Living the Vegan La Vida Dulce

This post is by Marly McMillen of NamelyMarly.

One day I took some vegan chocolate chip cookies to the office to share with my co-workers. When people saw the cookies they were thrilled and ready to dive in. Hands were eagerly stretched toward the cookies, mouths salivating, looks of eager anticipation on everyone’s faces. The mood instantly changed when I announced the cookies were vegan. In fact, the word “buzz kill” comes to mind. Those enthusiastic hands were quickly withdrawn. My co-workers now looked at the tray of cookies with doubt; like they might be radioactive or poisonous. It’s as if they thought I had laced those cookies with tree bark.

vegan cookies

Image is author's own

“Oh well,” I thought, “More delicious cookies for me.”

As a vegan, it’s true that I don’t eat meat, eggs, or dairy. And do you know what? I find being a vegan so liberating!
That’s right. According to a lot of people, my diet is highly restrictive. In fact, when I tell people about my diet they look at me with a befuddled stare and ask, “You don’t eat any meat, or cheese, or ice cream?” And that question is usually followed up with, “What do you eat?”

How could such a “restrictive” diet be freeing? Here are the reasons I think the vegan lifestyle is the best.

Veganism is a freedom diet

When I walk down the grocery store aisle, I’m free from the burden of worrying about so many of choices before me. As Michael Pollan points out, most of the good stuff is in the exterior of the grocery store, not the middle aisles. I’m not a big fan of shopping so this means I get to spend my time in the grocery store happily perusing the outer aisles buying fruits and veggies, whole grains, and the like.

Veganism is a best body diet

I love being vegan because I know it’s what’s best for my body. Yes, vegans do need to supplement their diet with a B-12 vitamin. Some people will use this as a reason to discredit the vegan diet. They suggest that if the diet is so “natural” why do people who follow it need a supplement?

John Robbins explains this very eloquently in his book The Food Revolution, “Animal products have vitamin B-12 because animals ingest plants and/or drink water that are carrying the microorganisms that produce the vitamin. Vitamin B-12 is constantly being produced throughout the environment by bacteria … Our food today is so sanitized that even if there were some B-12 in the dirt in which our veggies grew, we wouldn’t get it.”

Veganism is a green diet

I know the choices for my diet are also helping the environment. Jane Goodall points out in her book, Harvest for Hope, “almost half of the world’s harvest is fed to animals to fatten them for human food.”

She explains the devastation this has caused to the environment including the destruction of the Brazilian rain forest. She also points out the irresponsible use of water and summarizes her thoughts by saying, “I believe that the single most important thing we can do, if we care about the future of the planet, is either to become vegetarians or to eat as little meat as possible.”

Veganism is a zen diet

A vegan diet is a more spiritual approach to living. Kathy Freston in her book Quantum Wellness encourages her readers to understand what goes into the production of their food. She explains how today’s factory farm techniques eschew the values of stewardship of the land and accountability to the greater community.

Her book suggests that we can achieve improved health by learning to eat with moral integrity. Ms. Freston explains, “It is prudent that we think about every aspect of how food arrives on our plate – how it’s grown, how the workers who handle it are treated, how it is packaged, and how it is prepared.”

On my blog, I showcase some of the delicious vegan foods we eat, including everything from vegan mac and cheese to vegan sesame tofu. I recently ran a series of posts veganizing some popular and mostly meat-based sandwiches. This series is a great example of how a vegan diet can include mouthwatering, finger-licking good food.

The trick to any sustainable diet is about finding balance between healthy, tasty, and really tasty. We enjoy a wide variety of food, including raw fruits and veggies, but also incorporating treats like those chocolate chip cookies that my co-workers snubbed. To prove that vegan cookies include perfectly normal, safe, and enjoyable ingredients, I’m sharing with you the very recipe I used when taking treats into the office.

As the title of this post implies, being a vegan can be such a sweet life! I’ve found my own personal sweet spot of balance in my diet; a truly enjoyable way of eating that also makes me feel really good … and I like feeling really good. Care to join me?

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup dairy-free margarine (2 sticks), softened
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup regular sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 egg substitute (I used 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed mixed with 6 tablespoons of water*, or you can use ½ cup of applesauce, or egg replacer which is sold in most health food stores)
2 ¼ cups flour, sifted
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 oz. chocolate chips

  1. Bakers, start your engines. That means, get your oven ready by heating it up to 375° F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat margarine and sugars with mixer until fluffy. If you don’t want to use a mixer, that’s fine. You can use a little bit of elbow grease (and burn a few cookie calories) by giving it a good stir with a whisk. Add vanilla and egg replacer of your choice and stir well.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  5. Mix combined ingredients on low speed until well combined.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Drop by heaping teaspoon full onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Have you tried the vegan diet? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Marly McMillen has a passion for life, family, vegan food, and names. She writes about all of these and more on her site at NamelyMarly. Marly’s podcast, NamelyMarly, can be found on iTunes, where she interviews people about their names. The people she interviews include famous authors, models, and even the people she meets at the park. Marly is also passionate about healthy food and shares vegan recipes as well.

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