I always thought Vegans were snobs, even though I’d never met one. I was 18, living in Madison, WI, where I’d grown up on meat, potatoes, and sugar. I went Vegetarian for a year before going full-fledged, crazy-town, snob-fest Vegan. Madison’s pretty progressive so I’d been hearing about Vegetarianism for awhile. My boyfriend and I decided to try it.
Within a week, a piece of meat made it’s way into my mouth. Only this time was different. It was my Grandma’s birthday party at a Chinese restaurant and we ordered appetizers. I reached automatically for a piece of pork and as soon as I starting chewing, a new awareness washed over me. I could feel, for the first time, that this “food” was flesh. Pig flesh. And I did NOT want it in my mouth. Ever. again. I put it down and that was the last bite of meat I’ve ever had.
I moved briefly to Eugene, OR, and worked a crappy job to pay for a teensy apartment. In my spare time I’d hike in the rainforest, drive to the coast, and go to the library. I was checking out lots of cookbooks and somehow I stumbled upon John Robbin’s Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth. I read it cover to cover, absorbed it down to my soul. Educating myself about the realities of health, diet, slaughterhouses, and causes of diseases unsettled me deeply.
I sat with this knowledge for months before deciding to go Vegan for one week, as an experiment. Seven days later, I had undergone a transformation. I had a great deal more energy and could hike much longer without getting winded. The constant stuffed up nose I had was gone. I felt lighter. I believed I was doing something revolutionary, yet it was so easy. I decided that this was the life choice for me. I never missed any animal product, and I’ve never looked back! Over the next few years I noticed more changes.
I entered into Veganism as a junk-foodie, but slowly learned more about what sugar and processed foods do to your body. I cut out soda and GMOs. I lost weight. My yearly bouts with strep throat disappeared completely. My skin glowed. I experimented constantly with different approaches to food, playing around with macrobiotics, raw food, detoxes and fasting, and higher protein diets once I started working out more.
I worked at yoga center in the San Diego mountains for a year, during which time I was quickly promoted to the head chef and I insisted that all meals be Vegan. Cooking for groups of spiritual seekers was a beautiful thing. I got to feed their souls with fear-free foods while they retreated from harsh realities to really look within.
Nowadays I cook mostly for my husband and myself, plus our close friends and family. I’m mostly gluten-free, avoiding sugar and processed foods, but I allow myself an occasional indulgence. My meals are loaded with nutrients, texture, and taste. People are usually delighted by the rich flavors and a light always goes off in their heads — “hey this tastes great! I could eat like this all the time!” …but then habit strikes and they succumb to their old routines.
Recipes for Compassion is an antidote to get past apathy and intimidation. Veganism is one of the biggest blessings of my life and I want to share it with the world! May these time-tested recipes delight your palette, teach you new cooking methods, and offer lots of tasty meals to celebrate with… all while helping save some innocent lives!
Where are YOU, in your Vegan journey?
Thank you for reading! ♥ Meghan Oona
Recipes for Compassion Vegan eCookbook, $10:
Thank you for your interest in compassionate living! ♥ Meghan Oona