Sunday, April 8, 2012

Preconceived Notions

"Preconceived notions are the locks on the doors to wisdom" ~ Merry Browne

A preconceived notion is an opinion formed before you are given true and adequate evidence.

My Grandmother is almost 83 years old and even tho I've been vegetarian since 2003 and a vegan since 2010, she is still astonished when I bring her vegan food that tastes good. She is very often surprised that I could make something taste good that doesn't involve eggs, butter, milk, chicken or cheese.

She tells people that I make cookies and cake without eggs and that it's good. She makes it sound like a miracle. It's rather interesting considering she lived through The Depression. I see recipes for 'depression cake' which is made with no eggs or milk (hard to come by back then) and yet, people find it odd these days to cook without animal ingredients.

When my grandmother was growing up and when she had her own family, eating out was something you did on a special occasion. I know people who only had soda when they went out once a month and now people drink that poison by the gallon on a daily basis. Home cooking was the norm and now home cooking is something people only force themselves to do on holidays.

It frustrates me when people just dismiss foods that are free of animal products as being bland, dry, tasteless and somehow inferior or that vegans give up the wonders of culinary magic simply because we refuse to use unhealthy animal ingredients. I've had people refuse to try something simply because it's vegan. I really don't understand that.

I've had people ask me 'is it real?' ... yes, my food is real. I don't eat imaginary food. I realize they want to know if it's animal derived. For them, real is 'normal' and not 'weird' ... people that know me think my food is 'weird' but it isn't. I love food. I don't eat bland, gross, tasteless or crappy food.

I wish people looked at plant based foods as an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and experience something new... even tho it isn't new. My food is clean. It's not processed and it doesn't contain chemicals or hormones. My food is fresh and whole. My food is what people have always eaten.. what people now consider 'normal' isn't .. it's fake and made in a lab or bred for slaughter.  It is not naturally from the earth.

As a vegan, I eat a more varied diet than I ever ate as a meat eater. As a vegan, I have discovered foods from around the globe that I never even knew existed. As a vegan, I now know there is more than one kind of flour and that there are tons of different grains. As a vegan, I eat desserts that are actually good for me. You can't even imagine the feeling of eating something decadent and delicious without any guilt whatsoever because your dessert has protein and no cholesterol! You don't get that with a 'traditional' dessert.

I've made brownies with black beans and no one could tell. I make french silk and peanut butter pies with tofu and no one knows until I tell them. I make my desserts with whole wheat flour, unrefined sweeteners like maple syrup and evaporated cane juice, and I replace eggs with things like pumpkin and applesauce and the only thing people know is that it's moist and flavorful. I use almond milk instead of cow secretions and Earth Balance vegan 'butter' instead of dairy butter and it tastes better!

One time, a hardcore meat eater was telling me how he'd never eat tofu as long as he lived while he and his entire family (including the kids) were enjoying slices of my french silk pie made of tofu.

He was pretty shocked when my husband told him he just ate tofu.

I also get frustrated at people who tell me they don't like something even tho they've never tried it. That happens a lot with brussels sprouts and tofu. I know that people were brought up to think that they need to have a slab of flesh on their plates and that vegetables are what you have to eat to get your dessert.

That saddens me.

Just because we've always done it doesn't mean we should continue to do it. Slavery went out of fashion and I believe that some day, eating animals will be looked upon as savage and wrong.

I'd like us to get back to eating at home. I'd like to see families sitting down and enjoying a meal. I'd like to see kids get involved in choosing new ingredients to try and finding recipes. I'd like to see people grilling veggies over the summer and serving them up with a delicious veggie burger. I'd like to see people enjoying cooking and baking again. I'd like people to eat food that nourishes them and energizes them and gives them health and vitality instead of slowly killing them.

Going plant based isn't giving things up.. it's gaining better health, a smaller waistline, reversing and preventing disease, and finding that food can be enjoyed even if it's good for you!

"Challenge your preconceptions or they will challenge you!"

Note: the photo on this post is my yummy TBLT sandwich. It's made with tempeh bacon and Vegenaise (dairy free mayo) .. it's delicious. Even my husband loves it and he still eats meat.


  1. I totally agree that there are so many preconceived notions when it comes to food. I also have many people tell me that my ingredients are "weird" and I think, how is it weird, its just a fermented soybean that is pressed into a block form. ???? Its just black beans in a taco. Its just an avocado and tomato on a slice of toast. The protein and calcium myths that have been pumped into everyones brains from day one are false. We don't need meat and dairy to get those things. And in fact they give us WAY WAY more than we would EVER need to be healthy and thrive. And actually can do harm to our bodies in such high levels. I also think its sad that in our country today doctore are not trained whatsoever on nutritional healing. They mask a problem because they too, dont really know much about the food and its effects. I wish so much that people would give it a chance (the vegetarian/vegan way) for a few weeks and really taste the most delicious food they have ever had, feel great, and experience awesome varieties of foods they have probably never even tried before! Great post Shelly!

  2. Yes! you know it! It baffles me that people can eat the flesh of another being and then tell me eating fermented soybeans is weird. Um.. ok. You and I (and anyone that has ever picked up a book about nutrition) know more about it than the average doctor. it's sad and sickening.