As many of you are aware from my chronicling of The Rabbit Food Diaries, I'm on a specific and highly regimented diet at the moment (click to re-cap if you've missed anything). It's a plant-based, whole foods plan that incorporates both gluten-free and vegan components - and it's been a strange and difficult road to go down for a butter-loving Southerner. This diet will be lasting 140 days, of which I'm only really done with about three weeks. Blah. While I might've gotten past a few of the cravings (fried chicken, pita bread, soft pretzels, bagels, cheese - and I'm sure more are on the way), I still have a lot to learn about eating right with the constraints that I've been given. And, as some of you might have noticed on my Instagram, I've been falling back in love with cooking because of it.
I discussed in my last post (which I've been told was a touch sad) that my friends and family try their best to be supportive, but often have questions and concerns. These can be frustrating to hear over and over, but what's been the most ridiculous to hear is being told how much weight I'm going to lose. If you've seen any of my pictures, then you know I'm not a big person to begin with. I'm 5'0" (on a good day) and I've always been active - making me the girl that everyone points out at a party to toss over a shoulder, or to squeal "you're so tiny" at before pointing out all of my tiny, baby features. Listen - I'm not bitter about being petite. I don't mind it at all. I really, really like being little. There are a lot of great things about being short and small - but the people who now assume that I don't eat (or eat very little) because I'm "dieting"? I frankly find that kind of hurtful.
So, here's the truth: I consume way more food now than I ever did in the past. It's a new development that's been bizarre, and I've had to re-calibrate what I buy at the grocery store each weekend because of this. And at the heart of it? Food blogs. I knew that the internet was going to be my friend when I started this journey - and not only because of the community that I would find by sharing it, but also because of the recipes that would be available to me out there on the interwebs. If this was all happening 10, even 20, years ago, I don't think that I'd be as successful as I am right now in making things like gluten-free and vegan bread here in my own Brooklyn kitchen. I've made lentil burgers and stir fry and cheese from cashews. Anything that I've eaten before, basically, I can eat again. I'm re-learning the fundamentals of cooking, baking, and feeding myself. And it's so liberating.
With all of these new discoveries, I have to give credit to the incredible bloggers out there who've changed my life with their innovations. I no longer feel overwhelmed when I go to the grocery - I feel empowered. I maybe halfway know what I'm doing now. When I read labels, I no longer look like a panic-stricken teary-eyed goon (or at least the employees have gotten used to it?). I like to think that now, I look like someone who's simply being mindful about what foods she puts into her body. And sometimes, when the grocery clerk doesn't know what an acorn squash is, I feel like giving her a recipe or two right then and there because DAMNIT they are amazing and should be celebrated!
I'm going to be referring to more blogs in the future, but for those hippies out there who are interested in learning more about The Rabbit Food Diaries, a vegan and / or gluten-free diet, and the recipes that I've been relying on in these first few weeks, check out the below five blogs for some amazingly inspirational dishes. I'd include pictures, but I really want you to click on the links and explore their sites on your own. I've also graciously provided some of the recipes I want to try next - I'm dying to get back to baking, so they're all sweets (#sorrynotsorry).
1. Vegan Richa. Richa has been one of my top favorite go-to's for easy AND for more involved dishes. I found her blog when I was searching desperately for vegan cheese because I didn't want to buy the soy-based product from the grocery store.
The one I want to try next? Vegan Almond Butter Blondies. Just look at them and tell me they don't look undyingly delicious. I dare you.
2. The First Mess. This is a new one that I just discovered, and I have been easing my way into. Everything on Laura's blog is vegan, as well as being seasonal.
The one that I want to try next? Vegan and Gluten-Free Maple Doughnuts with Salted Almond-Butter Glaze, because it sounds like an explosion of taste in my mouth. Also, they look so artisinal and photogenic!
3. Deliciously Ella. Jeanette already knows that I'm quite literally obsessed with this blog (I spend my nights and weekends texting her as I try new recipes). Ella, like me, was introduced to eating a plant-based diet because of a medical condition, which drew me into her story as well as made me appreciate her recipes more.
The one I want to try next? The Pecan Pie, duh. I'm from the South after all.
4. Oh She Glows. Angela's blog is meant to help people embrace a new plant-based diet without feeling like they're depriving themselves, and I think she's hit the nail on the head. The recipes she creates and the photos she takes will make you reconsider that store-bought candy for sure.
The one I want to try next? The 3-Layer Almond Coconut Chocolate Bars, which look like they're bursting with flavor.
5. Allyson Kramer. Allyson is not only a blogger, but an award-winning cook book writer as well! Everything on her blog is vegan and gluten free - oh, and labeled with nut-free and soy-free labels, too - so it makes it easy to try anything and everything for me.
The one I want to try next? The Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread, because I've always had a weakness for banana bread before TRFD. Oh, and also for chocolate. Of course.
What are your favorite food blogs? Any go-to vegan or gluten-free recipes I should try out? Leave a comment below or send me an e-mail at email@example.com.