What have I thought about my first year vegan? What was it like despising dietary labels but adopting one to describe what I believe in? Was it hard? What do I eat? What does my husband eat? What have family and friends thought?
So many good questions. Let’s see.
What have I thought about my first year vegan?
I can hardly believe it has been a year! As many of you might know, I had been following a very high vegan diet/lifestyle even before I made that commitment last year.
I’ve thought about commitment a lot during my first year of veganism. It can be a daunting word, a word filled with responsibility, pressure and standards to live up to. It’s less scary or daunting to think of commitment as the physical manifestation of what your heart and mind know to be true.
After commitment everything else fell into place. Some things are easy that way. I have a raw food background (100% raw did not make me happy), so I knew I wanted to approach veganism in a way that would sustain me mentally and physically. I firmly believe that no matter how you want to eat (paleo, vegan, whole foods, etc), your heart and mind must be on the same path. If they are not, there will be unnecessary stress and guilt that shouldn’t exist. Two evil suppressors that can undo any healthful eating/living you are doing.
I’m a little surprised in general how easy this last year has been. From eating out, being in social settings, to moving to a rural semi-remote area–it has all been possible.
Why didn’t I do it sooner?
What was it like despising dietary labels but adopting one to describe what I believe in?
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
I’m still wary of labels but I love this quote and have adopted it as a personal mantra. It’s something we should apply to all aspects of our life.
We must remember that vegans or anything worthy of a label is not a gelatinous mass of similar particles but a unique human cornucopia.
Was it hard?
The base of any dietary lifestyle should be plants. Whole food. Fruit and vegetables. Once you have that and get a few staple meals under your belt it just gets easier and easier. You can have fun with accidental vegan and vegan junk food like oreos, chips, and Surf Sweets Fruity Bears.
Everything gets easier.
A few years ago we sold all of our belongings and traveled in Europe for a time before moving across country. I was very interested in raw food/plant eating at this time but completely stressed out about how to eat veg while traveling. A few years later, with more practice and experience, I’ve hit a stride that’s free of worry and stress. There are always options.
What do I eat?
I need to do a bigger post on this as my general thoughts on food have changed quite a bit since the earlier posts of FYS.
What’s stayed the same is a focus on whole plant-based foods in raw and cooked form.
What’s different is my desire and willingness to eat a sprinkling of processed foods/flours/sugar here and there. I feel good either way and slightly better when I eat pure foods, but processed foods bring a joy and societal happiness to my life that can’t be argued with.
I eat everything you see on the blog with a focus on oil-free when it comes to the majority of cooking and most baking—but I’m not completely oil-free, still trying to find my balance.
Jeremy and I have been sharing duties in the smoothie making department and it’s been awhile since either of us had oatmeal for breakfast. Days that aren’t recipes are more just a plate full of steamed or lightly sautéed vegetables. Simple is often very sustaining. Any leftovers make up both of our lunches for the following day.
What does my husband eat?
As mentioned above Jeremy has a green smoothie for breakfast and leftovers for lunch. It is rare that he buys meat to cook at home. He is very happy eating the way we do but because he enjoys meat he will usually order it when we go out, which is only a few times a month or if he buys lunch at work.
What have family and friends thought?
I think most families are happy if you’re happy and that’s the way mine is. On my Mom’s side—that’s where all the food cooking and loving resides—both her and my Grandma love all things veg so they ‘get’ why I do.
Living far away, I don’t have the opportunity to talk with them about things as they come up during family get-togethers but they love everything I do on the blog.
I think in general people are just curious. Sometimes that comes out in nice conversational ways and sometimes it’s just awkward conversation based on pre-conceived ideas.
I think I’m pretty good about presenting myself with a relaxed attitude but there are times when I’ve talked with my Dad and I just get exasperated, act like a child and then feel embarrassed. Who doesn’t lose their cool around their parents sometimes? 😉
Last year we hosted Thanksgiving for us and a few friends at our Portland apartment and I prepared several vegan things. Some were my recipes and some were from the interwebs. It was a great time with good food.
This year, in Pullman, we enjoyed our own Thanksgiving. While I could have easily seen us making sandwiches with a side of vegetables or a salad, instead I felt really excited to make a full out Thanksgiving for the 2 of us. I made a few things the night before and made the rest the next day. It was a joyful day even with a lot of standing. Everything was excellent and the leftovers are even better.
What we ate
- Lapsang Souchong BBQ Mushroom Lentil Loaf (recipe will be up soon) – this was our main
- Vinegar and Kale Mashed Potatoes – I added a few green peas and used baby kale to mix things up
- Green Bean Casserole – We were out of kale chips so opted for the traditional French’s Onions, follow the recipe and sub if needed
- Everyday Mushroom Gravy – from Everyday Happy Herbivore. It was EXCELLENT! It’s not on her blog but she makes it in one of her latest Youtube vids.
- Cranberry Sauce – from PPK, good and very basic.
- Homemade Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls – adapted from Joseph’s Grainery. I halved and veganized them. I used Vegg for the egg replacer and whole wheat pastry flour (which I had to add a little bit extra until it became proper dough) but they rose and baked perfectly. Reminded me of bread my great-grandma used to make.
- Arrowhead Mills Stuffing – I used the recipe on the back in the bottom corner. Subbed white wine for olive oil sautéing, added carrot instead of sausage and used dried rubbed sage over fresh. Delicious.
- Tiramisu Cupcakes from The Vegg Cookbook – also from the blog, Vegan Heartland. Fantastic. Jeremy made a few obscene comments about how good they were and he was right. The cake is like a sugar cookie. I used vegan Bailey’s for the coffee liqueur and chilled coconut milk plus powdered sugar for the frosting. I would recommend skipping the suggested liners and just lightly greasing your muffin tin to use directly. The liners stuck even with the spray and it was extremely tedious to pull them off. Tinfoil liners might trump our paper ones though.
So Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had the opportunity to reflect and give thanks for what brings joy to your life. I will be taking a break the next few days to enjoy the weekend with Jeremy but will be back Monday with the lentil loaf recipe! Have a great weekend. xo