Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chili Night!

I love vegan chili, and over the years, I have combined ideas from recipes I've found all over the place and forged my own, unique vegan chili recipe. Tonight is the first time I've ever eaten this chili as an actual, practicing vegan. To the left, you'll see a photo of all the ingredients (minus cilantro) ready to start cooking in the crock pot.

This chili recipe is SO delicious and filling and warm. Everyone cleaned their bowls...even Lizzie.


Project 1:29 Chili

1bag of vegan burger crumblies or textured vegetable protein (12oz)
1 15oz can black beans
1 15oz can kidney beans
1 15oz can garbanzo beans
2 cans of diced tomatoes w/chilies
1 bell pepper (any color), chopped
1 yellow onion, medium, chopped
2 stalks of celery, with leaves, chopped
I cube of cilantro boullion (use veggie boullion if you can't find cilantro), dissolved into:
1C warm water
3T molasses
2T chili powder
1tsp cumin
1/4C fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

In a crock pot (slow cooker), stir together all ingredients EXCEPT the cilantro leaves. Cook on high for 2-3 hours. If you like thick chili, remove a ladel full of the liquid at this point and stir in 2T of flour and add this to the pot. Toss in the cilantro leaves, stir, and cook for another 30 minutes.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Surprisingly Peaceful

So, no matter how I framed going vegan to myself, I always knew that it would require a certain period of willpower and resolve. I knew that it would feel like a "diet" for a while. Not because I'm counting calories or trying to lose weight or any of that judge-y stuff that we go through on a weight-loss or health diet plan, but--let's face it--there are things (lots of them) that I used to eat that I won't be eating anymore. That's got to be a downer until a person gets used to it, right?

But that isn't happening.

My daughter hasn't even noticed a change. She's very young and used to eating whatever yummies she's given, and she's always loved her vegetables. So for her, this is a nonexistent shift. My husband has not had one complaint, and he seems very genuine in his acceptance of everything we're doing. He is still eating omni lunch, but that will phase out as I learn better how to feed him and he's totally open to that. He even sat with vegan leftovers at his desk and ate them right out of the container while praising my vegan gravy with gusto between bites.

As for me? I was prepared for having to work at it and watch my resolve and steer clear of exposure to other people eating omni for a while. I've been shocked to find that it's just not an issue. At all. This is all just happening so smoothly. It's so...easy.

We have eaten like kings this week. I have tasted two new vegetables and discovered a total PASSION for soy faux nog. My daughter and I have been breakfasting on berries and steel-cut oats every morning. It's been an adventure, and a delicious one. No sacrifice. No craving. No temptation of any sort.

There is a peaceful sort of bliss hanging over me right now. My beloved beagle, Kioko, is chewing happily on one of her toys next to my chair. I am reflecting on a wonderful day with a cup of soy nog and a little bowl of pistachio nuts before bed. Life is good. I'm not suffering. I'm not missing anything. I'm not hungry.

And nothing had to die for me to feel this way.

God is good and all is right with my world.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Root Inspiration

So...I was at the commissary buying materials for the alfredo recipe I was telling you all about yesterday when I got lost in the produce section. For the first time in years, I entered the produce section as a novice because I will be using vegetables for different things than before, now. Having been inspired by a Mock Pot Roast recipe that I read a few days ago, I began picking up root vegetables I had never tasted or eaten roasted with reckless abandon. I loaded up my cart with lovely roots and tubers and headed for the checkout...resolved. The picture on the left, here is just part of the glorious booty I brought home. Starting clockwise at the top left, you'll see parsnips, Japanese sweet potatoes, pearl onions, Japanese carrots, acorn squash, lemon, sweet onion, and tarro root. Aren't they lovely? The following post is devoted to showing you the gorgeous meal we enjoyed from these and the steps I took in preparing it.

1:29 Project Root Roast with Gravy

Clockwise from upper left, you'll see the brilliant purple color of the Japanese sweet potatoes. They taste very much like our own orange-fleshed sweets, but they have a very pleasing, smooth texture. The second photo is a cutaway so you can see the flesh of a tarro root tuber. I had never tasted one before tonight. The third photograph is me seeding an adorable, nutty little acorn squash. Finally, you see the size and shape of a fine Japanese carrot. They taste like our own carrots...just sweeter than any carrot of that size we find in the US. These very large carrots taste like baby carrots. They're incredible.

So, my first job was to peel and chop. The second step was to steam all the root veggies for about 10 minutes to get them good and soft. The picture to the left is all the veggies in the colander I use for steaming suspended over a spaghetti pot. Just put the spaghetti pot lid over the colander, and voila! No fancy steamer basket needed. While the vegetables were getting fork tender, I peeled the pearl onions and chopped some celery and put them in my stone roasting pan. I poured the steamed roots over that, sprinkled with chopped fresh savory leaves, salt, and pepper, and then drizzled the whole thing with extra virgin olive oil. I roasted the whole thing at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

While everything was in the oven, I made a gravy mixture from dry onion soup mix, a can of pre-made mushroom gravy (I checked both labels scrupulously for non-vegan ingredients), and some water to thin it out. This step was inspired by the recipe I linked to above. After the veggies had roasted 1/2 hour, I removed them from the oven and poured my gravy sauce over the whole thing and put it all back in the oven for an additional 30 minutes. As I sit typing, I am waiting for it to come out. You would not BELIEVE the aroma in my home right now. It smells like Thanksgiving in here.

We served these lovely vegetables and their gravy with a little rice and a green salad.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Avocado Inspiration

So I was eating an avocado on the half shell with salt and lemon juice on it as part of my lunch, and I decided that this is going to be the food that saves me from cheese. It's creamy. It has a savory sort of flavor to it that mimics the joy I feel from cheese (I'll have to look it up to see what the chemical similarities might be.

My new goal is to make a recipe for vegan pizza with an avocado sauce. I'm thinking a spicy avocado sauce with red onion, tomato, and taco-flavored vegan burger crumbles broiled until the tomatoes and onion darken a bit. Doesn't that sound fantastically YUM??

This is doable...I just know it is.

Exclusivity and Purity and PeTA

I decided, long ago, that a vegan life was morally superior to an omnivorous life. Making that decision was much easier than making real change to redirect my life would be. I believe that there are a lot of people like me out there. By that, I mean that I believe there are thousands, if not millions, of people who have read about how America produces meat and dairy and abhor it without knowing what they can do to change it. Veganism is an obvious first step that each person can take, but it's not as easy as, "stop eating animal products." Sure, that's the mechanical truth of what needs to happen, but it's not that simple. The problems a typical American omnivore faces when trying to make this step are many and varied and complex.

First, there is the problem of knowledge. To a person who has spent an entire life eating meat, dairy, and eggs, the world of vegan cooking can seem alien and inaccessible, and--let's be candid--pretty freaking unappetizing at first glance. It isn't just a matter of "stop eating meat." It is a matter of internal struggle, taking anything from a single moment to a period of years, to form and solidify a belief system with enough power to compel someone to make a gigantic leap into life as a vegan.

I am not typical of the vegan mindset. I did not pursue veganism because I feel it is wrong to eat animal flesh. I don't feel that way. I don't think hunting for food is barbaric. I don't think animals and people are "equal." That doesn't mean that I have nothing in common with other vegans or that I have no place in the vegan community.

I grew up on a farm in rural Arkansas. I grew up helping my parents grow our own food, sell excess produce to others from the bed of our truck, raise and slaughter livestock, hunt for game animals, and feed the fish in our stocked ponds. It was a very subsistence-based and natural way to live. The animals in our care were treated with love, respect, and kindness every moment of their lives--even those last moments. Animal husbandry was an honorable thing when I was growing up. I grew into an adult never knowing thing one about how very different the meat and produce in my grocery store was from that which I consumed in early life. I honestly thought that all farms treated their animals the way we had. I honestly believed that all livestock was killed for food with similar humane practices to those I had witnessed growing up. Naive? Absolutely, but I don't think I was alone in that assumption.

When I learned about the horrific tactics employed with antibiotics, genetic engineering, feeding, housing, and violent slaughter of animals raised for meat in my own country, I was disgusted. I knew I needed to change some things, and I turned to the vegan community of published work and internet talk to find advice, guidance, and support. I received some to be sure, but mostly what I found was frustrating, counter-productive, or downright hostile.

There is immediately an off-putting sort of moral-superiority complex in the vegan community. The language used and the rhetoric tossed about is angry and cruel in its dismissive tone. People new to veganism are often insulted and discouraged right off the bat. Whenever I try to discuss this with a longtime vegetarian or vegan, they usually dismiss my comments by saying something like, "Well, I'm right to be angry." That's true. Everyone should be the meat industry and the agencies who enable them to continue in their atrocious work. I feel that anger from the vegan community is often sloshed with a very haphazard bucket all over the population. This misses the mark and alienates the very mainstream of society that we need to accomplish real change.

Groups like PETA who call themselves animal activist groups have done as much damage to the cause of animal rights in this country as the USDA. I mean that with sincerity. Good people who would otherwise entertain rational, logical discussion of vegan life are now so jaded and alienated because of shock activism that the very mention of the word "vegetarian" will bring out snarls or snorts of derision from typical Americans. You do NOT convince your peers to see things your way by frightening their children, destroying their property, or using a megaphone to impugn their character. Screeching and righteous moral outrage do not win friends. They do not win battles for us, and they do not enlighten the uninformed. Most importantly, they don't serve to garner public support for ending the inhumanity of industrial meat production.

Another disturbing trend in vegan culture is the concept of purity. Passion is good. I like passionate people. Passion without empathy, however, is pretty freaking useless. At some point you have to ask yourself, "Am I passionate because I want to spread my beliefs, or am I passionate because it makes me feel superior to those around me to be so." I think a huge problem that a lot of vegans don't want to admit or talk about is the idea that veganism is an all-or-nothing prospect. You can find heated discussions between people about whether or not they should be "allowed" to call themselves vegan if they follow the principles in their eating but don't abolish leather goods. You can find yourself the target of sarcasm or biting lectures from an 18 year-old self-righteous twit over innocent questions about why eating honey is considered wrong. Veganism is not generally a culture that shows kindness to its new members or to those who find parts of veganism a good fit for their lives without buying the entire package plan on the first day. It feels very much like a group of people in an exclusive club who reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone with the wrong hair color or handbag. It feels petty and immature, not to put too fine a point on it. At best, it is a formidable thing designed to shame people into submission. In reality, what it does is chase people back into a steakhouse defeated, angry, and defensive.

To all of that, I offer you my personal perspective:

My goal in becoming vegan is to make sure that my own corner lives morally and justly. Beyond that, I want to spread excitement and provide realistic solutions to as many people as I can to help alleviate the suffering of animals, the destruction of ecological balance, and the poisoning of my fellow Americans. All of these evils are inflicted upon my country by the industry of meat production, and I want to make sure that everyone fighting against that industry receives whatever information, support, and encouragement I can offer.

I will practice and extol the virtues of a vegan diet.

I will avail myself of all vegan products that I find useful, affordable, and of good quality to replace their non-vegan counterparts in my home.

I will live an example of realistic environmental responsibility by recycling my family's refuse and maintaining our personal belongings as well as I can to prevent waste.

I will champion organic farming coops who offer meat and dairy taken from animals who were raised well and offer them up as options to the omnivorous friends and family who will not stop using animal products.

I will be kind to and encourage any and all new vegetarians or vegans I meet. I will praise their efforts and be tolerant of whatever approach or belief they have that led them to being part of the solution...even if it doesn't look anything at all like my own.

Official Recipe - 1:29 Cornbread it is. The Nix Family's official Southern-style vegan cornbread recipe. This is not a sweet cornbread, and the recipe depends upon its being cooked in a cast iron skillet--Southern style. We love this recipe, and we eat it about once per week. I hope you enjoy it like our family does. Any of you intrepid culinary adventurers out there who share with me a love for modifying recipes, please share your mods with me and tell me how it all came out.

1:29 Project Cornbread
3/4C Cornmeal

1C AP Flour

2 1/2tsp Baking Powder

3T Sugar (I used an unwashed organic granulated cane sugar)

1tsp Salt

1/4C Canola Oil

1C Soy Milk

1tsp White Vinegar

1T Egg Replacer (I have used flax meal and Bob's Red Mill brand Egg Replacer. Both work great) stirred into 3T water.

2T vegan butter spread (we use Earth Balance)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or cornbread mold with the 2T of butter spread into the oven while it preheats.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk and vinegar; set aside.

In a very small bowl, mix the egg replacer into 3T of water; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt by hand until everything is evenly-distributed. Add the oil to your soymilk mixture. Whisk (or us a mixer) briskly until it begins to foam (about 2 minutes). Pour the soymilk/oil mixture and the egg replacer into your dry ingredients and mix until everything is well-blended.

Remove the skillet from the oven. Be's hot! Pour the batter into your prepared skillet. It should sizzle a little bit as it hits the (now melted) butter spread. Bake for 20 minutes and check for doneness with a toothpick. Turn the bread out onto a serving plate and cut into 8 pie-shaped slices. Serve immediately!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Fettuccine Alfonso" Night

So, last night, I searched for today's dinner online. I was starting to panic because it's only our second full day of being observant vegans and I was already having trouble finding something that sounded both accessible and appetizing. You have to understand that I am an avid cook. I am at home in my kitchen. My entire adult life, people have admired and envied my ease and--quite frankly--my skill in creating yummy food. It is seriously unsettling to find myself adrift in the kitchen. I no longer know what "goes" with what. I don't have an instinct for eyeballing amounts in vegan cooking. I don't know, after I mix the recipe ingredients, how the dish is going to turn out. I'm disoriented and dazed in my own kitchen. It's completely uncool.

But it's okay. I knew this would be uncomfortable for a while. I figure after 30 days or so, I'll be getting the hang of things. I just need to remember to breathe.

Anyway, about the time I thought I would cry or throw things if the next recipe I saw didn't sound both doable and yummy, I came upon it. The site is called Vegan Food, and the collection of recipes they have is pretty impressive. This one jumped off the page at we're gonna give it a go. Unlike Thursday's recipes, I will make no alterations. Since I am in wholly unfamiliar territory with this stuff...I'm gonna follow the instructions to the letter. Cross your fingers! We'll be serving this with those mini-kaisers I meant to use yesterday and a lovely garden salad made up of whatever looks good in the local produce section.

Fettuccine Alfonso


1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 1/2 cups soy/rice milk

2 T tahini

1 T onion granules

1 t salt

1 x 15 oz / 425 g can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained well

1 lb / 450 g fettuccine

Cracked black pepper


Place the corn, milk, tahini and seasonings in a blender and process until smooth (it may take several minutes of processing to completely pulverize the corn). Pour the blended mixture in a medium saucepan and stir in the beans. Warm over medium low until the beans are heated through, stirring often.

While the sauce is heating, cook the fettuccine in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain well and return to the pot. Add the warmed sauce and toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately topping each portion with a generous amount of cracked pepper.

Lentil Soup with Cornbread

For these first few weeks, I am going to be operating entirely off of recipes and menu plans that I take from websites, blogs, magazines, and whatever else I can use as a source. I have no working knowledge of cooking as a vegan on a daily basis. In addition, it is VERY difficult to find soy protein substitutes other than tofu variations here on Okinawa. So...this is gonna take patience and research.

To make it fun, I will be posting the recipes I find, any modifications I make, pictures of the whole process, and our collective family review of the food each day. I will link to the original recipes I used for inspiration (which one should always do if an idea for cooking is not entirely one's own), but the recipes you see here in the blog will be my modified "actual" recipes. So if you want to eat the same meal we are eating, use the ingredients and instructions you see here in the posts.

Tonight's supper will be interesting for me. As a Southern gal, I have made cornbread my entire life. I know the recipe by heart. I cook it in a cast-iron skillet, and it always contains both eggs and copious amounts of bacon fat. Tonight, for the first time in all my days, I will be making a lentil soup without the flavoring aid of chicken broth and a ham hock. I will also be baking my very first vegan cornbread. I was going to serve it with mini-kaiser rolls I had in the freezer, but the soup recipe recommended cornbread, so now I can't be satisfied without making one of those, too. The lovely little kaisers will have to wait for another day.

Our family review of the final meal and prep photos will be added to this post later tonight.
*click on the recipe titles to view the original source recipes that inspired tonight's meal. The recipes written on this page are my personal modified versions or "actual" recipes. If you want to eat along with our family, use the ingredients and measurements I've typed out on the posts.

1 sweet (yellow) Onion, chopped
1/4C extra virgin Olive Oil
8 baby Carrots, sliced
3 stalks of Celery, with leaves, chopped
1T minced Garlic
2tsp Oregano
2tsp Basil
2 Bay Leaves
2C dry Lentil beans, rinsed
1 Large (28oz) can of Crushed Tomatoes
5 1/2C Vegetable Broth
1/2C Spinach leaves, (chopped finely so that Ashley can't pick it out)
*I had to use frozen spinach this time, but fresh would always be preferable
1T Apple Cider Vinegar
juice from 1 Lemon
Dash of Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Stir in the onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until the onions get soft. Add garlic, bay leaves, oregano, pepper flakes, and basil; cook and stir until some caramelization begins to appear on your onions.

Stir in the beans, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 60 minutes. Add the chopped spinach, lemon juice, and vinegar. Stir together well, taste, and add your salt/pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes more until your spinach is nicely wilted into the soup. Serve.

UPDATE (October 29, 2010):  The following cornbread recipe is NOT the official 1:29 Project recipe for vegan cornbread.  It is the first vegan cornbread I ever made, and we didn't care for it very much.  If you want my recommendation for Southern-style Vegan Cornbread, please visit my cornbread post HERE.


2C Cornmeal
1C AP Flour
2 1/2tsp Baking Powder
1/3C Canola Oil
2T Molasses
1T Raw Sugar
2C Soy Milk
2tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
3/4tsp. Salt
2T vegan butter spread

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or cornbread mold with 2T of butter spread into the oven while it preheats.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk, raw sugar, and vinegar; set aside. In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil and molasses to the soymilk mixture. Whisk (or us a mixer) briskly until it begins to foam (about 2 minutes). Pour these wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and mix until everything is well-blended.

Remove the skillet from the oven. Be's hot! Pour the batter into your prepared skillet. It should sizzle a little bit as it hits the (now melted) butter spread. Bake for 20 minutes and check for doneness with a toothpick. Turn the bread out onto a serving plate and cut into 8 pie-shaped slices. Serve immediately!
So How Was It?

Well, it was pretty good. The soup was utterly fantastic, of course, because lentil soup is always fantastic. This recipe is easy to make and there is enough left over to feed a small army. Soups typically freeze really well, so I will split the leftovers between the freezer and fridge. As for the cornbread, we all enjoyed it...but none of us thought it tasted anything like cornbread. The texture was very different than a cornbread made with eggs. It was not at all unpleasant; it was just odd for us. I think that next time I attempt a vegan cornbread, I will go with my old recipe modified to exclude eggs. I'm sure with a little research, I can find a way to substitute or overcome the texture problems.

Thursday - Like a Herd of Turtles

My husband often says, "Off like a herd of turtles in a snowstorm," whenever we get into the car to leave or when we embark on something new. I feel like saying it this morning. It is 8:32am on Thursday, December 10th, 2009. I just returned home from taking Elizabeth to school, and I am exhausted. All I want to do is turn around and go back to bed. Alas, that just will not do today. I have to meet my gym partner in two hours so that we can go and torture ourselves on purpose for an hour. After this little unsavory ritual, I have a list of pre-Christmas errands to attend to the length of my arm.

I'm going to download the news (Okinawa, remember?) and pour myself something hot and caffeinated to drink. Then...I'm going to find a good vegan lentil soup recipe that won't be totally boring if I leave out the spinach. Ashley despises spinach unless it's raw in a salad. I know! Makes absolutely zero sense. Maybe if I cut it up into smaller pieces so he'll mistake it for parsley or something. Sigh.

Anyway, I'm out for the morning. I'll think I'll use this blog to post the dinner recipes I use. Have a good day, Everyone.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Food for Tomorrow

In the interest of staying ahead of myself, I will be planning every meal for the family ahead of time, and eating out will be pretty much off-limits. Fortunately for us, we live in Okinawa where there are several good sushi places that offer vegetarian rolls that are to-die and a Thai place that serves a tom ka gai and meatless pad thai that would blow you away.

That's all well and good, but for now, I have to plan out what we're all going to eat. Ashley and I decided that being wasteful is in no one's better interests, so I'm not going to rape the pantry and throw away food. We'll be using up our non-vegetarian food stores in an orderly fashion while I incorporate vegan foods whenever possible. We are also going to approach this from a very relaxed angle. There will be no purity policing in this house just yet.

After rooting around in the pantry tonight, I found a bag of dried lentils. I adore lentil soup, so I'll be making that for supper tomorrow night with some dark mini-kaiser rolls I found in the back of the freezer. Elizabeth is easy to please for lunch, but I've given Ashley carte blanche to spend these first weeks eating "normally" for lunch. Once I know better how to feed him, I will be packing a vegan lunch for him every day like I do with Lizzie. For now, though, I figure I'll keep it low-pressure for my darling and supportive man.

Breakfast is my big struggle. I love eggs. I love bacon. My adoration for butter would be hard to overstate. Fortunately for me, I also really like rice milk. So...for now, it'll be oatmeal made with rice milk for Elizabeth and me in the mornings. Ashley can have a bagel with Earth Balance spread in the car on the way to work. That will keep him pretty happy for the time being. I'll move him into vegan breakfast breads in due time.

That's the plan for Thursday.

Christmas dinner, however, is looming large on the horizon. I won't lie. I have no idea how I'm going to handle it, yet.

Genesis 1:29 - In the Beginning

And God said, "Behold! I have given you the seed-bearing plants throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food." ~The Holy Bible, Genesis 1:29

We're not a super "religious" family. We're Christians, and we believe. That's about all the evangelism you'll hear from me on this blog. We're not here to convert anyone. We just want to share our journey and the reasons we're embarking upon it. I named this project after a Bible verse because our faith is the reason we are doing this. We believe that God requires human beings to be stewards of both the earth and the beasts we share it with. We believe that God intended our diet to be plant-based. We believe that the practices of housing, feeding, and slaughtering livestock on American industrial farms are inhumane to the point of sin. Because we know what goes on in these industrial farms, we believe that consuming the products they sell (meat, dairy, and eggs) is also sinful. For these reasons, our family has decided to become vegan.

In the year 2000, I read The Food Revolution by John Robbins, and it forever changed the way I look at the food on my plate. Over the years since reading that book, I have tried and failed many times in converting my diet to the near-vegan style which I now believe is the only morally correct way to eat. There are many reasons that my past attempts have failed. The following is a brief list of the major obstacles I met with:
1.) I am a political conservative living in a military subculture. This being the case, I am surrounded by family and friends who associate vegetarianism and veganism with fringe leftist ideals and destructive shock groups like PETA. The negative social pressure was overwhelming, and I had neither the personal courage nor the knowledge needed to explain my decisions in a way that my loved ones could accept. I was shamed out of my goals pretty quickly.

2.) Until very recently, the ingredients used as staples in a lot of vegetarian cooking were unavailable except in specialty stores, and many of them were quite expensive. Tofu, I could get...but nutritional yeast, vegetarian hamburger crumbles, seitan, tempeh, brown rice syrup, and agave nectar? Yeah, not so much.

3.) The few "good" vegan cookbooks available had foreign-sounding ingredients that were completely alien to me, and the vegetarian cookbooks leaned so heavily on dairy products that I couldn't stomach the fat content. I didn't know how to cook like a vegan...and I was not ready to put in the work necessary to educate myself. Today, there are vegetarian foodie blogs and websites all over the internet, and there are hundreds of cookbooks to choose from. Ten years ago, however, that was not the case.

4.) I cannot stand most of the soy "near-meat" substitutes. I don't like soy dogs or soy lunch meats...and soy bacon? Gag me. Most vegetarians begin with these familiar-looking items, and I was no exception. I despaired of ever having good food again, and I didn't know what else to try. Today, veggie burgers (and even soy dogs) have come a long way. I have every hope that this past reason for failure can be overcome.

5.) My husband is an omnivore, and he really does not like vegetables. He is the sweetest man on the planet, but he hates pretty much anything that grows out of the ground. "That tastes like a plant," is his most common complaint about food. I felt like a selfish shrew forcing tofu and broccoli and Brussels sprouts on a man who would gracefully choke them down like a gentleman to support my efforts. He has come, over time, to attach moral significance to what I've been trying to do. For that reason, he is more willing now than ever to dive into this life change with optimism. No other woman on earth has been more fortunate in her choice of husband than I am.

6.) Finally, what it really boils down to is that I never acknowledged how huge a change this would be in our lives. I tried to do too much too fast, and it was never going to work that way. I now have a much healthier respect for the kind of change this is going to require. I am 34 years old. Becoming a vegan doesn't happen in one least, it doesn't for me. I know, now, that it will take planning and work to get through all of this and make it stick for good.

So the goal of our project is pretty simple. With Genesis 1:29 as our guiding principle, our family is becoming vegan. One day at a time, one meal at a time, one choice at a time, we're going to change everything about our relationship with food. We hope you're out there reading along with us. We need your advice, your encouragement, and the knowledge that you're out there watching to keep us accountable.