You know those days where it feels like you’re on a treadmill and the speed is set just a little faster than you can comfortably keep up with? Every day of 2014 has felt like that for me. There’s more to do than I can possibly do in a day and then I start the next day feeling like I need to catch up only to fall short again. I’m doing my best to not let this blog fall off it’s normal Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule but as you can see- I’m doing a post on Thursday.
I have a little business to catch up on. Firstly, I want to thank all of you who made my recipes for the Super Bowl and were sweet enough to share with me. It totally made my day (all day, I was showing Chris pictures on my phone of things you guys made). And I know I say it all the time, but I am so truly grateful for all of the comments and emails I get from you guys. I don’t always have the time to respond, but I soooooooo love hearing from you. It’s my favorite. Also, congratulations to the winner of the Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats giveaway, Kylie Bennet! Thank you to all who participated. Stay tuned because I do have a couple more giveaways coming down the pike.
And now I have a “My Vegan Story” from one of my favorite vegan bloggers, Clémence Moulaert of the blog, The Vegan Cookie Fairy. For those of you just now joining, the “My Vegan Story” series is where vegans can share their journey with everyone in hopes that it might resonate, move, or inspire. There are so many aspects of Clémence’s story that I’m sure that we can all relate to and I hope her words will inspire you as they do me.
MY VEGAN STORY
I had always been a vegetarian, but only because I didn’t like the taste of meat; animal activism or health concerns wasn’t something I had ever thought about before. When I was eighteen, a friend of mine lost her mother to cancer. Overnight, my friend decided she wanted to become vegan because she knew vegans are among the healthiest people.
I wanted to help her in any way I could, so I voraciously read every book on veganism I could get my hands on: Engine 2 Diet (Rip Esselstyn), Skinny Bitch (Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman), The Kind Diet (Alicia Silverstone), The China Study (T. Colin Campbell), and many more radically changed the way I thought about health. Furthermore, I discovered horrifying facts about the meat and dairy industry; documentaries like Earthlings have forever imprinted on my memory the suffering that animals go through in factory farming.
It only took three days of intensive research to convince me. I couldn’t not do it.
The transition was hard at first — we lived in the United Kingdom, and everything contained cheese! This was nearly three years ago, when the only dairy-free milk you could find in supermarkets was soya. We used to have to trek to the nearest Wholefoods Market store or obscure independent health stores to find vegan ingredients. In the end, it was simply easier to make everything from scratch.
Fast forward three years and London is now one of the easiest places to be vegan. Vegetarian and vegan restaurants, cafes and market stalls are cropping up everywhere. I moved to Scotland two months ago, and it’s back to square one for me. Cheese and meat are beloved ingredients here, but I now have the know-how to survive in such an environment — and hopefully popularise veganism here! It’s like being a pioneer, in a way.
My family worried I would lack essential nutrients; my best friend thought the idea preposterous; my sister told me it was downright stupid. But the dust settled eventually, after all my blood tests came back not just normal but great, and people could see from my blog that my food really did look appetising. My mother is now my most fervent reader and eats practically no meat at all these days; she says her gums never hurt anymore. The best trick I found to convincing the non-believers was feeding them desserts without telling them they were vegan.
Blogging was another helpful tool in learning to cook and bake vegan. I would use my blog as an online kitchen diary and avidly follow other bloggers to learn. The blogosphere is a community of wonderful and talented people just like you and me who manage to stick by their beliefs and cook beautiful food, defeating stigmas day in, day out.
One piece of advice I always give to new vegans and vegetarians is: don’t focus on what you ‘can’t’ eat anymore — there is still so much food you can eat! Try a new recipe every week, have cooking sessions with friends and exchange recipes with each other. Make a vegan cake to learn how to bake; my all-time favourite cake recipe is my mother’s double chocolate cake, which I have veganised because I can’t image a birthday without this cake.
I can’t imagine ever going back. I feel healthier than ever before, I love how my food tastes, and I am a much better (and more conscious) cook now than I used to be. I see only benefits to this lifestyle: you are contributing to a healthier planet, a healthier body for yourself, and you are standing up to cruelty. It’s only been three years for me; I’m still learning and improving. My New Year’s Resolution for 2014 is to educate myself on eco-friendly products, find affordable cruelty-free cosmetics brands and wool-free yarn (I do love to knit).
If any of you are interested in sharing your vegan story, please check out the “My Vegan Story” details page.