Transitions in Tradition

Food is a strong part of who we are, and many of our memories are attached to the smells and tastes we have experienced throughout our lives. When I first decided to become vegan, I had a tough time moving away from the traditional meals on which I was raised—dishes that typically included copious amounts of butter and cheese. In 2006, I read about the effects of an animal-based diet in T. Colin Campbell’s book The China Study, and became convinced that a vegan diet was the right decision for me. 

Creating delicious vegan meals was much more challenging than I thought it would be (particularly during the holidays), but I became determined to create new, healthy traditions. Struggling to find recipes that were healthy yet appetizing, I eventually made my own collection of basic dishes. Many are adaptations of the meals my mother and grandmother used to prepare, incorporating the distinctive flavors of the Southern United States and Mexico without the use of dairy or meat ingredients, as well as some new recipes I created along the way. 

I am blessed with a large family that consists of different cultures, beliefs and customs, and I love them all. While the eating habits of my children and their families vary, my kitchen welcomes all and serves enjoyable meals that are savory for everyone. Families who are looking for healthier cooking options will enjoy the simple, versatile dishes offered in this cookbook. If you don’t know where to start, try the Mexican Red Posole soup (page 68), Stir-Fry with Soba Noodles (page 225), or Coconut and Banana Nut Cupcakes. 

Choosing a low-fat vegan diet has been the right decision for me, but I do not claim to be an authority on its health benefits. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the works of T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., Neal Barnard, M.D., John A. McDougall, M.D. and Dean Ornish, M.D. There are many talented authors who have also written helpful vegan cookbooks.

Find these people, read their works, and have fun! It takes courage to make changes. We all deserve the opportunity to modify our lifestyles in a way that will help us become as healthy as possible. All the best,


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