Author: Amber French
I have been super fortunate in my animal protein to vegetarian to vegan journey, I have faced very little criticism and judgment. Most people are just curious which I love because it gives a chance to talk about my favourite subject…FOOD!
I stopped eating meat 10 years ago, mainly on a whim that I thought might last a couple of days! The thing I noticed first was that my headaches (that plagued me for years) immediately went away. I was pleasantly surprised and honestly I think it may have had to do with a sensitivity to the preservatives in the meat more than the meat itself.
The first thing I realized was that I didn’t know how to cook! I could put a meal together (meat, veg and starch) but I didn’t really know how to cook from scratch and had no real experience with following a recipe! Needless to say that needed to change quick!
At the time I had a three and 10 year old meat-eating monsters in my house! I quickly learned to make many pasta dishes and soups! Easy fixes for kids (they barely noticed in the beginning). I also swapped out real processed meat for fake processed meat quite often. Veggie ground round and veggie burgers became an (expensive) staple in my house. As a single parent climbing the fitness industry ladder I knew this needed to change!
I started downloading recipes like it was my job! I started experimenting with beans and grains and relied pretty heavily on cheese to pull everything together!!
When company came it was pasta and egg dishes that thankfully seemed to not freak people out!!
Eventually my now husband moved in with me. He watched my vegetarianism and read Gandhi’s autobiography and became a veggie-eater literally overnight. That is about the time the last of the meat left the house. I had still been purchasing sandwich meat, hot dogs, and chicken strips for the kids.
Now I really had to step up my game and started cooking up a storm. Some hits and some misses, I had no fear and my family became my Guinea Pigs. Approximately 5 years after I gave up meat my mom followed suit, she has been gently guiding my father ever since.
In 2009 we welcomed little Iz to the clan and completed our crazy family! She has actually never eaten meat and is proud of her Veggie-Tarian (as she pronounces it) status!
I know the day will come when she will be curious and I will support any decision she makes. The big kids are 100% veggie when they are with me. If they go out for dinner with the other side of their family(s) or visit friends they make their own choices! Eden is great and very resourceful when it comes to finding vegan baking recipes. Aaron is over 6 feet tall (200+ Lbs) and exists mainly on vegetables!!!!
Within the last year I have removed all dairy from the house and they accepted that in stride as well. They enjoy baking without milk, eggs and other dairy and enjoy the occasional vegan pizza!!
They have days when they strongly dislike what I make (but they did that before we gave up meat too!!). I am proud of our decision every day. I KNOW it is helping our planet and our bodies and it makes me accountable for everything we eat. I don’t miss meat and I do the best that I can to make anyone brave enough to invite us over for dinner feel like it this isn’t a challenge. We can eat at any restaurant and I am totally fine brining “something for us to eat” in fact that is the best way to turn people on to Plant Based living.
I am not attached to any label, I think the term WHOLE FOODS trumps, vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian or anything else when it come to our health. Don’t forget Doritos and Oreos are VEGAN but that doesn’t make them healthy choices!!!
Check out my ridiculously EASY Corn Chowder Recipe. It comes together in less than 30 minutes and is a total crowd pleaser (regardless of dietary choices) and one of my family’s favs!!! It is approximately 160 calories for a bowl and has no gluten or oil.
Easy Corn Chowder
½ diced Sweet Onion
2 diced cloves Garlic
2 Cups of Vegetable broth
2 diced and peeled Russet Potatoes
3 cups of corn (fresh or frozen)
2 cups of Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 can creamed corn
3 TBSP of Nutritional Yeast
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté Onion and Garlic in a thin layer of veg broth until tender and translucent. Add veg broth and potatoes and simmer for 10 mins until potatoes are fork soft. Add additional ingredients, stir to combine and simmer until fully heated through.
Serve with some flat bread or a bright vibrant salad and loads of love and ENJOY!
About the Author: Amber has been in the fitness and recreation game for over 15 years (not including school!!). She made fitness her life because as the age old saying goes, study and teach what it is you need to learn. In other words, she’s battles with some weight issues for many years and wants to share what she has learned along the way.
You can follow her @TheVeganHouse