My journey into eating plant-based began over 25 years ago. It wasn’t an overnight shift. Like most changes in life, it grew with time. I have always loved food, and my passion brought me to learn about our health connection with food, which then led me to learning about animal agriculture.
In my teens, I began to eliminate the “red meats” from my diet, as we were just beginning to hear about the health implications of red meat consumption. I was drawn to pick up Diet For a New America by John Robbins.
This book was transformational. Everything I had understood to be true about our “normal” diet—for example, that we need cow’s milk for calcium, meat for protein and iron—was challenged. But I was also confronted with truths about meat and dairy production. I learned that our normal diet was actually quite abnormal. No diet should involve such health liabilities, animal cruelties, and environmental tolls.
And so the journey began. It evolved over a year. First trying meals without beef, then without chicken, then without fish. Finally, eliminating eggs and dairy.
Personally, my body never felt better. In my early 20s I was experiencing joint pain, lethargy, constipation, and a general heavy feeling in my body that I knew wasn’t meant to be.
This was the early 90s, when the word ‘vegan’ was either unknown or seemed radical – even irresponsible. At the supermarket, there were no vegan cheeses, no dairy-free ice creams, no plant-based meats. I learned to cook with grains and beans, vegetables and greens, nuts and seeds. I learned how fantastic food could taste utilizing the freshest ingredients, and I discovered new flavors and cuisines through spices and fresh herbs. A whole new world of food opened up.
I also found it more enjoyable to prepare meals. Plant foods are abundantly beautiful in color, and there’s a freedom to cooking and baking without animal products. No worries of cross-contamination, no greasy pots to scour.
People often ask me when I became interested in cooking. While I had always been interested in food, I truly found joy in plant-based cooking. And that’s when my own career as a cookbook author took off—I published my first book right around the time Paul and I welcomed our first daughter.
Not long after having our second child, I happened upon The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas Campbell. It spoke to something deep within me. I knew for certain I was right about my decision. I recited sections of the book to my husband. I blogged recipes and excerpted quotes from the book. I felt such passion and connection that I wanted more people to understand what was at stake.
Over these twenty-five years, my cooking has certainly developed. My roots have always been in whole-foods cooking; with my first four books, I focused on whole-foods ingredients, recipes that were low in oil, and expanded my repertoire of grains and beans. My cooking evolved with each book, and especially with Plant-Powered Families, which released in 2015. My best-selling book to date, Plant-Powered Families highlighted my recipes and experiences raising three children on this compassionate, healthy diet. It filled a niche in the vegan cookery world, helping families navigate and embrace eating plant-based.
Now I am thrilled to bring Dreena’s Kind Kitchen to your home! I hope these recipes fill your heart as much as your belly. Kindness in one area of our lives spills into another. If we connect to kindness on our plate, that connection manifests more kindness in our relationships—to our loved ones, community, planet, animals, ourselves.
Thank you for visiting my online kitchen, and thank you for embracing the beauty of a plant-based diet.