Animal-free food preparation intended for veganism isn’t quite as simple as it might sound. Amazingly, there can be animal products in things one would not expect to have to be concerned about. For example, I’m active in interfaith activities. It was a shock to me that orthodox Jews and Muslims would not eat anything that contained marshmallows because –-at least in the past—they have contained pork.

I started eating vegan for health, financial, and ecological reasons. Some people I know are vegan because of their dedication to animals. Although I love animals and have dogs, I felt I could use free-range eggs and dairy products without guilt in the years I ate a diet that was merely free of meat.

My conscience was comfortable and I enjoyed that diet. It didn’t, however, improve my lipid profile all that much. Then a friend lent me a book that turned my stomach. Reading about the treatment of animals in the food industry made me more determined to avoid animal products. I am glad I made that decision more than forty years ago.

When I started exploring vegan eating, I asked a vegan friend for advice. He said I should always read labels. If something contains any cholesterol, I should assume that it contains animal products. I think that was a good place to start.

I must say that I was completely surprised when I learned that Worcestershire sauce is made from anchovies. I’d used that sauce in so many recipes through the years. Initially, I felt irritated at having to re-think so many long patterns and recipes.

I find eating animal-free to be a spiritual practice. Since I know many Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs who also follow this path, I receive from them great modeling and tacit reinforcement for my personal commitment. They also love to give me their recipes.

The encouragement I receive from knowing others who eat in the same way helps me to counter the social pressure I sometimes feel to eat differently. When I’m invited to a “potluck” gathering, I give lots of thought to bringing something that will intrigue non-vegans.

I hope it’s not a form of seduction, but rather an attempt at painless education. Of course, I began being a vegan by bringing old stand-by dishes to social gatherings. Everyone readily accepts salsas, hummus, salads without dairy or egg, fruit plates, and vegetable dishes. The absence of animal products doesn’t have to be obvious. After a while, I gained more confidence in the quality of my preparation of food without animal products.

One meat-eating friend likes to tease me, however. He loves to tell me that he can’t enjoy a meal without knowing the animal has been tortured first. He tries to outrage me by claiming suffering by the animal enhances the value of the meal. Since I know him to be devoted to his dogs, this piece of silliness just makes me smile. I urge anyone who considers adopting a vegan diet to be sure to retain a sense of humor for the ridiculous things some people will have to say about the new way in which one is eating.

Demonstrating the pleasures of animal-free food preparation is now something I often do. Just last weekend, I brought a spicy macaroni and “cheese” casserole to a party. I was asked for the vegan recipes by several guests. My host—the friend who teases me about preferring meat from animals who have suffered— was stunned that it tasted so good.

Preparing delicious food that contains no animal products or animal byproducts can be fun, and with the information you will acquire from my newest ebook from Amazon.com it will also be quite easy. So, download it right into your Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad or personal computer and have a great time with it.

Filed under: Vegan Cuisine

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