Six years ago, I was scared vegan by violent weather and a friend’s straight-from-the-heart plea to not hurt people by writing recipes with eggs and dairy. I finally faced up to the reality that eating a plant-based diet was the right thing to do for my family’s health and for the planet. I was worried about how this would change my cooking and the Cook for Good project. I wondered how this would affect my relationships with others. Now I’m a joyous and relaxed vegan, surrounded by a supportive community and able to cook just about anything I ever crave, including Christmas cookies. I’m grateful to be living at a time when it’s relatively easy and when so many people and organizations make it easier than ever to go vegan.
I want to share my story with you because this has changed my life for the better in many ways. You might find it is a delicious way to cure some of your own aches and to live in a way that supports your long-term goals. Read on for details and an invitation to join me in a new online How to Go Vegan project in January.
I Feel Great!
Two people told me last week, on separate occasions and with some level of astonished insistance, that I looked really young. Was it my hair? My glasses? No—it is my diet! I lost so many aches and pains after I quit eating eggs and dairy that I felt about 15 years younger within a month. That Fountain of Youth effect keeps on giving, so I still feel younger than when I started.
- No more migraines! Not one in six years. That’s about 36 days of pain-free life gained.
- No more breathing problems! Within a week, I was able to walk up a hill that had my dairy-loving self huffing and puffing. My sarcoidosis, which was starting to come back, disappeared.
- No more arthritis! Within a month, my hands quit aching. They feel fine now even after a long day of cooking, typing, and gardening. Eating plants lets me keep my passions.
- Still slim! I weight five pounds less than I did six years ago, despite some therapeutic sheetcaking since the November election. Given that the average American adult gains 2 pounds a year, I figure I’ve kept off nearly twenty pounds without dieting.
- More balanced! My plate and my passions align now that I eat with LOVE: local, organic, vegan, and engaged. I love animals, my family, my friends, and the planet. Making them suffer made me suffer in ways I didn’t understand until I stopped buying animal products.
I Feel Welcomed!
I’m grateful to be part of the vibrant vegan community here in the Triangle. I help make and serve lunch to homeless and at-risk people with Vegans for Peace at Love Wins Ministry. I got to go to the Triangle Vegetarian Society’s vegan Thanksgiving dinner again this year, along with 599 other people. Helene Ann and her amazing volunteers at Triangle Vegfest just had the first holiday Vegfest market which was a huge success.
The welcome goes beyond the vegan community, too. At my book club dinner last night, several ladies brought delectable vegan side dishes–with labels so I could spot them. Everyone wanted the recipe for Shelley’s butternut squash. Me too! Most of our family have been welcoming, with my dear sister-in-law making some amazing vegan cakes and casseroles. I strive to choose kindness and compassion in the moment over following the Vegan Rules, so I do eat birthday cake and would eat whatever Great Aunt Tilly served if the alternative meant breaking her heart. (That issue comes up less and less.) To be honest, the only family members who haven’t been as cool as cool about my new eating habits also had fits when I stopped drinking. Can’t please everyone.
More and more people eat plant-rich meals these days. Many restaurants offer tasty vegan options worth ordering even if you are a committed omnivore. Grocery stores offer more options. Famous environmentalists like filmmaker James Cameron are going vegan to help slow climate change. NBA star Kyrie Irving and other athletes eat plants for health, power, and stamina, squashing the “rabbit food” meme. The global inter-faith movement mentions plant-based diets and reducing food waste in its Walk on Earth Gently petition to the COP23 Climate Talks.
I Feel Grateful!
It warms my heart to know how hard people work to make delectable and beautiful plant-based food and products. I’m thinking about:
- Creative cooks like Goose Wohlt and the Aquafaba Facebook community, who bravely explore new techniques and share their results, “success or fail”
- Cookbook writers like Kathy Hester, Ellen Kanner, Dana Schultz, and Fran Costigan who provide inspiration and encouragement
- Inventive companies like Hampton Creek whose Just Mayo brought potato salad back into my life, Field Roast that makes toothsome plant-based sausages, and Vaute Couture, which made the fabulously warm coat I’m wearing in the picture above.
- Activist and educational groups like the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), Nutrition Facts, and the Humane Society, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that help me and others understand how to eat a healthy diet and how to treat animals better.
New Online Class: How to Go Vegan
You can enjoy the goodness of going vegan too. If you’d like some help getting started or just want to eat a healthier diet, consider signing up for my How to Go Vegan online class. We’ll start a few days after Christmas, so you can serve Hoppin’ John and collards for luck and money on New Year’s Day—a favorite Southern tradition. You’ll learn about other scrumptious plant-based recipes, core ingredients, satisfying menus, and other skills to help you feel healthy, welcome, and grateful. I’ll help you avoid traps that got me the first two times I tried to go vegan. You’ll get a chance to connect with others taking the class too. We’ll all learn from each other. I hope you’ll sign up to learn more using the form below.