Vegan's Chronicles + [vegan politics]

My 2-year Veggiversary

So I just realized that this month marks my 2-year anniversary of being vegan! Has it only been 2 years? I bet you thought I'd say "has it already been 2 years", right? It seems like it's been way longer than that because being vegan just feels so normal to me now. It's so easy to forget that a mere two years ago, I was still eating eggs and dairy products. I guess an explanation could be that I was vegetarian before that, so it didn't feel like such a drastic change. Even though I sometimes I think I've been vegan forever, I don't want to forget where I came from and the forces that led me to make this life-changing switch. If you're interested in how I began this vegan journey, please re-visit my vegan "testimonial".

Foreigner's Flea Market

Remember my first vegan bake sale? Muffin overload!!

That said, I'd like to take a moment to reflect upon these past 2 years of blissful, cruelty-free-living. In terms of food, I think it's safe to say that I've never eaten better. Not only has going vegan fueled my love for good food, it has also forced me to educate myself on nutrition and being healthy.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2009

Hosting a vegan Thanksgiving meal in 2009.

In the beginning, I thought that I "needed" things like vegan meat or cheese, and I felt deprived and frustrated that I couldn't find many of these vegan products here in Korea. But now, I honestly couldn't care less. I hardly ever cook with wheat/soy meat products (I only eat it if I go to loving hut), and I don't feel depressed about not having veg cheese for my tortilla pizzas. My diet is much more focused on just eating a variety of whole, mostly unprocessed foods.

IMG_3680

Rice, kale, steamed kabocha squash

I discovered my love for raw, fresh veggies in massive salads this year.

bibimbab

Bibimbab with tofu, mushrooms, a variety of sprouts, and dwenjang

Samosa Mashed Sweet Potato Pancakes

Samosa sweet potato pancakes from Vegan Brunch

Striving to be a healthy vegan has also led me to enjoy numerous foods that I used to detest, such as...

sea vegetables...

... or dotori muk...

Eggless Egg Salad Sandwich

... and even tofu! I truly love them all now. (Eggy tofu sandwich)

I've also learned a lot more about how to be vegan in Korea, including how to veganize some of my favorite Korean dishes. I still have a ways to go before I can feel confident cooking Korean food, but it's something to strive for.

Gimjang Kimchi making

vegan kimchi

Making Ddeok

My first homemade ddeok

Dwenjang Jjigye

vegan dwenjang jjigye

Making Mandoo

vegan mandu

Jja jang bab

vegan jja jang bab

I've also tried many new restaurants around Seoul and am a lot more knowledgeable about Korean dishes that are or are not vegan, or can be modified to be so. I still seem to learn new things every day, so I'm hardly an expert, but I'm happy to say that I'm not so afraid. I used to cringe or shy away from asking the waitstaff at restaurants to modify dishes for me, but now, I'm a lot more confident in stating my needs, and I get less frustrated than I did in the past.

Sanchon @ Insadong

Feasting like royalty at Sanchon in Insadong

Dubu Restaurant by Seoul Arts Center

I've mastered the fine art of ordering vegan bibimbab at restaurants

To be honest, I think I used to be a bit shy about telling people I just met (especially older conservative Koreans) that I'm vegan, for fear that they would write me off as some weird fanatic, but now I'm comfortable in my vegan skin, and I'm owning it. Dat's right. I'm vegan and proud of it.

So yea... before this ends up being way too long, I just wanna say, it's been an incredible 2-years so far, and I'm stoked for where it will continue to take me. Thanks for letting me share this part of my life with you!