Tons of Vegan Goodness

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In the beginning, there was a vegan...

Aloha folks, I'm Jessica. A 27-year old vegan, mother, student, professional, and the list goes on! My 2-year old daughter has been the biggest blessing of my life and believe it or not she chose veganism for me! After many years of being a vegetarian, (not a super healthy one at that, more like a grilled-cheese, pizza, veggie nugget vegetarian,) my sweet daughter was born with food allergies. We found out about them when she was just a couple months old, and breast-feeding exclusively. Although in the beginning we didn't know exactly what she was allergic to, so I had to roll up my sleeves and embark on a four-week elimination diet, (luckily I had quite a few post-pregnancy pounds hanging around, (literally!) and was able to handle four weeks of lentil soup, beans and rice, and apples!) Her allergies seemed to be milk protein, eggs and unfortunately soy. My cheese loving days were over, and anyone who really knew me could tell you how much I loved cheese. Well, thankfully I was stronger than the ever-alluring cheese pizza, and here I am two years later, as vegan as they come!

The truth is I had always ethically wanted to be vegan but never tried, somehow thinking I would definitely fail. Becoming vegan for me was like changing any behavior, hard at first, with a couple weeks of wandering the grocery store, just to get a look at the bakery section cakes. But, with time it has become so much more than denying myself anything; veganism became a way of life. I began cooking and baking from scratch, (whereas my pre-vegan days cooking meant pre-heating the oven, or opening jars and boxes.) At first I stuck rigidly to the recipes and very soon began to adapt things to my own personal tastes and dietary restrictions. I had to avoid soy, which isn't the easiest thing to do as a vegan. But going the first year without soy to fall back on pushed me to try new protein sources, like my BFFs: quinoa, amaranth, and seitan. Happily my daughter, K, is outgrowing her soy allergy slowly, and has started to tolerate certain soy foods. Even without soy, vegan cooking and baking is not only possible, but fun and delicious.

My mission statement with this blog is to give back to that which helped me. The Internet has made a transition to veganism as smooth as possible. There are so many websites, and blogs that one would never run out of new, tasty recipes. I hope to contribute some of my personal recipes to vegans contemplating, new, and old. I also have been learning first hand just how to feed a vegan baby, now toddler and have many ideas on just how to get those fruits and veggies in their tummies,(without a knock-down, dragout, tantrum....usually.) I also have to give a shout -out to vegans avoiding soy products, the true vegan soldiers! I have many recipes and links for you my friends, who needs soy anyways!

I hope everyone will chime in with comments, recipes, links that can help us all! Note: non-vegans are not only welcome but encouraged. We are all at different steps in our personal journeys and I am so thankful to the other vegans who gave me support during my transitioning days. For some reason I used to find veganism a bit intimidating and despite years of vegetarianism I didn't exactly know what was vegan and what wasn't, (aside from the obvious.) Its not that hard! Any questions will be respectively answered, no "more-vegan-than-thou-ness" to be worried about!

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