So what does it mean to be vegan?
First, veganism isn't simply a diet, but since this is a food blog, I'm going to talk primarily about the food.
It's important to remember that when we say someone "follows a vegan diet," really, what we're describing is what they DON'T eat (anything from an animal). But these words don't tell us much about what they do eat.
Just like an omnivorous diet, a vegan diet can be whatever you want it to be. It can be focused on whole foods, or it can include lots of cereal, chips, cookies, candy, fast food, and frozen dinners. I don't say this to demonize any of those foods, but simply to provide a reminder that a vegan diet comes in many, many forms.
On the best days, I focus on eating for nutrient density (if this term is new to you, the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman explains it well). This translates to a focus on vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds. These foods support health by giving you the most nutrient bang for your caloric buck, so to speak.
While I'm passionate about nutrition, first and foremost I became vegan for ethical reasons. My main concern is in eliminating the unnecessary suffering we inflict upon animals. As luck would have it, this also reduces the negative environmental impacts from agriculture related to growing animals for food (which gives ALL of us a healthier world to live in).
I recognize that someone eating a typical American diet may not care much about their own health (just yet). They just want food that tastes good! This is why in addition to sharing healthy, nutrient-dense recipes, I also enjoy veganizing classic dishes and sharing slightly more indulgent recipes perfect for special occasions.
I want to meet people where they are.
Like a lot of people, I don't respond well to rules and restrictions. Rules just make me want to rebel! For so many of us, strictly following certain diets can lead to feelings of guilt over "failing" while on vacation or because we consumed an "off-limits" food while out with friends.
Personally, this is why I aim for a whole-food, unprocessed version of a vegan diet most of the time, not necessarily all of the time. But we all have our own health and nutrition needs, and it's important to figure out what works best for you.
After going vegan in 2011, it took a while to find my dietary groove. I experimented with raw foods, read every vegan/vegetarian book I could get my hands on, watched ALL of the documentaries I could find on food, nutrition and the environment (check out the Vegan Resources page for a few of my favorites). I also completed the plant-based nutrition certificate through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. All of that seeking, experimentation, and observation shaped the way I approach food today.
Cooking doesn't just sustain us, it's also a creative outlet.
I love baking for special occasions, and if I'm at a restaurant that offers vegan desserts, you can bet I'm saving room! Food is such an exciting, beautiful part of life, and I want to eat in a way that feels sustainable on multiple levels. For me this means eating simple, whole foods most of the time, while avoiding the pitfall of guilt that often accompanies "diets" if I do choose to eat something oily, sugary, or processed. This nutrient-focused but unrestricted philosophy is reflected in the recipes I share.
A few other notes about the recipes:
One of the awesome things about veganism is that even our processed foods and most decadent recipes tend to be healthier than the non-vegan versions (just a little perk to keep in mind).
Again, all of the recipes I share are completely free of animal products - no meat, dairy, eggs or honey. If it came from someone who had eyes, I choose not to eat or use it.
All eaters are welcome here!
Ready to start cooking? Check out all of my recipes here.
Wondering about the blog name? Visit Why Quiet to learn a little more about my path to blogging and my desires for this blog.