Jeff Wiens

My Vegan Trip

Like many of the best decisions I’ve made in my adult life, the one to move to a plant-based, whole foods diet came at the behest of my wife, Karen.  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  She never required it of me — she just started doing it herself and I followed her lead.  Her long-time interest in nutrition, exercise and weight control paired with her love of animals made her decision one which resonated as wholly right for her while I entered into it a bit more skeptically.

I worried the food wouldn’t taste good, that I’d be hungry all the time, that it would be complicated and time-consuming and I wouldn’t enjoy cooking anymore.  And how could we entertain and have dinner parties?  I worried I’d feel as though I had lost something meaningful.  I had grown up in the Midwest, for goodness’ sake, where what made many occasions special was the size or cut of the steak or the rich, fattiness of the dessert.

I drew lines in sand about certain foods (pizza probably the most defended and devoured).  If we went out or over to friends’ houses, I was more apt to eat whatever was in front of us and left Karen to fend for herself – the lone vegan among us. I’m embarrassed looking back now.

Fast forward a few years.  Through our lay-offs from work.  Through dreadfully difficult times in our marriage and the resulting separation.  Sucky times, really.  Times I would’ve thought I’d have turned to the comfort food of my childhood and earlier life.  But that was when I realized (among many, many other things) that I was eating the way I was eating not because Karen wanted me to but because I wanted to.  It didn’t take long for me to get more serious, to become a better partner, to let pizza and ice cream go, and find the joy in creative cooking with plants, legumes, whole grains and nuts.

It’s been a journey for me and us – one now resonating as right for the both of us.

We don’t treat it like religion — we aren’t on a mission to create converts.  But we do believe the choice to eat less meat and more plant-based foods makes sense for us in ways that might to others as well when we think about the environment, animal cruelty, health, and big business.  Makes for interesting conversation, if nothing else.

It’s funny.  Our approach to the Vegan Meal Planning website is more about addressing my original concerns: to make food that tastes good and fills you up which isn’t any more complicated to make than most normal meals.  We’re not out to create perfect vegans — and don’t profess to be ourselves.  This is about fun and good living.

And who couldn’t use more of that?

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