Next weekend, I’ll be celebrating not only another birthday, but also another Veggieversary - my 12th Veggieversary, to be precise!
In the year 2000, as a freshman in college, I became a vegetarian the day after my birthday. 12 years and thousands of meals later, I’m loving every meat-free moment.
I’m so happy to have reached this milestone and am so grateful for all the knowledge I’ve learned along the way…
Learning to be Vegetarian
I talk a little bit about my journey here, but the truth is, while I didn’t miss the meat, it took me a while to figure out what I should be eating. My entrees initially consisted mainly of rotations of veggie burgers, tv-dinners, and protein bars, which would have been fine in moderation, but there wasn’t much ‘real’ food in my diet.
See that cake below? After my 1-year veggieversary, I’m pretty sure I had that cake for breakfast (with soy-milk poured over it, of course), lunch, and dinner until it was gone. Afterall, it was vegetarian!
It was sometime around then that my sister bought me my first Vegetarian cookbook, which I still have. Honestly, I didn’t change my ways much, but thanks to this book, I did on occasion enjoy some real food like Overnight Oatmeal, homemade Hummus or Eggplant and Garlic Spread, Orange Rice & Black Bean Salad, or Chili. I even remember once making Spicy Zucchini Quesadillas for one of my roommates and her boyfriend.
After college, my Vegetarian cookbook collection began to grow and I started subscribing to Vegetarian Times magazine. Each issue of “VT” is full of diverse & creative recipes, and years later, I still look forward to receiving my copy every month! Unfortunately, my busy corporate job left me little time to cook. I’d generally cook one new recipe every weekend, but when the leftovers ran out, the office cafeteria, take-out, and a stash of frozen dinners would get me through the week.
Ironically enough, while my diet was overwhelmingly comprised of convenience foods, I considered myself to be a foodie. I had a few good recipes in my repertoire, always picked up the newest products at the grocery store, and I went to all the best veggie-friendly restaurants in town. But I still didn’t understand what really good food is – food that not only tastes good, but that also helps your body to thrive not just survive, while allowing the earth & all it’s creatures to do the same.
About two years ago, everything changed. I moved in with Mike (my boyfriend) and so it was only natural to kick the TV dinners and start making meals together. Because I talked about recipes, restaurants and food products so often, Mike encouraged me to start my blog and helped me with the entire technology aspect of it. To be a well-informed blogger, I started seeking out more and more information. When Mike’s cousin Evie (Hi, Evie!) suggested I check out VegNews magazine, I kept my eyes out for it and eventually found a few copies of the latest issue available at the Book Cellar.
While each issue of VegNews includes several extremely enticing recipes (by incredible contributors like Gena Hamshaw and Robin Robertson), the magazine’s focus is actually, as the name suggests, on News - like in-depth feature stories, reviews of all the newest books/cookbooks/documentaries, interviews, restaurants, travel. Oh yeah, and everything the magazine features is completely VEGAN.
Once I discovered VegNews, my learning curve accelerated and put me light-years ahead of where I was before.
Every time I read an issue, I’d keep my iPhone nearby to add any cookbook author or blogger mentioned to my Twitter list. Perhaps it’s a bit creepy, but I think my Twitter feed contains the entire VegNews staff (I am so jealous of all of @Jchenwriter’s eats!).
Shortly after subscribing, I bought my My First Vegan Cookbook (Veganomicon!), which taught me that with the right recipes, I wouldn’t even miss the eggs or dairy. I discovered that flax “eggs” make awesome pancakes, and stopped using the real thing in my cooking. (Meanwhile, the real eggs sat in the back of my fridge until months later I remembered them and found them rotten – so gross!)
Thanks to all of this Veggie-Inspiration, over the past year, MY learning curve continued to climb.
Before I knew it, I’d given away most of my Vegetarian cookbooks to make room for Vegan ones, and started calling myself a “Flexi-Vegan“.
The learning won’t stop anytime soon, and I’m particularly excited about the changes I’m continuing to make in my diet. Over the past few months, I’ve been gradually steering my diet to be more and more Plant-Based - which involves not just cutting back on dairy & eggs, but also minimizing processed foods and increasing fruits, veggies, legumes & whole grains. Defying any superstitions, I know my 13th Vegetarian year is going to be a great one!
In celebration of my Veggie-versary, I’ll be sharing my love of VegNews with one lucky reader!
- Enter below to win a 1-year (6 issues) subscription to VegNews Magazine.
- I’ll also be throwing in a sweet treat from the VegNews online store:
- 3 Eli’s Earth Bars - organic, fair-trade, & vegan chocolates in Peanut Butter Caramel, Peanut Butter Crunch Caramel, and Coconut Almond
Simply use the Rafflecopter button below to enter before
Sunday, September 9th at 11pm CST.
Thanks so much for joining me in my celebration!