How Isa Chandra Moskowitz Changed Our Life

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27 days after the 28 Day Engine 2 Challenge, and I have yet to find a desire to go back to hot dogs, havarti, and halibut.  I FEEL SO GOOD!!!

I like not having a sick stomach, swollen cheeks, and congestion.  I have a friend who shoots for 90% vegan, and I honestly think I could sustain that for life.  In fact, I plan to!

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 And… after 28 years of devoting myself to one new diet after another (I started at age 5), I find tremendous solace in the words “sustain that for life.”

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The thing is, I LOVE it!  All three of us love it!

(Motherhood Side Rant: I do my best not to mention any shifts to Samaria, as I so hope that she maintains her peace with food for the entirety of her life.  We don’t believe that chatter in the vein of “carbs are evil, no meat is evil, no dairy, no gluten, no fat, maybe this fat not that fat” would help her to continue in the freedom that she so naturally has in this area.  May she continue to develop a palate and passion for wholesome, nutrient rich meals.  May she ever struggle with how she can help alleviate injustice from her fellow man, not how she can eliminate cellulite from her thighs.)

The VIBRANCY of COLOURS dancing from our shopping cart to our refrigerator, counter tops, cutting boards, pans, and plates… well, it fills me with JOY!  The emphasis on “Plant Strong” invites me to think “Do I have ample amounts of red, orange, yellow, green, blue AND purple filling at LEAST half of my shopping cart?”  What a cool way to live!

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I say “90%”, because… it feels free.  I find out there’s butter on my broccolini at a restaurant after my first bite (as I did when I ordered it as a side instead of fries with my falafel wrap last Sunday)?  Oh, hmm… well, butter tastes awesome!  And I just replace the anxiety that I have known my entire life when one of my food rules was broken with gratitude.  Thanksgiving in place of fear.  Huge step here, people.  Huge.

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I also love the fact that a movement has most definitely hit the restaurant world, and I see vegan options in nearly EVERY starter and entrée section.  Sometimes more than one!  Just splendid!

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Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ book Appetite For Reduction holds a very special place in my plant loving, home cooking heart. Her books and blog hold so much passion, humor, and knowledge that I would find myself lost on adventures as I read and cooked, read and cooked. These photographs that I took of her recipes from Appetite For Reduction, interspersed through this post, have become family favourites.

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This cookbook in particular holds 125 recipes (I have made 77 of them so far), and has nuggets of wisdom that have stayed with me over the years.  Like this one:

All Vegans Have a Pleather Costanza Wallet

You know that Seinfeld episode where George’s wallet is so fat he can’t even close it?  Well, that’s exactly how us vegans are, but our wallets are stuffed with dollar bills from all the money we save!  Many vegans know that bulk bins are the way to go.  And I don’t mean graze the bulk bins and eat free cashews.  I mean buy your food in bulk and save some serious cash.  Buying in bulk doesn’t mean you have to buy bushels at a time, just exactly what you need so nothing goes to waste.  Grains, spices, and nuts are all perfect bulk bin-purchase candidates.

The beginning of our love affair with Whole Foods Market started with her writings.  She mentions it a lot (especially when sharing how to find some of the more obscure ingredients, or preferred brands).  Once, Anwar and I actually went in with another one of her books, Veganomicon, in hand because we didn’t take the time to write out the ingredients for the two recipes we had a hankering for.  Oh!  That lead to us becoming even more comfortable there when Taylor, the Cooking Coach, showed us not only what a Yuca root was, but where it was located started a conversation with, “I LOVE that cookbook!  I mean… THAT is a great cookbook.”  He wanted to talk about our shared favorites, and… well, that doesn’t usually happen at a conventional super market.  Like… never.

Recipes in order of photo appearance:

Tamarind BBQ Tempeh & Sweet Potatoes served with Polenta Stuffing and Shaved Brussels Sprouts

Mushroom Fettucini

Baked Falafel & Pizza Hummus

Butternut-Apple Soup

Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach

Veggie Potpie Stew with Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits

For the other 115 ah-ma-zing recipes, I do strongly consider adding this to your library.  I treasure it.  With all of the generous servings and the impressive variety, I don’t even realize how healthy I’m eating.  She’s totally telling the truth when she opens with, “No foolish tricks, no bizarre concoctions, no chemicals, no frozen meals, no fake anything- this is cooking with real food, with a real budget, and for real life.  This is cooking with an appetite.”

I didn’t share any of my own recipes in this post, because I desire to pay tribute to this woman who taught me SO much.  By reading, and cooking through her work, I found my own voice in the kitchen.  Strengthened with new skills and technique, my own creativity started to explode in one cathartic art project in the kitchen after another.  I never would have had the confidence to just buy ingredients, and then decide what to make as I went if I hadn’t spent so much time with her teachings.

Isa, if you read this, we

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love you and thank you for your courage to explore, create, and share!

LaurelLeafHow Isa Chandra Moskowitz Changed Our Life

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