Hi, I’m Tania! Thank you for visiting Who Needs Salad! This blog is dedicated to all things vegan and plant-based, and all things delicious. Many people believe that those who subscribe to a vegan lifestyle don’t love food and hate their tastebuds. I started this site to demonstrate exactly how much vegans love food, and how much fun and creativity can be expressed in a plant-based diet. We try to be healthy most of the time, but sometimes we just want to eat a dozen cookies in one sitting. This is the beauty of life. We aren’t perfect.
Who Needs Salad is about embracing imperfection and celebrating the diversity of a plant-based lifestyle – it doesn’t conform to a set of rules, and we don’t have to either.
How This All Got Started
I have been a vegetarian periodically throughout my life (both my parents gave up meat long before I ever came into the picture), but I never really took up veganism until 2014. And even then, I was really, really bad at it. It took me a whole year to give up shrimp, and another six months to completely give up Starbucks birthday cake pops (I still gaze longingly at them whenever I’m in the Starbucks line).
I made the decision to become vegan after watching one of the golden trios of documentaries purported to convert omnivores into herbivores – Forks over Knives; Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead; and, Vegucated. I read Slaughterhouse and The China Study. The more research I did, the more steadfast I became in my devotion to a plant-based lifestyle. Early in 2017 I finally switched to a cruelty-free beauty routine and gave up fast fashion clothing.
My transition wasn’t difficult but it was pretty slow and most definitely imperfect. The common thread throughout was, and continues to be, the nature of the reactions I received from friends, family, and strangers. They fall into the following categories:
- Questions like, “Where do you get your protein?” and “But what do you eat?!?!”
- Assertions that *insert person here* “could never go vegan,” “loved food too much,” or “couldn’t live without cheese.
- Genuine concerns for my health.
I realized that there exists a giant and pervasive misconception about what it actually means to be vegan. I had comebacks to all these questions and concerns, but no one ever seemed convinced that what I was doing actually made sense. So, being a formally trained writer, my thoughts drifted to the classic “show, don’t tell” rule. I stopped talking (well, I just didn’t talk as much) and started creating. I began to cook for family events and I entertained more. Eventually I began developing my own recipes and sharing them online. And thus began my passion for cooking.
The Plant-Based Recipes
The vast majority of this blog is reserved for recipes. All of them are dreamed up by me and inspired by the vegan cookbooks that supported me through the early days of my transition to plant-based eating. If you’re new to the site, you may want to try some favourite recipes like pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies, Moroccan stew, or apple crumble tart. The recipes you’ll find on Who Needs Salad are varied and diverse and there are a few things you should know about them.
- The recipes do not compromise on flavour. Ever. I’m a huge proponent of bold flavours and I refuse to compromise on this. If the choice is between making a dish healthier and lower in calories or ridiculously delicious, I will choose ridiculously delicious every time, without fail. That being said, I am never unnecessarily overindulgent.
- I like experimenting with exotic ingredients and cuisines. Cooking is an outlet for creativity and allows freedom for experimentation. I love food from all around the world, so I cook food from all around the world. There are many cuisines that are primarily vegetarian to begin with (Indian cuisine, for example) and that’s a great place to start when experimenting with vegan cooking. Some of the ingredients I use may appear daunting, but don’t be intimidated. I offer substitutions where possible, but I encourage you to explore your local Chinese grocery store or Indian spice shop and have fun!
- It’s important to veganize the classics. While broadening the culinary reach of plant-based foods is essential for growth, veganizing classic dishes is possibly even more important. Many people are wary of cutting all animal products from their diets and I totally understand that. What is life without grilled cheese? This is why I make an effort to create plant-based versions of comfort foods like chocolate-chip cookies and mac ‘n’ cheese. If I can make the transition seem easier and less scary, then perhaps more people will dip their toes into veganism, even if it’s just to adopt Meatless Monday once a week.
Advice for New Vegans and the Veg-Curious
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s hard to switch to a plant-based diet cold turkey. Give yourself time to transition, and give yourself a break if you slip up – it’s bound to happen.
- Do things at your own pace. You don’t have to cut everything out right away. Follow a diet that makes you comfortable, otherwise it’ll be harder to maintain in the long term.
- Stock your pantry. To make things easier, make a trip to the grocery store to stock up on vegan essentials like nutritional yeast and transition foods like vegan cold cuts and dairy-free ice-cream.
- Be prepared for some pushback. I’m not trying to be negative, but pushback is a harsh reality of adopting a plant-based lifestyle. There will of course be people who will fully support you from the outset, but it’s inevitable that you will encounter people in your life who are not so nice when they learn about your decision to go plant-based. Stay calm, stand your ground, and finish with a smile!
Where to Next?
Thanks again for stopping by! Before you go, don’t forget to check out the Recipes page. You can also visit my Facebook page and my Instagram feed. I also love hearing from you, so feel free to drop me a line!