"... no need for perfection."
Updated: Oct 28, 2020
My Vegan Story – for Jacques by Victoria
" I want people to know that there is no need for perfection..." What a great line from a young lady who has thought long and hard about her choices, has found it difficult at times and understands the challenges.
We must make the journey in our time, in our own way.
My transition away from meat
My transition away from meat was definitely influenced by my father.
From as early as I can remember, he steered clear of red meat, and I began to follow suit when I was about 10. His reasons centered on health, but I didn’t share those concerns at my young age; I was an animal lover. There were a few hiccups along the way, and I had a hard time avoiding a few of my mom’s specialties, but I finally found my footing. The next phase was cutting out all meat, and I reached that goal at around 13.
Despite my earlier victories, veganism presented a whole new challenge and I definitely doubted that I would be successful with it. When I first entertained the idea of turning vegan at 16, I told myself that I would give it a try for 3 months. It helped to set a short-term goal. I started incredibly strict, and there were a few meltdowns along the way as I encountered modified milk ingredients, and other hidden animal products in the everyday foods I ate. However, I was on my way, and this stage proved to be an incredible learning experience. I loved to live at extremes, either all in or all out, but this way of life can be incredibly restrictive. I began to learn to balance myself somewhere in the middle.
From that point on, I was a vegan, but would sometimes cave for certain treats, like croissants and chocolate, and of course cheese! There were many phases as I transitioned to a plant-based lifestyle, and I felt immensely guilty anytime I slipped up. It was certainly a step-by-step process, and it was not completely linear. For me, veganism was and remains a process. I recognize that it can also take a lot of support from the people around you. I have an incredible network of family and friends, all open to trying the vegan dishes and desserts that I create. They are also happy to have me over, ensuring that I feel included by hosting all vegan dinners or potlucks. Veganism can be a personal journey, but it is great to have a group of people supporting and engaging in your lifestyle.
When I initially turned vegan, I knew that I loved animals and that I was not okay with the treatment they suffered at our hands, but there was more to it. As I began to learn of the environmental impacts of both the beef and dairy industries, I began to understand the need for a transition to plant-based living.
Today, my relationship with veganism is much more holistic, and affects every aspect of my life.
I think long and hard about the things that I purchase, and where they come from. This gives me the measure of control that I am always searching for, and the peace of mind that follows. Today, I am vegan because of the positive impacts a plant-based lifestyle has on our shared environment. I want people to know that there is no need for perfection, and that there is no singular solution to the global effects of climate change. However, understanding where we can improve and shift towards more sustainable, and often plant-based living is incredibly important. That is where I stand today, years in the making, willing to help anyone who is looking to make a change!
One of the last days I ate cheese
I was vegan for the most part, well nearly everything - clothes, lifestyle and 95% diet ... I still slipped up from time to time. Not easy, especially the cheese.
I happened to be invited to dinner and the host made a wonderful vegan meal and dessert for me. At the end of the night a neighbour came by with several big chunks of Manchego cheese, he had only just flown in from Barcelona.
He laid it out on a cutting board in front of me. Younger types and well aged ones ... Manchego was on of my favourite cheeses. So I sampled a very small piece, just for taste, and then another, and another ... the wine made me do it!!!
The host was surprised and let me know, after all the trouble she had gone to make that meal for me.
The next day I felt terrible. It was then that I knew it was over. After that I never ate dairy cheese again ...
Here is a nice moment:
RECIPE : BURRITOS
One of Victoria's favourite dishes.
I think any food wrapped in pastry is great. Be it puff pastry for Wellington or short crust pastry for onion pie or tortillas for burritos. A savoury dish inside dough is devine, pizza is nice, panzerroti is super.
To quote Victoria again, " ... I love burritos. I think they're one of the best ways to pull a meal together and you can really switch them up! " She is so right - a quick stir fry of vegetables, a few beans, a little sauce ...all wrapped up and baked in the oven for 20 minutes until the tortilla is cooked and crispy.
This is for two or three ( if you want to make for more just double it )
1 cup of cooked kidney beans
2 tomatoes - chopped
1 onion - finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
A drop of oil and a pinch or two of sea salt
The refried beans - 1 1/2 cup or so
1 red or yellow pepper - cut into short strips
1 courgette / zucchini - cut into short strips
1 onion - coarsely chopped
3 large soft tortilla - flour or corn
Make the refried beans - Soften the onion and garlic then add the cumin seeds and the chilli powder and cook another minute or two.
Add the beans, tomato, tomato paste and cook on medium heat until liquid
is gone and the beans are breaking apart then mash them with a fork.
Add a 1/2 tsp of sea salt and taste, you may need a little more, beans are like that.
2. In a hot pan with only a slick of oil, drop in the onion, courgette and pepper and
stir-fry until starting to brown at the edges. You still want them somewhat firm.
3. Lay out your tortilla. Spread a thin layer of the re-fried beans over most of it and
a few tablespoons of pepper/courgette/ onion.
4. Fold the tortillas and place them on a baking sheet. Cook in a hot oven 180C / 360F
for approx. 20 minutes.
Serve with chopped avocado and a little tomato salsa - You can also put the avocado and salsa inside the tortilla and wrap it all together.