Writing this blog has been so good for me, I have met so many interesting and wonderful people, made new friends and I hope, have helped those who aren't Vegan understand that Vegans aren't pretentious, judgemental, preachy people. We are regular people who see things from an all together different point of view. Our dietary choices are not decided by our growling stomachs but by our hearts. Every decision I make is a conscientious one. I often tell people I live my life as harm free as possible. I do not eat meat/dairy because it is cruel, I do not wear leather/fur because it is inhumane, I ride a bike because it is the right thing to do, I recycle/compost because it is what the Earth needs. Being Vegan isn't to prove a point to others, it is to prove a point to myself. I can live and survive with peace in my heart and mind. In writing this blog I have found so many others out there who live and think the way that I do it is outstanding! These people are so different from me in so many ways (religion, philosophies, hobbies, and even fashion) but we share this one precious thing that links us in a way greater than most, it is our compassion towards ALL living things.
The Vegan for this week is Bianca from Vegan Crunk. Some of you may already know her blog, because simply put, she is radtastic. Her blog has so many delicious recipes it is hard for me to know where to get started. She does a ton of Southern cooking, and if one knows me well enough, they know I harbor a special little spot in my soul for some delish Southern food. Give me greens or give me death! Bianca is funny, smart, a great writer and she is wickedly cute! Check her out!
Name: Bianca Phillips
Location: Memphis, TN
Website: Vegan Crunk
How long have you been Vegan?
It’ll be 6 years in November.
What made you decide to go Vegan?
I went vegetarian in 1994 when I was 14 years old, and 2004 was my 10-year vegetarian anniversary. At the time, I was very involved in a local animal rights group and PETA, and through those activities I’d made a few vegan friends. They really opened my eyes to the cruelty that affects dairy cows and hens. Before I thought that eating a vegetarian diet was cruelty-free because no one had to die. But I was very wrong. I felt like my 10th anniversary of vegetarianism was the right time to make the next step. It began as a 30-day experiment, but when I realized how freakin’ easy it was, it stuck.
How do you feel health wise with this diet choice?
Within a week or so of eating vegan, I immediately noticed feeling “lighter.” Not that I weighed any less, but I didn’t feel weighed down. I had more energy.
Are you open about your Veganism?
Oh yea. Veganism is the most important part of my identity and I let EVERYBODY know, whether they care or not.
If so, are you involved in any activism i.e. protests, leafleting etc…Our local animal rights group used to hold protests at KFC every month and we held monthly leafleting events, but everyone got a little burnt out and the group morphed into more of a social club. Now we get together once a month to eat at local restaurants and hold occasional potlucks and parties. I consider cooking and baking my activism these days. I always come armed to events (and often to work) with yummy vegan baked goods or savory dishes. I believe the way to most people’s hearts is through their stomachs. Also, I’m in the process of writing a cookbook that veganizes traditional Southern/soul food dishes.
What do your family, friends, co-workers think about your diet?
My family is super-supportive! Of course, I’ve been veg since age 14, so they’ve had plenty of time to get used to the idea. My mom has always cooked separate vegan dishes for me at family meals, and she even makes vegan desserts when she knows I’ll be visiting. My dad loves to pick out surprise vegan treats for me from Vegan Essentials, and my Granny (dad’s mom) has been an amazing help with my cookbook. She’s been veganizing all of her traditional family recipes for me to include in the book. Her vegan coconut pie is to die for!
Most of my friends are vegetarians and vegans, so that’s not an issue. My boyfriend eats meat, but he’s supportive of my veganism. My co-workers love the vegan baked goods I bring into the office at least once a week.
What advice would you give those interested in becoming Vegan?
Move into veganism slowly. There’s a lot to learn, and most of it comes through trial and error. I’m still learning about some ingredients that I didn’t know weren’t vegan, and it’s been 6 years (I learned about l-cysteine a few months ago!). Also, take a month off from dairy cheese before trying vegan cheese to give your tastebuds time to adjust. Vegan cheese doesn’t taste like dairy cheese, but it is delicious. Think of it as a completely new food rather than a replacement.
Would you eat at Mc Donald’s if they carried a Vegan burger?
Hell yea! I typically avoid fast food most of the time. But when I’m traveling, I’ve been known to stop through Subway for a veggie sandwich or Taco Bell for a cheeseless, sour cream-less 7-Layer Burrito. I’d love a few more fast food options for desperate times.
Do you have a Vegan celebrity that you find particularly dashing?
I’m in love with Moby. I’ve always had a thing for skinny, shaved bald guys. In fact, my current boyfriend looks kind of like Moby. That’s why started dating him in the first place. Now if only I could get him to go vegan like Moby…
Do you have a favorite Vegan blog or website that you follow?
I love the PPK, but I’m not on as frequently as I should be. Favorite blogs include Get Sconed (which served as my inspiration for starting my own blog a few years back), the Urban Housewife, Vegansaurus, the Voracious Vegan, Chocolate Covered Katie, and Choosing Raw. Oh, and I love Seitanic Vegan Heathen of course!!!
What is your least favorite question that you are asked about your diet?
Where do you get your protein? Nothing irks me more than this dumb question.
country fried tempeh
What is your favorite dish?
I love vegan pizza with lots of Daiya cheese. And I’m a sucker for a good vegan mac & cheese.
What do you typically eat at Thanksgiving?
There’s always a Field Roast Celebration Roast on the table. And my mom makes some bomb-ass vegan cornbread dressin’. There’s also vegan hash brown casserole, my Granny’s delicious turnip greens, vegan mac & cheese, mashed taters, green beans, corn, homemade cranberry sauce. And I’m responsible for dessert every year. Last year, I made a Smlove Pie from the Veganomicon.
If I could make you any flavor cupcake in the world what would it be?
Any flavor? God, that’s a way hard question. I love all flavors of cupcake! Everything I’ve tried from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World has been stellar. I know that’s a crappy, unoriginal answer. Hmmm…maybe a neopolitan cupcake ice cream cake with chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream, and strawberry icing.
Please share your favorite Vegan recipe.
Vegan Crunk’s Country Potato Soup (Serves 4 to 6)
-4 cups cubed potatoes, skins removed (about 2 medium baking potatoes)
-1 large carrot, sliced
-2 stalks celery, sliced
-1 Tbsp. canola oil
-1 medium onion, chopped
-1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
-2 cups unsweetened soymilk
-2 Tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour
-1 tsp. sea salt
-1/4 tsp. black pepper
-5 slices cooked veggie bacon, crumbled (I use Light Life brand Smart Bacon strips)
-Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cover potatoes, carrot, and celery in a large stockpot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower to medium. Boil for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Transfer vegetables to a colander and allow to drain in the sink while you prepare the onions.
Heat oil in the same stockpot, and sauté onion for 2 to 3 minutes or until translucent. Add vegetable broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.
In a measuring cup, mix flour thoroughly into soymilk. Add to soymilk mixture to stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken. Stir in veggie bacon, salt, and pepper.
I was just thinking of how long it has been since I had potato soup and then here comes Bianca! Isn't she great?