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

(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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