On a road trip through Wales when I was seven, my parents got hopelessly lost on the narrow, single lane winding roads bordered by stone walls encasing farm fields. Crammed into the backseat of our rental car with my two sisters, we did what siblings do best to pass the time: antagonize each other. Desperate to stop my older sister’s tickle attack, I jokingly swore never to eat meat again.
At the time, she had been vegetarian for two years, having decided by herself at seven years old that she wasn’t going to eat animals anymore. Back then I was five, just starting kindergarten, and didn’t really understand why she wasn’t eating meat. But in an attempt to be just like my older sister I told everyone I was vegetarian too- while eating turkey sandwiches and meatloaf. Two years later, I understood a bit more, though still not fully, what vegetarianism is all about. Although my entry into this lifestyle was in jest, as I learned more about the reasons behind the diet, being vegetarian became something I ardently believed in.
My sister started eating meat again when she was twelve; at that same age, I decided to become vegan. Over the past seven years, veganism is something I’ve become increasingly passionate about. Abstaining from animal products in all areas of my life is my way of protesting animal cruelty, environmental destruction, world hunger, and of promoting my own health and well being.
Although veganism is synonymous with health in pop culture, that’s not always true in practice. As a former junk food vegan, I can attest that it is entirely possible to be unhealthy on a vegan diet (potato chips, oreos, and a host of other processed foods all fall within the parameters of veganism). In September of 2013, I decided once and for all to make the effort to take care of my body. I slowly eliminated refined foods, then almost all processed foods, and finally gluten from my diet.
Just to be clear: I’m gluten free because of a wheat allergy. When I was first diagnosed after visiting the allergist for sinus issues, I didn’t pay any mind to it. It was only a few months later after eliminating wheat/gluten from my diet that I noticed how different I felt. My acne cleared up, I lost a great deal of weight, and my digestive issues, joint pain, and sinus problems that had been daily bothers for quite a few years (not exactly the norm for a teenager) all but disappeared.
WHY I BAKE
My first memories of the kitchen include sneaking bites of dough while cutting out Christmas cookies with my mom, the month long process of making seasonal fruit cake and Irish soda bread with my dad, and baking pre-packaged Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies and from-a-box brownies with my Nana. Around the time I hit double digits I started flying solo, starting with chocolate chip cookies (from scratch- the recipe on the back of Nestle’s chocolate chips, which I slowly adapted to a vegan friendly version), then brownies, and after a few years I expanded my repertoire to include banana bread plus a couple savory dishes.
As I became more health conscious I shifted my focus from desserts (although those are still my favorite, hence their heavy presence on this blog) to making almost all of my own meals from scratch with whole foods. I had fun experimenting with recipes and creating my own, started stalking quite a few vegan/gluten free food blogs, and thought hey, I wanna do that. So here I am.