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Q: Do you have a recipe for buffalo sauce?
A: Buffalo sauce is hot sauce + oil or butter (usually equal parts). Since I don’t use oil or butter, I just use hot sauce :)
Q: Butter, what’s a good replacement? I love it on corn on the cob and Life Balance is loaded with fat... HELP!
A: Earth Balance ( a vegan alternative to butter (and some, but not all, margarines are accidentally vegan), but they’re not low in fat (and neither is butter). You won’t find a low-fat butter or butter replacement (or an oil-free one) since butter/butter substitutes are just fat spreads when you get down to it. The best thing you can do is learn to love your corn just as nature intended it — no butter. Or if you must, try sprinkling a little salt or Cajun seasoning on top. Or you could try vegan plain yogurt or “nature’s butter” (a.k.a. avocado).
Q: I'm so hurt right now. I just discovered that my dad's been lying to me and using cow milk in the muffins when we have soy milk in the fridge. Have you had a family member deceive you like that?
A: I'm so sorry to hear this!! When I was younger, my mother (who is now plant-based) used to feed me meat telling me it was soy. I was so young I didn't catch on (though now I know why my tummy always hurt after eating “soy meatballs”!).
Once I was old enough to figure it out, it drove a wedge between us. I've forgiven her as best I can, but forgiveness is hard for me, so as proud as I am of my parents for being plant-based now, I’m still dealing with some disappointment and anger. I know I should move on, and it’s a work in progress. My mom tells me I can’t be mad at her and keep punishing her for things in the past — which is true. I tell myself (and she reminds me) that she was doing what she thought was best, and had she known what she knows now, she never would have done it. Like a lot of people, she was misinformed and thought I’d die if I didn’t eat meat, and so she tricked me out of love and genuine concern. Of course, now she knows that a plant-based diet is not only safe, but the best choice and she only wishes all of us could have adopted that lifestyle sooner.
The best you can do is forgive and explain to that family member how upset you are and ask that they respect you. Perhaps most importantly, tell them it’s important you be able to trust them and open deceit destroys that trust.
Q: I am trying to bring the Plant-Based plan to my community, but I find it to be very difficult because they have their minds set on low-fat diets, Weight Watchers, and the band surgery for those in desperate need. Any advice on how to change their minds?
A: I promote a low-fat diet, and the diet I promote (low-fat, whole foods, plant-based, no oil) also works pretty well within WW guidelines, so I guess that's always been on my side. It’s different, but still familiar. Most of the people that come to me for help are already interested in change at whatever cost, or have already decided plant-based is what they want, so they’re ready. That makes my job a bit easier.
However, I’m always looking for new recruits and trying to rub off on my friends. I find the approach you take really depends on the person. For example, with my one friend, I convinced him to try a plant-based diet because it was cheaper. Nothing about health or animals would get his gears going, but he's always looking to save money and cut corners so that was incentive (and now he loves it!). Another friend is terrified she'll die of cancer like her mother did, so I always talked to her about cancer and its relationship to diet. I also showed her some studies that prove a correlation between the kind of cancer her mom had and diet — showing my friend she has the power to write her own destiny. Then there are my other friends that I just rub off on by way of leading by example.
A sort of one-size-fits-all advice is asking people to try it for 28 days or 7 days. Make a community challenge. I believe that once someone experiences how amazing they feel, the diet speaks for itself. Also see my post, "How to Talk about Veganism".