21 Confessions of a Vegan Chef

by on August 6, 2013


confessions

 

21 Confessions by Veronica Grace

1. I do not actually consider myself a chef, nor do I claim to have any culinary training. I am sell taught, having lived and traveled to some remote areas and had to rely on making my own raw and vegan recipes for myself and others. Ever since I was very young I have always been in the kitchen though. I loved to eat and once I figured out I could bake my own goodies and make my own lunch I was in love with food. I like to eat and so I often find a healthier way to make what I’m craving or something intriguing I wanted to try. I have a little over 4 years of experience since I quit doing office work and started being a homemaker and opening my own business online. I also watch a lot of Food Network, most shows actually lol. So the term chef is used loosely, I’m more of a hands on teacher.

2. My family were quite apprehensive of eating my recipes and not very interested until I started making recipes for my first 2 cooked recipe ebooks Comfort Soups To Keep You Warm and Vegan Comfort Foods From Around The World. For the most part I would say they enjoy my recipes now lol. Now they enjoy eating more plant based because they have had some tasty recipes.

3. I’ve never been a vegetarian. I’ve gone straight from SAD (standard eating) to raw vegan twice and to whole food vegan/plant based. I never did much care for dairy and gave up cheese a long time ago back in my calorie counting days! (Cheese is extremely high in calories and fat and I gave it up on those merits alone.) I also have never successfully cooked a real omelette. Vegan omelettes though I can do!

4. I hate spicy food… Really, if it’s spicy, I’d prefer it not be spicy at all. I’m just not used to it. I used to not even be able to tolerate mild to medium spicy food. Only in the past few years have I grown accustomed to some spice in my food from Thai and Indian cuisine. That’s why I always say chilis and chili powder is optional in my recipes because some people like their food much spicier than me and some not at all. In my world all would be fine without spicy chilis… I will not however give up my smoked paprika, cuz that’s not spicy, it’s just smokey and delicious!

5. I would probably put mushrooms in every cooked recipe if I could. I love mushrooms that much. You may have noticed from some of my recipes such as Deluxe Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna, Fettuccine Alfredo with Spinach and Mushrooms, Rotini Marinara with Mushrooms, Portobello Bean BurritosGourmet Cream of Mushroom Soup, Deluxe Dijon Tofu Scramble and more. But not everyone likes mushrooms as much as I do, so unfortunately I can’t put them in everything….

6. My 3 secret spices are roasted cumin, smoked paprika, and Herbmare (an herb seasoned salt). You can pretty much put them into any recipe and make 2 out of 3 of those work. Roasted cumin goes well in Latin and Indian dishes and smoked paprika can be added as a garnish or a flavor enhancer to almost anything. Instead of salt I like to use Herbamare as it also has some herbs in it which give a nice flavor if you’re the type that like just a little surface sprinkle of salt to your dishes.

7. I don’t drink alcohol. At all. Zilch. I have no idea what wine goes best with my recipes, so don’t ask! LOL. I have used wine in maybe 3 recipes from time to time for flavor, but that’s about it.

8. I stay home a lot…. like most of the time. I’m kind of a hermit, people don’t see me very often. I’m always at home working, cooking or cleaning. Usually I only leave to get groceries or get the mail. I should probably be more social at my age… hmm

9. I used to really dislike tofu. I used to try to avoid tofu because I “heard” it wasn’t good for you, but have since learned there’s no problem eating soy in moderation, especially if it’s minimally processed and organic. See The Truth About Soy. (I just avoid soy protein isolates as they are a processed food). Now I enjoy smoked tofu in stir fries, pressed tofu in my tofu scrambles, and silken tofu in my Alfredo sauce and my vegetable lasagnas. Soft tofu plain in Asian dishes is not my favorite, but I’ll still eat it once in a while!

10. When I don’t feel like cooking I’ll eat a giant bowl of sliced up fruit or a green smoothie. It’s also a great time saver as it doesn’t produce a lot of dirty dishes. (Fruit has more calories than salad or vegetables so I find it more sustaining than just having a salad on it’s own)

11. I actually don’t enjoy eating raw tomatoes or bell peppers… Ketchup, tomato sauce and (mild) salsa are fine, but plain fresh tomatoes in a salad or a sandwich/burger is not for me, I pick them out and just don’t eat them. Bell peppers I can tolerate if cooked, but if I’m making something just for me I won’t use them. I use bell peppers a lot in my cuisine because they are pretty, healthy and most people like them! Growing up we never used these foods and we never got used to eating them. I have made great progress, it’s not a mental thing it’s just a taste. I wish I liked them more but I don’t. My younger sister still won’t eat any of them! (She still avoids tomato sauce too.)

12. I never ate beans, lentils or eggplant until about 5 years ago. Aside from kidney beans in chili and refried beans in burritos we never ate beans growing up. The first time I had lentils was in a recipe I made and I was always afraid of eating eggplant because some people don’t like it. But beans, lentils and eggplant are probably my top favorite foods to eat because they are so versatile, they absorb the flavors of whatever spices you use and they fill out your recipes making them look and feel heartier.

13. I cannot stand to eat olives or olive oil! The taste totally grosses me out, even if it’s “high quality” nope. I will not eat olives, nor can I enjoy anything drizzled in olive oil. Total gag factor. I really do make my Greek and Italian cuisine without olive oil too. I’ve also never ordered a vegetarian special pizza because it comes with all kinds of things like black olives, peppers and raw tomatoes that don’t do it for me. What’s on my vegan pizza? LOTS of mushrooms, pineapple, spinach, caramelized onions, garlic and sometimes tempeh, smoked tofu or artichoke hearts (packed in water.)

14. I had never had real Indian food until about 5 years ago. I had avoided it because I heard it was spicy and assumed I wouldn’t like any of it. (How sad!) Now I love Indian food and could probably eat it every day. I still prefer making my own that way it’s oil and dairy free (for sure) and I can make it less spicy! He he.

15. I first got interested in cooking through baking. As a kid I was addicted to sugar, candy and baked goods and I loved making things myself (you know, for instant gratification). Now I hardly ever bake. Why? #1. If I make it I will probably eat all of it… or most of it…  #2 flour and sugar aren’t health food or necessary for every day recipes and #3. oil free baking isn’t as nice. You can do it… but where do you draw the line? It’s low in fat, but then full of sugar and flour and still not really health food. So I prefer fruit for the most part. Except if it has chocolate, then I might want a bite…

16. I don’t actually cook from scratch every single day. I’m just like everyone else, I get busy with work, house cleaning and errands too. If I cooked scratch every day 3 meals a day and still had to work on top of that I might die of exhaustion… so I try to space it out. I like to make a lot of double meals that way there is leftovers for lunch or another quick meal. I cook brown rice and beans in large quantities as it’s nice to have on hand in the fridge or freezer when I’m short on time.

17. Sometimes I wish I could keep things simple, buy far less groceries than I do and just eat the same thing every day and not have so many different ingredients (you don’t want to see my cupboards… really.) But I do like to try new things and learn new recipes and techniques so I can share them with you.

18. I don’t only cook my own recipes all the time. Although I really do like many of my recipes after I know it’s good I move on and create a new recipe, as there are far too many dishes I will never get to try for me to settle on cooking from my own recipe books every week.

19. I think I’m the only one in my family that loves green peas and split peas. And I mean love! I can eat green peas raw out of the pod or just steamed in a giant bowl with a little salt. I love split pea soup and Kik Alicha (Ethiopian Split Pea Stew). I will never get tired of eating peas. My mom and sister however avoid them like the plague and are horrified by how much I love them lol. Sad…

20. I’m not very good at taking care of plants. If it can go a week or two without being watered, then it should be safe. This is why I don’t buy flowers, don’t plant flowers and don’t have many ornamental plants. If it’s not food related it’s hard for me to keep track of it’s life cycle!

21. I do this because I really like teaching and helping people help themselves and not for the money. I only make it pay check to pay check just like everyone else and most of what I create and share is free. I often care too much about others and seeing people around me suffering is very hard for me and I feel compelled to make a difference. If I can help someone try a new food, learn how to prepare something healthy, enjoy a new recipes or get some confidence in the kitchen where they had none before it really makes me feel good about what I do.

And there’s my little list! I’m sure you learned some new things about me. What are some of your little confessions? 

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 k November 29, 2013 at 5:15 PM

I love the difference you make in people’s lives. Often, I read the remarks / comments and cry. You are a beautiful spark in this dark humanity. Thank you

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2 Jo August 12, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Mom here! For the record, I ate fresh peas from Dad and Kathy’s garden last week! I have always loved fresh-out-of-the-garden ones when I can get my hands on them. I just still avoid the canned, frozen, dried and souped ones like the plague! (while we are doing confessions! lol) Great article!

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3 Tricia August 11, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Another hermit here (we’re just coming out of the woodwork, aren’t we?), but not by nature. About seven years ago I retired as a computer teacher to care for my husband, who became severely disabled both mentally and physically. At first, people gathered around, but over the years they’ve all drifted away and it’s just the two of us 24/7. We’ve got all the routines worked out, and it’s actually quite a pleasant life. A bout of breast cancer got me to looking at my prognosis, at 280 lbs — and worried sick about what would happen to Frank if I died. I read ALL the books you listed, but it was Dr. Fuhrman’s work that really did it for me. I’d been a vegetarian for more than a decade, but now I’m a joyous low-fat vegan!! And 125 lbs. lighter. Your web site has been a great resource — thank you so much!!!!! I think I own all your books on my kindle. Frank doesn’t do well with variation in anything, so I cook up large batches of his regulars, puree them and freeze individual portions. That leaves me cooking just for me. At first this seemed sad, because I had always loved to cook for people, and especially to invent new dishes. But now I find it liberating — I don’t have to limit myself to what others would like, but can experiment wildly. Sometimes it’s pretty bad, but it doesn’t matter cause it’s just me. But usually it’s delicious, at least to me, and I know everything is healthy.
I wish you every success with spreading the low-fat vegan word — and thank you for sharing a bit about yourself (and giving me a place to share a bit about me).

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4 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 11, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Thank you for sharing your story Tricia! Congratulations on taking back your health and your incredible weight loss. That is amazing. I know it can be harder changing people’s eating habits, I know it was a struggle for my grandfather to eat differently being a hunter for most of his life. He feels better and is coming around to the food slowly but still dislikes many things I use in my dishes probably from childhood experiences lol.

Sometimes when I cook for just me I feel the same way, I either keep it super basic and boring or I try new things and and then get excited I made it for me. But then I take photos and usually share it on the blog lol. I’m glad you’re enjoying the recipes. I appreciate your support and letting me know. 🙂

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5 Marcia August 11, 2013 at 3:18 PM

OMG! You ARE human! Another myth thrown asunder. Interesting post, thank you for a Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica 101. Keep up the good work. I guess that should read keep up the yummy work!

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6 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 11, 2013 at 6:01 PM

lol thanks Marcia.. Yes I am very human and probably very normal as most plant based eaters these day are. haha. 🙂

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7 Robyn August 10, 2013 at 9:45 AM

What a great list of confessions! I’d been vegetarian since 1978, but being ovo-lacto nearly killed me. After a serious illness in December I was basically told to follow a vegan diet for my life, and it’s been never looking back since then! I don’t miss the dairy at all, and surprisingly I don’t miss the fat! I don’t even miss dessert. Two things happened though, one I don’t drink coffee anymore because it doesn’t sound good, and two I can’t taste salt anymore. I have to use a LOT of salt at table to get any taste at all.
I grew up in Japan so eating tofu is like an American eating oatmeal, or grits, or something like that. I like to put grated fresh ginger, and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos with some sesame seeds, sesame oil, maybe chopped green onion, or cooked cold spinach with it. It’s a very simple and easy addition to a meal of hot rice and maybe some Asian style pickled cabbage or whatever. A note about tofu: many people wonder about the phytoestrogen in soy and so avoid tofu. In Japan, we eat it from cradle to grave and there isn’t the high incidence of female cancers, so tofu in and of itself is not a cancer risk food.
Yours are the recipes I use the most in my cooking. I don’t use recipes exactly but as guidelines, and I love your friendly and easygoing way of presenting them. Thanks so much for helping this individual reach a healthier place in life!

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8 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 11, 2013 at 3:40 PM

I’m so glad you’re doing better on a plant based diet Robyn. I have had many friends who became ill consuming dairy regularly, one even developed lupus and it has since gone away now that’s she’s vegan.

Perhaps there is an adjustment time for your tastebuds, or you are detoxing. I know some people with celiac disease have issues with tasting some things but that might not apply to you.

Maybe just cook without salt and sprinkle it on top at the end when you eat so you can taste it there.

You are right about tofu! It is amazing how many Western people are terrified of tofu for the wrong reasons. It’s true people have been eating soy and tofu for hundreds of years in Asia without the rampant cancer we see in Western culture.

I’m glad you’re enjoying the recipes. Thank you for the feedback!

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9 Suzanne Powers August 10, 2013 at 8:34 AM

Loved Reading your 21 Confessions. I feel like I know you so much better now. I cook every Sunday and the last thing I made from your Book was the lentil meatloaf. It was delicious! I ate it with Vegan mushroom gravy and steamed Brussels sprouts & cauliflower . Making your chocolate pudding this weekend. I Can’t tell if I am registered for the raffle for the bean cooler. Been looking for a bean cooker on eBay but don’t know what to buy. I definitely need one because I screw up my beans & rice constantly ! I don’t care for hot Spicy dishes either . Notice other Vegan recipes have a lot of hot spices? Ugh!I could only find smoked Spanish paprika. Is this hot too. I used in my lentil loaf & it was fine. LOVE LOVE Herbamere/trocomare! Not crazy about tofu either it but will at it sometimes.

Thank you for all contributions to eating healthier!

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10 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 11, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Thank you Suzanne. I should make that lentil loaf more often. It’s so delicious, I may make it tonight actually then. I love serving it with gravy and veggies. So tasty.

For the bean cooker contest you use the little square giveawaytools widget that is just above the comment section on the page. You have to enter in your email address into the box and validate your entries when you comment on the post and validate your entry for being signed up for the newsletter to be entered to win.

Smoked Spanish Paprika is correct yes. Some labels say Spanish some do not, but it is not spicy it is delicious. I really don’t like chilis I can’t make myself want to eat them and burn my tongue lol.

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11 Kim August 9, 2013 at 8:31 PM

It’s so nice to know you better Ms. Veronica. I found your website looking for a way to reverse my newly diagnosed diabetes. I am slow @ getting there. It really helped when I purchased your books on salad dressings, comfort foods, and soups!. When I first made my own beans I was so worried they wouldn’t be taste however, I followed your advice and they were soo good and tasty! I just couldn’t get enough of them. Thank you so much for all your dedication and what I know is hard work. You have made such a difference in others lives. It’s ok to be just who you are. Please don’t change!!. 🙂

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12 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 11, 2013 at 3:34 PM

I’m glad you’re enjoying the recipes, you can definitely manage your diabetes by eating whole foods and plant based. Thank you for your kind words and good luck in your journey. I know you can do it and feel amazing. 🙂

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13 Natalie August 9, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Thanks for sharing a little about yourself Veronica. It’s so nice to get to know a person a little more after reading your website and recipes for so long. I often feel very similar in terms of being isolated, because of what I eat, and don’t go to alcohol related places/parties.
But then I think of the alternative and being back eating SAD and drinking – not many people who do that are actually happy anyway, its mostly a facade. So I’m happy to stay in and connect with people over the internet. Keep up the good work. I really enjoy your website and recipes and I often come to you for ideas and recipes.
Also keep up the youtube videos, I’m really enjoying them!

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14 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 11, 2013 at 3:32 PM

You’re right. I guess I miss out on going out socially sometimes as it’s either about eating sad food or drinking but I don’t actually miss doing those things and feeling horrible after. I’m also kind of cheap and hate to waste money just hanging out socially lol.

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15 Jo Ann Jennings August 9, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Wow….I would have thought you were culinary trained and out on the circuit speaking! Maybe you should think about getting out of the house more and hit the speaking trail. I know I would come to hear you teach.

I am a novice to this vegetarian/vegan thing. I had a heart attack in January 2012 and my cardiologist highly recommended me going vegetarian/vegan. I started out vegetarian and am trying to do more of the vegan thing. I feel so much better and hopefully am doing my heart good.

Thanks for sharing your life with us. It was refreshing to me to see that you are so normal! Hahaha! I really do need to learn how to cook more and spend more time preparing foods. Frankly, I hate being in the kitchen. I do live a pretty hectic life….and it will be getting more hectic in a few weeks….I am going back to school at the ripe young age of 54! Anyway, I hope to continue to learn from you and enjoy such great recipes.

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16 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica Grace August 9, 2013 at 4:56 PM

You made me laugh Jo Ann. Haha no way am I culinary trained… Watching Food Network and reading blogs does not count as training but I pick up tips and tricks here and there. And then I also learn the hard way to doing things and then tell you the short cuts or the RIGHT way to do things the first time lol. I’ve always been fairly instructional myself, I thought I wanted to be a teacher growing up but I didn’t want to work at a school. This works for me because I get to teach people what I already know and what I’ve learned.

I do occasionally do a class in my home town, but I feel more people can benefit if I write, photograph and video record what I’m doing so I can help more people on the internet. I will do some traveling and food demos and talks in the future especially around the USA and Canada once I have some more funds for business trips.

To me I feel super abnormal… but I am a regular person with all the same kinds of troubles, distractions and temptations and I just try to do my best.

I had someone email and ask where I went to school so I wanted to be very clear that I do not claim to be a culinary trained chef. They focus so much on meat I wouldn’t learn as much as I needed to know about cooking and prepping veggies, beans and grains.

Keep up the good work, heart attacks have affected my family as well but the plant based diet has made a world of difference healthwise if followed fairly closely. Best of luck.

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17 Emma Hawes August 9, 2013 at 1:14 PM

I’m so with you on the spicy thing!

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18 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 1:46 PM

haha! Yes!

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19 AppleCharlotte August 9, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Dear Veronica,

I live in Brighton a very lively and vibrant city in England. However its transcient nature, can make meeting other people with similar interests, tricky. However, all around the world is a website called `Meetup`, (google) where people set up there own group on the meet up site, which is then launched to all the members in your area and people can choose to join. For instance, I`m a member of the `Raw Food` meet up group, the `Vegetarian` group and the `Vegan` meet up group. ” We tend to meet for potlucks, or sometimes to socialise, once a month is good for me. The last raw potluck was incredible as we all bought so many different raw dishes, sat in the park for 4 hours and talked food. I also am a member of the sports meet up too and enjoy beach barbeques, rural walks and lots of tennis. Sometimes I am asked to contribute a £1 towards the meet, but I don’t mind. Meetup is a great way to meet people that you have something in common with from all walks of life. I met an America raw health Guru, a vegan chef and a mother and a midwife who have been eating raw, vegan for 15 years! Also 2 budas and 5 over people (this is Brighton). I know, I`m lucky. Thank you for your site, I love your recipes and experimenting with my dehydrator too. Peace on Earth…AppleCharlotte x (ps I know my meet up mates read your webpage too, think your probably as big as Meet up is!

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20 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Hi AppleCharlotte,

Yes I have been a member of meetup for a very long time. This summer people have been very flakey with the vegetarian events though and not many people have attended. I ran a green smoothie class through meetup the other day and I have been to a few potlucks. It’s hard for me to find people my age in these groups, most are in the 40-60 range as they are trying to learn how to eat healthier and are not necessarily vegan themselves. There are some younger vegans I know of in this city but they have their own groups. I feel I don’t fit in as I do this for health and stick to low fat, it kind of turns some off who want to eat deep fried vegan treats and desserts regularly. lol

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21 Carrie Melvin August 9, 2013 at 11:49 AM

You are hilarious! I really appreciate what you do, & I enjoy your recipes. I got started with this diet after reading eat to live almost a year ago. It really changed how I thought about food, & I appreciate that your recipes follow his guidelines of eating healthy. It still seems like a struggle some days because I work in the restaurant industry where eating and drinking in abundance & talking about it pays my bills & pretty much everyone in the industry loves to hate, but I feel amazing so I guess that’s what is most important! 🙂 Sometimes it feels like I kicked a crack habit, but still sell coke. Haha I loved to eat like this before but didn’t realize it was truly possible….& I am obsessed with lemon. I pretty much put it in almost every dish & salad. I think I’ve made a salad dressing once from the Eat To Live book, usually it’s just lemon juice & a splash of flavored vinegar.
Thanks again Veronica for your time, effort, & compassion for other’s health.

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22 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Thanks Carrie. I used to waitress too and I just can’t in good conscience do it. Even before I was vegan I would avoid cheese and the unhealthy menu items and I always felt bad recommending them when asked because of course everyone loves double cheese covered enchiladas (that they can barely finish) or giant burgers and fries or steak and mashed potatoes. Also I hated coming home smelling like ketchup and meat every night lol. So I put my energy into this instead as at least I’m helping people eat better. I know how you feel, totally like a drug dealer almost!

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23 Betsy Cosmos August 9, 2013 at 11:18 AM

I think you’re tremendous! I remember as a kid asking my mom why so many poor people were fat (this is before almost all of America became fat). She told me that inexpensive foods were fattening. You have enabled those of us on a budget, who do not have personal chefs, to learn how to cook and eat in a healthy manner. I’m so grateful!!! It started for me with The China Study and when I first read it, it was so difficult to find recipes that would satisfy my carnivore husband. Now I almost never serve meat or dairy and he has survived with a smile on his face (most of the time). Thank you so much, Veronica, for all you are doing. It is very much appreciated. (I still can’t think about tofu, though 🙂

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24 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 12:47 PM

lol Betsy. Thank you. It took me a while to get used to tofu but of course just like meat it’s all about marinating it or putting sauce on it and cooking it right. So I just add a little extra something to my tofu and it’s nice. I use it when straight beans won’t work in a dish such as stir fry or asian noodles as sometimes I’m still ravenous just having rice and veggies.

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25 Diana Ng August 9, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Thanks for being so open and honest. Also thank you for your recipes. They are helpful when I’m stuck not knowing what to cook. I was born into a vegetarian family because we were poor and unable to buy meat. But the neighbors here encouraged my dad to eat meat even though there was a vegetarian doctor living in my neighborhood long time ago and a vegan as my upstairs neighbour. These nosy meat-eaters were willing to cook meat for us to eat which they did and told us about B12 is necessary. I think they knew little about this vitamin actually came from the soil. Anyways, we became omnivores until a year ago, I took my mom and me back to being plant-based because of her dislike for BP pills. As a stroked patient, her health wasn’t improving except for those pills. So I made the change for her and myself. And we’re not returning back!

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26 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Wow Diana, that is a great story. I know eating plant based can make a huge difference on needing medications. My grand father finally got off cholesterol pills after eating plant based for over a year and his doctor was shocked and neither him nor the doctor really thought it would make much of a difference. But it did!

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27 Ann August 9, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Love your list. I’m a mostly vegan cook/hermit, too. Home is where my heart is! and like you I never touch alcohol, just don’t like it. I wonder if we cook/hermits were kitchen monks in a past life!
I’m going to try your roasted cumin and smoked paprika spices. I love Herbamare, too.
Keep on going with great recipes; I am grateful!

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28 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Thanks Ann. I think working at home and eating this way is more isolating for me as well as I don’t like to make people feel bad about what they eat and also people don’t just want to eat at vegetarian restaurants. Most women my age still go out and drink and want to eat at regular restaurants. And when I feel like I don’t fit in I spend more time by myself instinctively. I wish I wasn’t so shy sometimes and had some more friends in person I could not feel out of place with.

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29 Cecilia August 9, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Hi Veronica,
You are a good person as you really care about people. Thanks for sharing who you are with us. I have been a vegetarian since 1996 and then tried the Raw Food diet for 28 days. I have since continued on raw food, just occasionally, as I found that I have much less grains and starch than before. As well, it has very high fat content, lots of nuts. (silly it may sound, some said that going raw cold turkey could cause my new gallstone, not sure if it were true). So I resolve to have a combination of raw (as in smoothies) and cooked vegetarian food. Your recipes are just perfect for this purpose. I have purchased a few of your books and videos.
I do have one question, do you use the sweet or hot smoked paprika?

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30 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Hi Cecilia, thank you. I use sweet smoked paprika or smoked Spanish paprika. It is definitely not hot. 🙂

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31 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 10:42 AM
32 Cecilia August 9, 2013 at 6:34 PM

Thank you Veronica for being so detailed. As I live in Toronto, I usually cannot get the same thing you recommend on Amazon.com and most of the times, Amazon.ca does not offer the item. For this, I will go with the Sweet Smoked Paprika, http://www.amazon.ca/Sweet-Smoked-Paprika-Pimenton-Spain/dp/B008CYZIW6/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1376094576&sr=8-7&keywords=smoked+paprika

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33 Virginia Innes August 9, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Thank you, Veronica, for sharing some of your confessions…I know that is not easy! I confess that I am an on-again, off-again vegan…I hop from being happily vegan to not-so-happily vegetarian. I am probably too hard on myself. I never actually WANT to eat dairy or eggs, but NO ONE else in my family is vegan, so I sometimes eat it just to not stick out like a sore thumb. :). Anyway, I feel waaay better when I am eating a high-raw vegan diet. Thanks again for letting us see a little bit about the real Veronica. 🙂

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34 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 10:46 AM

It sounds like there is some conflict between being prepared with enough vegan food to eat around your family and feeling guilty for standing out that makes you feel like giving up and eating like everyone else. It is common. All it takes is practice with putting yourself first and always making sure your food is covered, whether it’s you preparing it, making sure you have food at home or at a friends to eat and your friends and family will support you and maybe provide/share one or two things that are vegan that you can have anyway.

Holidays used to be stressful for me when my family wanted 2 versions of everything, but I insisted it was much easier to make all the side dishes vegan and promised they would still taste good. This way I could eat vegan on all of the holiday sides and still enjoy them and my family was happy trying some new sides and versions and didn’t mind after they tasted them.

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35 Barbara Lowell August 9, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Very refreshing and honest. Like you I am a hermit, loving all things that pertain to homemaking, food, health, consciousness and crave solitude. I so enjoy the zen of refining and enjoying the ordinary life. I kept expecting all my life to become more “social”, but it never happened. Since I am 71, last year I embraced being self sufficient and developing a more natural lifestyle as a valid lifeswork. I wish I knew then what you know now, and I am glad that you have so graciously accepted your uniqueness and recognize your contribution.

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36 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Yes I know how it feels to be a unique hermit. It would be harder without the internet to reach out to people. But because it’s so easy to do so I at least feel compelled to connect and reach out in this way because it helps me and other people to feel they are supported and not alone in their journey. I have always felt on the outside but it is nice now that I have something I’ve built myself that I can use for my passion.

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37 Adrianne August 9, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Thank you for sharing Veronica! I have been killing myself trying to cook fresh every meal (except Friday night!), grow our own veggies, and keep up with working our small horse farm. After reading your blog today, I’m going to give myself a break every once in a while. I wonder if you know how much of a difference you make in your reader’s lives?! TGIF

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38 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Oh Adrianne, double meals, double batches, slow cooker or pressure cooker cooking will help you out. I reaaaaaally hate doing dishes, my kitchen is always a mess at the end of a meal whether i’ve photographed or filmed a recipe and making full meals from scratch 3 times a day is time consuming when you have other things on the go. Some things I do to keep things simple, have fruit or a smoothie for breakfast or lunch (and for other people too) or cook steel cut oats overnight in a rice cooker or slow cooker so anyone can have breakfast when they want in the morning and top their oatmeal as desired, or have pre sliced fruits and veggies in containers in the fridge so you can quickly plate up fresh fruit or grab a handful of veggies to cook in a dish. I really want help people streamline as I know I can be scattered so much of the time. Once things become easier its much less stressful to maintain long term! Thank you 🙂

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39 robin August 9, 2013 at 7:58 AM

I went vegan in 2005 and like you i was not a vegetarian b/4 doing so. Last Thanksgiving I decided I wanted some of the turkey and enjoyed it so much I am still eating meat. I went cold turkey (off all meat) in Jan of 2005, and now I am struggling to get back off of it…I work 3 jobs and it is hard to eat right all the time. But the meat needs to go.. I don’t know why I had such success at first and i’m struggling now. I
enjoy your blog and follow you on f/book.. I have a cookbook or 2 of yours. Thanks for being so honest and helpful…

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40 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Perhaps in the beginning you made a steadfast choice for no meat and didn’t regard it as food. Then opening yourself up to eating it once makes it easier for your to eat it again. Your brain remembers these habits and chemicals from eating meat and it can trigger you to desire it. Maybe if you made a rule that you don’t eat out anything that contains meat or eggs or dairy it would help, if you absolutely must have some you have to make it yourself or something like that. We’re opportunists it becomes so tempting to just eat out or eat whats around when we are tired, hungry and cranky and then we give in easily and wonder why we couldn’t control ourselves. Planning is key. I used to take 2-3 meals of fruit or raw vegan dishes with me during the day so that if I was eating with other people I always had something to eat as there was no restaurant food to eat. People thought I was weird, but I never went hungry and never cheated doing that as I had already prepared my own food and put the work in.

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41 Cecilia August 9, 2013 at 7:20 PM

Veronica, when you mentioned there was no restaurant food to eat, it reminds me of the social issue I faced with. While I was able to overcome the peer pressure and drank my beet juice at a restaurant, my friends showed me a sign which said that we are not to consume food or drink brought in from outside. I think I will have to pay $500 if I do. I prefer to eat food I prepared rather than ordering vegan food from the restaurant. It seems that it is not socially acceptable. How do you deal with this?

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42 Muriel JelsmaMarkley August 9, 2013 at 7:49 AM

You are a balanced and healthy young woman. I wish that I had your sense of who you are when I was your age. I am 76 and have been a mostly vegan for several months. Your meal plans are a big help as I intend to use diet rather than pills for my old age.

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43 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Thank you Muriel. You can do it. I have always been very curious and questioned everything even as a child, it drove my mom and teachers nuts that I would ask why all the time. So eventually it turned to food and I asked why the food pyramid, how does junk food even fit into that and is that real food when I started reading labels. It was crazy to realize we were eating food that wasn’t food but a list of processed food ingredients and chemicals it became easier to eat whole and fresh foods that needed no labels.

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44 Brenda August 9, 2013 at 7:41 AM

I do eat the same thing most of the time. I also have fun experimenting with new recipes but it is so easy to just do the same. I adore lentils, lentil soup, lentil crumbles, i could eat an entire batch at one sitting. I, too, stopped baking for pretty much the same reasons. I don’t need it and I’d rather eat healthier. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself. it is nice to get to know you better.

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45 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 10:58 AM

You’re welcome Brenda. I love lentils, I am still trying to get my family to like them lol.

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46 Jan August 9, 2013 at 7:33 AM

Thanks for sharing. You put some things in perspective for me- will be a little easier on myself. At my age (76) that should be a given.

Love ya.

Jan

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47 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 10:59 AM

You’re welcome Jan. Be prepared, be kind to yourself and stay positive and it will make eating healthier easier and much more pleasant and desirable!

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48 Mary Beth Elderton August 9, 2013 at 7:16 AM

Love! I am also something of a hermit–I am at home almost all the time….and I like it that way! I do love olive oil…but don’t eat olives…ever…unless they are so well hidden that I can’t tell they are there. I also keep rice and beans cooked and either in the fridge or freezer almost all the time.

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49 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Yay more hermit friends. 🙂 We’re not alone. Keep it up!

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50 Kathy August 8, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Loved your list of secrets! I share many of them. So cool of you to share yourself with your readers.

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51 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 9, 2013 at 11:00 AM

You’re welcome Kathy. Thanks for reading.

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