This post is part of an interview series in which I’ll be asking fellow bloggers ten questions, with the goal being to share both a little about each of them and also their top advice when it comes to veganism, blogging, and overall happiness.
One of the parts I appreciate the most about blogging is the sense of community. Though I sometimes forget this when I’m in my groove, sipping homemade kombucha and discussing the latest food-related book I’m reading, a plant-based style of eating (and living) is still very much in the minority. I am quickly reminded of this when I step outside my day-to-day, and it makes me all the more thankful for the friends I’ve made through blogging. Cadry of Cadry’s Kitchen is one of those people for me. She’s warm, approachable, so sweet and funny, and it shines through in each and every one of her posts and recipes.
Reading through Cadry’s responses to my questions, I felt instantly calmer and happier, much like I do when I read her blog. I love what she said about why she blogs, her least favorite words (ditto on “sammy”!), and her best kept beauty secret (that one is so spot-on). I could go on, but I’ll let you read it for yourself…
1. What is your food philosophy?
My first requirement of food is that it does as little harm as possible and that whenever I make a food purchase, I’m mindful of its true cost. I want food that causes as little suffering as possible for animals, for the people who grow it, and for our world as a whole.
After that, my philosophy is that food should be a pleasure. Sometimes the most pleasurable thing is a platter of nachos or a chip-laden taco pizza, and I enjoy those things wholeheartedly. Other times the most pleasurable thing is a loaded kale salad with lots of in-season vegetables and covered in a creamy cashew dressing. People get very caught up in “good” foods and “bad” foods, and that can sap a lot of the joy out of eating. I realize that might sound strange coming from someone whose diet may seem astringent to others. However, to me a vegan diet is full of color, vibrancy, and creativity. Sometimes it’s indulgent and sometimes it’s light, but the ultimate goal is that it’s food that makes me feel alive.
2. If you could give one piece of advice to new vegans, what would it be?
My advice would be to trust that it gets easier. At first, going vegan can feel overwhelming, because there’s a learning curve. You may feel like you’re always reading labels or that you need a manual for deciphering hidden ingredients. It won’t always be that way. With time, you’ll create new habits. You’ll figure out which staples you like with things like bread, tortillas, spaghetti sauce, or whatnot, and you won’t have to read ingredients every time. You’ll be able to grab and go. You’ll also become a label reading ninja, spotting whey protein in a flash. You’ll know what to look for and will be able to do it quickly.
Also, when you first go vegan, you may get a surprising amount of pushback from others in the form of questions, concerns, and jokes made at your expense. That can feel deflating. However, over time the novelty wears off, and the people in your life will move on to other topics. Being vegan will be just one more way that they describe you. Plus, you’ll get better at handling the questions and/or razzing with grace and ease.
3. Why do you blog?
I blog as a way to speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves, to express my creativity, to share my thoughts and recipes, and to connect with others. I want to show people how easy and life affirming it is to live a vegan lifestyle and that compassionate fare is not only doable but also delicious.
4. If you could give one piece of advice to new bloggers, what would it be?
My advice would be to read and connect with other bloggers. Find some blogs that you like and leave a thoughtful comment and contribute in the dialogue. By connecting with others, you will find a like-minded community, and those are very likely the people who will be the most supportive of your fledgling blog.
Although making friends wasn’t my overall goal when I started blogging, it has really become the best part of it. I’ve had the privilege of meeting some really cool people (both physically and virtually), because we became blogging buddies or they became regular commenters. Vegans are in the minority, but through the powers of the internet, we can find our village.
5. If you had to choose a favorite and a least favorite word, what would they be?
I am totally at a loss for a favorite word, but I make up for it by having lots of least favorite ones. It bugs me when people say amaze but mean amazing, totes but mean totally, sammy but mean sandwich, or when they say something tasty is addicting but mean that it’s addictive. I’m also not crazy about the trend of using a single noun as a description. For example: “I’m craving Taco Spot, because guacamole” or “Sherlock is the best show ever, because Benedict Cumberbatch.” I’ll be happy when that goes away.
6. If you weren’t you, who would you be?
Oh, man! Another great question! My first choice would be Judi Dench, because she is so emotive and gentle yet strong and self-possessed. She’s able to encapsulate a feeling with a deft, slight touch in a way that is stunning to watch. (Have you ever seen her version of “Send in the Clowns?” It made me really get that song for the first time.)
My second choice would be the vegan equivalent of the Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown. It would be so exciting to travel the world meeting new people, trying new foods, and the whole while filming a show that would introduce others to a part of the globe they may never see otherwise. Plus, she just seems like a really approachable and friendly human being.
7. What is your idea of happiness?
Sometimes happiness is shiny and polished – like stepping onto a plane for an exotic vacation. It’s maneuvering the Tube in London or climbing the stairs of the Eiffel Tower. But most days, happiness is smaller. It’s cuddling my cats, getting an armload of fresh vegetables at the farmers market, going on a hike or bike ride with my husband, or getting a long massage. It’s eating a seitan reuben piled high with sauerkraut. It’s a hug from the people that I love most. Those simple pleasures are easy to overlook, but when things go wrong, those are the things we long for the most.
8. What makes you unhappy?
I feel unhappy when I let down people that I love. I have a hard time when I know I have hurt someone’s feelings or not met their expectations.
9. What is your best-kept beauty secret?
I think the best beauty secret for anyone is authenticity. When I see people who aren’t afraid to be themselves in their style, even if it means taking risks or going outside the norm, that is beautiful.
10. If money did not matter, how would you spend your days?
If money didn’t matter, I would spend my time writing, traveling, cooking mouthwatering vegan fare, and working on creative projects with my husband.
Cadry Nelson is the writer, recipe developer, and photographer of Cadry’s Kitchen. She adores traveling with her husband, David, and checking out vegan restaurants across the globe. At home, Cadry is happiest cuddling her two funny and particular cats, taking long bike rides, and catching up on her favorite British television.