Welcome back for another instalment of jjsvegankitchen! Today I want to talk to you about supermarket shopping. Why, you might ask? Good question. Let’s get into it.
Before I went vegan my diet was very restrictive and definitely not healthy. I had so many food barriers (some of which I still deal with) but the past year has been a transformative experience. Now my diet is in an abundance of various items I would never have touched over the past years.
Just meandering through the aisles and examining produce and sauces indicates I’ve overcome hurdles in my own life. Not so long ago I would have to completely deconstruct a menu or ingredients list because I couldn’t cope with not knowing everything about it. Usually I ate the same things over and over again because it was safe. I freaked out when people wanted to talk to me about my eating habits or food. How things have changed!
Now I’m no longer scared of new things; I embrace them.
And the thing is, other people have noticed it too. You might not think that me frying onions and garlic is a big deal – this is pretty standard in the culinary world – but you also don’t know I refused to eat onions for a very long time.
My family and friends have commented on the vast improvement and difference of me now compared to even just a few years ago.
These days I’m picking up ingredients that would never even be on my radar. A few days ago I went to the Asian supermarket in Belfast, a trip which always takes me to a happy place both literally and metaphorically. Without a second thought I get a tub of gochujang, hot Korean pepper paste, contemplating the myriad of ways in which it can be used. Slice some eggplant or aubergine, depending on your linguistic persuasion, and use gochujang as the base of a marinade.
My love of food and cooking has taken leaps and bounds and going to the supermarket reinforces this. A whole host of flavours and textures await.
Another element that has emerged over the year is my move away from processed foods. Now I have to say, I don’t actually have anything against these kinds of junk food – hell, they’re still better for you than meat! During my teens and early twenties (oh yeah, I’m mid- verging on late-twenties now) I was reliant on all sorts of things that I could cook in the oven or microwave. A lot of them were ‘safe’ foods for me.
I still eat these, but I celebrate the fact that I am more comfortable with incorporating more vegetables, leafy greens and even beans into my diet. A plate or bowl looks more like the bounty of the earth – I love it.
Whether it was because of changing to a plant based diet or a simultaneous change in my food tastes is irrelevant. I don’t necessarily feel the need to attribute these developments to my going vegan, they might be completely unrelated. All I can say is that being vegan has allowed me to flourish and expand my culinary habits.
Like this? You might also enjoy:
Going Vegan, Part 1: The Beginning. This is mostly about getting to grips with food at the start of my vegan journey.
What A Vegan Eats: Dinner Edition. I walk you through some of the dinners I ate in a week.
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