I’ve been eating a lot of this salad in some variation lately. A lot. It’s real good. But today I realized that after a summer of eating this with delicious summery peaches, those peaches were no longer so delicious and readily available. I am sad about this, I really really am, but the point of this post is to share the versatility of this salad. So to that, I added apples instead. I’m not sure if I’m just ready for fall or if this version is actually better than the peach version, but I’m really loving it all the same.
Some of you may already know this about me, but my first blog experiments were food blogs. Specifically, vegan food blogs. I’ve since sort of given up on that, though I would like to incorporate more of my love for cooking + baking into this blog. I’ve shared some recipes before, but it always felt weird to throw those posts into a mix of vintage posts. And after almost 5 years of being an almost-vegan, I’ve grown pretty tired of defending my food choices.
But when I decided to throw a faux meat into this salad before posting it, I knew it was time to talk briefly about why I choose to eat this way. And let me preface this by saying, I generally skip the faux meats and opt for something differently entirely (like more veggies, fruit, nuts, grains, etc) but I was curious about this new brand and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.
When I first went vegan, I had just read several books on factory farming and decided I could no longer support that kind of blatant mistreatment of animals and disregard for animal welfare. And while that still remains at the forefront of my decision to eat a vegan diet, over the years I’ve continued to eat a vegan diet for many other reasons as well — the main reason being my own health. Because my decision has always been based on mistreatment of animals rather than an absolute aversion to eating animals all together, I do on occasion eat meat, and on even rarer occasions, dairy. However, this occasion always coincides with the opportunity to support sustainable farming practices, and to buy from local, honest farms with transparent and fair policies about how their products are made and how their animals are treated. I’m lucky enough to live incredibly close to a resource that allows me to make these decisions. But after years of not eating animal products, the difference it has made for my body is never clearer than when I do allow myself to eat meat.
There is a clear distinction for me in the way that I feel after eating a plant-based meal versus a meal that involves animal product in some way. And this distinction has absolutely changed my relationship with food. For the first time in my life, I understand how important my diet is to my physical and mental state. Before going vegan, I thought I was happy and healthy, but I had nothing to compare that to. And now that I’ve changed my diet, I realize that I’m far more happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. Which is something I do not want to compromise ever again. Feeling the difference and boost in energy that I get from eating a plant-based meal alone is enough to make me want to continue to eat this way.
And this is all not to say that I will never eat meat again, or that you shouldn’t either. I’ll continue to indulge in some delicious meaty meals when I feel confident that I’m buying my ingredients from a reliable source, on special occasions. And I also understand that every body is different, and different diets work better for different people. I just believe that this is the right one for me. Though if you’ve never tried it before, I do encourage you to try it for a week. Challenge yourself to find what’s right for you. I’ve never been happier that I did it for myself.
Apple & Hemp Seed Salad with Lemon-Maple Dressing:
- your favorite salad greens
- pink lady apple, thinly sliced
- shelled hemp seeds
- grilled chicken, or faux grilled chicken, or cooked quinoa
- lemon-maple dressing (recipe below)
- zest from one lemon
- juice from one lemon
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp stone ground mustard
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- salt and pepper, to taste
I like to add all of my dressing ingredients to a small mason jar and shake everything up until it is well incorporated and emulsified, but whisking will do just fine as well. Everything here is pretty self-explanatory and simple, but makes for an easy, delicious staple. Feel free to substitute your fruit and nuts for whatever you like; this lemon dressing stands up well against a diverse mix of ingredients, so get creative!