Who am I?
My name is Louise Gibson and I come from the arctic north in Greenland. People don't always know where that is. When I explain that it's the worlds biggest island, the big white chunk of land between Canada and Iceland, I hear the usual: 'I have never met anyone from Greenland before'. Most of the small population of under 60.000 people, have a very meat based diet. But then there's me, The Vegan Eskimo.
I have had a vegetarian diet for about 15 years and sported veganism for a few years. Veganism has opened doors to a new culinary world, that I am very happy to share with everyone here on this blog.
I am 30 years, I live in Belgium with my husband Neil, and besides loving to cook I also make jewelry and dreamcatchers that I sell on my online shop on etsy, GypsyGreenstoneArt, and I also help my husband Neil with his online shop, Neil Gibson Creations.
I Became a Vegetarian - then a Vegan - Then a Cheesegan?
But how does one that comes from Greenland, that has such a meat influenced diet, become vegan? It all started when I was a child. My family would always gather around the table, the center of the household and the heart of the home. Most of - if not all - the dinners at home consisted of meat, and in the beginning of my life I ate meat. Not eargerly though. I would always just have the rice, the pasta and the steamed veggies. Was never a big fan of meat.
However when I was a teenager and started to cook for myself, I decided to become fully vegetarian. The freedom to cook for myself led me to explore more exotic culinary styles, like Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and Mexican. And I LOVED it ! And that's how my vegetarian story began.
It was first in my 20's that I became more aware of the ethical reasons of becoming a vegan. I read many articles, watched a lot of documentaries about the way that animals are treated. That made be embrace veganism, and introducing vegan alternatives to dairy, eggs and cheese was surprisingly easy.
Veganism has taught me a lot about myself. First I 'shouted' loud about it, wrote with other vegans in vegan forums online, you could call it the angry-vegan phase of my life. I felt everyone else, the meat eaters, should know better and they didn't. But then I realized that the angry-vegan-way of promoting such a beautiful way of living, is not doing anyone any good. Therefore, I became more of a humble-vegan-type, that would encourage the people interested, the ones who chose to eat less meat. I wanted to encourage them for the good they were doing, not look at what they weren't doing well enough.
At one point I was completely strictly vegan, but over time it changed a bit. It became hard travelling and finding any sources of vegan food when you were on the go, and I came to a turning point were I started to accept cheese again, but only cheese, simply to eat when out and about, but whenever there was a vegan option I'd go for it. I call it the cheesegan phase. Then I started eating cheese at home again too. Such a fail, such a hypocrite. Even at the start of my vegan food blog here I still ate cheese.
Goodbye Cheese - Hello Veganism Again !
That all changed though when I watched Gary Yourofsky's speech, and when he talked about the dairy industry I could not continue to justify eating cheese, simply becuase it was easier and that i just like it too much. Just because i was addicted to cassein. Goodbye cheese, I did love the taste of you, but ethics wins over taste. Lucky for me there's also good vegan cheeses out there, so I'm really not missing out !
Vegan or Plant Based?
Well, the thing is, veganism is A LOT more than just eating plantbased. Veganism is refraying from animals and their products in all areas of life. That means no leather, no fur, no feathers, so silk, no wool etc etc. That might sound easy, but many things are not vegan and you don't even think about it.
I still have a few wool blends socks. I am not throwing them out. But I will wear them out, and replace with vegan ones. I also still have down duvets. They kinda disgust me and when they wear out they will be replaced with vegan ones. I also have 3 pairs of non vegan shoes. They will also be replaced as they wear out with vegan footewear.
I am not perfect, but I'm choosing a fully plantbased diet, and with time I do replace with vegan options in other parts of my life. It's a journey and the longer I travel with this mindset of replacing things in my lfe to vegan, the better it feels.
And the photo below? don't worry it's a vegan leather jacker ;)
My View on Cooking and Recipes
Often, all my free time from work would be spent in the kitchen. Some weekends I could make a 3 course meal or just try to make a new version of a dish - it could fail but I wouldn't give up until I made the perfect version. Not that I would ever write the recipe down. Writing down recipes first became a thing recently. I would take photos of my dinners and post them on social media. Without the recipe - because 'who wanted to read all that' I thought. But with time people started to ask for the recipes. I would write them the recipe, but I would always think:
'You DON'T have to use exactly what I used, if you want another similar ingredient, use that instead. If you want to use more or less of whatever ingredient, feel free, don't feel restricted by this recipe, don't let me decide what you buy in the supermarket, just empty your fridge and use what you have'.
So I often told myself: 'Recipes are only for people who can't cook'.
But that's not true. I have always been surfing the internet for new ideas, looking for an inspiration on how to cook a specific dinner, how to plate it to make it pleasing to the eye, and also just to figure out what to do with the empty-the-fridge-items you had left and had no idea what to do with. So recipes have always been a stepping stone for me to make my own recipes, a place of inspiration.
So it might come to no surprise that I am somewhat of a recipe-rebel, so I always avoided to follow a recipe completely, I would always change some of the vegetables, the spices etc. and make it my own dish. Mostly it would turn out mouthwateringly delicious, though other times I had to cook the same meal a few times, change ingredients, to make it perfect and recipe-worthy. Cooking is a sport and to design new recipes is trial and error, but mostly it's fun.
The recipes I choose to share are my own favourites, the dinners that I continue to make at home all the time, some have been perfected, but some also change over time, and some change depending on the season.
- Don't let a recipe decide whats on your shopping list, empty your fridge and use what is available and try and take inspiration from several recipes, that is how you create new favourites in the house !
For me cooking is a meditation, it's the place in the world where I can be the most creative. To explore new cooking methods, taste new vegetables and try new spices is the best part of cooking for me, and to cook healthy food to nourish your body is truly the best gift.