Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How It All Vegan!

This month marks Jordan's and my FIVE YEAR VEGAN-versary!  FIVE delicious, compassionate years!!!  I can hardly believe it?!  In celebration of this momentous occasion, I wish to expound more upon what has helped me along this wonderful journey...

I was already close to being a vegetarian when I officially chose the vegan path in April 2006, spurred forward entirely by the powerful read, Diet For a New America, by John Robbins.  But by no means was I well educated in day-to-day vegan cooking and whatnot!  I yearned to be vegan with all my heart, but my head had to play catch-up!  All I knew was that certain foods were not going to be purchased or eaten anymore--a boycott, plain and simple.  But beyond that, it was all just a journey into a vegan wilderness.  But it was a journey I was excited to embark upon!  I'd just have to do without those familiar, yet cruel, foods.  And do without them my husband and I did!  No butter, cheese, milk, eggs, meats!  I didn't even enjoy the compassionate alternatives or faux varieties of such items!  The fact of the matter was that I didn't realize they existed!

So you can imagine the joy I felt when we discovered vegan mayo... OH MY GOSH!  Follow Your Heart Vegenaise?  Pure Elation!  It had been so long...  And Earth Balance vegan "butter"?!  WOW!  I'd been using peanut butter to make cinnamon toast, and mashed bananas to make frosting!!!  It never was quite what I wanted.  But now, all was well--my vegan journey was comfortable and complete!

It seems silly today, but my Jordan and I were very lonely vegans for well over a year. Outside of ourselves, we didn't know a single vegan!  We didn't think to visit a health-food store to look for alternative foods... we thought they only stocked vitamins.  We also didn't understand the magnitude of blogging and networking or we certainly would have tuned in sooner... it would have been so easy to tap into the culture and be in-the-know about all things vegan.  Oh well.  We eventually stumbled on a few old time acquaintances who happened to have chosen the vegan path as we had.  Through them, we became connected to even more vegans in the Salt Lake Valley!  What joy!  We were no longer alone!

But before all that...  The very first thing we did as "green" vegans was go to the library and look at the vegetarian cookbooks.  One particular selection caught our eye: How It All Vegan! By Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer.  Being timid chefs, we scoured the pages, looking to see if these recipes were within our ability to create.  We saw promise, and immediately checked the book out and took it home.  We utilized that cookbook, to the best of our ability, for weeks on end.  We'd return it to the library on day 30, then turn around and check it right back out again.  We did this for at least 6 months straight!  We finally broke down and bought our own copy so that some one else could get some benefit out of the poor book! :)

 I always swear to people, (well, not swear, but you know what I mean...) that How It All Vegan! saved Jordan's and my vegan butt!  Even though it was a year later that we discovered a local health food store carrying a plethora of additional and "unknown" ingredients we could use to make the remainder of recipes with, still, we wouldn't haven't known what to do or how to proceed with the very real everyday food questions and concerns we had as brand new vegans without this book.  It was a timely find, and a blessing to be sure!

We have now whipped up everything from chili to chocholate cake from Sarah's and Tanya's cookbook and verdict is always the same: FABULOUS!!!  I have already shared a few of the recipes from this cookbook here in my blog, as well as Jordan's and my variations on them.  That was before I realized the power of networking that blogs can accomplish.  I want to honor the authors--not tarnish their source of income by putting their work all over the web.  So I will not be typing out their recipes word-for-word on my blog anymore.  But I just may type up a review and add a photo of their tasty creativity here for you to browse!  Then maybe you'll want to check out How It All Vegan! at the library for six months straight too!  :)  Or perhaps you'll behave like a normal person and just go buy it!  Who knows!  :)

But whatever you do, I just want you to know that I have a very soft spot in my heart for How It All Vegan!  By Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer.  I sincerely thank these two ladies for educating me with practical vegan know-how!  They are inspirational women who are not ashamed to live their values in the kitchen, everyday!  I am very grateful to have fallen upon such good fortune as to have their sassy cookbook resting on my countertop.  It was the perfect follow-up to Diet For A New America.  I don't know how I would have survived in the vegan wilderness without it, much less FIVE YEARS!   

Happy Vegan-versary!!!


sooz said...

Congratulations on your veganaversiry!! :)

Vegan Valerie said...

Thank you Sooz!

HiHoRosie said...

Congrats to you and Jordan! And good to hear from you. :)

Vegan Valerie said...

Thanks HiHo! It's so nice to hear from you! I know I've been away for a while, so I thank you for still stopping by to chat. :)

VivaciousVegan said...

Congrats! I love how it all vegan, not so much for the recipes but for the goofiness of the women writing it! LOL it is a fun book to read!
I am glad you posted a blog!!!

blessedmama said...

Wow, what a celebration! I can see how excited you two are, and I'm so happy for you. I am so glad that you two found your way and resources and friends to help you. Congratulations!

Vegan Valerie said...

Hi Viv (Brandi)! It's good to hear from you!

Vegan Valerie said...

Hi Blessedmama!
Thanks for sharing in our vegan joy!