The part of our life that food defined. What food means to us, our connections with it, why we love the foods we crave and hate what we don’t. Food is a tradition born from daily ritual. Food is a necessity. Food is personal, and I didn’t realize just how personal until I became vegan; to others and myself…
I like to think that my love for vegan cuisine started when I was a little girl. I was always a lover of every fruit or vegetable my parents put in front of me. You name it; I ate it. I thankfully grew up with a keen appreciation for good food; from scratch baked bread, cakes, and cookies to homemade balanced meals. I’m part of a loving tribe of foodies; my family LOVES food, it’s our thing. From every casual get together to every memorable event, food is the center of attention. Food sets the tone for every one of our celebrations; it’s the guest of honor so to speak.
Up until late 2017 something was always a bit off for me, I struggled with eating meat in particular. I centered my diet around animal protein and with every meal I made there was always this slight uneasy feeling. I’m confident now that I was always naturally vegan; it just took me a long time to get there! The journey to becoming vegan was somewhat typical. My husband and I found ourselves pretty unhealthy and overweight coming out of our thirties. We first started with 21 Day Fix, which taught us the discipline of exercise and portion control. Throughout the incredible results, we achieved we began the process of elimination. We first removed beef and pork, then poultry, eggs came next and finally, dairy. We eliminated high processed foods, fast food, soda pop, and refined sugar. Throughout all of the changes, we watched every food documentary we could find. We started with What the Health, Cowspiracy, and Food Inc. and the lightbulb turned on. The more we learned it became extremely natural to keep animals off of our plates. Let’s face it once you see behind the scenes of the animal agriculture industry you can’t unsee those things!
WHAT IS VEGAN23 ALL ABOUT; WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
Vegan23 is a place to celebrate my passion for vegan food, my respect for animals, our health and our planet; sharing with you what I’ve learned so far and inspiring each other together! The most unexpected joy of this journey has been creating delicious food for my family and watching their faces light up followed by an exuberant, Mmmmm!! after their first bite. Their curiosity is often peaked, much like mine still is every time I create something new. That curiosity is the building blocks to small changes that lead to significant benefits. I’m certainly in tune with the understanding that a vegan lifestyle is an enormous change, however much easier than you would think. There will be times you will feel like the odd one out, but I’m here to help you with that! My resource page is an ever-growing library of information there to help and keep you inspired!
Vegan23 is here to provide a positive resource for those interested in the vegan lifestyle, those who would like to introduce more plants to their plate or anyone who loves to eat good food! I love to veganize my families favorite recipes and comfort foods…all with a dose of healthy (most of the time, because hello, cake!) A plant-based diet is far from boring, and I’m here to show you that! The majority of my recipes focus on whole foods, using common ingredients that you can find at your local grocery. I occasionally use quality mock meats and cheeses, avocado oil and olive oil. Baking is a deep and serious love of mine, so I will use organic cane sugar, brown sugar, and plant-based butter when needed.
WHY ARE YOU VEGAN; WHAT IS YOUR FOOD PHILOSOPHY?
One of the most important things I’ve learned so far being a vegan is respect for my food, where my food comes from and then ultimately, my body. I now eat to nourish. My taste buds no longer dictate my ethics. I whole-heartedly believe our food choices have an incredible impact that we’re not often conscious of. I’m dedicated to spreading awareness to end all animal exploitation; particularly factory farming, animal testing, and the fur trade. Most importantly, educating people that you don’t need meat, dairy, and eggs to nourish your body; in fact, eliminating them is the best thing you can do for your body and for the planet. The best way to educate, I’ve found, is through food. Adding a chapter to your food story is my ultimate goal. I want people to realize that eating a plant-based diet and following a lifestyle of veganism isn’t odd or extreme. It’s a beautiful, nourishing and empowering journey. I hope that you will find plant-based cooking to be creative, renewing and contributing. Contribution is significant, and I believe that when we nurture what we’re passionate about and fuel that energy, change is inevitable…and contagious.
WHAT IS THE MEANING BEHIND YOUR LOGO?
I’m a graphic designer by degree and when I sat down to create the logo for the blog and the branding behind it, I wanted to create an icon that represented myself and what I want to contribute to my readers. My name, Melissa is of Greek origin and it means ‘Honey Bee’. My husband calls me ‘Bee’ as my nickname! Not only is it an obvious icon to represent me, but bees are also amazing little beings that we can learn a lot from. They’re industrious and hardworking. They work in sync with each other for a common goal for the well fare of their hive and their survival. It’s my hope that Vegan23 will be a community of readers who are passionate about working together and inspiring each other in a much similar way. Where does the number 23 come from? Well, that’s just my lucky number and always has been; you’ll see it pop up here and there!
MORE ABOUT MELISSA…
I’m a self-taught plant-based home cook, with a passion for plants and animals! When I’m not creating recipes, testing them with my amazing husband, eating a buddha bowl or photographing drool-worthy vegan food you can find me binge-watching classic films, obsessing over my three furkids, always anticipating the first snowfall, illustrating, reading, working out and golfing.
“Animals don’t behave like men,’ he said. ‘If they have to fight, they fight; and if they have to kill they kill. But they don’t sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures’ lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality.” – Richard Adams/Watership Down