Not-In-Your-Face Vegan Notes

Decorating vegan cupcakes. I love to bake!
When I started this blog, I assumed that I would be talking about vegan food since I'm vegan and nutrition plays such a big role in fueling for fitness. Plus, I had to explain my blog title (I love lentils!). But I recently met a vegan friend of mine for dinner and mentioned that I never really think about being vegan anymore. I never feel restricted in what I eat (on the contrary, going vegan has opened up a world of new food and recipes I'd never have tried otherwise), always feel like there are options when I go out to eat, and have come to somehow think that everyone eats like I do (and am always surprised to learn that not everyone makes a batch of hummus every week, has large amounts of kale in the fridge, or eats peanut butter daily). So I've been pretty silent on the vegan front on this blog. In addition, I'm just not an in-your-face kind of person.

I had lunch with the same friend today. She and her husband created Garden Dish to help make plant-based eating easily accessible through recipes, lifestyle tips, workshops, and monthly plans. She interviewed me for a profile she's doing on vegans for her website. When I told her about how I don't really think about being vegan, she pointed out that people need to hear that. While plant-based eating has been growing in popularity, people may still think veganism is too restrictive to attempt. Garden Dish recommends increasing plant-based eating to whatever degree you're able to. Another advocate of that approach is Mark Bittman, the New York Times food writer, who promotes a "vegan before 6 p.m." lifestyle to reduce consumption of animal products. In his The Food Matters Cookbook, he says this:
"I won't get into details here, but industrialized meat production is so colossally inhumane that watching how most livestock is raised and slaughtered in this country would horrify even the most die-hard carnivores. Even if you believe animals were put on earth to be eaten, you probably don't believe they should be tortured....But I didn't set out to write Food Matters as an animal rights activist, a union organization, or a vegetarian (remember, I still eat meat). Equally important are the personal health consequences of overeating meat and the environmental issues [he mentioned previously]."

While I haven't gotten sick (knock on wood) since I went vegan four years ago, not supporting industries that torture animals is my main reason for eating a plant-based diet. Others may have different reasons, especially as more research comes to light on how beneficial plant-based eating is. For example, a Runner's World article a few weeks ago summarized research into the healthiest diet. The research study followed 424,000 people for 15 years who followed four diets with a similar pattern. While the specifics of the diets varied, all the diets recommended, "whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and plant proteins. And all four proved more or less equally effective for decreasing cardiovascular, cancer, and all-cause mortality rates by 12 to 28 percent when compared to less-healthy diets." 

My point is that I think I should start talking about vegan stuff more. Not in an in-your-face kind of way, but in a, hey, here's a great recipe kind of way. Thoughts?

Here's what I made last week: Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Grilled Tofu.