Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Vegan. Just do it?

   Veganism is trendy these days.  There is no doubt about it.  However, unless you are up on these sorts of things, you may not even realize it.  It is no longer considered (to the layman) to be the even weirder, outcast, long lost brother of the Vegetarian.  Today there are more and more celebrity Vegans (Keenen Ivory Wayans), and famous athlete Vegans, not to mention big time politicians (Bill Clinton), musicians, etc.  If you are really curious you can Google famous Vegans.  And now, most recently, Oprah aired her experience to her followers about her (and 378 of her staff) attempt to be Vegan for a week. Having never been able to claim being a true Oprah fan, I really really admire her for taking this step into a whole different world, and most importantly for bringing her large staff of everyday people along with her.
    There are also amazing Vegan eateries and bakeries sprinkled throughout the country, such as Baby Cakes in NYC (one of my absolute favorite bakeries- Vegan or not).  I must admit though, claiming your product is Vegan could be a bit of a marketing campaign.  The average person seems to automatically think Veganism is healthier.  I do support creating Vegan products, but wonder if some Vegan bakeries are hiding behind the word "Vegan".  They are afterall still a bakery...a donut from one of my favorite donut places (Vegan or not), Pepples, may be slightly better for you in that they use an oil with more omega-3s, and organic ingredients, etc... but all in all, it is still a donut--deep fried and fattening. 
    With all this Vegan hype, I have been tempted to see what it is all about.  Mom, don't worry, I am not going Vegan...but I am taking this time to reflect on it...maybe to be Vegan-ish... on certain days.  What strikes me most about Veganism are the incredible health benefits (which have been documented)... lowered cholesterol, fat and blood pressure are just to name a few, if you eat correctly, that is.  If one doesn't try to eat healthy, it is also quiet easy to be a Vegan junk-foodie (not recommended).  Many different types of junk food can easily be consided Vegan as long as the fat is not animal based. 
   Since I am not a huge meat-eater in the first place, I have already practically achieved "Vegetarian" status.  Step one accomplished.  Now to become "Vegan" I would have to also give up all other animal products....eggs, cheese, chicken broth, everything.  Note: I am just talking food here.  I am not considering giving up my favorite black leather, knee-high boots. Let's not get drastic.

Having done some research, I easily found great cookbooks out there that use whole foods to make very healthy and satisfying "Vegan" meals.  (I also found a great book called The Food Substitutions Bible that has nothing to do with being Vegan, but is a fantastic resource that can be used in changing or creating recipes.)

Popular Vegan ingredients, such as, quinoa, rice, greens, vegetables of every shape and color, legumes, and lentils are all thankfully things that I love, and that most people eat, or can easily learn to. (We will have to discuss such ingredients as nutritional yeast on another day.) 
 
Since I have always had a tendency towards healthy eating, I am thinking that Veganism is not too far off....?

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