I’m a busy, working wife and mom, as many of you out there are, and some of you dads, too, (I could never forget the dedicated dads!) and I’m also a proud and vigilant vegetarian. Vigilant is my choice descriptive because, well, it’s a good fit. I’m a serious label reader, always scouring for hidden “meats” in the ingredients. I look for good sources of protein and good meatless substitutions and solutions. And before I go any further, I guess I should give you my definition of a vegetarian. 

When I say “I’m vegetarian” I mean I’m a “lacto-vegetarian”. A lacto-vegetarian eats no meats but does eat/drink dairy products. Meat, to me, includes red meats, white meats, fish, poultry and eggs. That also means no animal-based broths and no gelatin for my recipes. You may find that many of my recipes are vegan or easily converted to vegan, but you can certainly count on them all being absolutely delicious. 

I was an omnivore for about 26 years of my life and definitely a consummate “foodie”. I’ve always enjoyed preparing delicious and interesting meals for my friends and my family, taking pride in the fact that one rarely has to season after being served. When I met my husband, Samuel A Gunderson – a life-long vegetarian, in 2005 I began a quest to eradicate meat from my diet. Two years and one beautiful baby girl later I can proudly call myself a full-fledged vegetarian. Becoming vegetarian has had many positive affects on my life; I’ve lost about 15 lbs since adopting a vegetarian diet and more active lifestyle, my digestion has dramatically improved, heartburn and indigestion are nearly non-existent and my energy levels are better than they’ve ever been.

When I became a mother it was suddenly so much more important to me that I fully dedicate myself to a vegetarian diet. To add to my vigilance, Sam and I took on the challenge of raising a vegetarian baby in a small Southeastern U.S. town, where the typical fare consists of “meat and potatoes”, fried foods and cholesterol-laden dishes. Sure, we get lots of questions like “What exactly do you eat?” or even more annoying “Don’t babies and toddlers need meat in their diets?” Our response usually is “we eat whatever we want” and “no one really needs meat if an alternative protein source is available”. And trust me, alternative protein sources are everywhere. We feel that our way of eating is not only healthier but better for the environment. I’m so happy that we’re able to share our wonderful dietary lifestyle and delicious home-cooked dishes with you.

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