“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates
Back in October, when my mother was in the throes of the worst news a family can receive (FU cancer!), my brother-in-law (and a few other “woke” folks) had recommended we watch a few documentaries on using food as medicine (What the Health, Forks Over Knives, and Healing Cancer from the Inside Out). It was then I decided to switch to a plant-based diet, and to prove an animal-protein-free diet works to improve overall health, I had my doctor do a full panel workup (yes, my cholesterol was still too high and my blood sugar level was as well). I have another month of being vegan before I return to see if my diet actually made a difference in my health (I will be sure to update this post once I have some proof!). I’m no perfect vegan, let me first say that–I have my vices still, but the more I can do to improve just my diet to reduce risks, the better.
In the few months I’ve been vegan, I have had the most delicious meals (I am still just following recipes I’ve found from a few of my favorite blogs like Hot for Food and Oh She Glows). The recipes are so creative and I feel so much better eating foods that I loved, but made with only plants (guilt-free eating!). Friends and family often tease me, saying things like, “why would you want to make fake crab cakes when you could have the real ones?” To that I’d say, why not have the taste of crab cakes using artichokes, while leaving the crabs in the sea? They’d continue to jab at me until their forks hit their mouths—then they pipe down and ask for seconds.
I thought the hardest part of being vegan would be missing my cheeses, but I have found some great replacements (more to come on those). What I do miss the most is eggs though…and bacon. Yum. And I’m not going to say I’ll never ever had animal protein again, but it will be a cheat day here and there when I do. But the bottom line is when I learned all I did in my research, there was no way I could let the industries that I once trusted get one over on me. Having the wool pulled from over my eyes was all the motivation I needed to press on (sans scrambled eggs with cheese and applewood smoked bacon.)
Instead, I make breakfasts like these:
So if you’re thinking of making the leap, don’t fret. I’ve fallen in love all over again with cooking—knowing my sauces are all made from scratch, knowing my food is cholesterol- and artificial-preservatives free, and seeing my food fresh and colorful, the way food should be.
My recommendation is to find blogs and cookbooks you love and just follow the recipe. Being vegan does take some prep work; when you find recipes you want to try (most use a staple of ingredients) stock your pantry with those items.
Many recipes require a decent amount of prep work but don’t take long to actually make. But the hour it takes to cook is time I use as meditation and therapy–I blast my music and find some comfort in the chopping, blending and cooking. Shopping will now require you to read all the ingredients and educate yourself on what’s actually in the product you’re buying, if it’s not a simple fruit or vegetable (beware that many “meatless” products do contain egg and milk).
Some of the easiest meals to make were sandwiches and wraps. I have perfected the art of the black bean burger with endless toppings:
I promise you, you won’t regret the decision to switch over. And if you’re anything like me, you won’t be perfect at it. You may even start out buying some pre-made items to make the transition easier, but if possible try to move over to cooking whole foods (foods as close to their natural state as possible). I’m still working on that but I’m getting better.
All these meals were prepared using recipes I found online—and they were more tasty than anything I’ve ever cooked before. Don’t believe me? Try for yourself!
Some of my favorite recipes I’ve tried so far are:
Hot For Food Blog:
Oh She Glows!: