The Vegan Foodie

Oh the ripe tomato! How succulent and sweet! I climbed back into my car giddy with excitement and anticipation. I had just stopped by my neighbor’s small farm stand and made a purchase of six pounds of the most beautiful red orbs. These along with shiny green jalapeno and perfumed cilantro and the beauty of the red onions I also purchased would be the deliciousness of the fresh garden salsa I would soon be making. Being vegan suits me. I am a real foodie! Most people think that vegans, vegetarians and any other non meat-eating group cannot proudly hold that title. I beg to differ! My palate recognizes the subtlety of flavors. Daily I review recipes for the next meal. My weekly menus include enough variety and flavors that the Culinary Institute would be tickled. I love to experiment and try new foods and food combinations. And I am a processed food snob!

While I am compassionate to animals and honor their place here on this earth, it is not the eating of animals that offends me so much as the mistreatment of them, the slaughtering methods used and the ignorance of the consumer about this. It is so easy to be a meat eater when you can go to your local store and purchase neatly wrapped ground meat on a Styrofoam plate, as opposed to having to look it in the eye as it is slaughtered or trudge through the smells and sights that come after that.

I am also a vegan because of all the health benefits that are publicly out there for everyone to know, but still we ignore for the most part. Studies have shown us that the main reason for the obesity epidemic and the increase of disease in the United States is due to our consumption of processed foods, the amount of animal protein we put on our plates, that even a savory food like spaghetti sauce has sugar as it’s second or third ingredient, that we consume more milk products than a family of young calves and that most people eat very few fresh fruits or vegetables a day. No, french fries do not count!

I have had people tell me that they would like to try being vegan or a vegetarian but they are afraid that everything will be tasteless and boring. Or they are fearful that they will have to live on beans and rice. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Last night’s dinner was homemade grilled spinach “alfredo” pizza! Amazing! The night before, red quinoa pilaf with Vidalia onions, green bell peppers, and crimini mushrooms with roasted cauliflower and brussel sprouts on the side! Flavor, flavor, flavor! We have treated ourselves for the past two nights with homemade brown rice and pecan pudding made with coconut milk. Yum! None of these dishes required any more work to prepare than if I had made “traditional” recipes. (If you want the recipes, let me know!)

So, yes, I do believe you can be a vegan foodie! I know you can eat a healthy diet that is full of variety and flavor. I welcome you to try any of my recipes and put them to a test. Then, let’s talk! Until then, reserve your judgment and meet me at the farmer’s stand and we can discuss what to make with the bunches of rainbow chard he just harvested!

Blessings ~ Lisa

©COPYRIGHT 2012 Lisa Meade