Laura's Vegan Table

Hey, you’ve found me! Perhaps we are kindred spirits and share a love for animals. Maybe you’re here because you keep hearing about this new trendy food that’s vegan. Or maybe you keep seeing one of your Facebook friends constantly posting their “plant based” food pics, and though they look pretty, you don’t know if it’s for you. I mean, you love animals, and you want to be healthier; but can you really eat this way? For a day? A week? A year?!! Maybe you’re already vegetarian and have been vegetarian for ten plus years….long before it was cool. You’re already doing so much in not harming animals; now that’s not even enough, and cheese and eggs are off the table too?! So extreme, right?

You’re not alone. I felt the same way several years ago. Figured, sure, I’ll give this vegan thing a try for a week and see how it goes. I’ve always had a special bond with animals and have been drawn to them as early as I can remember. I never wanted to see them harmed; but I didn’t even become vegetarian until fifteen years ago. This was pre-social media. Not that it’s an excuse; but social media has been a game-changer in getting information about so many causes out there in the open, to millions of people, quickly, with pictures. Kind of late to the social media scene anyway, I don’t think I even got on Facebook until 2011. Even then, I don’t remember paying much attention to it until a couple of years later. It was January 2013 when I decided to try eating vegan. I had been vegetarian since moving from New Jersey to Raleigh, North Carolina in 2002. Vegetarian was new to me at that time; but I had met a bunch of people in Raleigh who had been vegetarian for twenty plus years, so I was in good company. It seemed easy enough, so I continued. Fast forward January 2013. I had signed up for newsletters from Farm Sanctuary and some other animal rights organizations. They would have nice stories of farm animals that were rescued from slaughter, followed by some vegan recipes and new vegan foods out on the market. So I decided to try eating this way. I kept the bar low by committing myself to trying it out for a week. I didn’t follow any plan, and I didn’t know any other vegans; but I knew what reasonably healthy vegan food was so I just started doing it. Switching to almond milk instead of dairy milk was really easy. The freezer section of the grocery store had vegan burgers, vegan pizza, vegan burritos; faux vegan meats that tasted like real chicken, fish or beef. “Huh, this isn’t so hard. I could keep eating this way. I think I’ll just keep going to see how long I can enjoy doing this without feeling deprived of anything.” Four years vegan and counting, it really is that easy, I never feel deprived, I have lots of energy, and I’ve never looked back. Like most vegans, my only regret was not doing it sooner.

They say your tastes change when you start eating a whole foods, plant based diet. They’re right! Cheese is the one thing that makes people uncomfortable about going vegan. “No problem! I can give up meat. But cheese?! No way.” I’m here to tell you that with the vegan options out there, you won’t miss dairy cheese! And it’s true. Your tastes change. I loved dairy cheese like everyone else. And early on into eating vegan foods, I swear I have not missed dairy or cheese at all. It seemed too “heavy” and gross to me actually. For me, the faux meats and plant cheeses were very tasty alternatives; however, I wanted to find ways to eat more plant based whole foods rather than anything processed. I already liked to cook, and I’m a creative person at heart. So, hmmm, maybe I can turn my experience into something fun to share with others. I can relate to people’s tentative feelings about starting a vegan eating journey. I get it. It sounds kind of limiting. It’s unfamiliar. It will be difficult grocery shopping. It might be more expensive. It’s probably just for tree-hugging outdoorsy people.

Nope. None of this was true.

It ended up being an easy transition with an infinite amount of delicious options. It’s not all salad and boring food. Grocery shopping is easy, once you know how to shop a little differently, and you can save money by eating this way. It’s also a great investment in your own health.

So here I am today, starting this blog. My goal is to make eating vegan foods fun and easy. Enjoy the abundance!

Here I am with Lillie, a rescued goat enjoying life at Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge
Photo by David Luyendyk

Laura has been vegan since 2013 and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Montclair State University. She completed Cornell University’s plant based nutrition program based on Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s “The China Study”. She also completed the Forks Over Knives plant based cooking course with Rouxbe Online Cooking School. Laura lives in North Carolina with her husband David; Dylan their Border Collie rescue pup, and their two cockatiels, Hamilton and Jinxy.