and keeps your cookies together. Easy Peasy.

1800-front_11

photo source: http://www.bobsredmill.com/shop/flours-and-meals/gluten-free-flours/organic-golden-flaxseed-meal.html

The last replacement for baking is using that chickpea (or other light bean) liquid from the can that I mentioned earlier. This stuff is called aquafaba and it is LIQUID GOLD and I’ve been throwing it down the drain for years. If I could turn back time, if I could find a way, I’d take back all that bean liquid I threw out, and you’d have eaten a lot more of my cookies and we’d probably have world peace. Yes, I just loosely quoted Cher and no, I’m not embarrassed because…CHER.

A few days ago I made aquafaba meringue cookies and couldn’t get over it. I called/texted half my phone list. Please feel free to comment if you’d like to be included in the next round of late night baking communication!

The only ingredients to these cookies are: aquafaba from a 15 oz. can, 1/2 c sugar, 1/3 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar. (I added chocolate chips because I like mixing it up.) Start whipping the aquafaba, vanilla and cream of tartar with a handheld or stand mixer, then slowly add sugar. Keep mixing for about 15 minutes. Put them in the oven at 200F for 2.5 hours. Let them dry out over night to keep crisp!

special guest appearance by: louie, the spaniel mix

They came out like little pillows of heaven and don’t have that weird aftertaste that eggy meringues do. They don’t resemble beans in the slightest and I froze a portion of the dough/fluff to eat as ice cream because I like to diversify.

If you’re wondering about other incredible uses for aquafaba, there’s a great group on facebook called Vegan Meringue- Hits and Misses.

 

Okay! That’s all. Congrats on reaching the end of this epic post. Try out some of these great substitutes and let me know what you think!

 

 

10 Easy Vegan Substitutions You Can Make Today!

Gluten Free : Vegan :: Netflix : Mars

Like that title? I’ve been searching for opportunities to use those agonizing SAT analogies circa 2004 in the real world. Eleven years later and I’ve finally done it!

Just wanted to quickly clear something up for anyone who has been too scared to ask me, because as I mentioned before, I haven’t always been so open to your perfectly reasonable questions.

Gluten Free comes from a completely different planet than Vegan. While some people have adopted both labels, the two have absolutely no relationship to one another.

In the last couple of years, I’ve had a lot of conversations that go something like this:

Friend: “Oh, but vegans can’t have pasta right?”

Me: “As long as it doesn’t have egg in it!”

Friend: “You must miss bread so much!”

Me: “Nope. I’m 75% water, 25% bread.”

Friend: “But doesn’t bread have…?”

Me: “Vegan means I don’t eat animal products.”

Friend: “What about wheat?”

Me: …

The popularity of going gluten free and going vegan have skyrocketed in the last couple of years. People often mix up the two terms because they equate both gluten free and vegan as being “restrictive fad diets.” New celebrities are going gluten free raw vegan every day! Lots of spiralized zucchini noodles and green juice in People Magazine are probably contributing to this confusion, so I know that it’s not unfounded when people ask me. I’m not offended, I’m happy to share the difference between the two!

Gluten free means that you avoid gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and the ever-popular triticale (a hybrid of wheat/rye.) People with Celiac disease have an inability to process these proteins, causing serious damage to their small intestine. This leads to pain, weight gain, and if left untreated, the potential development of a variety of other autoimmune disorders. Those who are not diagnosed with Celiac but still experience negative symptoms from eating gluten are labeled as having a “gluten sensitivity.” Gluten has no negative impact on people without Celiac or gluten sensitivity. If you’ve never thought about the impact of gluten on your diet before, chances are YOU’RE FINE TO KEEP EATING BREAD. Obviously listen to you doctor and not to me, but many needlessly self-diagnosed gluten-phobes are out there. No judgment. Just sayin’. I guess people make up stuff sometimes to feel included in the latest, hippest autoimmune disorders? Don’t ask me why.

Being vegan means that you are solely plant-based in your diet and clothing & home product purchases.

Here’s the definitive list of things that vegans do not eat:

Butter, Casein (protein from animal milk), Cochneal/Carmine (red food dye made from bugs!) Confectioner’s glaze (made from other bugs!), Cream from animal milk, Eggs from an animal, Goat’s milk, Cow’s milk, Cheese made from Goat’s milk, Cheese made from Cow’s milk, Cow/Beef, Pig/Pork, Chickens, Turkeys, Wild Game Birds, Lambs, Sheep, Goats, Fish, Shellfish, Shrimp, Lobsters. Gelatin (made from Hooves/Bones.) Honey. White Processed Sugar (processed with bone char.) Lard. And any/all animal body parts and secretions that I forgot to list. Anything from an animal or made by and animal is not vegan.

Here’s the list of everything that vegans CAN eat! 

Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Avocados, Bananas, Bilberries, Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Blood Oranges, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cantaloupes, Cucumbers, Currants, Cherrys, Cherimoyas, Clemtines Cloudberries, Coconuts, Cranberries, Damsons, Dates, Dragonfruit, Durians, Elderberries, Feijoa, Figs, Goji berries, Gooseberries, Grapes, Grapefruits, Guavas, Honeydews, Huckleberries, Jabuticabas, Jackfruits, Jambuls, Jujubes, Juniper berries, Kiwi fruits, Kumquats, Lemons, Limes, Loquat, Lychees, Mandarines, Mangoes, Mangosteen, Marion berries, Miracle fruits, Mulberries, Nectarines, Olives, Oranges, Papayas, Passionfruits, Peaches, Pears, Persimmons, Physalis, Plums, Prunes, Pineapples, Pumpkins, Pomegranates, Pomelos, Quinces, Raisins, Rambutan, Rasperries, Redcurrants, Salal berries, Satsumas, Star fruits, Strawberries, Tamarillo, Tamarinds, Tangerines, Tomatoes, Ugli fruits, Watermelon

Vegetables: Acorn squash, Artichokes, Arugula, Asparagus, Banana squash, Beets, Bell Peppers, Bok Choy, Broccoflower, Brussels sprouts, Butternut squash, Cabbages, Calabrese, Carrots, Cassava, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Chard, Chili Pepper, Chives, Collard greens, Corn, Daikon radish, Delicata, Eggplant, Endive, Fiddlehead ferns, Frisee, Garlic, Gem squash, Ginger, Green onion, Habanero, Horseradish, Hubbard squash, Jalapeno, Jicama, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leek, Lettuce, Mustard greens, Nettles, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Parsnip, Potatoes, Radicchio, Radishes, Rhubarb, Rutabaga, Salsify, Shallots, Skirret, Spaghetti squash, Spinach, Sunchokes, Sweet potatoes, Taro, Tati soi, Topinambur, Turnip, Water chestnut, Watercress, Yams, Yautia Zucchini

Legumes: Alfalfa sprouts, Adzuki beans, Bean Sprouts, Black beans, Black-eyed peas, Borlotti beans, Broad beans, Chickpeas, Green beans, Kidney beans, Lentils, Lima beans, Mung beans, Navy beans, Pinto beans, Runner beans, Split peas, Soy beans, Peas, Snap Peas

Commercially Available (i.e. Not Wild) Fungi: Blewitts, Chanterelles, Cooked False morels, Gypsy mushrooms, Hedgehog mushrooms, Horn of Plenty, Lion’s mane mushrooms, Maitake, Matsutake, Morels, Oyster mushrooms, Porcini, Saffron milk cap, Tube chanterelles, Truffles

Grains: Barley, Bulgur wheat, Corn meal, Durum wheat, Fonio, Kamut, Millet, Oats, Popcorn, Quinoa, Rice, Rye Semolina wheat, Sorghum, Spelt, Teff, Tritcale, Wheat, Wild Rice

Nuts & Seeds: Acorns, Almonds, Beech nuts, Brazil nuts, Candlenuts, Cashews, Chestnuts, Chilean hazelnuts, Cycads Filbert, Ginkgo, Gnetum, Hazelnuts, Hickory, Indian beechnuts, Juniper, Kola nuts, Macadamias, Malabar almonds, Malabar chestnuts, Mamoncillo, Mongongo, Monkey-puzzle, Ogbono, Pecans, Pepitas, Pine nuts, Paradise nuts, Pilis, Pistachios, Podocarps, Walnuts

Most importantly: cane sugar, cocoa/pure dark chocolate, tea, & COFFEE

Herbs & Spices: let’s just let Wikipedia take it from here.

AND THESE ARE JUST THE WHOLE VERSIONS OF THESE FOODS. Shout-out to Tofu/Tempeh/Seitan. I acknowledge you but you’re technically soy & wheat so I felt that it’d be redundant to list you. That’d be like saying both Oats and Oatmeal. I digress…

You get my point, right? Eating vegan is not restrictive. You may have to start eating foods you’ve never tried before, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a restrictive way of eating. I encourage anyone considering going vegan to add in NEW foods they’ve never tried while avoiding animal products. This will help you see that there is so much more out there for you as a vegan than you think!

Ok. Let’s recap:

Veganism = An abundance of plant-foods with no animal parts or secretions.

Gluten free = No proteins from wheat/barley/rye/triticale

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions. I’m here to help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free : Vegan :: Netflix : Mars

Is Being Vegan Healthy?

Not inherently.

The truth is, that eating vegan is not synonymous with eating healthy. Many people think that if you’re vegan that means that you claim to eat “better” than other people. I’ve had someone assume that I don’t use the microwave because I’m vegan. Or that I don’t eat gluten. Or that I do juice cleanses and drink smoothies every day. But the truth is, that being vegan is a framework for choosing what to eat, but it has very little to do with how to eat.

Full disclosure: My go-to empty-fridge meal is called hummus pasta. It’s just cooked pasta covered in a heaping spoonful of hummus. I’m not proud of it and it’s definitely not winning any blue ribbons for “Most Nutritious Dinner,” but it’s delicious and in a pinch, gets the job done. Many people have that one vegan friend who just eats french fries and pasta all the time.  Fatty fried foods can be vegan. Sour Patch Kids are vegan. Red Bull is vegan.

Eating vegan is simply the avoidance of animal protein in any form. Intrinsically, eating vegan has nothing to do with health.

On the other hand, eating a plant-based diet can have an enormous positive impact on your health. A thoughtful vegan diet consisting of adequate nutrients, vitamins, and minerals is not particularly challenging to adopt. Prior to going vegan, I wasn’t eating very healthfully. I ate junk food late at night and never thought about the quantity (or lack thereof) of the vegetables I was occasionally eating. I’ve always enjoyed fruits and vegetables, but I hadn’t spent much time intentionally consuming them. When I went vegan, I decided to avoid animal protein and improve the quality of my diet simultaneously.

While there are so many fantastic resources on the internet for finding nutritional information, I think it’s easy to get a bit lost in the shuffle when you’re first going vegan. You can read on one website that you have to take a B12 supplement, while another website tells you that your vegan diet is whole and perfect and better than any other diet. But who can you really trust to give you great nutrition advice?

The answer, in my opinion, is your intuition. Or rather, experts whose advice and credentials you trust and your intuition. Not bloggers on the internet.

If you are considering a vegan diet, I suggest you read up on everything you can in published sources regarding nutrition. Shortly after I went vegan, I took a college course in nutrition. My professor, Dr. Lisa Young, is an expert on portion control and adequate nutrition through whole, minimally processed foods. During her class, I gained valuable insight into the body’s relationship with the nutrients that we provide for it. From my experience in that class, I’m confident that the way that I eat is healthy and beneficial. I know that I’m healthy because I eat a well-balanced diet and my blood tests confirm that, despite the occasional dinner of hummus pasta.

 

Is Being Vegan Healthy?

Why I Went Vegan 10 Years Ago

I became vegan 10 years ago after my freshman year of college. With no intention of becoming a lifelong vegan, I set out on a little experiment to try to make myself start feeling better. I’d spent the year eating burgers at three in the morning and celebrating 40 oz. Fridays every Friday…

I know.

Classy.

For the first time in my life I felt lethargic and slow. My stomach was always churning…not to mention steadily growing. The top of my jeans were rarely buttoned…

I know.

Classy.

So there I was looking for a way to detox and feel better. A healthy classmate suggested going vegan and I thought why not? I like a challenge! I was vegetarian for three weeks in 5th grade! How hard could it be to be vegan for the summer?

So I decided to do it.

I didn’t have a lot of money or fancy kitchen equipment but I did have the internet. And books! I went to the Strand in NYC and bought Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis & Melissa Versanto…and completely devoured it.

These vegan people could be on to something.
I spent my summer looking up vegan recipes on the internet and testing them out in my tiny dorm room kitchen.

My first week of veganism went a little something like this:

Vegan Deli Slices? OK. Wow, that’s gross.

I guess I should try whatever this tempeh stuff is? Do I eat it just out of the package? Gross.

Soy milk? OK…it’s really that not bad.

Fresh Organic Carrot Juice that cost me $12 at Whole Foods? Yum! But help me…I’m poor.
Nutritional Yeast? What?! YEAST???? Ew…but maybe if I just sprinkle a little…yum? OK. Fine. Yum. Yes. Yum! I…think I like this Nutritional Yeast stuff. But I still have this giant container of it. What should I make? Some random Vegan Cheez sauce recipe that I unsuccessfully tried to spread between two slices of bread as a “Grilled Cheez”? Hauntingly gross. Ok, putting away the nutritional yeast and not using that sucker again for another year. (True Story)
Salad. Okay, I got this. I love salad. I’ll put some Ranch dressing on it! No ranch dressing, you say?! BUT WHHYYY?!?!!! That’s the only dressing I like!! My fantasy as child was that dandelions were filled with ranch dressing when you snap the stems in half! I live for Ranch dressing…
Other dressings? Veganaise? Please. That is not a solution.
Goddess dressing. Ugh, I’ll never feel like a goddess with this rancid garlic breath.
Olive oil and balsamic. Yawn. OK. Meh.
Lemon juice and olive oil. Simple & surprisingly delicious.

Zucchini brownies! HOLY HEAVEN THESE ARE DELICIOUS!

Pita sandwiches stuffed with flavored tofu and veggies and sweet mustard. WOW!

Tofu scramble with Gimme Lean Veggie Sausage?? HELL YEAH.
Piping hot Falafel from down the street??!!!? BRING IT ON MAMMOUNS!

Okay this really isn’t so bad…I think I can do it and maybe button the top button of my jeans on a regular basis by the end of the summer!

 

Annnd flash forward to today 10 years later. Full on committed vegan with a penchant for tempeh, tofu, nutritional yeast, flax meal, chia seeds, berry smoothies, raw kale salads, soba noodles, almond milk, miso dressing, and yes: VEGANAISE! I can eat that stuff right out of the jar with a spoon. But. I don’t. Haven’t I mean. I have never done that. Except when I make crispy breadcrumb-topped mac n’cashew cheese. Then I eat big spoonfuls of it with each bite. But now I can button my jeans! So there.

During a bridal shower game a few years ago, my heart melted into a puddle on the floor when my fiance (now husband) said that “Vegan French Toast” was his favorite thing that I’ve ever cooked for him. He generally hates french toast but loves it when I make it (using cinnamon raisin bread and coconut oil!)

I never gave up eating vegan because I never stopped finding exciting and delicious new foods to try. I’ve found so much joy in reading about food, trying new recipes, eating all of it and sharing it with friends. I love to cook for people who unsure of vegan food. They don’t realize that they eat vegan food every day…just usually alongside other foods that aren’t vegan.

I also never gave up eating vegan because I learned the true spirit of Veganism: consciousness. I’ve awakened my mind and my body to what I’m eating. I always know what is in the food that I eat (unless it’s at a restaurant because then who KNOWS what’s in that). Now there are no more ranch-dressing style surprises. I read the labels when I shop. I google ingredients that I don’t recognize. Generally, I try not to eat foods with a lot of mysterious chemicals but there isn’t always a choice. If your mom is making you a Thanksgiving gravy and texts you a photo of the ingredients in Knoll’s Veggie Bouillon cubes…you gotta ask: What the heck is TBHQ? And then you google it and are horrified.
Consciousness means not being afraid to ask WHAT THE HELL IS THAT REALLY? I’m no longer content to be complacent about what happens to our planet and the beings that inhabit it. I feel a responsibility to make a difference. And when doing so has become so easy, why not? Our world is becoming more connected, more available, more abundant.
And then there’s the biggest reason of all: compassion. For my body. For the animals. For the planet. I know that for me, there is no other way of being that can do more good, effect more change, create more happiness in the world than by leading my own happy, healthy vegan life. I don’t need to preach or proselytize. I can lead by example. And I have. I have vegan friends now. Not many…but enough to know that the world is changing and people are waking up to the powerful damage that our system of food processing creates.
I have the luxury of choosing to eat vegan. Many people in the world do not have a choice of what is available for them to eat. But I do and if you are reading this at a computer…most likely so do you. If we live in one of the most food abundant countries on the planet and can afford to shop at a grocery store that carries 7 different brands of garlic salt, it is our privilege to choose what we eat. I choose to eat vegan because I love how it makes me feel and how it affects the world that I live in.
Every year, billions of animals suffer because we are too afraid to learn the truth. We are too afraid to make a choice. What kind of world does that create? One where we blindly fend for ourselves and let the rest of the world fall by the wayside. That’s not what I want for us. I know we can do better.
So what made you go vegan? I’d love to hear your experience. And if you’re curious but not yet vegan, what prevents you from taking the plunge?
Why I Went Vegan 10 Years Ago

Going Normal.

Welcome to THE NORMAL VEGAN– a vegan blog for NORMAL people! I say normal people with a twinkle in my eye…but since this is the internet, you weren’t able to tell.

By normal I mean, you can be a vegan that eats at restaurants and goes to birthday parties and shops at any old grocery store.

Normal vegans can go to a dinner party and not alienate the entire room.

Normal vegans can comfortably be the token vegan friend and lead effortlessly by example.

Normal vegans speak sensitively and passionately about their beliefs, allowing other to learn bit by bit how they can contribute to creating a more compassionate world.

If you want to go vegan but keep your sanity- this is the blog for you!

Check back soon to read all about my experience of going vegan ten years ago…

Going Normal.