Why I Gave Up Burgers…
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Why I Gave Up Burgers…And now grow my own!
I was recently asked what it was like abandoning animal products in my (our) diet and becoming a vegetarian. It was so long ago that I remember only my stance: As the mother of eight young children, I decided firmly that no longer would I buy, prepare, serve, or eat any animal products...flesh in particular. My maternal grandfather, whom I loved, was a wholesale butcher, so of course I was raised on eggs with either bacon, ham, or sausages for breakfast, bologna or other lunchmeat in sandwiches, and always meat of some sort for dinner. It was simply considered what you do in those days.
At the same time, my paternal grandmother, whom I called Amma, taught me to be what we would now call an organic gardener. Her words: We do not poison God's earth. We bless it with the plants He has given us. We keep away any insects who mistakenly think the plants are for their dinner, by planting our vegetables, berries, and flowers in neighborhoods where they have friends who make these 'bad bugs' feel unwelcome. (These days we call it companion planting.)
As Amma showed me how to garden, she insisted that being thankful was a matter of accepting the gift of being able to bless God's earth with plants, and in doing so, to help Him fulfill the promise He put forth in the first book of Genesis, verse 29: I give you every seed-bearing plant on the earth and every tree which has seed-bearing fruit to be your food.
With this as a background, when our family moved to Sacramento, we were blessed with a remarkable MD as our family physician, Dr. Lloyd Pratt. A Seventh Day Adventist, now and again he would share dietary tips—casually but intentionally. I began to question my (our) eating habits, and from my natural researching instinct, I asked him questions and began to investigate his answers, plowing into the background of diet, vitamins, and the like.
In those days most consumers simply relied on advertisements to guide their decisions. Why would an advertiser lie? Ha! Our attitudes were an outrageous expression of naiveté. I never did buy into the hype that Wonder Bread builds strong bodies 12 ways, because when I bought it, I would wad up the slices and clean my typewriter keys with it! The rest of the loaf went in the trash. Once I had learned the benefits of whole wheat flour, I made 15 loaves of whole wheat bread each Saturday...using a baby bath tub as the mixing bowl. This was the beginning of our new health-conscious diet.
Organic was a term not yet coined. The only health food store was 30 miles down the road, and run by very disciplined Seventh Day Adventists who stocked some very strange packaged foods they called natural. I had a less kindly name for them, and realized I was on my own. Other than a randomly placed store such as this one, health food stores were unheard of, as was the internet back then, so the library was my information source. Having been a librarian, and a lifetime lover of books and what they contain, time spent there was like a homecoming. My, did I learn!
As the prevalent saying goes: I'll make a long story short:
I teach my students: If you have a complaint, DO something about it instead of gossiping and being self-righteous. I followed my own advice and instead of complaining that most people had little idea what a healthful diet really was, I compiled the recipes I had gathered through the years, along with dietary information, and in 1998 I put them together in a 350 (!) page cookbook. I called it Cooking With Vim, had it coil-bound, and sold over 1,000 copies at $25 each.
Then, a few years later, when Louise Hay became one of my handwriting students, I mentioned the book to her. She looked through it and stated that if I could select 101 recipes that were quick, easy, delicious, with familiar ingredients, Hay House would be interested in publishing it.
Only 101? This was not an easy task—so I invited a group of 12 friends to my home to help me decide which recipes to keep. My favorite recipe didn't make it because it takes many hours—Peach Chutney (so delicious!), but after going back and forth, following the guidelines I had been given, we narrowed our choices to 101.
When I handed Louise the manuscript, she looked me in the eye with a smile on her face and said, Vimala, it will be beautiful. Months later when the first copies of the book arrived I called her; she had just received hers as well. We both were ecstatic, almost tearfully joyful: 40 color photographs and a layout that was absolutely stunning! As well as recipes and photographs, it also included every speck of dietary information I had shared—a treasure chest for people who want a basic and simple way of altering their eating habits to make their bodies happy. On top of that, it's the most beautiful cookbook I have ever seen!
Here it is. I'll let you decide: Vegetarian Meals for People On the Go:101 Quick & Easy Recipes.