I consider myself a bit of a food adventurer. I love to try new tastes, explore spices, and experiment with recipes. I will travel every niche of a city to find vegan gems (the best restaurants are almost always hidden).
Eating no animal products forces me to find new, delicious foods that, before, I would have overlooked in favor of a burger, steak, or pizza (3 staples from my former lifestyle). Before I was vegan, every restaurant looked the same and so did every meal: variations of steak and potatoes or burger and fries.
When I began my vegan journey a decade ago, there were fake processed substitutes for these foods (veggie burgers, tempeh steaks, rice-based “cheese”, etc.) but they tasted terrible. Really terrible. I mean, they looked like the food they were posing as but they tasted like cardboard cut-outs of the food they were trying to be.
It is disappointing that most vegans will start their adventure with similar garbage food (yes, there is garbage vegan food that is as over-processed and unhealthy as animal-based foods… who knew?). However, as I have found better resources and learned more about being vegan, and as vegan restaurants established by world-class chefs started popping up on the scene, I have found foods so good it is almost a crime they exist!
Better still, the vegan alternatives to western-diet foods are, if prepared well, indistinguishable from their counterparts (try Daiya cheese, for example).
I get frustrated–really frustrated–knowing there are vegan alternatives that require no pain to create and taste just like our comfort foods. I enjoyed home-made caramel popcorn last night which was made with no caramel and was better than any bagged caramel corn I have ever had.
The question, as I see it, is… if we can create burgers, pizza, steak, cupcakes, barbecued wings, mashed potatoes, bread, and everything else we eat without having to sacrifice the life of another animal or cause any pain, or further damage the earth… then why don’t we?
My challenge to humanity is this:
Will you just move past your fear and give healthy eating, being compassionate, and living a long life a shot?
I promise it is really not so bad being healthy and taking care of yourself (as well as the planet and other species)…
If you are going vegan or just curious about a few vegan recipes (and if the internet is a crazy, intimidating place for you), then there is one book that needs to reside on your shelf. Start here:
Veganomicon. All (or nearly all) the recipes are easy-to-follow and feature ingredients you should pretty much be able to find at any grocery store. They are real meals made with real food. There are other great vegan cookbooks, too, but Veganomicon is the perfect starting spot.
Just try a couple recipes and see if you like them. The worst that can happen is you will have had a healthy meal.
Share your thoughts or let me know how your adventure is going in the comments.
Here’s to your health!