Introducing Myself for #VeganMoFo (The Vegan Month of Food)

This September, I'm participating in #VeganMoFo, the Month of Vegan Food. Bloggers are supposed to share a new post every day in September, and there are some prompts for people who get stumped. I have plenty in store for you--restaurant reviews and some other surprises in addition to lunches--but I did want to follow today's prompt, so I can introduce myself to any new readers. I'm glad you stopped by!

I post here as "The-Student-Turned-Doctor," but I am not a medical doctor; I have a PhD in a humanities field and work in a special collections library. I started out posting here as "The Student" but when I graduated I needed a new name. (I probably need a new name again, but I can't think of one that really fits.) I have no more formal training in nutrition than in my college nutrition class taken in the fall of 2001. But I do believe it is important for all of us to take care of our health, and food is a big part of that. We should all know enough to feed ourselves well and make a consistent effort to do it. I blogged my way through writing a dissertation starting in 2011 and kept it up after I finished my degree in 2014. I showed you my lunch back then, packed in an Americanized and simplified bento style, for years, and that's still almost all of what I post--packed lunches. It keeps me accountable and reminds me that I really do eat pretty great food!

In 2016, I was diagnosed with a severe Vitamin D deficiency. As far back as that college nutrition class in 2001, I had believed, based on what my professor had said, that it should be possible to get all one's nutrients from food, and supplements were only for people who didn't eat right. He vehemently denounced vegan diets because of the lack of Vitamin B12. I thought I ate well, mostly, and believed there was something inherently wrong with veganism. But it turned out that my diet, "balanced" as it was, hadn't protected me from a dangerous lack of a vital nutrient.

Researching how to increase the Vitamin D in my diet exposed me to vegan arguments I hadn't considered or even encountered since my 2001 nutrition class and led to a personal paradigm shift. I also had the realization that we were all supplementing our diets even if we were following the professor's advice, because so much of the food supply has fortification--Vitamin D in milk, for example, or iodine in salt. For a host of reasons, the diagnosis ultimately became my impetus to become vegan. I previously blogged about that decision, after agonizing over what to do about this previously-omnivore blog. I chose to show my transition and keep what I used to eat up because it shows what it is like to go from "I eat everything!" to "I just eat plants!" (In case you wondered after reading that old post, I have vegan Worcestershire sauce now. And I'm no longer deficient in Vitamin D.)

I did not start by becoming vegetarian and then switching to vegan, as many vegans do; I just stopped buying animal products and let natural attrition lead me to a completely plant-based diet. I found to my astonishment that there were animal products everywhere in my fridge and pantry, not just in obvious places. It was an eye opener. It took quite a while to work my way through the vestiges of my omnivore diet. That process is documented here for those who are interested, as the posts are tagged "Transition to Veganism."

It was hard for a while, but now I feel pretty comfortable as a vegan. As shocked as I was by all the animal products in so many things, I've also been pleasantly surprised to find that a lot of things you'd never have expected to be vegan turn out to be totally plant-based (Oreos, anyone?). I also learned that I don't have to give as much up as I thought. I still eat pecan pie for Thanksgiving, enjoy a creamy stroganoff with wide noodles, and relish something that omnivores can't believe isn't actually egg salad. But I've also been exploring new frontiers. I fell in love with nutritional yeast, can't imagine life without Vegenaise, and made magical things with wheat gluten. I think my diet is probably more varied now than it ever has been.

There were some unexpected benefits, too. In spite of grocery shopping taking a bit longer--I have a lot of labels to read--it is less stressful, because I usually find myself on the quieter aisles to read those labels. I'm never fighting crowds in the dairy-free cheese section. By some miracle a chemist could probably explain, my food doesn't stick to my pans as much. Making a good broth never takes all day. My leftovers usually taste as good as or better than the original meal. Under- or overcooking a vegan meal has less impact on the flavor than it would with meat. And I never worry about cross-contamination, so I only need one cutting board.

My blog primarily documents my food adventures through what I have for lunch. They are really what I pack and eat for lunch, not a carefully staged ideal. I do not make carrot flowers or sculpt little animals out of rice (although that does appeal to me, if I only had the time and talent). I have eaten all of the lunches you see here. The blog also documents my continued efforts to learn about vegan cooking, nutrition, and products. Along those lines, this month, you'll see some restaurant reviews and some breakfast ideas, too.


  1. Thank you so much for this amazing introduction! I really enjoyed reading it and learning more about you and your journey to veganism!

  2. Enjoy your first VeganMoFo! I take a packed lunch to work every day, so I'm looking forward to some inspiration (even if there are no vegetable sculptures!). I enjoyed your story about transitioning to vegan - it reminds me how annoyed I was when I realised I had to check guacamole in the supermarket to make sure there was no milk power in it!

  3. Very neat to learn about your transition to veganism; I'm really looking forward to your posts this month!

  4. Great intro! Excited to see all the lunches!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts