Hi! I'm Sandra from Vegan Mother Hubbard. Many thanks to Mary for having me here on her blog, to talk about my story of going vegan.
|Sweet and Salty Pineapple Tofu with Coconut Rice and Steamed Broccoli|
I grew up in an omnivorous home. Meat, often ground beef, was a typical part of our suppers, but we were never a meat-and-potatoes family. There was always at least one vegetable on the table, and often more than one. Veggies, grains, starches and fruit were a major part of our diet. My eldest sister was vegetarian (I have no memories of her pre-veg days). All that added up to vegetarianism never being a strange concept to me.
|BBQ Chicken Pizza|
When I went off to college, I enjoyed a readily available, and well stocked, salad bar at our campus dining hall. The food at my alma mater was excellent, and as the fall trimester progressed, I realized I was eating less and less meat. Shortly after Thanksgiving, I decided that meat was just not necessary and I went vegetarian. That was late fall of 2000.
|Biscuits and Sausage Gravy|
College also introduced me to the concept of veganism. I met several wonderful vegans, who educated me on the negative environmental effects and animal abuse involved in animal agriculture. I was lucky to never encounter preachy, high pressure vegans, but rather great kids who kindly answered my questions. College primed me for the leap from vegetarian to vegan. My sister Kristie went vegan sometime around my senior year of college, and she gifted me How it all Vegan, which is still my absolute favorite cookbook. Furthermore, I started to feel like something of a hypocrite. I wouldn't put a piece of animal muscle on my plate, but I wore leather shoes, and ate eggs that came from abused chickens. I likened it to constantly brushing my teeth, but never brushing my my tongue. Outwardly it seemed like I was doing something great, but I was just ignoring half of the germs.
|Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake|
Don't get me wrong. I am not condemning any person who is almost vegan, is vegetarian, or even just participates in Meatless Mondays or Mark Bittman's "vegan before 6:00" movement for not being entirely vegan. I think any step toward less animal consumption is wonderful and a great benefit to animals and the environment. I am a firm believer in focusing on the good decisions, as opposed to shaming folks. Afterall, you catch more flies with
Back to my story: In early spring of 2005, as I approached college graduation, I decided that I would go vegan on my graduation day. I spent a couple months getting used to non-dairy milks (which I already drank sometimes), cooking with tofu, discovering the glory of nutritional yeast, and learning to love foods like pizza, lasagna, and nachos without dairy cheese. By the time I was out of school, vegan cooking had become second nature. My mom (an incredible woman, who taught me how to cook) quickly figured out how to adapt just about any dish to be vegan. By the time my husband and I got married in February 2007, my mom was such an excellent vegan cook and baker, that she made our uber-delicious, vegan wedding cakes. How lucky am I?
|Simple Black Bean Burgers|
After seven years of veganism, I barely have to think about it. Reading labels is like a reflex. Subbing vegan egg and dairy alternatives into baking recipes is something I now do without much thought. Even eating out has become much simpler, now that I know what questions to ask and what restaurants are (or are likely to be) veg friendly.
|4 Sample Vegan Toddler Meals|
We're raising our daughters (three year old twins named Veronica and Clarissa) vegan. They adore tofu, veggies, fruits, and hearty grains. They are healthy, growing well, and they enjoy a varied diet. In fact, just yesterday Veronica and I were talking about what different animals eat. I asked her what she eats, and this was her list (in this order): cabbage, lettuce, carrots, bananas, seeds, tofu, Tofu Pups, cherries, mango, avocado. Other than the pups, the foods that first came to her mind were whole, largely unprocessed foods. Keep in mind that Clarissa and Veronica eat their fair share of (vegan) cookies, ice cream, fruit snacks, chips, pizza, French fries, and the like.
Shortly after the conversation I had with Veronica, Clarissa started asking me if the tomatoes she was eating had come from the garden or the farmers market. It didn't even occur to her that they had come from the grocery store (and we haven't been to the farmers market in a good seven months).
|Blueberry Poppy Seed Muffins|
That's my story about going, and now living, vegan. Are you veg? What prompted your vegetarian or vegan diet? If you're not, what's standing in your way?