This month has marked two very important anniversaries – 6 months of being vegan and 1 year of my blogging adventure! Exactly a year ago I woke up on a Sunday morning with the idea to start this blog. Prior to that morning I had spent a lot of time brainstorming ways to take my love of cooking to another level. My husband slash taste-tester, was constantly encouraging me to do more with my passion for food. Considering how I could talk for hours about a new recipe I developed or why lentils are a superfood, perhaps starting a food blog about it would be a good outlet. I’m not sure why, but that morning a year ago felt like the right time to sit down and actually beginning the process of setting up this website.
One thing I do remember was that the name “What Vegetarians Eat” seemed perfect to me. This was when I was still eating eggs and dairy, which explains why my very first post was a recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Omelets! A question many vegetarians receive and that I have even received a few times after people find out that I’m vegan is:
“what DO you eat?”
And this is why I loved the name I chose. It is so perfectly straight forward and descriptive of what I wanted the site to be – a showcase of what I eat as a vegetarian. In addition to filling the pages of this site with wonderful plant-based recipes, I would also be creating a resource to provide non-vegetarians with information about “eating more veggies and less animals,” as I wrote on my about page.
Many people tend to view veganism as being very restrictive. Almost all of my non-vegetarian friends have, at one point or another, stopped mid-sentence while describing or offering food to say “oh wait, you can’t have that right?”
My response is that I can have whatever I want! I simply chose to eat foods that have not come from animal sources. In a recent post, I described how the feeling that my culinary world has actually expanded since going vegan. While eating in restaurants that are not veg-friendly or in certain situations such as weddings where vegan options might be slim, it may seem to others that being vegan means eating carrot sticks while everyone else has a rich, gourmet meal. I even admit that I used to the think that being vegan would be too hard.
But the reality of the situation is that vegan food is just food! It’s the purest form of food, directly from the earth. And the food I’ve enjoyed as a vegan has been more satisfying and enjoyable than ever before. I attribute this to the fact that in addition to feeding my body with whole plant-based foods, I am no longer contributing to the suffering of animals. I have never felt more joyous in the kitchen preparing meals and while enjoying meals with my friends and family.
A friend of mine asked if I was planning on changing the name of my site to “What Vegans Eat” and I told her I had decided against it. My reasoning was three-fold:
First, vegans are vegetarian – we just have a different definition of the term, which does have an interesting history:
“The word vegan, was originally derived from vegetarian in 1944 when Elsie Shrigley and Donald Watson, frustrated that the term “vegetarianism” had come to include the eating of dairy products, founded the UK Vegan Society. “Vegan”, which they saw as “the beginning and end of vegetarian”, started and ended with the first three and last two letters of vegetarian.”
Second, the term “vegetarian” might feel slightly more approachable to people who do not follow a plant-based diet. My goal is to illustrate for people how delicious healthy, plant-based foods can be – and I want to reach as many eyes(and hearts) as possible.
Third, to emphasize the fact that nothing is set in stone. I grew up eating the standard american diet which included meat and dairy but have since transitioned to become vegetarian and then vegan. One thing I hope comes across in my writing is that I understand the many reasons we have for living the way we do. I understand the process it takes to discover a desire to learn, to accept hard truths and to change.
Since starting this blog I have created many new plant-based recipes, explored becoming vegan and rediscovered my sometimes forgotten love of writing. I’m so grateful for that day a year ago when I finally decided to get started. Having this space to share my love of food and my thoughts and journeys has been so wonderful.
Thank you to anyone who has read, commented on posts or has benefited in any way from the content I’ve shared. As always, I encourage you to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts and ideas as well.