Recently I rented The Game Changers. I’m a huge documentary lover. It’s how I choose to educate myself on most topics. This documentary is a top most popular rental on iTunes and I can see why. It really gets you pumped up to dive into a devoted plant-based lifestyle.
Now, here is some history. I was introduced to veganism when I was 15 years old and my mother sent me to an activist camp one summer. It was the only summer camp I had ever attended and I loved it! I met Ram Dass and learned about walking meditations. I met Ben and Jerry of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and learned about what is happening to our environment due to “progress” and industrial production. I learned about veganism and loved that too. I went home with the book A Diet For A New World by John Robbins the heir to Baskin Robbins (ironic right?).
Why I didn’t change right there and then forever? I had a very abusive mother and no support or encouragement to change in positive ways. Back then (some 34 years ago) vegan was not as popular, fun, or easy. You had to be very committed and know how to cook. I did have an aunt and her boyfriend who were vegetarian and I learned from them how to make bread that was beyond healthy…like hardcore healthy with a million grains and was hard as a brick. I learned to grill tofu and make burgers with it.
It didn’t stick and life when on.
A couple decades later I began my inner spiritual work in earnest to heal my mind and connect to Spirit. I also began exploring and changing my diet because I had some health issues. Skinny Bitch was a book that reintroduced me to the vegan diet again twenty-some years later.
Over the years I watched documentaries and read more books on plant-based living. I even found myself working at Living Light Raw Food Culinary School in Fort Bragg, CA when it was big and thriving. I worked there for 2 years and in 3 different departments. I studied more documentaries, piles of books on the topic of vegan and raw diets for health and healing. I learned to make smoothies, salads, vegan soups, and raw desserts. I loved it. I loved the foods and I loved learning recipes. I still could only stick with a raw diet for only a few days at a time or a week if I was really devoted.
When Bali and I married we played with a vegan diet and I really cleansed my body with green juices and plates piled with salads. I was pregnant within a few months after decades of never getting pregnant. I truly believed this green eating cleansed and healed my body after decades of junk food making it possible for me to be fertile.
But it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I slowly climbed into a vegan lifestyle and kept to it for a whole year! Bali and I had tried being vegan something like 3 or 4 times and only lasted a month tops so for me to be vegan for a year was a big wow!
The reason it worked for so long that round was due to creativity. I watched all sorts of vegan cooking channels on Youtube and learned to veganize everything. I had more fun in the kitchen that year and my cooking talents soared. I looked better, smelled better, felt better, even seemed to look younger. I didn’t lose weight.
At some point we went back to meat and cheese. I missed it. The taste, cooking with it…who knows. But after a year of vegan and all I had learned and how I felt and all that fun cooking…I was never the same and our meat and dairy consumption was far reduced.
Lately, I’ve been missing that lifestyle. My kitchen used to smell so herbally…like a cafe at a health food store where it smells like fresh bread and sprouts. I have been slowly shopping more meat alternatives, Daiya cheeses, and watching my old vegan chefs. It was when I watched an old video of Arjan’s sixth birthday where I had cooked a vegan feast for that day and I really missed those days.
And then the Universe sent me all sorts of goodies. LiveKindly popped up on my cell and I read about The Game Changers, a documentary I had wanted to watch over a year ago but wasn’t out yet. I didn’t remember even subscribing to LiveKindly but that is how Spirit works. When it’s time people, places and things will show up to guide you home.
I have also just watched Secret Ingredients some time ago and was so moved to go 100% organic but didn’t fully commit. I got more into this huge challenge to save money and find a new home with more land. I had forgotten the ultimate money saver; good health.
My husband and elder son watched the documentary with me and we have decided that committing to an organic, plant-based diet is something that must happen and this time we need to make it fail-proof.
Making it fail-proof:
We have the knowledge and a deep understanding of this lifestyle. We know we love it and can do it. I know how to cook this way and Bali’s Indian cooking can be vegan naturally. We know the benefits. We know the pros and we know how this lifestyle is good for not only us but the planet and fellow creatures.
It is a feel-good, do good diet.
The cost can be a factor. Boredom. Missing old foods and cooking. Habit. Feeling like the odd one out as it’s not mainstream.
I have been ordering stacks of vegan cookbooks from the library. They have 19 pages of cookbooks to choose from this year. Far more than when I did this the first time. The vegan channels, the vegan foods and alternatives and the popularity of this vegan lifestyle have skyrocketed since 2017. I can’t believe how many stores now offer hundreds of vegan alternatives and foods. Places like WinCo, Walmart, Safeway…they are on board. There are restaurants and cafes everywhere now. Fast food is now offering vegetarian burgers and tacos. The Impossible Burger with Burger King, the Beyond burger with Carls Jr. and Taco Bell has a vegetarian section. It is now popular, mainstream, and far, far easier. And fun, very fun now. It’s like a worldwide vegan party!
But vegan alternatives are pricy. Choa cheese is delicious and also costs $6 for a small package. Beyond burgers are a favorite but also cost $5.99 for a package of 2 patties.
I’ve found some cooking channels that teach how to make this gooey cheese or Beyond burgers right at home for much less. So, the answer is scratch cooking.
To do this affordably I read recipes and watch cooking vlogs, write down what ingredients I’ll need and make a list. I’ll order in bulk through my co-op since it is priced the same as Azure Standard (an online store for organics that cost less than most health food stores). Once you stock up on bulk foods, spices, herbs, nuts, dried fruits and such, your grocery bill gets smaller each month.
I have learned I can make delicious hot dogs from carrots, burgers that mimic the Beyond or Impossible that we love. I can make meltable cheeses for grilled cheese sandwiches or sauce for mac and cheese with potatoes and carrots and such. This will save a ton of money and be some incredible, healthy eating.
I found a great recipe and instructions on making my own Soy milk in my book The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook and this alone will save hundreds.
Boredom and missing old foods can be cured with the scratch cooking, learning to veganize all the old favorites and playing with all the great foods and recipes that we have now.
As for lonely…it isn’t lonely anymore. I can’t believe how much this plant-based movement has exploded in just the last couple of years and it will continue to grow because it feels so right. It feels good for the body. It feels so good for consciousness.
I am preparing mentally. I’m building my pantry and collection of recipes. I am studying the nutrition of it more deeply this time and we already have supplements. If we aren’t perfect 100% of the time so be it, however, this time I would like to make a life long commitment. That means that if we go somewhere and they serve meat we accept it graciously. We don’t ask anyone else to accommodate us. If we one day bake a chicken because we feel we are craving it…we won’t make a big deal of this. But overall we live in this lovely way and eat these foods from the earth. If the boys ask for fish I’ll cook it. If they want goat milk now and then I’ll purchase it. But the foundation, our main diet is plant-based.
I will play with it, create, have fun and hope for a lifetime of success.
Places to shop are health food stores and co-ops, Azure Standard online, and Thrive Market.
Documentaries to watch:
Secret Ingredients and The Game Changers. There are many, many others. Just type in Vegan Documentaries on Google to find more. Be cautious though, some are hard to watch.