I’m JL Fields and I am delighted to join the Small Bite’s community with my column I Eat Plants. Last month I wrote guest posts on my experience dining during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2012 – while I am a vegan, my husband is most definitely not and we were able to find restaurants that pleased both the plant-based and meat-eating diner. I will continue to share my exploration of vegan and vegetarian eats and treats in the lower Hudson Valley in this column.
I went vegetarian in my thirties. I was in Kenya for work, in a small village in the Rift Valley, attending a celebration held for an auspicious occasion for which my colleagues and I were guests of honor. Early in the day an elder from the community brought a goat to the site of the celebration – a true demonstration of generosity. The goat was presented and subsequently killed and boiled. That evening, we were offered the goat for dinner. To refuse it would have been an affront (or so I told myself?). Essentially I met a goat, shook his hand, and then ate him. I became a vegetarian.
Eight years later, I did a nutritional cleanse and discovered after two weeks that I had removed all animal products from my diet, except for one hard-boiled egg. An egg away from being a vegan, I decided to remove all animal products from my diet.
It’s been two years and I have never felt better. Since going vegan I have fallen in love with cooking (something that continues to shock my husband) but, as I confess regularly on my food blog JL goes Vegan, I am a rather lazy cook. I rely on a pressure cooker and rice cooker to make foods I love (beans, greens, grains, seitan, etc) because I want them and I want them right now!
I live and work in Southern Westchester and am eager to share my plant-based journey with Small Bite’s readers. I will feature recipes, restaurant reviews, interviews, great food finds, and cover vegetarian events in our community. I might even tempt you to try making your own beans and grains in a pressure cooker at home!
I Eat Plants columnist JL Fields is a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator. She writes about her transition to a vegan diet and lifestyle at JL goes Vegan: Food & Fitness with a Side of Kale. Her original recipes have been featured on Foodbuzz, BlogHer and Meatless Monday. She is the editor of the community blog Stop Chasing Skinny: Find Happiness Beyond the Scale. JL is the founder and lead consultant for JL Fields Consulting. She serves on the board of directors of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and the advisory board of Our Hen House. Follow JL on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.