Did you know there was a World Vegan Month? Surprise, it's happening right now! And though you may have just learned the word "vegan" a few years ago, by now you probably know that eating vegan can be great for your body and the environment. Still, there's plenty of stigma attached to veganism. Most common: The misconception that vegan food is "gross." Quite the opposite! Vegans seem so obsessed with food that they're compelled to create beautiful and delicious dishes. So this month, commit to getting out there and learning about the deliciousness that is veganism.
Dine Out, Vegan Style
If you live anywhere near a big town, you're bound to have plenty of animal-free options. Think beyond just ordering a salad at your favorite restaurant: Seek out vegetarian-only restaurants and sample their best vegan fare. You're likely to find everything from Thai food to pizza, and some pretty killer desserts. Vegan cupcakes, anyone?
Buy a Vegan Cookbook
Learning to cook vegan can be a painful process if you're starting with a foundation of American cooking. Break out of the box: Treat yourself to a cookbook from a true vegan chef. Tomes like Veganomicon and The Artful Vegan are full of amazing recipes that don't try to replicate the recipes you're used to -- instead, they work with their ingredients' true natures to create flavors and textures you've probably never tasted. Trust me, I've tried them both.
"Veganize" Your Favorite Recipe
Like I said, your vegan education should not center around transforming non-meat into meat substitutes. That said, it can be incredibly fun to test your kitchen mettle by cooking one of your favorite recipes with vegan ingredients. Not only will you learn more about what goes into your food, but you'll learn new tricks that'll help you make healthier foods in the future. Yes, you can cook with soymilk and Tofutti -- and athough most vegan cheese leaves a little to be desired, a good soy crumble can replace Ricotta in your next lasagna and Daiya melts over a delicious pizza. Have fun with it. Trying new things is what World Vegan Month is all about.
image: Vegan cupcakes by Sugar Daze.