I just turned 40. No, it’s ok, I love it! Funny how everyone I’ve talked to about it asks me how I feel about turning the “big 4-0”. Really? I’m relieved. For some reason, it feels like the pressure is off.

What pressure? Oh, let’s see. I’m the youngest and only girl in a Catholic Italian family. My parents, both born in Italy, come from huge families, which means I have dozens of cousins. I’m unmarried, no kids. Yes, I’m straight, despite what the old biddies at church are probably saying. I stopped going to church over a year ago anyway, so who cares? I have a good job, my own house and car, and an adorable cat. Yes, just one; no crazy cat lady am I.

Given the demographics, you may imagine what growing up in that environment has been like until now. Although I never really got the “So, why aren’t you married yet?” drilling from my relatives, it’s always felt a bit implied. Then again, they may have already assumed an answer based on one thing: I’ve been chubby all my life. Despite my best efforts, all I seem to lose is sweat and patience.

So, with the mental chains that turning 40 seems to have released, I’ve embarked on a new adventure. Six months ago, I made the switch to being a vegetarian. I’d tried it before, but this time I was a lot more informed. It started when I watched the film Earthlings, which I think everyone should see. It’s free, online. Go now, and then come back. It’s ok, I’ll wait.

It leaves quite an impression, doesn’t it? That was enough to get me started, but it was just the first step for me. I’m an avid researcher, so I need to know all sides to a story before I commit to anything. Even paint colours for my house, but that’s another story.

I read lots of books on health and diet, plant-based programs, cookbooks and more. I saw other movies: Forks Over Knives, Food Inc, The Cove. I read the stories of real people who made amazing changes in their lives. I read about vegan athletes, even triathletes. With all that evidence and several flagged cookbooks in hand, I decided to jump in and go full herbivore.

That’s where this blog comes in. I’ve always been interested in cooking, though I don’t have a lot of natural-born skills. Geez, my mom did all the cooking, ok? I wouldn’t DREAM of touching her stove when I was growing up unless she asked me to stir the sauce or take something out of the oven to serve the menfolk their dinner.

Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to try all these vegan recipes I’ve collected; all the links I’ve saved, all the books I’ve filled with flags and whatever you want to send me. I’ll document my experiences, tell you what I would do differently and hopefully we’ll discover together how easy it is to cook and live in a way that’s healthier for body, mind, soul and planet.

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