I love food. And cooking. Always have. I dream about food and obsess about recipes. I love finding new restaurants and visiting favorites. Since I switched to a plant-based eating style a few years back, I found a whole new world of cooking and eating delights and challenges. Mostly delights.
I decided to go plant-based a few years ago after reading Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. The book seemed to hold some promise of a healthier lifestyle that might resolve some chronic health issues that had been bothering me. In many ways, it wasn’t a huge leap. I had avoided dairy products for years due to lactose intolerance, I was already a farmers market and CSA fan, and I’ve always enjoyed lots of vegetarian food.
Plus I’m an animal lover. As a kid, I cried when my mom cooked lobster. I take the catch and release approach when pesky bugs find their way inside. And I absolutely believe animals possess many of the same emotions, instincts, and feelings as humans. So no surprise I’d join the growing ranks of people who choose to eat healthily and happily without consuming meat and animal products.
There are challenges to this way of living: shopping and cooking vegan and non-vegan for the same household, trying to make things as easy as possible for friends and family who don’t have a lot of experience cooking for us non-meat-eaters, and finding vegan-friendly restaurants. But these are minor compared with the fun of discovering new ways of thinking about food. For example, I love to bake, and once I learned some techniques and substitutions, I found that many recipes can be easily “veganized.” Even my meat-eating, sweets-loving kids gobble up my chocolate chip cookies—in fact my son says they are the best chocolate chip cookies ever.
Another new discovery for me was the green smoothie. I was skeptical. But I was determined to try because Kris Carr’s book convinced me they would make me feel amazing. I tried a few before finding one I liked. And I felt as good as she promised, so I kept making it. One day, out of necessity, I made a substitution to my standby recipe. Hmmmm. Not bad. Pretty soon I was experimenting and finding all kinds of new combinations—some winners, some not, which is exactly what makes it fun.
The point is that through necessity, trial and error, and being open-minded, I’ve discovered lots of new ingredients, substitutions, combinations, and techniques that result in a lot of really good food. It’s sort of like being a kid and trying new foods for the first time. Some things you like right away, some things you have to develop a taste for. But either way it’s a fun and delicious experiment, and one that I’m excited to chronicle and share. I wish you happy cooking and yummy eating!