First order of business is a quick announcement, and I’m actually nervous to share this news with you all but here it is…
After nearly a year of thought, research, and deliberation, I have decided to fully commit to a vegan lifestyle. If you’ve followed my blogging journey throughout the last 3 1/2 years, you know that I’ve gone from omnivore to vegetarian to vegan blogger who still eats vegetarian 10-20% of the time. Thank you for bearing with me as I’m sure that it’s been a bit confusing. Although I’ve been cooking 100% vegan for the blog and at home for quite some time now, I didn’t want to make the full lifestyle switch until I had done my research. This is definitely not a decision I took lightly as it takes more effort and planning to make sure I’m providing my body with all of the energy, vitamins, and minerals it needs to function optimally. This is not a lifestyle of restriction; it’s a lifestyle of abundance that’s opened my eyes to an entirely new world of delicious, energizing, and inspiring foods.
As always, I never want to come across as preachy or transfer any animal-lover guilt onto anyone who doesn’t want it. So, without getting into all the nitty gritty of my reasons why, here are some of my thoughts around the shift:
Why I made the decision:
1| For as long as I can remember I have adored animals. If I wasn’t a psychologist, I would absolutely be working with animals in some capacity. I love how they connect to and interact with humans, and I’m always amazed how much animals teach us about life.
2| In more recent years, dairy has actually started to make me feel sick. Stomach aches that have kept me up all night, bloating, and fatigue started to become the usual aftermath of enjoying dairy. After experimenting with eliminating dairy and then reintroducing it, I also noticed that the day after consuming cheese I wasn’t able to think as clearly. I LOVE cheese. Like really, really love it so this is the hardest part about going vegan; however, thank goodness there are so many amazing nondairy cheeses available nowadays.
3| I started to feel like a fraud. My blogging life became completely vegan, yet I’d eat eggs, cheese, and sometimes even fish while dining out. Recent months left me in a state of true cognitive dissonance, and it just didn’t feel right. It felt confusing and halfhearted, and I don’t want my everyday life to be a contradiction to the messages I put forth on this blog.
4| National Meatout day was this past Thursday, March 20th, and it felt like the perfect opportunity to make the switch. I pledged to eat vegan every day, and Dan even pledged to eat vegan for one day (he did it and he loved it).
1| The questions and the judgment. When I made the choice to go vegetarian, I knew people would have questions but I honestly didn’t expect the judgment. After a few rapid fire questions, most people were incredibly supportive; however, there were a few that thought what I was doing was downright crazy. Going vegan, I fully expect that even more people will think I’m crazy and some might even think that what I’m doing is wrong. I’m okay with that, so bring on the questions and even the judgments. Doing something that strays from the norm will inevitably breed curiosity, and I’m happy to answer any and all questions.
2| Non-vegans will assume I’m judging them. If you know me, you know that as a vegetarian I never judged non-vegetarians. This is a personal choice and not one that I expect others to make simply because I did. Veganism is not the right or even best lifestyle for everyone, so I will never judge anyone for choosing differently. I’ll support you 100% in doing what is best for you, not for doing what is best for me.
3| Not having any choices at restaurants! Fortunately, living in a big city makes this a little easier since there are so many restaurant options. That being said, to any restaurants reading, think outside of the tofu box. Please. I’m begging you. There is far more to a vegan diet than tofu!
If you read all of that, thank you. It means so much to me that you would spend even one minute of your day reading my blog, my stories, and my recipes. Please reach out via email or comment with any questions, words of encouragement, or tips!
Alright, now onto the truly important stuff: food!
These sweet potato + avocado bites came to be after stumbling through the internet and realizing that there are not nearly enough vegan hors d’oeuvres recipes. Even if there were tons, I’m not sure there can ever be too many recipes for bite-size deliciousness.
Sweet potato slices are tossed in olive oil, cumin, and paprika and roasted to tender perfection. A creamy mixture of avocado and lime juice is dolloped on top, and the little stacks are then garnished with a slice of tomato and radish sprouts. These bites are vibrant, zesty, and addictive. They’re the perfect addition to any party, and they look a lot fancier than they actually are which is kind of awesome. This recipe can also be converted into a full meal by layering the sweet potato rounds on a plate, dropping heavy dollops of the avocado across, and liberally garnishing with tomatoes and radish sprouts. One recipe two ways = two times the tastiness.
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- sea salt, to taste
- 1½ teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large avocado, pitted
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 5 cherry tomatoes, sliced into ⅛-inch thick pieces
- ½ cup radish sprouts
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the sliced sweet potatoes, cumin, paprika, olive oil, and sea salt to a bowl. Toss to coat.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the sweet potato slices out into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes or until tender.
- Scoop the flesh of the avocado into a medium bowl. Add the lime juice and ½ teaspoon sea salt and mash together with the back of a fork.
- Spread the sweet potato slices out of a serving platter or tray. Top each slice with a dollop of smashed avocado, one tomato slice, and a sprinkling of radish sprouts.
- Serve and enjoy!