If there were one person to credit for my healthy eating habits and my general philosophy on food, it would definitely be my mom—or as the secret Brit in me has always called her, Mum. Although she spent her pre-retirement days as a hairdresser, her true passion has always been food and nutrition (well, that and rearranging the house so often that it’s virtually unrecognizable every time I go home for a visit). She started me off on a healthy eating path at a young age by making all of my baby food herself, and when I was old enough to develop a taste for junk food, by forbidding anything even remotely unhealthy from entering her cabinets (which was especially difficult considering that my dad was a Frito Lay salesman and had a giant truck stuffed with potato chips parked in our driveway).
Because of her, I was that kid eating tofu-veggie spread and rice cakes for lunch while everyone else was scarfing down Lunchables and washing them down with Red #40’s favorite friend, Hawaiian Punch. Although I was a little bitter at the time, now that I’m old enough to understand her motives, I’m thankful that she molded my eating habits when I was young, and grateful that she instilled in me the understanding that you truly are what you eat.
When at the ripe age of 12, I saw a cow get branded and proclaimed that I was never eating meat again, she was nothing but supportive, taking me to see a nutritionist and preparing me veggie-centric meals, always saying that I’d end up healthier and live longer because of my decision. Years later, it’s my turn to be the supportive one, and I’m proud of my mom for making the decision to follow in Bill Clinton’s footsteps and adopt a vegan diet. It’s been inspiring to see how dedicated she is to her new lifestyle and to hear about how much better she feels inside and out because of it. Plus, she shares all of her delicious new recipes me with me, including this one for baked bulgur-stuffed tomatoes that we enjoyed together when I was home last weekend.
Here’s to you Mum!