Cooking vegan meals for your family, using whole foods whenever possible, is the right thing to do.
Maybe you are eager to enjoy the health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Perhaps you are concerned about the impacts of animal agriculture and processed foods on the environment.
Maybe you committed to a vegan lifestyle because you are horrified by the routine abuse of animals in industrial farms,
Regardless of your reasons for landing here today, one thing’s for sure:
you need to decide what’s for dinner.
And you hope that everyone will enjoy it… or at least eat some of it.
(Because food waste really bugs you, too.)
My name is Brigitte Gemme and this is my Vegan Family Kitchen.
I create the resources you can find on this web site – many available for free! – because I am passionate about spreading the vegan food love.
At first, I just wanted to eat more beans. Fiber’s good for us, right? My growing interest for cooking with an ever-increasing variety of legumes, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds happened at the same time as I educated myself to the devastating impacts of animal agriculture on water, air, and the ozone layer. I simultaneously discovered reasons to be angry at the food industry… and a myriad of new dishes that were a joy to cook and eat. I transitioned from a meat-loving omnivore to enthusiastic vegan over the course of two years, becoming fully vegan in 2015.
As I transitioned from meat-loving carnivore to enthusiastic vegan, cooking took over my life. How could a curious food lover and conscious home cook not get swept by the ever-rising tide of amazing blogs and mouth-watering, full-color cookbooks? Not a week goes by without discovering new recipes, innovative ways to veganize an old favorite, and even revolutionary ingredients (aquafaba, anyone?). To pre-empt complaints from my (then-non-vegan) foodie and voracious husband, I worked even harder to showcase the power of plants. Before I knew it, I was spending all my free time (and some of my not-so-free time) scanning social media for recipes and plotting my next attempt at the perfectly creamy yet cruelty-free pasta recipe. It seemed like cooking was all I could think or talk about. It was exhilarating and delicious. And it was taking a lot of my time, energy, and brain cycles.
One might think that being addicted to vegan cooking is not such a bad predicament, but the fact was that it became a source of stress and a strain on my life and relationships. Planning, sourcing, and cooking seven different and fancy dinners every week, and baking many decadent snacks and desserts, took a toll on my capacity to keep up with other areas of interest and engage in activities that don’t happen in the kitchen. Dinner preparation coincides with the most stressful time of day for kids, and measuring the ingredients for a new dressing recipe was hard to do with my baby on my hip and my preschooler screaming for another popsicle. Even my sleep was affected as I lay in bed analyzing our kids’ recent meals and plotting the best way to get them to eat their greens. It was time to smarten up.
I have committed to a streamlined meal planning and preparation approach that allows me to maintain a diverse diet of amazing plant-based meals and home-made snacks while cutting down the weeknight stress to a minimum. From Monday to Friday, cookbooks are not allowed, and knives are practically banished. I still have high standards for taste, health, and ethics. It’s just that I organized my kitchen life to reduce the number of decisions and steps that need to be made to end up with a yummy meal every night. Instead of frenetically stuffing cannelloni or washing mountains of dirty dishes, I read my kids a story or even – gulp! – chat with my husband while waiting for the quinoa to finish steaming. Because vegan cooking is not actually an addiction, I also get to indulge in full-blown vegan feast preparation when I feel like it.
It was a lot of work to design this system, so I thought I would share the tools I have developed. If, like me, you really enjoy vegan cooking but acknowledge that you need to reduce the fuss and focus on what matters most, you are welcome to download some of my templates. You can also check out my meal plans and download a free 2-week sample to get started. Join me in the Vegan Pantry Challenge or the Vegan Meal Prep Challenge… or both! Do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to give me feedback, to chat about your kitchen quandaries… or share your favorite cheezy pasta recipe.
Brigitte Gemme spent many years in university creating new knowledge about how people learn, develop, and dream. Her PhD research was about PhD students… imagine that! Convinced that “our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know” (M. Hubbert), she is committed to tackling the big problems of our times with whatever knowledge we already have. To this end, she founded the Low Impact Lab. The Vegan Family Kitchen is one of the Lab’s projects. She is also the organizer of the Vancouver Plant-Based Nutrition and Cooking Meetup group. Brigitte and her family live in Vancouver, Canada, where she loves to get around with her two kids out on her big green bike.
WARNING: I am not a medical doctor, registered dietitian, or certified health professional. On health matters, my advice and suggestions should never replace the opinion of a qualified medical professional. My expertise comes from 15+ years of research in the area of education and human behavior (I have a PhD and many publications to show for it), and at least as much experience and personal research into both cooking and nutrition. Finally, I am a mom. In the eyes of my still-young children, that gives me unlimited wisdom and authority. Before long, I am afraid, they will know better.