Reflections on the Link Between Being Vegan and Loving Vegetables!
Soooo, to be vegan, you need to love vegetables, right?
Well, that's not always how it all begins. What's interesting, however, is how becoming vegan can actually make you love fruit vegetables a whole lot more than you ever used to!
When you go vegan, whole plant foods should become the base of your diet. And so it is not uncommon for new vegans to start to truly develop a different relationship with food as they begin to explore new ways to feed themselves.
Suddenly, when we used to do everything in our power to create a disconnect in order to feel comfortable consuming the product of pain, suffering and environmental tragedy, consuming plants creates the opposite effect.
Plants promote life.
And not just for us humans, they are a source of food and / or shelter for practically all living beings, from insects to mammals. Even sea life heavily depends on plants. Plants create the oxygen we all need to survive.
There have even been studies that prove that surrounding ourselves with plant life decreases anxiety and promotes a healthier, more positive outlook on life.
All this to say that there is an inherent desire, in all of us, to cultivate a closer bond with the vegetal realm.
But does this newfound love of plant-based foods happen overnight? Well not necessarily, especially if you never used to be a fan of fruits and veg before.
For many, the decision to go vegan didn't come from a love of vegetables. And yet, most vegans end up raving about how delicious the food they get to eat really is.
Are they lying to themselves to help the medicine go down? I don't think so! I think a genuine shift happens once we adopt a different mindset.
In my opinion, there's nothing quite like veganism to help you become a true plant-based foodie. Here are some of the ways in which veganism can turn you into a true vegetable nut (pun intended!)
You'll talk about food all the time
If you know other vegans, you might have noticed that they talk about food a lot.
They get excited over every new dish they get to try and they always have recommendations on the best way to prepare one dish or another.
While much of vegan activism revolves around the "why", there is also much information out there on the "how". And since adopting a vegan lifestyle includes making changes in how we choose to feed ourselves, it stands to reason that food should be a hugely important topic within the vegan community.
And naturally, the more you talk about something, the more it's on your mind, which means you'll never run out of things to try out or risk getting bored with always eating the same foods! Vegans know how to inspire each other!
You will discover new ingredients
To many people, a tomato is a tomato. But did you know that there are over 3000 varieties of cultivated tomatoes in the world?
The immense variety of plant based foods is absolutely staggering and that is the reason why, more often than not, going vegan encourages people to actually eat a much more varied diet than they ever used to.
So be curious: talk to the farmers or whoever you buy your fruits and vegetables from and if you see a fruit or veg you've never tried before, definitely give it a go!
If the variety of plant-based ingredients is immense, it is only matched by the number of ways in which they can be prepared! Tasting new dishes can also be a revelation! As I explained in the intro to my Baked Beans Style Quinoa recipe, sometimes you can think that you hate a particular food until you taste it in a different context, or prepared differently.
You will (re)learn how to cook
And if you're a total newb, it's never too late to learn! There are more and more vegan cooking classes available in many countries and YouTube is probably one of the best places to learn for free. As you look around for inspiration to cook your day to day meals, you will come across so many inspiring dishes that you'll want to try them all. And as you do so, you will pick up a lot of know-how along the way which, in turn, will allow you to develop your own inspiration and to "play with your food" in ways that will make you love it even more.
Cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients allows you to truly connect with the food you eat and that feeling of having created it yourself will make you appreciate so much more.
You'll get to connect with your food
To remain on topic, while few people are prepared to go through the entire (and I mean entire!) process of creating a meat-based hamburger, few things are more rewarding than planting a small seed and nurturing it until it turns into actual food!
That's a biggie and it can seem daunting but I can assure you nothing is more fun and even children find this activity wonderfully enjoyable. As for the activity of creating meat, I don't think anyone would consider it a healthy pastime for a child...
If you want further inspiration on how different ways to grown your own food, I recently wrote an article on how to grow your own food with or without a garden!
Every bite will make you feel good about yourself
Becoming vegan is a choice that usually stems from wanting to lead a more ethical lifestyle. And while - once you've taken the plunge - it may seem like a relatively easy decision for a healthy adult to make, it doesn't mean you shouldn't be proud of yourself for making it, in a world where it is still far from being the norm. Every time you choose to eat a plant-based meal, you know you haven't contributed to any animal suffering and that your impact on the planet is significantly lower than if you had added animal-derived products to it. But every time you eat plant-based, you also have a direct impact on the world. You will send the food industry a clear message about what you are willing to put your money towards and what you choose not to support. And it will also make other people think. Every single person that ends up questioning their food choices thanks to you is, in turn, potentially going to at least lower their consumption of meat, dairy, seafood and eggs. And that is a lot of power from one small salad!