Thursday, July 10, 2008

Veganism is not about exclusion

Veganism is not about exclusion, deprivation, and sacrifice. On the contrary, following a vegan diet is adventurous, fulfilling, and motivating. Knowing that we're consuming foods known to protect health and allow our bodies to function at their best is a powerful thing.

Probably the biggest misconception about vegan diets is that they are restrictive. While it's true that we shun flesh, dairy, and eggs, it is also true that we enjoy literally thousands of different plant foods eaten in different ways. The available combinations of colors, textures, and flavors of vegan foods are literally endless. Just pick up a vegan cookbook at your local bookstore or library!

A little creativity and imagination unleashes myriad possibilities for healthful vegan meals. Ethnic variation is, to me, the most exciting aspect of a vegan diet. In fact, I get far more variety in my diet now than when I was an omnivore. Everything from African stews to Indian curries to Thai noodle bowls to Chinese stir fries to Italian risottos to Ethiopian spreads to Mexican bean dishes to Middle Eastern delights (and on and on!) keep my tastebuds on their toes. Soups, salads, grain dishes, bean dishes, burritos, tacos, chilis, pasta dishes, dips, pizzas, casseroles, sandwiches, spreads, cereals, breads, loaves, sweets, burgers... all can be made vegan, healthful, and delicious.

Vegans celebrate their health with good food, not mourn what they might be missing. We don't feel deprived: we feel empowered!

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