It is probably evident by now that when I bake, I don’t skimp on the sugar or EB and make everything as decadent as possible. Sweets are a once in a while treat…wait who am I kidding?! Well, moderation in everything is the key, so even desserts don’t have to be sugar coma-inducing 100% of the time.
That’s where Dr. Laura comes in. Here is the first part of her guest post, and the instructions for the cookie giveaway are at the end:
How I Started a Vegan Cookie Company
I grew up the way I think many of us did; enjoying desserts that were heavy on animal products like dairy and eggs. I mean, wasn’t going out for ice-cream or making chocolate chip cookies heaven? I did not even know that the concept of vegan existed until I was in medical school and decided to do an unusual elective summer rotation. It was 4 weeks at a nearby health institute. I knew very little about it, however, I needed a family practice requirement fulfilled and the institute was on a lake so I could go swimming. Upon arriving, I learned that the entire place was vegan. When it was explained to me what vegan meant, I smiled and thought, “Great. The food will all taste awful and I’ll never feel satisfied.” At the time, I couldn’t imagine a satisfying meal, which included healthy cake or cookies, that was vegan. I was in for a surprise. Everything from the soups, to breads (and fake “butter”) and especially desserts tasted good. My concern turned into joyful anticipation at each meal to see what would be served – always saving room for dessert. I was astounded how well one could eat using only a plant-based diet and whole sweeteners, and how that gentle diet positively impacted everything. After learning about factory farming and mass meat production (I had grown up eating beef from my grandparents small beef and chicken farm), and the impact eating such a high volume of animal products had on the earth, I decided to try living vegan as the people I was surrounded by were doing. I did so for 3 years. And, I made it a personal cause (and still do) to encourage others to eat fewer animal products and try adding more vegan items to their regular daily diet.
Once I left the health institute, I had a hard time finding vegan desserts and cookies that didn’t taste awful. If they existed, I couldn’t find them, so I headed to the kitchen to make much needed treats for myself. Loving batter since I was a kid, the fact that vegan cookie dough did not have any raw eggs made my batter consumption feel much safer. After many attempts, I came up with an amazing oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and an oatmeal raisin cookie, both of which were vegan, decadent, and did not use any white sugar. I made these cookies any time I had an excuse. Party? I’ll bring cookies! Dinner invite? How about some cookies? Birthday? I’ll give cookies as a gift. Bit by bit, I noticed that these vegan cookies were often the first to go at gatherings of non-vegan people. They were chosen over chocolate chip cookies, brownies and other regular desserts containing butter and eggs. I realized that none of the people guessed they were vegan – had they known that ahead of time, they may have passed them by, pre-judging them as “won’t taste good because they are healthy.” That is why I never said anything and just set them down on a table. It got to the point that people would call me before a party and ask if I was going to bring my cookies.
At the time, I was working as a set medic on the set of 7th Heaven. One day, I brought in cookies and set them out on the breakfast table next to deep fried donuts. When I saw the truck drivers and other crew taking these vegan cookies over donuts, I realized I was on to something. I realized that other people were like me; satisfaction from food was important and if the food tasted good and nothing biased them against it, they would eat vegan healthy cookies without any white sugar on a regular basis.
About this time, I became unemployed and unsure of what to do next. I had never done anything other than work for other people. A friend suggested, “Why don’t you sell those cookies?” However, I had never run a business and didn’t know the first thing about starting one. How could I take a little hobby like baking once in awhile and turn it into Laura’s Wholesome Junk Food?
-Laura Trice, M.D.