Hi! I’m Amrita, vegan at heart and trying to help make this world vegan one meal at a time!
I started How To Make It Vegan to share all things (you guessed it!) vegan. On the HtMiV blog, you’ll find vegan recipes I’ve worked on and traditional ones I’ve recreated the vegan way. I hope this blog will inspire you to create and enjoy vegan foods and make you feel like the vegan life you want is within reach.
A little about me:
I live in Rochester with my husband Carl and my two cats – Lee Marvin and Leonardo Da Vinci. You’ll definitely be reading about them on the blog. I work as an HR professional during the week. Early mornings, late nights and weekends you’ll find me making bead and stone enhanced copper jewelry (see a3artria.com), cooking with Carl, or snuggling in bed, with the cats, looking at the snowflakes fall (whilst dreading the shoveling). I love food (who doesn’t?), and over the past few years cooking has become less of a chore and more a joy!
What brought about HTMIV:
My reason for becoming vegan was simple – I did not want to exploit other sentient beings. I realize now that my transition could have been easier and might have happened sooner had I had access to tasty alternatives to the foods I loved. As an Indian, most foods I had were already vegetarian (some vegan), but for the longest time the idea of giving up some of my favorite foods was unimaginable. “Giving up cheese, chocolate, paneer, and yogurt forever?? No way!!”
I used to eat chicken and fish almost every day. But, I would hate it when people talked about them as living creatures while we were eating. I guess I conveniently disassociated the food on my plate from its source. And this dissociation, I’ve heard, is not uncommon. When faced with cognitive dissonance, I would only give it up for a few weeks – enough time to disassociate from it again. I did not want to know where that drumstick came from or how it got to my plate. As a child, hearing my sister “cluck” (to annoy me) while I was eating chicken made me give it up for a short while. A few years ago, I happened to go to a butcher shop where the hens locked in a large pen were walking and clucking around – gentle and naïve. Knowing what was to become of them, it broke my heart. Seeing the tears in my eyes, the butcher asked me to wait in the car. I didn’t eat meat for 3 months after. Unfortunately, it only took that short a while for me to push that memory out of my mind and pick up yet another piece of chicken. I hadn’t seen this chicken being killed and as they say ignorance is bliss. Boy, was I ignorant!
In 2014, I finally decided to become vegetarian. It was around that time that I first met Carl. He had been vegan for 2 years and our many discussions and his support made this decision easier for me. I even began referring to myself as “Mostly Vegan” since I continued consuming dairy for 2 years after, albeit just snacks or meals outside the house. I guess it was because I wanted to feel less guilty about the animal products I was still consuming. But soon after, every time I ate cheese or chocolate, I would think of those poor calves who weren’t getting this milk that was rightfully theirs and about the cows that are bred and mistreated till they could not produce any more milk.
A weekend at the 2nd World Vegan Summit in California (July 2016) cinched it for me. I could no longer turn a blind eye toward what animals were being put through. I could no longer justify consuming another slice of cheese or even a teeny bit of milk chocolate. The discussions at the summit made me question all my habits and what I’d learned from doctors and diets that endorsed high animal protein and low carbs The summit was emotionally exhausting – I laughed, I cried, I made new friends, and most importantly I decided I would not only go vegan but keep trying to share what being vegan truly meant with people around me. This blog is a part of that journey – a space to discuss the need and benefits of going Vegan – for the animals, the environment, the planet, and us.
Possible challenges for making it vegan:
Over the last year, whilst discussing Veganism, I’ve heard people say they can never go vegan because they “love cheese too much”, or they “couldn’t live without chocolate.” Some have even said that going vegan implied being left with only fruits and vegetables to eat. And then there were those who had asked “where do you get your protein from?”, argued that “humans are omnivores” or resorted to “God put animals on this earth for us to eat.” Let’s keep that last one for another day.
For non-vegans who want to learn about how to make it vegan and become vegan – Welcome! If you are looking for education, motivation, and encouragement in taking the step against exploitation of others, you are in the right place. Becoming vegan is a process of retraining yourself and while everyone needs to find their own pace to do so, the support from a community certainly helps. Like with any transformation, the process is smoother if you do all you can to educate yourself on veganism and understand the hows and the whys better. I hope the stuff on this blog helps you on your journey.
For other non-vegans – First of all, thank you for showing interest in what it means to be vegan. What we eat and the choices we make are ultimately only for each of us to decide as individuals. I found that learning about the meat and dairy industry and the consequences that my choices had on animals, the environment and my body gave me a better understanding – a stronger foundation – to make my decisions. I hope this blog serves as a means to expose you to the benefits of becoming vegan. Consuming animal products is a choice – one that is currently sufficiently (and unfortunately, I might add!) supported by the world we live in. However, please be aware that there is no such thing as “Humanely Raised” simply because there is nothing humane about breeding, raising and killing sentient beings that understand and feel pain, suffering, loss, and death – just like you and me.
There’s a lot you CAN…
Rather than focus on what I had to give up by becoming vegan, I realized what helped was to find all the vegan options for the things I used to love. This was my first step…looking for alternatives for my favorite foods and for those that people are most reluctant to give up. I’ve swapped out paneer(cottage cheese) for tofu, I’ve found really good types of soy cheeses and vegan chocolates, and I’ve started making yogurt at home with soy milk. I hope the recipes on this blog show you that being vegan doesn’t mean eating “just fruits and vegetables” or bland food. There is, in fact, a lot you can eat!
I’ve also started posting about veganism, sharing information that helped me “wake” up, and pictures of the dishes I make on Facebook. It was the support, encouragement and interest from family and friends that resulted in howtomakeitvegan.com. My hope for this blog is that it helps make one’s transition to veganism easier and that, at the very least, it provides readers with information about what this lifestyle entails, how easy it can be, and how it can improve lives. Please sign up for the blog to get the latest recipes and updates. Get in touch if you have any suggestions or requests – we could work on vegan alternatives together! And do like the HtMiV Facebook page to join the community.
Here’s to happy living and making it vegan…Cheers!