Living a plant-based lifestyle, has opened my eyes to a world of ingredients and cuisines that I just never thought was possible. I wouldn’t personally know this, but I’d imagine it’s almost like seeing in color for the first time if you were colorblind. Nature provides us with 1000’s of ingredients to cook with and I feel like I’ve only touched 5% of that.
Growing up as a Chinese-Cantonese American in San Francisco, Asian cuisine was all around me and unfortunately, it was all super heavy on the meats and seafood. I didn’t know better back then and through 30 years of living on a, “traditional,” diet I would have been the last person to think of going Vegan. I was the type who stocked 10 cans of spam for that morning breakfast of spam, rice, and fried eggs. I enjoyed cooking beef stews and making my own Chinese oven-roasted pork skin. I prided myself in being meticulous about basting a well marbled ribeye on a cast iron skillet. Did I forget to mention that I would cook corned-beef hash like, everyday? Yes, I was addicted to eating meats. And not just regular meat, but highly salted, sodium nitrate meats. How crazy does this all seem to me now? VERY.
Eventually, eating this way, and saving the bacon grease to use for a pasta carbonara, caught up with me. Every 2-3 weeks I’d have killer heart burns. For 6 months straight, I just thought there was something wrong with my stomach or maybe I ate something too rich. I carried Tums and other anti-acids around with me, just in case my chest started to hurt. Hell, at one point, I would just leave the whole container of Tums on my desk at work, because I just thought it was normal to chew this stuff!
Since I’ve been 100% plant-based living, I’ve never once popped another Tums. My chest pains are gone. It was almost a heaven sent message that I ran across the Cowspiracy movie on Netflix one night and thought to give, “Meatless Mondays,” a try. I remember thinking to myself, “Why not just reverse it and try to eat meat only on Monday?” The better I started to feel about going meatless, the more I realized the impacts on a larger scale that I was contributing to, as there are really only three reasons why anyone would want to go Vegan: Environment, Health, and Saving Animals. You could be passionate on all three of those reasons, or you could just be really passionate about one. Either way, when you live on a plant-based diet, each of those impacts tie together, and they are all great for you and this world.
After the 1st week, I struggled to think about what to eat. I’d still fry up an egg every 2 days just to buy myself some time, as I learned how to change my pallet and stock my pantry with the right type of ingredients. I cheated about 3 weeks into it and ate a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup…God how I miss those, but after about the 2 month mark, I felt stronger and more alive then ever. The craziest part was, figuring out how to recreate the dishes I used to eat, but to bring them back to life using 100% plant-based ingredients. And while I still work to discover the best plant ingredients to mirror a rich and thick Tonkatsu Ramen broth, or how to recreate a fish sauce substitute for making an umami packed fried rice, I hope to provide you with the easiest ways to cook great meals that are inspired by all cuisine types. My wish is that you won’t ever feel like you need to go back to a false life of eating animals because living a plant-based lifestyle seems to be the most flavorful thing that this world has to offer and I truly hope I can help you discover that.
Thanks for supporting Goodlife Cookin and if you have any questions, always feel free to reach out to me here!
I’d like to dedicate this blog to the love of my life who constantly pushes me for change, Kitty.