About ten years ago my husband and I embarked on a wellness journey. We were in our late twenties and were beginning to rethink some of our unhealthy eating habits that we had picked up in college. Wings Wednesday and dollar burger night at our favorite bar were catching up with our waistlines and affecting our overall health. We decided to go vegan for a month to pack our diet full of healthy fruits and vegetables. It was a huge adjustment, huge.
We weren’t really cooking for ourselves at this point in our lives, rather living almost entirely on takeout and instant ramen. I used to have a bottle of red wine and a block of cheese for dinner, really. So, neither of us had any idea how to create meals based entirely on plants. We started off by buying all the fruits and vegetables we liked and hoping for the best. The food we bought lasted a whole 3 days, and we had cooked nothing. We were both hungry and grumpy and ready to give up.
That’s when I called my dad and got his recipe for chili. I figured if he could make it, then so could I. I left out the meat and upped the veggies. It was amazing, we ate chili for a few days, happily! Eventually the chili lead to tofu lasagna, chickpea curry and white bean kale soup. I learned how to cook making vegan food. It was far less intimidating than trying to tackle a hunk of meat, that I was never sure I had cooked completely.
Eventually, we added meat back into our diet. However, our basis for meals remained plant based for most meals on most days. Over the years I’ve gotten really good at sneaking vegetables into almost everything.