Tag Archives: friendship

Burgers and Brussels Sprouts and Balance

Greetings, everyone! Melissa here. I want to take a moment to thank everyone who follows Turning Veganese. You have no idea how excited I get when I see that we have a new follower or a comment. Sometimes, I even do a little running man dance move because I’m so excited. I wish I had more time to interact with all of you. Speaking of interaction, did you know that we have a Twitter? Follow us!

I started this blog four months ago. What I thought it would be: A space to whine about how much I miss meat, how being vegan is too challenging, and ways to tolerate tofu. What it has become: Motivation to be healthier and more creative in the kitchen, a way to celebrate my vegan successes, and an experience–or rather, a gift–that I have shared with two of my favorite people. I wasn’t even sure I was going to tell Christie and Brent about the blog. I am serious. And now, the best things on this blog are Christie’s posts, and I am so grateful for all the hard work she puts into Turning Veganese. I would probably be eating bacon and cheese with a side of pizza and chicken right now if not for her encouragement.

I find myself hitting a milestone of sorts in my vegan transition: I no longer feel like I am depriving myself of anything by following a vegan diet. I don’t miss meat or cheese or butter. I’m actually a little grossed out by it. My tastes are changing. I used to dread having to hit the salad bar at work because there were no vegan options. Now, I love the taste of wild greens, spinach, corn, peas, green pepper… I actually crave spinach. It’s so weird. I was craving spinach yesterday, so I made White Bean and Spinach Burgers. I saw some gargantuan Brussels sprouts when I went to buy the spinach, so I roasted some of those big boys, too (I forgot to buy hamburger buns):

For the burgers, I followed Christie’s recipe, substituting white beans for black eyed peas simply because I have 10 cans of white beans for some reason, and then adding a cup of chopped spinach. I’m not 100% thrilled with how my Brussels sprouts turned out last night, so recipe is pending.

I am starting to tell people that I am going vegan. This is huge for me. I get a lot of different responses, usually about how that person can or can’t ever go vegan, asking me if I miss meat or what tofu tastes like… but no matter what, I always get a “good for you” or “you’re so good” along with “tell me how it goes,” — all totally sincere.

Healthwise, I am doing pretty awesome. I gained weight at first, mostly because I would get overly excited when I found junk food or anything super tasty that was also vegan (oh hello snap pea crisps and sweet potato chips). In the past couple of weeks, I have lost a few pounds. With my tastes changing, I find I need less of certain food “accessories”–salt, sugar, salad dressing, etc. I didn’t go vegan to lose weight, though. I want to be clear about that. I did it to get healthier. And I have. I recently had a health screening and my numbers were so good that the nurse was cheering for me. She actually said that based on my numbers, she would assume I am an athletic person. (Excuse me while I laugh my ass off.)

So I feel great and I am super motivated to keep going and stay committed. I’m learning that there is never a stopping point at which I can say YES, I AM 100% VEGAN AND HEALTHY. If there is anything I learn from Christie or the lady at the grocery store or my friends who are really invested in organic/GMO or current studies and literature, it’s that there are always better foods to eat and better ways to cook.

Thanks again to all of you for reading the blog, following the blog, trying out our recipes, giving us awards (ohmigosh, how fantastic and humbling and encouraging). I’m amazed and inspired by all of your support. I have so much more in my brain and in my kitchen that I want to share with you, and I know Christie and Brent do, too. So, stay tuned! We love you. –Melissa

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Cardiovascular health and veganism.

I took a hiatus to visit a family member who had a stroke earlier this week. I try not to be pushy about trying vegan food though admittedly it’s difficult at times. I’m pretty sure delicious looking/tasting food speaks for itself and is much more alluring than lectures about ripping guts out of conscious animals, feces contaminated spinach and lard in its various forms. I think everyone knows where I stand since we all had dinner together the evening I arrived.

I sat back and listened to everyone else talk. There was a lot of talk about nutrition, cholesterol levels and preventative medicine. People talked about skim milk versus 2%, avoiding mayonnaise and stress, and second opinions. I was thinking about the warning for risk of stroke on my old synthetic estrogen/progestin pills as soon as they brought up milk. People are very resistant to the idea of being vegan in general – it’s a demanding position if you’re not thrilled about new experiences. It’s also a tacit criticism of something people have been doing for years and either don’t think about or tell themselves is justified somehow. A lot of people looked at their dinners and at me and then told me “I don’t normally eat like this”, “should I be eating this?” and “I could eat better” as they heaped animal parts and animal reproductive secretions onto their plates.

I have an opinion in the matter of how diet can influence susceptibility to stroke, heart attack, and cancer. My opinion is informed by the best evidence available to me, not conjecture or speculation or some special I saw on a news channel one time. I hope you would choose to educate yourself on your opinions regardless of what they are and to ask lots of questions instead of making things up. If you have to tell people “this isn’t typical”, say “I can improve” or ask “should I be doing this?”, whether you’re talking about your exercise routine or your diet, just keep in mind that you’re not the only one who is affected by your choices. If you’ve got an iota of doubt (“should I be doing this?”) you should be reading more. Don’t adopt my opinion, make your own, and make sure you can back it up. I know I can.

This is Christie, signing off.

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