Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Becoming Tasty Kaiti... my story

Friends, Family, and even Strangers have criticized me for switching to a vegan diet:

"Are you always going to be vegan?"

"I could never give up __! I'd rather die.."
"It's crazy that you don't eat __!" 

Well, I've had some of my own interesting experiences with my health and I couldn't feel better about my decision to go vegan. I don't know if I've ever actually shared my story, and since today is World Health Day, it seems appropriate to share.
A few years ago I was having issues staying healthy. I would get sick after eating foods that I grew up on, burgers, pizza, ice cream, sushi, etc. Every day I was dealing with a distended stomach that made me look pregnant, a swollen face/neck, irritability, and sometimes even hives! It was so annoying that I decided I wanted to make a change. I made a list of everything that was making me feel AWFUL (cream cheese, burgers, chicken, fish, milk, ice cream... I could go on and on) and took it to the doctor to see what they had to say. They couldn't really give me a firm answer but it appeared as though my body had a tough time breaking down and accepting the proteins in animal products. Sure I could go to the doctor regularly and get a quick fix like a shot or pills... but if it was something that I could fix just by changing what I was eating, why wouldn't I just do that?!

I decided to make the change and invest in better food choices rather than investing in medications that would come with who knows what kind of side effects. After not being vegan for 23 years it was definitely going to be a challenge, especially for a giant foodie like me!!! But I was blessed with a crazy food memory and a love for experimenting in the kitchen. I went to the internet in hopes of finding some recipes that would ease my transition into a plant-based diet. Stuff that would make a carnivore feel truly satisfied in taste, texture, and a full belly! To my dismay, there was not much online (2010) that was very appealing to me as a new vegan. I still wanted a meaty burger and creamy, cheesy mac n cheese. 

Salt Potatoes... One of the first recipes I posted on my Tumblr page back in 2011!
I started my very first blog on Tumblr, trying out recipes from some cookbooks I had and then writing the review of the recipe. Then I switched over to Blogger (in Aug 2011). It was then that I realized there were a lot of people out there like me! They too wanted to find food that reminded them of the foods they used to eat so they didn't feel deprived. 
What's up South Africa, Australia, The Phillipines?! So Cool!!! 
Today, my blog (on Blogger) is coming up on it's 4th birthday, has been viewed over 23K times and has reached ALL OVER THE WORLD! I've expanded my blog from just blogger to a whole new website (www.tastykaitis.kitchen) which has menus, food holidays, and I hope to start adding more videos in the future. I never imagined this blog would take off as much as it has and I hope it will continue to grow! In fact, just recently as you may or may not have read, my social media accounts have even been recognized by big names in the food and vegan celebrity worlds. (Food Network, Chef Michael Symon, Vegan Bros, just to name a few!!!) 
Felt pretty cool to have a Tasty Kaiti's cup while I was in KY
(Shout Out to the great team at the US-127 Starbucks in Frankfort!!)
Welp, that's my story!  I went vegan for health reasons, as have big names like former President Bill Clinton, Mike Tyson, Usher, and more! There are plenty of people who go vegan for animal rights reasons, I love animals, but that was not my personal reason for changing my diet. Please remember that everyone is different, and not everyone is going to agree BUT, this is my personal blog. I'm not here to force anything on anyone, please do not try to force your opinion on others who may be reading. All I'm asking is for people to do is "TASTE THIS!" Maybe by posing that question I can influence people to try foods that can impact their health for the better... Maybe not. I'm just in it to give tasty foods to the people looking for them! 
From Top: Chopped Salad, Mac-No-Cheese, and Roasted Brussel Sprouts... One of my favorite dishes to serve people who doubt the delicious-ness that is Vegan food! 
I will be the first person to admit... I am not a fan of vegan food that "tastes vegan". Tofu, is one of my least favorite ingredients to use. (Sorry... but it's true) BUT, I will say, that what I do like about it is that it tastes like whatever you want it too! One of the first tofu recipes I found when I chose to go vegan was a recipe for chocolate mousse but... I wanted to switch it up... So I went with peanut butter instead! Adjust the sweetness and peanut buttery-ness to your liking!

1/3-1/2 cup peanut butter (CREAMY!!)
1/3-1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (aka powdered sugar)
1 (12.3 oz pkg) soft silken tofu

Put all three things in a blender and puree until smooth and combined.  

Then divide into glasses/bowls/parfait glasses—whatever you’ve got, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 30 minutes.  (Or overnight)  

Then serve.  That’s it.  No really,  I’m serious! …

Okay fine if you really want you could dollop with vegan whip cream/chopped peanuts/or vegan chocolate.  But it truly doesn’t need it.  The best part…? Try secretly feeding it to your carnivore friends/family… bet they don’t know it’s tofu! ;-) Remember just a smile, a spoon and "Taste This" works every time!


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