Vegan. A word typically synonymous with misery, deprivation, and general unhappiness for many. “I could totally live on a diet of lettuce and tofu,” said no one ever. It’s my hope to shed a sliver of light onto the yumminess of a creative whole foods plant-based diet.
I fell into the world of veganism through my parents. They’ve been health nuts for as long as I can remember. We never had soda or dessert or candy around the house growing up. We never went out to eat a whole lot, and a pilgrimage to Taco Bell was considered a special treat every couple of weeks. We were those weirdos! And I will wave that flag proudly. Despite the “treats” we didn’t have, we were also the family that had 5 gallons of Purity Dairy Sweet Acidophilus milk delivered on our front door step at 5am one morning a week, back when having milk delivered to your house was still a thing and milk men still existed. And you better believe we drank that milk like it was our job! Saturday night was burger night, weeknights were spaghetti with meat sauce or stir fry with chicken or salmon and rice. Meat and dairy were a huge part of our diet.
However, the ride to total vegan-dom was kicked into high gear when my dad was diagnosed with cancer when I was 11. Cancer was nothing new to my family – it ran in both sides. My mom’s mom and my dad’s dad had both battled cancer previously. My dad went through treatments, and the doctors were fortunately able to catch all of it before it spread. However, he knew something had to change when his dad lost his battle with cancer the very next year.
Luckily, my dad is a genius. He’s a chemist and a gifted researcher and has an ability to understand information more easily and clearly than almost anyone I’ve ever met. After his cancer scare and losing his dad, he began researching what he could do in his daily life to make sure the cancer wouldn’t come back. Through everything he heard and read, it all came down to diet. Not diet in the sense of “going on a diet.” This would have to be a lifestyle change – a sustainable lifestyle change, which isn’t usually the product of the cliché “dieting.” Through the books and documentaries of doctors like Colin Campbell (China Study, Forks Over Knives), John McDougall (The McDougall Program, The Starch Solution), Neal Barnard (Dr Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes), and Caldwell Esselstyn (Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease), my parents decided that pursuing a whole foods plant-based diet would be the best way for them to stay healthiest for longest.
This dietary transformation didn’t happen over-night. Like I said before, taking meat and dairy out of your kitchen is a daunting task! But my parents started experimenting and trying new recipes and ingredients, and slowly but surely, meat and dairy eventually disappeared from their kitchen. They’ve both seen their cholesterol lower significantly, they have stable and healthy blood pressure, and they are both totally medication free. On top of all that, they have had plenty of energy to plan three weddings, take care of grandkids, and just be all around amazing parents.
This blog is an extension of their vegan lifestyle. I want to show how it has affected the way I do life as an adult. I should also mention that my husband is allergic to dairy, so that also motivates me to find interesting ways to stay dairy-free in the kitchen. I also just love eating vegan. I have more energy, I’m able to focus better on school, I have almost zero cramps at my time of the month, I barely have any issues with my skin, and I just feel better all around. I hope this blog will make the vegan lifestyle seem a more enjoyable. You may not enjoy all of it, but I guarantee you’ll be surprised by how delicious things can be!
DISCLAIMER: I am not a vegangelical. I am not trying to convert anyone with this blog. I just have fun cooking and enjoy discovering new ways to make vegan food exciting and delicious! There may be a few common misconceptions I hope to demystify later on but not for the purpose of saying I’m right, you’re wrong. Also, I’m not a vegan for ethical reasons. Apologies, PETA.