I have always been interested in food; I spent many hours as a kid eagerly flipping through mom’s stacks of Gourmet Magazine and dreamt of becoming a chef. It wasn’t until the last few years that veggies began to become my source of inspiration. Colourful, vibrant, crunchy, sweet, crisp and nutritious - each offering a world of possibility. As a budding vegan, my new passion is pouring through vegan recipes full of spices, yummy condiments, layers of texture and flavours.
The journey to becoming fully vegan has been a slow one. It’s not everyone’s path, but it’s my path. I’ve learned some things along the way that I hope you can relate to our gain inspiration from, no matter where you are in your journey. Here are a handful of my learnings.
The Importance of determining your ‘Why’.
Giving up animal products was not hard for me once I was clear on my motivations; the ‘why’. Just like any goal, determining your ‘why’ is crucial in setting you up to achieve what you set out to do. For me, my goal is to feel good by nourishing my body without restrictions that typical ‘diets’ would have. It’s permission to eat whole, real foods in abundance with a new level of consciousness about the foods I am choosing, and those I am not. It’s not about deprivation, it’s about abundance. With this philosophy fueling my choices, it became a lot easier to eat in alignment with my goals.
Have your responses ready.
Sharing that I am now vegan amongst my friend and family group is harder than I expected; I have my go-to response that is brief and true, but doesn’t illicit debate, “I’ve understood that the single biggest immediate impact we can have on the health of our planet is to become vegan.” Health and animal welfare absolutely motivate me as well, but I stick with a single message out of the gate.
Fall in love with your spice cupboard.
It will be your biggest source of flavour inspiration. I can whip up a vegan green curry, red curry or Indian curry with the same basic ingredients - just with different spices. Have you tried citrusy Sumac yet? Buying a new spice gives me the same ‘high’ as I used to get when buying a new pair of shoes.
Coconut milk is your friend.
I use it as a base for stews, soups and yes, curries. I recommend buying the full fat version for the creamiest and most satisfying outcome. When Lite is called for in a recipe, give it a try, but I always go back to the full fat version.
Choosing vegan naturally extends beyond food choices.
Not only do my fridge and pantry look different than they did before choosing veganism, but my make-up, skin-care, cleaning products and clothing choices have also naturally migrated. I am much more mindful about choosing organic, vegan, sustainably produce, local and clean products and clothing. It just feels right to shop this way.
Don’t expect the ones you love to always follow your lead.My 17 year old son is not on-board with my vegan plan, and I won’t force him. I have chosen to lead by example, and prepare he and my husband some non-meat/dairy meals. I have, however, focused on buying local, organic and farm raised products. Veganism is a choice, and not one that I am prepared to force. Everyone has their own path, and it’s not up to us to judge where they are on their journey.
Here are a couple of recipes I love; I make a batch and dig in all week for work-place lunches with conscious satisfaction!