Being vegan isn't difficult. I converted instantly one day and lived on a steady diet of Amy's meals, Boca Chik Patties, improvised green Thai curry, and Oreos. Easy.
But not healthy. I realized eventually that I had a stack of untouched vegan cookbooks and a crazy unhealthy diet. And I was feeling the effects of it. I set out to become a new kind of vegan and it started with a cookbook challenge.
The goal was to cook 3-4 recipes from a chosen cookbook per week. (I joined the Post Punk Kitchen forums as they were wrapping up theirs, so mine was a direct rip off). I successfully completed all howevermany weeks of the challenge and made 3-4 recipes from each of the books I owned and even some from some library books. Since then, I've been cooking that way. Each week, I choose and prepare recipes from books and blogs.
I won't say don't eat prepackaged food anymore; I do love the occasional Sweet & Sara 'Smore or Amy's burrito, but the bulk of my diet comes from fresh foods prepared in my own kitchen. I've learned a lot about food and cooking and I'm a lot more invested in my diet and health now.
Vegan living is full of challenges. Everyone knows about the family holidays, or eating while traveling, or your cousin's wedding where vegan fare means iceberg lettuce, but there are so many challenges to embrace. I have a dozen chocolate chip cookie recipes, but which is the best? Can I successfully integrate Raw Wednesdays into my life? Can I convert the 350 secret restaurant recipes I was given? Can I learn to stop relying so heavily on cookbooks and start creating my own dishes to share?
These are the things I am challenging myself to do or learn.