Hi! My name is Janet Tupper, the person behind The PlanEt Based Diet blog. I live in Cheverly, Maryland with my husband Craig. We have two adult children who led the way on our path to our meat and dairy free diet.
How we moved to a plant based diet
As Al Gore was gathering data to create the “Inconvenient Truth” documentary in the early 2000s, we were also learning more about climate change and “peak oil” issues. Our concerns led us to making lots of changes to our house and habits for energy savings. Craig gave talks to community groups about steps people can take to do the same. We weren’t thinking too much about diet other than taking up vegetable gardening and trying to “eat local.” In about 2004 our daughter came home from high school one day and declared that she was going to be a vegetarian. Her reasons had something to do with dissection in biology class, but Craig had already been reading about the impact of animal agriculture on energy use and the environment. He joined her right away.
Our son, who was in middle school at the time, told us “he could never” give up meat. And me? I had eaten a vegetarian diet in college for a while, and would have been happy to do so again. But we also did not want to force that on our son. So for the years until he left for college, I accommodated both diets. We ate mostly vegetarian and I served meat (chicken mostly) once or twice a week for my son, which I also ate to keep him company. I heard the word “flexitarian” and thought that was a good description of my diet!
Once our son left for college, I joined Craig in eating vegetarian at home, only eating meat when eating at potlucks or when the guest of friends. In his freshman year of college, our son began to pay attention to the environmental impact of animal agriculture and told us he to was going to eat vegetarian. Yay! We were all on the same diet…..but only for a moment. Not too long after that, he began to learn about the plight of the animals themselves and facing that awful truth (which most of us would rather not think about) deeply affected him. He called one day to say he was becoming a vegan. My heart sank for I knew Craig would join him in a heartbeat (he did). It was my turn to say “I could never” give up cheese, milk and eggs. It truly seemed impossible to be able to cook that way on a regular basis. But I felt I should at least give it a try.
That was over 2 years ago (the fall of 2013). We used up the cheese, milk, butter and eggs we already had on hand, and plunged into a vegan diet. We began by watching documentaries such as “Cowspiracy” and “Forks Over Knives” which solidified our commitment and gave us many ideas on how to go about this new way of eating. We got cookbooks out of the library, read vegan websites and blogs, learned about alternative meat and dairy products, tried out new recipes, learned more about nutrition and gained a lot of knowledge about the benefits of omitting meat and dairy in our diet. One of the first things we realized is that focusing only on what you don’t eat is not the best way to think about diet, so we made an effort to think about what we should add. That time of research and experimentation is what led to the information contained in this blog. I still have a lot to learn, but thought I had enough information to encourage others.
Though I am far from being a gourmet chef, I have always enjoyed cooking so I have done most of it in our family. As our children gave us the “nudge” to move toward a meat and dairy free diet, I have been happy that they both also have begun to learn about and enjoy cooking plant based meals (even my husband comes up with an occasional creation!) Most of all, I have been delighted that I was completely wrong in thinking that I “could never” give up certain foods. We love our way of eating and have all learned to enjoy new tastes.