Happy New Year! As we welcome 2017, I have complied a list of vegan related goals and ambitions I’d like to tackle this year. Some are small, some are big, but regardless I would love to see 2017 as the year of the vegan!
1. Challenge myself in the kitchen
I’ve been prone to relying on processed vegan food for many meals, especially during the last few crazy months of 2016, but enough already. Not only do these processed items cost a lot when purchased regularly, but they are far more satisfying and pure when made from scratch. I’m familiar with making my own made peanut butter, salad dressings and cookies, but 2017 is the year I’m just going for it. Now that I have a high power blender I’m going to make my own nut milks (and use the pulp for nut cheeses WHOO!), pizza dough, seitan, raw juices, bean dips and more experimentation. If I want to aim even higher, I’ll devote time to making perogies, pasta and pie crusts, but hey, one step at a time right?
To see how I’m doing with this challenge, check out my Instagram here for daily food photos.
2. Find my healthy balance
Now I know I’m a junk food vegan at heart and I also just went on an inspirational babble about making my own pizza and pies, but I am also a firm believer in not restricting yourself. I would rather find ways to include as many nutrients and vitamins in my diet with whole foods and still indulge in tasty vegan treats. Choosing to have your cake and kale will be a good balance—of course not together, that sounds pretty gross.
3. Join my local vegan community
Last year was the first time I attended Thanksliving, an organized vegan potluck that was one of the highlights of my year. Unfortunately, I was unable to make last year’s Vegmas, but to make up for it, I will certainly strive to attend the upcoming events. I look forward to connecting with my fellow Victoria vegans and exchange conversation with like minded people. Also, the food that our community can create is exquisite!
4. Being true to one’s self
I hate to admit this, but putting myself out there and labeling myself as vegan is a challenge that I still face with today, even after being vegan for 5 years. For example, being put in a steak house kind of establishment is still very intimidating for me, but how else will companies and businesses offer vegan options if the demand isn’t heard? This is something that I need to think about when I timidly ask if there’s butter or milk in the side potatoes…just ask if the damn thing is vegan already! Time to stop being afraid to use the V word, 😉 !
I have also never been one for confrontation and often when the conversation with omnivores turns into ‘let’s make fun of the vegan’, I tend to nonchalantly laugh it off. Allowing someone to even lightly joke about my lifestyle is wrong and should be corrected by standing up for myself and being proud of the life I live and all the wonderful benefits that branch off from being vegan. When put on the spot, the facts don’t always pop into my head, but at least I can rely on my own personal experience. This includes sharing the wonderful and joyful feeling I get knowing that I contribute less to green house gases, how I wake up excited and energized, and that animal cruelty is real, it has been documented and it is impossible to remain ignorant. I need to trust myself enough in order to not let others get under my skin and feel proud of being a part of such an enlightening movement.
5. Support local
I love love love Megan’s series on eating local and in season. Here in British Columbia, we heavily rely on California for providing our produce, however with the drought that has devastated the state, it has created shortages and a hike in imported produce prices. There is no better time than now to support our local farms and communities while helping them flourish and still keep our grocery budgets at bay.
6. Visit an animal sanctuary
This is a must for this year; visiting a nearby animal sanctuary is one of those things that I have had in the back of my mind for a looooong time, but never put action to it. I have already started researching places such as RASTA (Rescued and Sanctuary for Threatened Animals) in Chemanius, O.W.L. (Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society) just a ferry away in Delta and Wild ARC (Animal Rehabilitation Centre) which is only 10 minutes drive and has an annual open house in April!
Whatever you have planned for this year, I hope it’s filled with a sense of wonder and exploration! Even if the world around us goes sideways, we can focus on our community, our loved ones and ourselves to make the best of what’s thrown our way.