Coming Out of the Cabinet

A month ago I made a decision and it’s time I told the world.

I’ve gone vegan.

There. I’ve said it. And I feel SOOO MUCH BETTER!!!! Except, I can feel you all looking at me. Like you’re wondering, is it catchy?? Listen. Just because I’ve changed teams, doesn’t mean I’m not the same person. I’m sitting here like I always have, wearing my paint-splattered jeans and two fleeces. I’m no different! I still enjoy the same things (apart from my once-beloved Stonyfield Yogurt, which is now like an ex-boyfriend.) It’s all good!

You might be worried that now that I’m vegan, I’m going to get preachy, or worse yet, judgmental. DO YOU NOT KNOW ME?? Have I ever given you “the look” for doing something I disagree with?! NO! Because I’m sitting here in Maine at my computer typing in paint-splattered pants, wearing two fleeces in June, and I can’t see a darn thing you’re doing. If you want to read my recipe posts while eating a bucket of KFC, I’m not going to stop you (though the trip to hospital might). See? No judgment!

Some of you might be wondering what made me go vegan. Was it a head trauma? A food bourne illness epiphany? The truth is, I’ve been dallying with the idea for almost a year. My husband and I spent the better part of last summer going back and forth wondering HOW FREAKING HARD WOULD IT BE??!! whether we could do it. When my 70 year old “meat-a-tarian” father went plant-based last fall, out of the blue, it sure felt like a sign. The fact that nine months later he’s still going strong, loving life, and more than 50 pounds slimmer – also a sign. But in truth it was a little from Column A and a little from Column B. [Column B = I read The China Study, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, and watched Forks Over Knives.]

If you are someone who dislikes vegan food “just because,” let me assure you, I understand. I once stood where you do. I once scoffed at baked goods I deemed inferior, at meals that sometimes seemed straight out of the 60s. Several weeks ago, I stood in Whole Foods – a place you’d likely associate with vegan food – listening to a woman critique a power bar without trying it. “Oh, it’s VEGAN. No thanks,” she said. I hope to change that knee-jerk reaction. Vegan does not have to mean bad. Plant-based foods are some of the most beautiful and delectable in the world. You just have to open your mind and mouth and try them!

In the past 4 weeks I’ve felt better than I have in a long, long time. Giving up salt 8 years ago was a very hard step for me. Giving up meat, dairy and eggs seems like A LOT (all caps) because it is. But I don’t miss them. And armed with the knowledge of Column B (above), I know this decision’s for keeps. I am ready to be rid of Meniere’s (!!) and am willing to do anything and everything in my power to heal myself. So far, so good.

Today I’m launching a second site – a sort of evolutionary progression in this journey to health, called Salt Free Vegan. Salt Free Vegan will offer delicious low-sodium plant-based recipes, helpful hints, product suggestions, and more – in essence, a vegan version of The Daily Dish.

I know this type of lifestyle is not for everyone, but neither is living low-sodium! I’m hoping to show you all how easy and pleasurable it can be. Whether you have an interest in veganism or not, we can all stand to eat more whole foods, fresh fruit, and veggies. So think of me as a pusher, in a GOOD way. I’ve found a vegan diet to be much more difficult in theory than in practice. Meaning, it sounds far worse than it is. In fact, I’m excited about food in a whole new way. Cooking and creating recipes without the “basics” I’ve relied upon my whole life isn’t scary, it’s exhilarating. And I’m eating a far greater array of foods than ever before!

I truly hope you’ll stay to learn more, and I welcome you to join me in this new journey at Salt Free Vegan.com.

(As my dad sweetly called to remind me this morning, “You Can, I Can, We All Can VEGAN!” Too cute. LOL!)

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20 Responses to Coming Out of the Cabinet

  1. johanna@lowsodiumblog says:

    Congrats! I think that your “coming out” is wonderful. There is ample opportunity for us [carnivores] to eat vegan dishes, we don’t have to get our carnivorous fix in one single meal or dish… the main thing is that we can still drool over your food and we are exposed to a whole new window of opportunity :) We’re looking forward to the new recipes and food! How exciting!

  2. Connie says:

    Good Luck with the journey. I am excited for you. I look forward to seeing what you come up with…had been talking to several friends about making some changes and then lo and behold Dishy…you start a new website! It must be a sign :)

  3. Jody says:

    What a journey you’ve been on Christy. Seriously, those of us watching from the outside in are probably wondering … well, is she nuts?!LOL! Kidding of course. I’m with Johanna though, us carnivores aren’t going to run away screaming because you mention vegan. I’ve had some amazing vegan dishes (omg I love the tofu pudding to this day) and am looking forward to the dishes you prepare. It’ll add some spice to my meals.

    • Christy says:

      I am nuts!! Seriously! Jody, you should have been a fly on the wall a month ago. I was nose to the grindstone trying to finish the book. I was enduring one of the worst Meniere’s episodes in a long, long time — and then literally the day I finally felt better, I pinched in my back from sitting at my desk so long, so clenched and stressed out. (!!!!!!!!!!) After I wiped away the tears, I sat laughing at myself. Truly pathetic!!

      ANYHOO _ I am thrilled to add some new spice & variety (salt free, of course!) to your menu! :D

  4. Amber says:

    This is so exciting! We’ve really been thinking about doing this as well, and I can’t wait to see what salt free vegan dishes you come up with.

    • Christy says:

      WOOHOO! Go Amber!!

      I have to say, going vegan is so much easier than I thought it’d be. I imagined it as this “impossible task” but really, nope. Frankly if I’d known how easy, I’d have gone vegan moons ago!

  5. Angela @ The Chicken Scoop says:

    Good for you! Do whatever feels right, no worries or judgement here. I have been doing a mostly paleo diet and am always worried of backlash too but so far so good. Good luck with your new venture!
    ~Ang
    PS love your dad’s quote. He must be a fun guy!

  6. Eric K says:

    Haaa! That’s funny. I also went vegan about 1 month ago. Forks over knives was kinda of the last straw, but the many good reasons for eating vegan just sort of overwhelmingly made sense. Giving up dairy for me is the hardest part. Philly, I found is amazingly plentiful when it comes to vegans eateries. They just opened a new vegan “fast food” place called Hip City Vedge near Rittenhouse Square (there are still comfort foods in the vegan world) Good timing for the new site! I’ll be tuning in. Thanks!

    Eric

    • Christy says:

      Hey Eric – that’s AWESOME!! Glad to hear Philly is so vegan friendly. Portland has a couple vegan restaurants (Little Lad’s and Green Elephant) and we’ve found a place that does vegan pizza too (a rare treat). Speaking of comfort food, I created a recipe for the book — the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever eaten and they’re vegan. You won’t believe it!! Maybe I’ll have to share that one next..? :)

  7. I have to admit it really does sound like quite a challenge – but if anyone can do it, I know you can! Even as the kinda gross eater that I really am, I’m very interested in learning just how someone goes about this whole process – hearing about the steps involved, etc…
    Anyway, I would wish you the best of luck, Dishy, but I honestly don’t think you’ll even need it!
    :)

    • Christy says:

      Thank you, Inky! I can’t imagine you as a “gross eater” – should I just take your word for it? LOL

      Loving life more than ever as a vegan and am so grateful for all the support and encouragement!

  8. Abbie Barber says:

    What are you doing with the eggs from your chickens?

  9. People are so funny. Eating one vegan protein bar isn’t going to kill you; in fact, it’s probably the healthiest thing on the shelf! I was vegetarian for years and still won’t scoff at a vegetarian or vegan meal–half the time I’m eating a veggie meal, I don’t even realize it’s so until I’m finished. “Oh, weird, there wasn’t any meat in that, was there?” I don’t think it’s the right lifestyle for me, but I sure am interested in your journey.

  10. Esen says:

    Hi there!

    My sister has just been told she has to follow a salt-free diet and though I’m mostly vegan (I blog at cookbooksandcake.blogspot.com) and know how to cook with dietary restrictions, cooking without salt suddenly freaked me out! But having found your blog, I’m sure it’ll be easier. I also really enjoyed your post about going vegan. I too feel like people are afraid I’ll judge them when that is the farthest thing from the truth!

    Thanks for your blog! I have a feeling it’s gonna help me a lot!

    All the best,
    Esen

    • Christy says:

      Thanks so much, Esen! Really hope you find the site helpful. It’s hard to adjust mentally (and palate-wise) to life without salt, but it can be done successfully if you stick to it. Lots of food you won’t even notice when the salt is gone – especially baked desserts. Other things you’ll need to pep up with added spices, vinegars, juices. Thankfully you’re so creative already, it’ll be a breeze – I just know! :)

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