It was November 2004, the day after Thanksgiving. I'd pledged to celebrate my 10-year vegetarian anniversary by giving veganism a 30-day trial run. I would shun cheese, milk, eggs, and other sneaky animal by-products for one month. I never intended to make the change permanent. But after 30 days, I felt better than I'd ever felt. I'd discovered a whole new world of ingredients, and I didn't even miss cheese. So I went vegan and lived happily ever after.
Though the transition was much easier than I'd anticipated back then, I sure wish I'd had Sarah Taylor's Vegan In 30 Days book (published by the Farm's Book Publishing Company) to guide me along. I'm a sucker for a good program — complete with steps, homework assignments, and long-term goals. That's my inner Type A rearing its obsessively-organized head. Taylor's book is geared toward goal-oriented Type A's like me.
Taylor includes 30 steps, one for each day, to guide hardcore omnivores into a life of cruelty-free eating. The program begins with a simple assessment of why you want to be vegan, but the other steps get pretty darn specific. One step instructs readers to start drinking a green smoothie everyday (a tip I could use now). Another instructs wannabe vegans to start reading John Robbins' Diet for a New America. And yet another urges folks to spend a few hours getting to know their local health food store.
Here's the beauty in Taylor's program — each simple step tackles going vegan one day at a time. One day, you give up red meat. Another day, you eliminate dairy. By the end of 30 days, you're a full-fledged vegan with a better understanding of what you can and cannot eat. She teaches folks how to eat out on a vegan diet, and how to entertain (or be entertained). Brilliant!
My only complaint with Taylor's advice — she shuns oils. Y'all know I'm a big proponent of healthy fats, so I don't think skipping the oil is good advice unless you're seriously trying to lose weight. That's why I added some good old-fashioned extra-virgin olive oil to Taylor's Veggie Ceviche recipe:
The back of her book contains 14 recipes to get started. I chose to make her ceviche because she mentions it several times throughout the book. It's basically a black bean/raw veggie salad dressed with red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Tasty, but I felt like it needed more salt and something to cut the acidity of the vinegar. A little Bragg's and olive oil did the trick. This salad was delicious served with some quick cheezy vegan corn tostadas.
I'd recommend Taylor's book to anyone considering veganism. Like I said, I wish I'd had this book as a reference back in my pregan days. As far as I know, there's no other "go vegan" program like this. Buy a copy for all your omni friends.