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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

About Me

Hello and welcome to my food blog,
This is a look into the food I create, my cooking philosophy, and the fun I have eating it all!

I would like to tell you a bit about myself first. I'm a full-time college student studying Psychology, Sociology, and Women's & Gender Studies. I have a passion for reading, writing, outdoor photography, and cooking. I grew up in a generally traditional white American family, and it was clear pretty early on that I was gonna be the rebel. Still, all the time spent cooking in the kitchen stuck with me. Although I didn't enjoy it then, when I would've much preferred to be off reading a book or exploring the woods, today I find cooking an absolute joy: It can be exciting, relaxing, and hectic all at once. Plus you get to do science experiments and make artistic creations simultaneously!

I feel starting to cook on a regular basis has truly transformed my life. A lot of the food I ate growing up seemed healthy, but always left me feeling unsatisfied or crappy. I had a lot of minor health issues that no doctor ever suggested could be related to diet which have all but disappeared since then (recurring headaches, acid reflux, chronic backaches, fatigue, etcetera). I have not studied nutrition at an academic level, but my personal experience with this lifestyle change has been amazing. Not only do I feel better physically, but I enjoy my food so much more. Since starting to think more about what I consume, and putting in the time to make a great meal, I am eating the best food of my life. Plus all those healthy things I used to hate - asparagus, kale, mushrooms (with the exception of raw tomatoes, I just can't do it, haha) - taste great now (yup, my tastebuds have actually matured)!

Furthermore, I want to tell you about my journey to my current veganism. It has been a long and topsy turvy road! As I mentioned earlier, I am kinda the rebel in my family. In high school, I watched a video on industrial farm practices and knew right there I had to do something. The suffering and immorality brought me to tears, and I became a pescetarian that day. My parents were unsupportive of the change. My dad is a big hunter, and my mom works hard to make dinner - neither of them were interested in what they saw as a teenager's "phase". Prior to this, I had never realized how much meat we actually consumed. We were never one of those family's who had bacon or sausage with eggs in the morning and yet suddenly it seemed like I could not escape the dead animals. Although it was hard, I did not eat meat for almost two years. This changed when I went to college. It was a combination of a lack of options and personal weakness on my part that made it seem easier to eat meat a couple times a weak. I also ate a lot of unhealthy college food - processed, not enough plants, all that. At my annual check-up we discovered I had developed hypertension. It was no wonder considering how often I felt crummy - the only thing that miraculously stayed strong was my immune system. I realized my body was telling me I had to change. I cut back on sodium, drank more water, and stopped eating all meat.

I feel this was the right choice physically and emotionally, but I learned in a class about the environmental damage caused by our out-of-control meat consumption as a nation so it was intellectual too. I never realized how crappy I felt until I realized how could you could feel on whole grown foods! I successfully tested my veg resourcefulness during my travels to France and Germany, and was inspired to learn more about world cuisines with vegetarian options. I had the privilege of dating a Hindu guy from India who opened my eyes to some of the best food I have eaten in my life. And this is also when something very interesting happened. Most Hindus do not consume eggs, for matters of believing ovulation which is now dead is impure. This led to some personal and philosophical exploration that helped me make the decision to remove dairy products from my diet. When I had a glass of almond milk, it was love at first sip! I have began finding alternatives for ingredients I used to use. Now here is where it gets tricky, because there is a lot of vegan junk food out there, and just because it did not come from an animal does not mean you should eat it. When I first cut out dairy, I thought I had to put fake cheese on everything. As an Italian, it was unthinkable to have pasta without it. But now I cannot tell you how much I love a big bowl of al dente noodles covered in a rainbow of vegetables and herbs - you can really taste everything! I have also started making my own cheezes and mylks with nuts and I know everything that is in them. It can get as pricey or affordable as you choose. Personally, my body and my health is something I consider worth spending on, but I am also a college student, so I cut back in other areas to make it work.

That's enough about me. Let's get cooking!

Create, share, love at first bite!

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