Published On: Fri, Feb 24th, 2017

My vegan life… Sam Turnbull from ‘it doesn’t taste like chicken’

‘Let me be clear, I never in a million and six years, thought that I would go vegan…’

I grew up in a household where we had a flock of chickens (both for eggs and eating), the freezers were stocked full of meat, steaks were cooked rare and there were even real animal heads decorating the walls – not that I ever liked the heads. Now doesn’t that just sound like the most vegan household you have ever heard of? Probably not. So, I’m sure you can imagine, going vegan was a big change for me.

As a kid I always loved animals. I had dogs, cats, gerbils, turtles and even a rabbit named Gravy (and no, I didn’t realize how incredibly odd that was at the time). Even though I loved animals, I was still an avid meat eater. It made sense to me – animals were killed because we “needed” to eat meat and that seemed A-ok to me.

I thought vegetarians, and especially vegans, were so extreme and silly. They were all dying of protein deficiency for sure. (Insert eye roll here.)

So that’s how I was coasting along through life – loving my pets, being creeped out by fur and taxidermy, all while wearing leather and eating meat, eggs and dairy.

One fine day in December 2012, I made the mistake… er… best decision ever, to sit down and watch a movie about being vegan. Well that set off some uncomfortable questions in my brain, so I then followed that with every health, environment and animal cruelty documentary and book I could get my hands on. The result? You guessed it, here I am today, dun dun duuuuuuun! A vegan.

By the end of my documentary and book binge-fest, I knew two things were absolutely clear to me – I was officially going vegan and I didn’t want to be vegan. After all of my research it made 100% logical sense to be vegan. It was better for my health, better for the environment and clearly better for the animals. The problem was, I actually hated the idea. I remember being so frustrated, almost wishing I could unlearn all of the facts I had learned. Well, I couldn’t unlearn, so I had to come up with a new plan of attack. Be the best damn vegan I knew how to be!

Let me be clear, I never in a million and six years, thought that I would go vegan…

Growing up in a family of chefs, foodies, butchers and hunters, they were not super excited to hear of my new food direction, but I wanted to prove to them that being vegan really could be a great food experience. Having always loved to cook, I started playing around in the kitchen, and I soon discovered that any meal could be made vegan and, with a few clever tweaks, a large spice cabinet and a dash of creativity, I was loving my recipes. In fact, I loved them more than the original animal product based recipes. Not only were they satisfying, hearty, full of flavour, and straight up delicious, but they were just as easy to make as any other meal.

With limitation came inspiration, and before I knew it going vegan was one of the best decisions I ever made! Gone were the days of feeling bloated after eating, of getting drowsy mid afternoon, of unbuttoning my jeans, and feeling guilty and grossed out when I thought of what my dinner really was. I was now healthier, leaner, more energetic and just overall happier. The best, and the most surprising part of going vegan, was that I absolutely loved it!

I began sharing my vegan recipe online on my blog – It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken – and before I knew it, vegans, vegetarians, veg-curious, and even carnivores from across the world were making my recipes and loving them. The best part is that I was able to show people that being vegan can be totally delicious, easy, doable, good for you and not at all weird!

It seems as if following my dream was the right thing to do because I’m now a full-time blogger and am currently writing (and photographing) my first cookbook, which will be published by Appetite by Random House in the fall of 2017. I’m so excited to share my easy vegan recipes with you.

Find more about Sam and her recipes at itdoesnttastelikechicken.com

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