Growing up, I only knew a handful of people that were vegan. But nowadays, veganism has infiltrated the public psyche in a way I never would have predicted.
Loads of celebrities — Jessica Chastain, Ariana Grande and Woody Harrelson, to name a few — tote the vegan lifestyle. Professional athletes are also switching to plant-based diets to increase performance. For example, the New England Patriots’ star quarterback, Tom Brady, recently won his fourth Superbowl at the age of 39. For a sport where mid-30s is ancient, it’s been suggested that one of the secrets to his longevity is his plant-focused diet.
Whether it’s for dietary, ethical or environmental reasons, more and more people are choosing to cut animal products out of their lives. Marketing has followed suit, with even non-food items such as clothing and cosmetics sporting “VEGAN” on their product labels.
Personally, I’ve always had a difficult time imagining myself becoming a vegetarian, much less a vegan. I know the siren call of a sizzling steak all too well, and if my wife would let me, I’d eat a burger every day. Don’t get me wrong, I love my fruits and veggies; but if you were to ask me what my last meal on earth would be, it’s Korean barbeque that pops into my head, not a salad bar.
However, as I’ve grown older, I can see the personal and societal reasons to integrate plant-based foods into my life. The negative effects of industrial livestock production on the environment seem undeniable and ensuring ethical treatment of livestock is a difficult task. Even when it comes to high quality, sustainable meat, the simple fact is that I can’t eat like I used to when I was younger. Well, unless I’m willing to ignore my health, weight, mood and general appearance.
A daunting part about plant-based eating is the misconception that a person has to go all in. Truth be told, I’m not particularly interested in being vegan. But that doesn’t mean I can’t incorporate vegan dishes into my lifestyle. If there is food out there that tastes good and is good for me, why wouldn’t I want it?
So for all these reasons and many more, I have decided to embark on a quest to find some vegan dishes that appeal to my tastebuds and share my experience with any other meat-lovers out there who are looking to make some changes in their own life.
The cookbook I’ve chosen for this experiment is “From Plant to Plate” by Tami Bivens, R.D. For the next 10 weeks, I will cook, consume and critique one vegan recipe a week. From entrées and sides to soups and sweets, I’ll put veganism to the test and see what works with a carnivore’s palate.
Is it easy to cook? How did it taste? Would I make it again?
I hope to answer these questions and more! Join me each week as I explore what it’s like to be vegan … ish.