Vegan blogger branches out
Erin Dame releases a cookbook
By Christina Nyquist email@example.com
A sometime software engineer and sometime vegan blogger (www.vegandonelight.com) based in Stratton, Erin Dame has just published his first cookbook. Believing he could contribute to the limited universe that is vegan culinary literature, Dame collected his wisdom and made the final product, Vegan Done Light, available for online download. The book features healthy, gluten-free, low-sodium and low-fat original vegan creations, from Mexican mini-pizzas to bean muffins to the temptingly titled chocolate concoction “Mocha Moon Mud.”
Tell me a little about this cookbook.
The inspiration for it came from a year and a half’s worth of blogging. I had all these recipes and was competing in online vegan chef competitions for fun. So I had collected these recipes, and people were contacting me through e-mail saying, “That looks good. How do you make that?” The book itself is online, and the format is such that every recipe fits on one page with a picture and nutritional information.
When did you start your blog? How big is your readership?
I started it in April 2006. My sister was my very first response. No idea it would evolve as it has. Readership is extremely hard to judge.
How long have you been a vegan?
Well, I’ve been a vegetarian since ’95, and my father was a vegetarian. Once I started tasting the food that he was creating, I started getting interested. What I finally did was, when I hit college — see, my mom was wasn’t vegetarian, so while I was living at home it was hard for her to always make vegetarian meals. But when I got to college, I was able to cook for myself. So that’s when I became a vegetarian, but I’ve been vegan for about a year and a half. I wasn’t much of a milk drinker to begin with, but I was a yogurt person. It wasn’t even cheese that was hard for me to give up, which is what most people have a problem with. The blog actually documents my transition from vegetarian to vegan. It wasn’t necessarily easy for me; I thought, “I can give up yogurt for two weeks, see how it goes.”
Why did you decide to become vegan?
I keep up to date on nutrition, and reports kept coming out about the association between dairy and prostate cancer.
And where did this interest in nutrition come from?
I’d say toward the end of college, when I became vegetarian, and was cooking and paying attention to food, it became a fascination.
How has being a vegan changed your personal diet habits?
It’s made it easier to deny the snacks that people bring into work, because a lot of them are vegetarian just by accident, for instance, a brownie’s vegetarian. But not many people bring in vegan goodies.
So why “vegan done light”?
The assumption people make is that, “Oh, if I go vegetarian, I’m going to lose weight.” Vegan cookies are really popular, and the big craze right now is a cookbook called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The author there makes no apologies, and she provides no nutritional information. It’s supposed to be an indulgence. Also, people forget how much fat is in some vegan favorites, like avocado.
Yes, I know many non-vegans who are very fond of vegan desserts.
Well, you can do desserts light, and there are desserts in my book. The cookbooks out there are just not necessarily advertising completely nutrition-conscious food.
Where did you get the recipes?
I created them all from scratch. I don’t cook from recipes; when I look at recipes I might combine three or four of them, and kind of wing it at the stove. When I found out that people wanted to make what I was making, I realized I had to go back and take it slowly and pay attention to measurements.
Had you always been interested in cooking?
When I first started being vegetarian, I wasn’t much of a cooker. I was spaghetti and frozen dinners — and there are a lot of vegetarians who fall into that trap. Once I started to pay attention to what I doing, it just kind of came naturally.
So where can one find this book?
The cookbook is available online as a download. I did investigate the paper route…. But the size of the book, for me, didn’t merit the process; it was taking long enough as it was to collect the recipes and work everything out.
What has the response been like?
Really good. At least, there’s been a great reaction from my blog readership. It’s not been a hot seller, by any stretch, but now we’re in that phase where we’re getting the word out to other vegans and vegetarians and organizations.
To purchase and download Dame’s cookbook, visit www.vegandonelight.com. For more information on Dame and his vegan adventures, visit his blog at www.zenpawn.com/vegblog.
— Christina Nyquist.