Welcome to my recipes. Thanks so much for stopping by! This is primarily a place for me to keep a record of my experiments in the kitchen. I take pictures with an old camera phone in a poorly lit kitchen, so bare with me here. Why a blog? For me, this is just a good old fashioned time-wasting hobby, on the side of a full time life and career. Plus, when people say, ‘Oh can you give me that recipe?’ I can say, ‘Sure! Check the blog!’ See, that’s much easier that remembering and writing stuff down.
A quick tip for navigating this blog: if you scroll to the very bottom of the page, you can use the search bar or the category drop down menu to pinpoint what it is you are looking for. I generally consider my recipes ‘healthy comfort food’. Although there is something for everyone from raw food recipes to deep fried bar snacks!
You’ll probably notice that I eat a completely plant based diet. This is for a few reasons.
#1 It’s so delicious! I can’t remember the last time I actually felt that something would be better with meat or cheese. Really, plant based food is the purest, most tasty thing you will ever eat, if you can manage to cook it right, and explore new ideas. It gives me so much energy and joy.
#2 The companies that bring you meat and dairy are on their way to destroying many of the resources that we depend on to exist as a species: our air quality, our soil quality, our water quality, our water supply. If we were to focus on just one of those resources, let’s say water, this should put it into perspective: One pound of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water to produce, and a pound of cheese requires 700 gallons, whereas one pound of wheat only requires 132 gallons. As far as water usage goes, cutting out beef and dairy for just one year is equivalent to not showering for over 50 years! In fact, according to National Geographic, a plant based eater will indirectly consume 600 less gallons of water PER DAY than someone eating the standard American diet. Wow! And that’s just the fresh water. The current fishing practices are so unsustainable, that it is predicted that all edible species of marine life will be extinct by 2048. So that means we might be one of the last generations in all of humanity to have tasted fish. I don’t like to think about what kind of repercussions that could have on the eco-system.
According to scientists at the Smithsonian Institute, the equivalent of seven football fields of land is bulldozed every minute to create more room for farm animals, that includes the rain forests. The employees who have to work at these factory farms, or CAFOS (concentrated animal feed operations) are regularly mistreated, injured, and work in unspeakable conditions. The people who bring you mass produced meat are not farmers, they are mega-corporations with mistreated workers. Working at one of these corporate factories is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, due to the pressure to ‘process’ thousands of frightened animals everyday at unsafe speeds of operation. These employees are often undocumented migrants, and thus feel that they have no way of asking for a better work environment. They have a high rate of respiratory illness from the manure particles, and a high rate of substance abuse. Factory farms use antibiotics so regularly, that they are creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, posing an alarming threat to the population. Billions of taxpayers’ dollars go to subsidize these industries, making animal products much cheaper and more available than they should be, which in turn is making us an incredibly sick nation. These companies produce more carbon emissions than the ENTIRE transportation industry combined, making them a fundamental cause of climate change. They do all of this with no regard for the future or health of anyone or thing involved. 99% of meat and dairy in America comes from these factory farms. Don’t support jerks like that. It just makes them act like bigger jerks.
#3 I don’t want to pay anyone to hurt an animal for me. I wouldn’t hurt a dog or a cat, and I don’t want to hurt a pig, or an ape or a giraffe or a bunny or a chicken either. And the good news is, I don’t have to! Pigs, for example, are one of the smartest animals on the planet, with the intellectual capacity of a 3 year old human. It’s tough to talk about this stuff because it seems so dramatically gory, but it seems like important information to keep in mind when you walk into the grocery store. The most obviously awful thing that factory farms do is abuse 10 billion animals a year, everyday of the animals’ lives. (That’s just in the United States, it’s 56 billion globally.) These animals are not raised on green pastures, munching on grass near a red barn. If you think that the conditions must at least be ok, go ahead and type ‘factory farms’ into your google image search and see for yourself if it looks ok to you. Or check out this insane expose from Rolling Stone magazine about Smithfield Farm (the largest and most profitable pork producer in the world.) Some of the things fed to factory farmed animals, in addition to genetically engineered corn and soy, includes feathers, bones, blood, manure, and other remains of slaughtered animals, often of their own species. It kind of gives new meaning to the phrase, “you are what you eat.” These animals get brutally mutilated without anesthesia. For example, a baby pig will have his testicles ripped off, his teeth clipped with blades, his tail chopped off with scissors, his ear hole-punched with a tag, etc. They are kept in such confinement that they often go insane, with sores on their mouths from chewing at their cages, or trampled to death by each other. The females are kept constantly pregnant via artificial insemination, in crates so small they can not lay down or turn around and see what their babies look like. You could fill a book with all the abuses that factory farmed animals suffer unnecessarily, so I’ll leave it at that. I can understand the argument that eating meat is not inherently wrong (although it’s just not for me), but I think meat-eaters and vegetarians alike can agree that treating animals this way is 100% not ok.
#4 Going veg can add up to 10 years to your life. Consuming meat (dead animals) and dairy (the bodily fluids of animals- come on, when you really think about it, that’s pretty weird) can give you cancer. In fact the Harvard School of Public Health recommends that you cut out dairy completely. Consuming these animal products also leads to obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hundreds of other common diseases that are completely preventable. The number one cause of death in this country is heart disease- basically a preventable illness with proper diet and exercise. Cancer and diabetes are not far behind. The link between meat consumption and cancer is similar to the link between cigarette smoking and cancer, yikes. By all means, if you can afford cancer treatment, go for it. It’s not in my budget.
#5 Since going vegan, I am MEASURABLY faster, stronger, thinner, and happier. I can run faster than when I was on my high school track team! In fact I have eliminated about 30 seconds off the time it takes me to run a mile, every 6 months that I have been eating this way. And the crazy part is, I don’t even run often, maybe once a month just to see if I got faster. I don’t have to count calories or worry about carbs anymore. I have a better immune system, better skin, better sleep, better mood, better nails. I used to think I had ADHD, because I had been diagnosed as a kid and in college. It turns out, I can focus all I want when I eat a clean, plant based, whole foods diet. According to this study published in the British Journal of Health and Psychology, eating more fruits and vegetables makes you happier, more curious, improves interpersonal interactions, and makes you more creative! I also used to get chronic bronchitis 4 times a year. Since going vegan 3 1/2 years ago, I haven’t had bronchitis once! In fact I can’t remember the last time I was sick, it’s been at least 2 years. Amazing right? Aren’t these all the things many people spend thousands of dollars on each year? Looking and feeling great and being happy about their life? Imagine a life without medications, where you look younger than you are, where you are thin and full of energy. It’s not some impossible fantasy, it’s a whole foods plant based diet!
#6 When you stop contributing to an industry of suffering, you start to feel an immense and beautiful connection to the rest of the world and all living creatures. It’s like switching from black and white to technicolor. It is an unexplainable feeling. You feel VIBRANT and alive, and a great overwhelming love for life. A dullness lifts from your senses, and you start to see the global connections between yourself, other humans, and the beautiful creatures and plants with which we share our precious planet.
#7 My grocery bill is half of what it used to be. Whole plant food, even organic, is just cheaper. I went from spending about $100 a week to $40.
So, in summary: it tastes fantastic, it’s better for your health, no one has to get hurt, it’s better for the planet and humanity, it’s better for your bank account, it’s better for your soul. Sold!
I truly love food. Who doesn’t right? I don’t ever want to have to compromise. And I love challenges when it comes to food. I love showing people that vegan food might just be the best thing they’ve ever tasted. I hope you try it too! The grass is so much greener over here, and it tastes great too! 😉 In every recipe, I recommend using as much organic, fresh, local ingredients and the highest welfare animal products you can find if you are going to use them.Enjoy!
For sneak peak photos, follow me on Instagram: @giannabowensmith
For anyone interested in finding out more about the research behind the information given above, here are some resources, (in addition to the 15 or so articles linked above) that I have found to be helpful and informative along the way. I know this list could be a lot more complete, especially the books. I’ll add to it as I get to stuff, I just want to make sure I actually read/see everything myself before recommending it!
Films: Earthlings (you can watch the whole movie right here for free)
Forks Over Knives (available on netflix)
Super Size Me (available to watch free on Hulu here)
Food Inc. (available on netflix)
Blackfish (available on netflix)
Vegucated (available to watch free on Hulu here)
Facts about factory farms: If you only read one thing on this whole blog, read this.
This is a wonderfully civil and articulate debate, it will leave you feeling like you have all the facts from both sides to make a proper decision for yourself.
Worried about protein, exercise, and being strong? Don’t be, in fact, check out these beasts, some of the best athletes in the entire world are vegan. Including the strongest man in Germany, one of the strongest men in the world, Patrik Baboumian.
Also, one of the world’s best ultra-marathoners, Brendan Brazier.
Or how about these crazy old people who ran 366 marathons in 366 days? (you read that right)
Did I mention my brain just feels clearer? When this elementary school changed to a vegetarian school lunch menu, the test scores and attention spans went up dramatically, and 90% of the kids choose this menu over bringing their own lunch.
In other news, one study links children with high IQs to becoming vegetarian later in life. Nailed it.
Skinny Bitch, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. This book had me laughing out loud the entire time. It is a great read, no matter what you are into, and extremely eye opening.
The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose. A good book for transitioning and ‘resetting’ your body and taste buds (just avoid Part 1, step #4, you’ll see.)
Veganomics, by Nick Cooney. Great statistical breakdown of facts and studies related to vegetarianism.
The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone. This book was very sweetly written and I enjoyed it. I found that the ingredients used in her recipes were too obscure and expensive though, go figure with a celebrity author. Still I liked her transitioning advice!
Thrive Fitness, by Brendan Brazier. Perfect guide to being a plant based high performance athlete. I enjoyed his attention to pre and post workout recipes. I can see how if you ate like this all the time, and exercised everyday, you would start to feel unstoppable!
Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer. This guy is a great writer. His philosophical and logical style is totally enthralling.
Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano everything you need to know about how to stay pretty without hurting the environment. You don’t have to be a beast to be kind to the planet!