I have learned a lot about myself since changing my lifestyle. One of them is this: I love to cook. Food is so much a part of our lives, yet it amazes me how many of us take cooking for granted. Ingredients and what you put into your body are important. Just as important is how those foods are cooked or prepared.
Thanks in large part to Christie, I knew that going vegan would mean getting into the habit of cooking. Here is an exercise for anyone who is a carnivore or even a vegetarian: pick your top three favorite restaurants and look through the menu for items that are truly vegan. Now cross out any that are salads. You likely are left with zero options (excluding those that you can substitute or from which you can remove ingredients, such as cheese). Restaurants are no longer as fun to go to, and I have found myself eating a LOT of potatoes–none mashed nor baked.
Cooking more often has opened my eyes to many new things and has made me more creative. Adding balsamic or red wine vinegar can bring out flavors in simple dishes. Garlic does wonders. There is more than one way to cook broccoli or cauliflower or beans. Recipes don’t need to be followed to the letter.
I am at a place now where I lament not having time to cook, or not having certain ingredients around the house to play with. The act of cooking a vegan meal is just as satisfying as eating the meal itself. I have dabbled with the idea of learning new skills such as painting or music or sewing. Now, I am looking into taking a cooking class, specifically a chopping or knife class, which is a skill I know I will put to good and practical use. I even want to start baking, which is major for me. The best part? I see how my cooking skills are improving. Few things in life are better than the empirical knowledge that you are getting better at something.
I used to be a lazy cook. Making an omelette was as adventurous as I would get. I am so happy that I have embraced cooking. Anyone who is committed to being vegan or vegetarian should make time to cook. We all gotta eat, right? You won’t be sorry and it will help you stay true to your lifestyle.
Looking forward to sharing more recipes and cooking adventures with you! –Melissa