I Lived To Tell The Tale Of My First All-Vegan Meal (It Wasn’t That Bad)

As a die-hard meat and cheese lover, I tend to judge those who choose to practice veganism. But when I learned about Priscilla Timberlake and Lewis Freedman’s weekly vegan, gluten-free dinners, I took it as a calling — it was time to momentarily give up my favorite food groups.

My first vegan and gluten-free dinner.

My first vegan and gluten-free dinner.

Vegan is defined as a diet that is free of animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs, etc. As I read on their website, Timberlake and Freedman have been hosting these dinners in their house on Coddington Road in Ithaca, N.Y., for more than 18 years now. If they continuously bring in a crowd, the food they were serving up had to be nothing short of delicious.

I attended my first dinner about a month ago, and I was pleasantly surprised. We were served carrot ginger soup as the appetizer; sweet and sour beans, brown rice, kale and broccoli in balsamic, sweet potato fries, cabbage and celery slaw, and carrot, beet and hiziki salad topped with peanut sauce for the main course; and an apple crumble with almond sauce for dessert. Though these were not my favorite foods, I found myself enjoying the meal — and I didn’t feel too full afterwards.

The lesson here? Veganism may surprise you. The meal gave me energy and made me feel good about what I put into my body (though I usually feel awesome when I eat cheese and the like). There are plenty of other reasons why eating vegan may be a viable dietary option for you, but giving it a try for a day like I did is relatively harmless. Like a good friend once said, “You shouldn’t yuck someone’s yum.” I sure, reluctantly, learned this later in life, but happy to have had the experience regardless.

If you’re curious and want to try some vegan dishes, check out the Pinterest board below!

Image: BinaryApe/Flickr


Understanding Kale: Why You Should Eat And Love This Trendy Veggie

It’s green, it’s leafy and it’s stocked in your local grocer’s produce section: kale is currently one of the most trendy foods out there. Photos of this vegetable litter Pinterest and Instagram with it’s green allure. Health nuts and everyday foodies alike gawk over this veggie because of it’s high vitamin content, low calorie count and distinct taste.

An omelette made with kale by Kristina King. Follow her Instagrams @alltheloveinyou.

An omelette made with kale by Kristina King. Follow her Instagrams @alltheloveinyou.

Kale is a member of the Brassica family, that includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards and Brussels sprouts. According to WebMD, one cup of kale is only 33 calories and contains 9 percent of the daily value of calcium, 206 percent of vitamin A, 134 percent of vitamin C, and a surprising 684 percent of vitamin K. WebMD also raves about kale because of it’s cancer-preventing and cholesterol-lowering powers. In short, everyone should begin eating more kale — it’s a vegetable from the gods.

Recently, Kale has been so popular that Costco will be selling “giant bags of kale” to match competition from Amazon Prime’s new “pantry” and target young customers. If you haven’t thought about it by now, it’s time to begin thinking about how you can incorporate kale into your diet.

The simplest way to prepare it is to sauteé the leafy greens with olive oil and sea salt. However, there are plenty inventive, and delicious, recipes on the Internet that makes the vegetable look too good to not grab off the produce shelf.

Take this kale pesto and goat cheese pizza for instance. The recipe calls for minimal ingredients, yet the result looks nothing short of mouth-watering. Not in the mood for a healthy pizza? Try one of the many salads pinner Mylene Pollock displays on her seriously awesome board dedicated to the superfood. Kale can be incorporated into everyday dishes, such as soups, baked potatoes and quesadillas, for a vitamin and flavor boost. The possibilities are quite endless.

Images: Family O’Abé/Flickr, Kristina King/Instagram