Monday, January 2, 2012

Going Vegan--The Best Decision I've Ever Made!

It has been two years since I switched to a vegan diet and it has been the best decision I've ever made.  I did this for health reasons to lower my cholesterol, but I also did it for the animals.  After reading all the books and seeing all the photos about the horrific conditions in which farm animals suffer everyday, I never want to be responsible for their suffering ever again.  But being vegan and eating a plant-based diet is more than just what you put on your dinner plate.  It's a lifestyle and making conscious decisions about every product you purchase.  So early last year I gave the leather purse and the leather shoes to Goodwill, completely tossed out all my personal care products, and I make sure that every product I use is cruelty free.

However, being vegan doesn't necessarily mean that you eat a healthy diet.  Yes, compared to omnivores we have lower rates of cholesterol, blood pressure, diseases caused by inflammation and lower cancer rates for certain types of cancer.  But just like omnivores, we eat a lot of vegan processed/convenience foods that really don't provide any health benefit at all.  So for 2012, I've made a promise to myself to embrace the "whole foods" way of eating and to cut out as many processed foods from my diet as possible.

So here are changes I'm making to my diet for 2012:
  • No sugar of any kind, except for small amounts of maple syrup or agave as needed for recipes.
  • No store bought condiments such as ketchup or mayonnaise.  If I need them for a recipe, I will make my own from scratch.
  • No soy sauce.  I will use tamari sauce instead.
  • No processed cooking oils, except for first-cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil, and used only in moderation.
  • No margarine or vegetable shortening.
  • No fake meat substitutes of any kind, including textured soy protein.
  • No fake cheese substitutes of any kind.  If I want a cheese sauce, I will make my own from scratch using unprocessed ingredients.
  • No white starch products such as bread, pasta or grains.  I will use only whole grain/wheat products.
  • No canned foods such as tomatoes, beans or any other canned products because of BPA residue.
  • No deep fried foods of any kind...goodbye sweet potato fries...:-(
For some of you this may seem very limiting, but I enjoy making food from scratch.  So I can't wait to make my own homemade corn tortillas, or to preserve/can my own fruit/tomatoes in the summer to be used in winter recipes.  I'd even like to learn how to make tofu and tempeh from scratch.  First up though is a homemade ketchup and assorted nut butter. 

I'm sure that there will be some cooking disasters along the way, and sometimes when I don't have time I will be tempted to reach for prepared and convenient foods, but my goal is to make 2012 my healthiest year ever!  And I hope that you'll join me!

To a healthy 2012! 



  1. Great goals! To your good health!

  2. I am so excited! Now, I don't have to look around for other recipes since I always know your recipes are always great. I dream of making tempeh too but I am not sure my dehydrator will work at 98 degrees. It isn't hard.

    Will you make the cheese sauce first???

  3. I'm going to be traveling for the next three weeks, but when I return I plan to start recipe development and vegan cheese/sauce is first on my list.

  4. Hi, I am sleepless in Lithuania, laying in bed at 4 am squeezed in between a hubby and a 2 year old, browsing Internet on my phone and happened upon your blog. I turned vegan cold turkey 2 months ago after seeing Forks over Knives. I don't like cooking so I will definetily check in with you for inspiration. Your 2012 goals really reverb with me- especially since non of the fake meats and cheeses are available over here anyway. Thanks for posting.

  5. Hi Sanna,

    Your English is amazing! Glad that you happened upon my blog and that you switched to a vegan diet. Since you don't like cooking I'll try to post some easy recipes for you so stay tuned. All the best to you and your family in 2012!


  6. Your blog inspires me! I have been vegan for a year (vegetarian for 25) and do some shortcuts that I know I shouldn't (canned tomatoes & beans). I do buy Poma boxed tomatoes on occasion though. You make me want to take it a step further and get rid of canned goods and condiments.
    For oil, I use organic olive or organic safflower, which I have heard is good for controlling belly fat.
    Anyway, thank you for the recipes and inspiration!

  7. First of all I would like to congratulate for turning to Vegan. You said it right. Vegan is a way of life. There are so many things that we eat everyday and we can not live without them and you got red of them. You are making your own stuff. You are limiting yourself for certain food. You think about animal cruelty.

    Let me tell you, you are an example for all of us. You seem to be a real human being.

    Thank you for posting such informative and inspiration post.