Welcome to Plant Awesome! My name is Zin, and I was born in Turkey. I currently live in Vancouver, BC, with my hubby and our BCSPCA adopted, aloof pooch Luka, who hates cuddles. I cook, write, style, and photograph everything here.
ABOUT THE BLOG
Plant Awesome is a food blog, where I will be sharing vegan or veganized Turkish food and other healthy plant-based recipes I would love to cook. There is an ocean of vegan food blogs out there already, and the internet does not need another one. Yet, here I am!
Since I started my journey on eating and living this way, people told me that it is hard to be vegan for a Turkish. Think about all the delicious meat and dairy food you could gorge on. My family and friends thought that I would be starving all the time or would have to sacrifice a lot on great food.
I have heard these phrases countless times.
- Oh, it’s easy to be vegetarian, but going vegan is extreme. I wouldn’t give up on cheese and yogurt!
- I don’t know how you get full by just eating salads. I would be starving.
- If I had enough money, I would hire a vegan chef. Then, I could eat vegan all day. It’s expensive and hard to cook vegan food.
- It’s challenging to think about what to eat for each meal. Meat is easy peasy! Throw it in the bbq, and you will be okay!
- The Mediterranean is the healthiest and most balanced diet in the world. Why are you giving up on dairy and meat?
- Where are you getting your protein? You’ll be sick if you don’t eat meat.
- All these animals we kill would overpopulate if we didn’t kill them. So we are doing the Earth a favor.
- We kill because it’s the circle of life. Suck it up and don’t question too much. It’ll make you unhappy.
And many more.
My answers to all these opinions would be a topic for another article. But by creating this blog, I will at least try to show that Turkish cuisine is not just about kebabs and donairs. We do not need to kill to feed ourselves nutritious food.
Plant Awesome will be a portal to connect with like-minded people and celebrate vibrant Turkish cuisine with a plant-based twist. It will also be a platform where I will challenge myself to explore my roots, improve my cooking skills, and innovate by transforming the traditional meat dishes to a plant-based one.
The recipes will be mostly whole foods. Not that I do not enjoy imitation meats, soy products, or vegan junk food, but I find the unprocessed foods cheaper, more accessible, and inclusive of all dietary restrictions. The only couple of ingredients you will not find here are tofu and cilantro. I still have not figured out a way to like them.
ABOUT GOING PLANT-BASED
My experiment with this way of living started within a year of adopting my dog Luka in 2010. I read books about how dogs think and feel to understand my dog’s behavior and have a good life with him. Then, I picked The Dog by the Cradle, the Serpent Beneath: Some Paradoxes of Human-Animal Relationships by Erika Ritter, intrigued by the title. It was an eye-opening book about an exploration of the baffling paradox underlying our inconsistent relationship – and almost schizophrenic in its absurdity – with animals. The question was:
Why do we love and protect some animals, and pamper them as our house guests, but abuse and slaughter others for food or any other reason?
I started to examine my thoughts and eating habits critically. The book had challenged me enough to mess up my previously wired, habitual thinking. I stopped eating meat first. Instead of being an overnight success, it felt like I was waking up from a long nightmare. The meat was not difficult to give up because of all the graphical footage I had to see. But I continued consuming dairy and eggs since I was still unaware of the unimaginable cruelty inherent in these industries. After learning more about how the dairy and egg industries operate and brutalize the female farmed animals, I went vegan in 2016. I realized that it was one of the most feminist things I could have ever done. I only wish that I had discovered this sooner.
THE FUTURE IS PLANT-BASED
I firmly believe that we are all born compassionate, which means a passion for all, not just for humankind. But we learn to be unkind through our families, friends, schools, belief systems, and culture. When you leave a child with an animal and fruit in the room, the child would intuitively know that fruit is there to eat, and the animal is to love, pet, or hug. She or he would never try to kill it even when hungry.
I think nobody in their conscious mind would like to hurt any sentient beings. However, meat, dairy, and egg industries solely operate to kill, and western civilizations turned this killing into a professional business. There is no other industry that kills in billions than animal agriculture. And we will never get to see what our food looked like as long as we call it meat. We will forget that it was a breathing, life-loving, sentient being, who has a soul, can give birth to another being, and have a right to live as much as we do. That is why we happily take our kids to pick fruits from farms, but we never take them to slaughterhouses. We inherently know that killing animals is inhumane.
There are billions of artificially bred farmed animals that never see fresh air or grass in their life. They live locked behind closed doors. They have access to food and clean water, while a considerable part of the world does not. It is also becoming illegal to photograph or record a video where the animals are raised and slaughtered. What do you think they are hiding?
The food we eat masks so much cruelty. The fact that we can sit down and eat a piece of chicken without thinking about the horrendous conditions under which chickens are industrially bred in this country is a sign of the dangers of capitalism, how capitalism has colonized our minds. The fact that we look no further than the commodity itself, the fact that we refuse to understand the relationships that underly the commodities that we use on a daily basis. And so food is like that.
Plants are the future and the most sustainable way to feed our growing population. No matter how much we improve and innovate, animal agriculture will never be transparent, and it will always remain inhumane.
I hope my blog inspires you to eat more fruits and vegetables one meal at a time.