Tribute To My Parents
My parents emigrated from Northern Italy in the late 1950’s. Both of them were raised on a farm and knew what it was like to ‘live off the land’. When my father came to Canada he chose to pursue a career in construction. He loved using his hands to create and took great satisfaction in knowing he was taking part in the development of the city in which he was raising his family. Despite working long days he still managed to continue practising the farm culture of growing his own food. Dad spent much of his free time in the garden, working the soil, planting his vegetables and nurturing them. He was very passionate about gardening and took great pride in the entire process. I have fond memories of the time I spent each summer sitting under a tree with my mother snapping and sorting bean pods. I remember watching her inspect each spinach leaf for dirt and insects as she washed each one thoroughly. My stay-at-home mother was busy preparing, canning and freezing all the organic goodness my father proudly grew so we could continue to enjoy it during the winter months. The foods on our dinner plates were mostly from our own backyard, so we knew exactly what we were consuming.
As a very young child I spent most of my summers perfecting my front flips and skipping Double Dutch with my neighbourhood friends. When the fruit from the many trees my father had planted in our large backyard was ready to be picked, you could be sure to find me wrapped around a tree branch picking each juicy treat with care. There was no shortage of plums, cherries, pears, apples, apricots and grapes. There was so much available that my father would fill baskets of his beloved fruit to deliver to our neighbours. Needless to say they were thrilled.
Dad also raised hens, pheasants and quails and also bred and sold canaries. Many of my evenings and weekends were spent outside helping to clean their cages and collecting and washing hens’ eggs. I still remember how warm the eggs felt in my little hands. You really couldn’t get much fresher than that! I always think of myself as a city girl raised on a farm. I was such a lucky girl to have been given an upbringing rooted (yes, I just said that) in organic goodness. I must admit it would have been easier to embrace a vegan lifestyle back when there was so much organic love in our own backyard.
Why I Became A Vegan
Since I have been posting my vegan/gluten free recipes on Instagram I have had many people ask me questions about my vegan lifestyle. How long have I been a vegan? Why did I choose to become vegan?
Approximately a year before my daughter went off to university she decided she no longer wanted to eat “anything with a face”. Not knowing how to accommodate her new food preferences I purchased processed foods to replace the meat on her plate. Soy burgers, veggie dogs and processed grilled cheese dinners topped with a mountain of ketchup was the vision across the dinner table many evenings. Needless to say the vegan plan was not successful and off to university she went rather disappointed. I began researching vegan cuisine and slowly started removing animal protein from our diet. I learned how to incorporate nutritious plant-based foods and gradually remove all animal protein. I enjoyed the challenge of developing new recipes and using vegetables and fruits that I normally would never had tried previously. The last 7 years have been a wonderful journey and now the whole family is enjoying a healthy vegan lifestyle. I love knowing that our plant-based choices are helping to decrease the exploitation and cruelty of animals, lower our carbon footprint and reduce the burden on the environment. Our vegan lifestyle has endless health benefits as well.