Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog. My name is Sarah (“hi, Sarah.”) and I’m a vegan.
I am a baker. I own my own cake business and have been making decadent butter-based cakes for clients for several years now. (I am now finding vegan alternatives for those clients who wish to have them.) I am a home cook. I love food and have always spent the majority of my day tinkering in the kitchen. With a husband and three hungry kids to feed I have plenty of victims to experiment on with new recipes and don’t hesitate to do so. Food is a huge part of my life, as it is yours and everyone else’s. But what food meant to me changed vastly in the fall of 2012 when my husband and I embarked on a new diet designed to optimize our health.
On July 1, 2013 I will be entering my tenth month of eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. In mainstream dietary terms, that means I’m a vegan. No meat, no milk, no cheese…. (is this girl crazy?!) It’s the cheese part that all the women in my life seem to horrifically distort their faces for; “Oh I could never give up cheese!” And for the men I’ve talked to, it’s meat. Meat is manly. Eating a nice rare steak shows the world that you’ve arrived at the top of the food chain and conquered the world you live in. I get it.
A year ago I was living in Houston, Texas. I was smoking a huge brisket or pork shoulder two or three times per month in my beautiful 1/4” thick steel pit smoker. We had ample supplies of mesquite and pecan wood and I could slow-smoke the most beautiful, juicy hunk o’ meat you ever sunk your teeth into. For sides I would make homemade, oven-simmered baked beans with chunks of homemade brown sugar-cured bacon (oh yeah, baby) and salt pork thrown in. I made the best sweet and moist cornbread muffins with honey butter. I would fry up slices of breaded okra and make a wicked-awesome gooey bread pudding with whiskey caramel sauce for dessert. Yep. Delicious. I’m not gonna deny it. I’m simply on a different foodie adventure these days. One that doesn’t include any cholesterol or saturated fat. One that supplies me with so many varieties of earth-grown plants and grains that I am getting bountiful nutrients without having to rely on supplements. A style of living that allows me to wake up refreshed in the morning and never have that nasty naptime-inducing hangover after a big meal. An adventure toward health. And let me assure you that I have no intention of minimizing my enjoyment of food due to my newfound dietary strivings. That’s partly why I wanted to write this blog; I’m still a foodie. A vegan foodie. Yes, we exist. And we have recipes to share!
I was talked into starting this blog by a few dear friends who are aspiring to add elements of the vegan lifestyle into their kitchens. These are people who recognize that health comes from within; from what they put into their bodies. They want to take steps toward changing the things they consume and making more veggie-laden side dishes or cooking without butter or having “meatless Mondays” at home so the family can have one vegetarian or vegan meal a week. All of these ideas are fantastic, people!
Now for my little rant against the American diet. America is a country of indulgence. In America, you will find most of us consuming meat three times a day and dairy at an even higher daily occurrence. These foods are rich in fats and cholesterol and it shows nationwide with health statistics. Americans are NOT healthy people. We die of heart attacks and strokes and diabetes-related incidents by the hundreds of thousands every year. But what about all of our wealth? We pay more for healthcare than any country anywhere else in the world. By a long shot. But we are dying more quickly of preventable diet-related disease than other peoples worldwide. This is because you can’t throw healthcare money at cholesterol (or many other diet-related diseases) and make it go away. You can eat cheeseburgers and bacon and eggs all your life and then have a stent put in your arteries when you’re 50, but if you keep eating that way, the stent will become useless and you will need another, and another. We have to tackle our health issues naturally from the get-go. Intake = outcome. Healthy eating = healthy veins. The key here is prevention, not more healthcare money for more morbidly unhealthy Americans. So to summarize, all I want to see is people getting off the status-quo train and thinking about their food intake from the ground up. For me, that rethinking led me to an extreme dietary change.
So am I here to talk you into becoming a vegan? Absolutely not. You will find, while reading through my blog, that I am passionate about abstaining from meat, eggs and dairy. For me and my family, this is now a permanent lifestyle. We have seen many incredible positive effects that I will happily share in future posts. But don’t take my excitement as dogmatic. My hope is that people would begin adding more fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains into their diets and become more sensitive to what they are putting into their bodies as a whole. If that means becoming a vegan and you need support, I am here for you! If that means incorporating a “meatless Monday” into your weekly menu, awesome! I can help with recipes! Maybe you just want to cut back on the unhealthy carbs and learn how to bake without bleached white sugar and flour. Start to cook with whole wheat flour, oat flour, and sweeteners like coconut sugar and brown rice syrup. Changing a little (constantly) changes a lot.
Whatever your journey is with food, make it count for something in the long run. I have heard it said that people would rather die young and enjoy life than eat tofu (they always say “toe-fuuu” with a slanderous tone of voice, don’t they?) and live a long, long time. But what if eating healthy (whether that include tofu or not) is just as enjoyable? The key is embracing it and then finding things to love about it. Pleasures abound in the vegan diet, I promise!
So here’s to a long, healthy life full of enjoyment in the bounty God has provided for us!
Cheers to our health! And cheers to yummy food! : )