Where I Came From
I grew up in an semi-omnivore household in lovely Orange County with a family that had a central focus on health and fitness. I say semi-omnivore because the meat we ate was limited – red meat was never found in our house, and my mom was highly allergic to seafood. We only ever ate chicken or the occasional turkey for Thanksgiving (white meat only!). Eggs weren’t used that often, and milk was had with cereal. We didn’t eat this way in order to avoid eating animals; we ate this way because eggs have a lot of cholesterol, read meat is bad for your heart, and the best liquid you can possibly drink is water.
I decided to be vegetarian in my senior year of high school. I’m not quite sure why. I think I was just trying to be different. It wasn’t really a difficult decision, and it was fairly easy to maintain. I simply passed on the meat at home and ordered vegetarian meals at restaurants. When I went off to college, it got measurably tougher. Dorm food is gross. I can say that with experience. And no, I’m not talking about the flavors. I’m sure those were just fine. It was the content of the food. If you ordered steamed veggies, the were covered in butter. If you ordered a vegetarian meal (which were very limited), it was likely a grilled cheese and fries. Healthy food was nearly impossible to come by. I made my way through that first year eating prepackaged salads with dressing on the side, plain pasta (the only sauce had meat), and oatmeal. So awesome!
The summer following freshman year (after I was able to start eating real food again), my mom called me up to tell me about this book she had just read – The China Study by Dr. Colin Campbell. She was so amazed and inspired by just the first few chapters of this book that she completely gave up all animal products and adopted the vegan lifestyle! I took her lead, picked up a copy of his book, and decided to be vegan 🙂
The vegan path was a little more difficult for me to adhere to. In the beginning, I swayed from time to time. There’s only a little butter in here, just one egg is okay… But the more I learned about veganism, the more I felt called upon to be compassionate for our animal friends, the more I shunned animal products. I learned that it is totally doable to cook amazing vegan foods that will wow omnivores and vegans alike. I learned that the ease of using or eating animal products is in no way worth the pain, waste, and environmental hazards it causes. For me, veganism started out as a way to be healthier and improve my life. Today, veganism is a way to not only improve my life, by a way to help the environment and the lives of millions of animals. From the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, I don’t eat meat because “I just don’t want to hurt anything.”
How I Feel
As is commonly reported with vegans, I feel amazing! My conscious is clear, as is my body. Being vegan, I am able to enjoy so many foods that others battle with because they are actually healthy! Cookies? No biggie. Pie? I make at least one a month. Studies have shown that, on average, vegans have a lower BMI (body mass index), burn more calories, and eat more food that their non-vegan counterparts (I’ll post more on this later). I don’t have the inner battle between doing what I love (cooking and baking) and maintaining a healthy body. I actually feel good in my Ovenmitts, rather than guilty!
I, as well an so many others out there, would love to help you make the transition to a healthier lifestyle. Please ask me any questions you have regarding veganism, cooking, or health. I’m happy to help!