If you’re unfamiliar with Kristy Turner and her blog Keepin’ It Kind, I suggest you hop on over there and check things out! Through her website, Kristy shares her passion for veganism through easy to make recipes and gorgeous drool-worthy photos taken by her husband Chris. As the name implies, Kristy’s website is about kindness and compassion, and she’s one of the nicest bloggers I know.
Her brand new cookbook But I Could Never Go Vegan deliciously refutes every excuse you’ve ever heard with with incredible, mouth-watering vegan recipes. It’s perfect for newbies, those on the fence about changing their diets, and vegan veterans who want to add few new recipes to their repertoire or to look at a little bit of food porn.
I recently had the chance to chat with Kristy, and we talked about veganism, food, and cheese!
Chic Vegan – What motivated you to become vegan? Was it an overnight switch or more gradual shift?
Kristy Turner – I saw an interview with Ellen DeGeneres and she was asked about veganism and why she is vegan. I don’t remember the exact quote but she said something along the lines of “there is no such thing as a humane murder or painless torture.” She didn’t go into details but she mentioned that the dairy industry was horrific. This was news to me! I’d been vegetarian for many years but I had no idea about what really went on in the dairy industry and I was inspired to research. After watching a video of a cow having her baby stolen from her so her milk could be stolen from her, and the way she cried, the way she bellowed for her baby for days, broke my heart. I cried and cried and soon after, I told my husband I needed to go vegan. Luckily, he was on board and he went vegan too. We tried it for 2 weeks and it was amazingly easy and I felt so much better than I had in ages! But then we went on our honeymoon in Greece and not wanting to try to be vegan in a foreign land, we went back to being vegetarian while we were there. My acne and bloating came back and I felt guilty whenever I would have cheese so starting with the plane ride back, we were both vegan for good.
CV – You used to be a fromagier (cheese nerd). Did you have a difficult time giving up cheese after you made the decision to go vegan?
KT – I thought I would. Cheese had been such a huge part of my life for several years but surprisingly, I didn’t miss it at all. I learned how to make simple cashew cheese sauces from the internet and used store-bought vegan cheeses on occasion, but really, my tastes changed. I don’t crave cheese at all anymore!
CV – Do you have any favorite vegan cheeses?
KT – I love my tofu chèvre. I have the original recipe on the blog but there is a slightly updated version in my book. But right now is such a great time to go vegan (especially if you’re a cheese-lover)!. If you’re not into making your own cheese, there are some amazing artisanal vegan cheeses on the market, like Treeline Cheese, Punk Rawk Labs, and most recently-released, Miyoko’s Kitchen! There’s even a vegan cheese shop in Los Angeles (Vromage)!
CV – Tell me a little bit about your new book But I Could Never Go Vegan and what inspired you to write it.
KT – Well, since I started my blog, Keepin’ It Kind, in 2012, It had always been a tiny pipe dream of mine to maybe write a cookbook, but I didn’t know where to start. One day, out of the blue, I got an email from a publisher saying they were interested in possibly having me write a cookbook for them. The concept was theirs but I immediately fell in love with the idea. I was once a person who swore they could never go vegan and was quick to list the many reasons why. I understood where these excuse makers were coming from and I wanted to make a book that would speak to them.
CV – Do you have any favorite recipes in the book?
KT – Absolutely. There’s a Seitan Reuben Pizza I’m crazy about, as well as some amazing Southern Biscuits & Gravy. I also love the Artichoke Crab Cakes, Maple-Baked Bean & Cornbread Casserole, Roasted Broccoli and Apple Salad, and everything in the chocolate chapter!
CV – What is your number 1 tip for someone who wants to go vegan but feels overwhelmed by the change?
KT– The goal is compassion and not perfection so don’t worry about getting every little thing right. You’re going to make mistakes (we all do), so just focus on making compassionate choices and everything else will fall into place.
CV – What is your favorite vegan indulgence?
KT – I’m obsessed with all things chocolate lately. And by “lately,” I mean the last 10 years.
CV – Do you have any advice for aspiring cookbook authors?
KT – Be prepared for a lot of work. It’s not that romantic idea of sitting at a computer in a well-designed, serene room with a window overlooking a lake, while you sip on tea. There’s a lot of sweat involved and more dirty dishes than you’ve ever seen in your life. But once you get past that, it’s totally worth it.
CV – In your wildest dreams what will your life look like in 5 years?
KT – I never think that far in advance. It’s dizzying. I focus on right now and at the most, a week from now. I like my life a lot so if it’s exactly the same as it is now in 5 years, but with more rescue dogs, I’ll be super happy.