Holidays as a Vegan + Happy New Year

I could talk about all of the reasons why I haven’t written in weeks, but it would all be really bad excuses to myself. In short, I really just let writing slide. Funny thing, break is — you have all the time in the world and you think you will get so many things done and what actually happens couldn’t be further from the truth (in my case). I can give you the five main reasons why I haven’t been around a whole awful lot and I hope maybe you will all understand where I am coming from:

  1. Netflix
  2. Reading
  3. Sleep
  4. Doing stuff with my family
  5. The return of series 3 of “Sherlock”

Now that I got that awkward, 800-pound gorilla in the room out of the way, it’s time to get down to business: my first holiday season as a vegan. Really, it was no different than normal. My Mom was gracious enough to make some vegan chocolate chip cookies for me as per her usual recipe (she uses the Toll House recipe and always has) but with a few adjustments: Enjoy Life chocolate chips (dairy free) instead of semi-sweet morsels, Earth Balance “butter spread” (also suitable for vegans) rather than butter and then a flaxseed mixture for the egg. I have never tried this in my own cooking, but the flax-seed egg looks really simple and doesn’t make a difference in the taste department. When baking, eggs act as a binding agent and are essential to the final outcome of whatever you are making, so they can’t be omitted. The cookies she made me were as delicious as always!

Nothing says lovin' like vegan chocolate chip cookies in the oven.

Nothing says lovin’ like vegan chocolate chip cookies in the oven.

With the exception of the half-batch she made me, I haven’t been eating a lot of sweets this holiday season — that’s really the only big difference I have noticed. You all know the scene: candy everywhere, cookies plates from friends or coworkers litter every ounce of real estate on the kitchen counter, baking abound and after eating your weight in sugary treats, the lethargy kicks in and you have a sugar hangover for a week. Don’t be shy to admit it….we have all been there. This holiday season was certainly no different — cookies were practically inescapable everywhere I looked. Of course, I didn’t eat any of them since they all had dairy or animal products in them. And honestly, it wasn’t a challenge. Like most other people, I enjoy cookies during the winter time and I also get a sweet tooth — vegans are no exception to this. However, by bearing in mind all of the reasons why I am a vegan made abstaining from non-vegan treats worth it.

Sometimes, people say to me: “Oh just try it! One bite!! Nobody will ever know!” Even though I’d love to take a dive into a bucket of gooey cookies and never look back, being vegan is much more than eating. Being vegan is about extending compassion to the earth and putting the needs above others above the temporary desires that you have. I can’t wait to see where veganism takes me in 2014.

It’s really exciting because a lot of my friends have either messaged me or otherwise told me that they are trying out vegetarianism or pescitarianism, which is super cool. There is no such thing as small change and I applaud anyone brave enough to try something new and different in their life such as what I just listed above.

So what are my plans for 2014?

Well, first and most obviously: be the best vegan I can be. Try as many new recipes as possible and take care to be more mindful in general. I don’t really believe in New Years resolutions, but if I could pick one other thing, it would be to be more caring to myself. I am really harsh on myself and have absolutely no idea how to take a compliment, which is strange considering I go to such measures to be kind to the Earth, animals, other people and my physical health. I’m going to try to love myself a little bit more and be more forgiving of myself. With a few months of veganism under my belt, I think I am on the right path.

Finally, I promise, promise never to be absent from writing so long again. I feel super rusty which makes me sad because writing about being vegan (and writing in general) is something I thoroughly enjoy doing. I already have a really good and guided idea of what to write about next (dining out while vegan part deux), so look for that sometime this weekend.

Thanks, thanks and ever thanks for hanging out with me. 

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