It all started innocently enough.
One day in 4th grade I woke up and inexplicably I was disgusted by eggs. I couldn't look at them. Smell them. Touch them ... and mostly ... I could not/would not eat them. This went on for a couple of weeks and then, just like that, it went away and I was back to eating those poor little chicken fetuses. It was probably close to Easter or something ... and unlike those cool parents that gave plastic eggs with money & candy inside ... my dad, er ... The Easter Bunny, gave me hard boiled eggs ... and I obviously could not ignore The Easter Bunny ... so I was back to eggs. In The Easter Bunny's defense, he also left me lots of my favorite ... Cadbury Cream Eggs ... yum. Healthy!
Sophomore year of high school ... one of my best friends stealthily brought over Faces of Death on VHS for us to watch. It was definitely terrifying and disturbing ... but you would think the death-by-electrocution would get me. No. Not too bad. The snippets of gory serial murderers ... or even watching a Satanic Ritual involving a corpse and feasting on a human spleen. Nope. All that was fine. Even interesting. But the scene that broke me down and stayed with me was the meat factory. The way the cows were strung up by their legs on chains, the way their throats were sliced open, the vast amounts of blood that spilled forth from their throats, the way the workers were sloshing around in ankle deep blood, ruining their fancy factory farm galoshes. That was the nastiest thing I had ever seen in the short 15 yrs of my life. That was it with the meat. Stuck to that for ... oh, a month? Then I thought ... Taco Bell is goooood and when that lunch bell rang ... back to the Border I went.
Fast forward 15 or so years ... my mom casually mentions in a conversation that she no longer eats meat. Not for any real ethical reasons, just that she had recently visited a friend, who was a burn victim, and she could not stomach meat anymore without thinking of the charred, burnt flesh. Our relationship was rocky through the years but always, always, no-matter-what ... I wanted to be like my mommy. We live almost 7000 miles apart ... so any little nugget I could grasp on to ... I would take. I immediately considered becoming a vegetarian. I bought all sorts of books on the subject and gathered little bits of vegetarian info to tell my boyfriend (now husband) and then one day I just stopped eating meat.
It started out as a good year ... I was able to stay thin without having to work at it ... but ... I wasn't really thinking about what I was eating. Just making sure that it did not include meat. I recall a lot of eggs, cheese, milk, cream, white pasta, white rice, potatoes & white sugar ... not really a "healthy" diet. I was getting really tired and grumpy and at my yearly physical my tests returned with the culprit. I was Anemic. Nothing severe, but enough that I would need to take daily supplements. Obviously I was not eating correctly ... just cutting out meat does not a healthy diet make. In the end ... my foray into vegetarianism lasted for one year, almost exactly to the start date. But because I was anemic I was craving iron (read: feed me beef!) and finally ... I caved. One day, after work, I made my husband (then boyfriend) take me to the nearest Gordon Biersch Brewery and I went on to order their ONE POUND ANGUS BURGER. ONE POUND!!! What was I thinking? I paid for that burger for 2 or 3 days after. I had to call into work because I was so disgustingly sick. Who eats a POUND of meat after eating NO MEAT for a year? A crazy person, that's who!
Needless to say, the 1 LB burger threw me over the edge and I slid right back into the meat-eating world. My mind wandered into the veg world again and again ... I would read things here and there ... think about wanting to go veg again. But not really having the willpower. But over the last few years more and more vegan & vegetarian restaurants have started popping up around town ... and it's become more mainstream to be veg. Even though it was only 5 years ago ... I still got a lot of weird looks, objections and opinions about it. Now it seems to be not. such. a. big. deal. Also, during these last 5 years I became a mommy to the two cuuuuutest (and I mean that literally, THE CUTEST) French Bulldogs. I am madly in love with them ... they are to. die. for. cute. and I just look at them and think they are amazing. They filled my heart with a love that I'd never really felt before ... they are my babies ... I want to protect them and keep them happy! I like to see them running around in our yard or at the dog park ... running at the beach ... just being the happy animals they are. And this in turn opened my eyes to all sorts of cute & cuddly creatures that roam this earth ... particularly the ones we eat. The cows with their big, googly eyes, the pigs with their big bellies and curly tails, the little lambs with all their sweet bleats ... and the chickens, bothering no one with anything except wanting to peck the ground, flap their wings and maybe wake us up at 5AM.
I began thinking about this ... about the cute cuddly animals ... the ones I would ooooh & aaaaaahhh over ... only to turn around and be like FEEEEEED ME YOUR FLESH! I totally didn't get it. Didn't make me feel good inside. I have these 2 adorable frenchies looking up at me and I'm thinking I would never, ever, ever eat you ... so why would I eat the googly-eyed cow, fat bellied pig, sweet lil lamb and feathery little chicken who's just minding his own business? Really ... what was my reason? They didn't make me feel better for one thing ... if anything they usually made me feel pretty bad. Lethargic, bloated, depressed, heavy ... fat. Throw in the dairy and I just felt like a walking sludge monster and not to mention how hypocritical I felt.
I read up on the meat industry, watched those dreaded videos and researched the health benefits of a plant based diet. I knew I wanted to go back to not eating meat ... and I knew that I wanted to kick it up a notch and cut out dairy as well. With a cancer scare under my belt, I knew it was time to make a healthy lifestyle change. Of course that is easier said than done and it's taken me about a year to reach this vegan point. During all those contemplative months I hungrily, greedily and happily shoveled as much beef, pork, chicken & dairy into my body as I could. Finally, after returning from my most recent travels ... and packing on almost 10 lbs of lazy, meaty weight ... I was ready. I caught an episode of Oprah with Alicia Silverstone talking about her new book, The Kind Diet ... I took it as a sign. I went out the very next day and bought it. I spent about a week reading it each night, really going through the information and reading over the recipes. Everything sounded delicious and more importantly ... looked easy to prepare (I could barely boil water). On January 29, 2010 I stopped eating meat again ... and I don't plan on ever looking back.
It took me about 6 additional weeks to cut out dairy ... every time I tried I would slip up on ice cream or butter ... or my most dreaded addiction ... a yummy, dairy filled cup of heaven called a Caramel Ice Blended. Dairy is in everything! I was feeling lazy about it ... I did not want to read the labels on everything or ask the obnoxious, "Is there dairy in that?" question at restaurants ... but I was already feeling so good without the meat and I just needed to take one extra leap to meet my goal ... March 2, 2010 ~ I became a vegan. Vegan For Life.
I can't begin to summarize what has happened to me in the last 3 weeks and 5 days ... but that my friends is why I have started this blog. But just for starters ... I have discovered a passion for cooking, my acne has cleared up (what 34 year old do you know that has acne? lucky me!) ... my 24/7/365 crazy-bitch/hormonal PMS depression is gone (GONE!) ... I've dropped 6.4 lbs (of those nasty 10) without counting one single calorie or going hungry (and working out a grand total of 3x since going vegan) and best of all ... I just feel plain amazing. AMAZING I tell you! Or as my friend Jod would say ... AMAZING CAKES!
I'm not sure what direction this blog will take. The idea started out just to be a food blog (because I keep inundating my Facebook profile with food pics) ... but I don't think I could just post pictures of food without adding-super-long-run-on-sentence-comments-expounding-on-exactly-why-I-took-the-picture-and-how-I-felt-eating-said-dish-and-why-you-should-stop-eating-meat-too. So it's probably better if I just go with the flow. One part food pics, one part vegan lifestyle, one part My Life in general and one part me, me, me! Let's be honest ... who starts a blog that doesn't like to talk about themselves? Hey, at least I admit it. I do however, promise to (try and) keep my posts short & sweet ... but I do have a tendency to take 3 sentences to say what I could probably say in 1 ... so be forewarned. I'll try and post pics with each entry and a menu of what I ate that day, so that those of you flirting with the idea of going veg can see just how yummy a lifestyle this can be (and really how easy it is). I'll end this, my 1st blog posting, by climbing up my little, vegan mountaintop and shouting a big .... WELCOME!!!
Brunch: Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes w/ Strawberries
Dinner: Spicy Black Bean Wrap (2)
Dessert: Rice Dream Mint Pie
Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes with Strawberries
Spicy Black Bean Wrap