As many of you may already know, I do not eat animals.
I have not been this way my whole life.
I have gone in and out of vegetarianism since I was a teenager
But always eventually went back to eating animals since I really didn’t know anything else.
Growing up in a family that brought home neatly wrapped packages of dead animals for dinner was the norm for me.
I am not exactly sure how I was awakened to the cruelty and horror of the animal farming industry; but I do know I have been an animal lover my whole life.
If you ever saw my family photo albums from when I was a young child; I was always holding onto some kind of an animal.
Hamsters, gerbils, mice, bunnies, Guinea Pigs, kittens and cats, puppies and dogs you name it!
My aunts and cousins had horses and even a donkey and goats!
I Love love love all animals! (Ok except centipedes…. I just….. can’t…. I’m not that evolved… ugggggh) I even started putting spiders outside rather than kill them, so I’m getting there.. but centipedes? No.
When I was growing up, there was no internet; no plethora of information at every click.
We had encyclopedias, dictionaries and of course television, but you can make a safe bet that there was no information being told about the truth of the animal farming industry.
It is quite possibly the biggest secret being kept from the public.
After all, if people truly witnessed the brutality of it all, from birth to death for these animals, quite possibly everyone would be vegan.
I believe PETA was the only material out there way back in the late 1980’s where I could get any ideas about the truth behind this torture industry.
I remember making my first donation to them at about 17 years of age. I proudly drank my coffee in a mug that had a carrot on it who said: “Don’t eat your friends!”
I truly wonder (now) how we as humans do not make the connection, or distinction rather, of “loving animals as pets” on one hand but killing them for dinner on the other hand.
But of course I understand this separation.
It is intentional and actively taught for us to associate farming with happy cows and pigs prancing in a field and willing giving up their lives to us so we can have a tasty meal.
But the real truth cannot be further from that propaganda campaign.
I won’t go into the details here though, since those who are interested can simply do an internet search on Factory Farming and you will see immediately.
But one thing I have realized in my journey towards veganism is that ALL animals are sentient beings.
Sentient meaning: able to feel, see, hear, smell, or taste. With the emphasis on FEEL. Think about your dog or your cat for a moment. Would you ever, in a million years ever consider eating him or her? Of course not…………………………………… but what if they tasted really great?
Dog bacon? Yummy! Cat Milk? Great!
There are about 10 countries in the world currently, that eat cats and dogs all the time. Who are we to say they cannot?
We eat cows, pigs, chickens, goats, lambs and many many more animal species every day. What ever happened that made us draw a huge dividing line between our pets and our food?
Here in the USA, a 2012 consensus report listed total number of households owning dogs at 43,346,000. With an average of 1.6 dogs per household that’s 69,353,600 pet dogs. Cats as pets were more totaling 75,845,700.
We are a nation that LOVES animals!
It’s called Species-ism: to have no qualms about killing certain species over others and the reasoning behind it.
I ask you to think about that for a moment.
It wasn’t until I read the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer in 2009 that I went full on vegetarian (again) but this time did not look back.
But I was still eating eggs and cheese, not to mention how much my small bakery was using on a daily basis.
What I didn’t know that the dairy industry or even raising chickens for eggs was inhumane.
After all, don’t those animals constantly produce milk and eggs? And what a waste if we didn’t “help” them by consuming all of that otherwise “waste”.
Well that is the idea “they” want us to believe. And “they” are the beneficiaries of the animal farming industry. Did you know that a cow does not just produce milk all the time?
Neither did I!
I thought they were just literal milk fountains spewing milk all over the place constantly and we as humans had to be their good shepherds collecting all that FREE milk to make ice cream and other things!
Wow, was I ever wrong. But once you stop and think for yourself (rather than be programmed to believe what’s on a television commercial for yummy cheese) you can make the nature connection and it all makes sense!
Only pregnant females produce milk.
So with out going into the gory details of how a mum cow is constantly impregnated throughout her life, simply to have baby cow literally ripped from her the moment it is born, you can do a quick search on Dairy Farming,
Grab a box of tissues if you have never heard a mama cow bellow for her new born male calf who is now being chained to a crate and harvested for veal.
The female calves are “luckier”? They get to be raped over and again to live out the same fate of mum, to produce milk for us.
Humans, who were never meant to drink any milk except that of our own mothers. Inevitably though they all get slaughtered for food and well…you get the idea.
PETA is still today the largest organization world wide on a quest for animal rights.
I understand there are many conflicting arguments regarding PETA and their practices. Many Vegans and Animals Rights Activists I have spoken to do not have kind words to say about them.
I am not 100% schooled on the pros and cons of this group, however I will say this; they are the largest active group in the world with the most money to spend on campaigning.
I believe they are doing good by making people aware of the horrors inflicted on animals every second of every day in every country in this world as we speak.
So if PETA can open the eyes of just 1 more person the way they did mine, then more power to them. Just my humble opinion.
As a vegan activist I am classified in the same category of someone who is overzealous about religion and will use every waking breathe to share this enlightenment.
So I guess you can call me a Born Again Vegan because the truth that I have found is worth sharing, not only to save the animals, your health and your spiritual awakening, but to save this planet for the future of all it’s inhabitants.
You would be appalled to find out the harm this industry has on our planet.
The best NON GRAPHIC documentary on the effects of the animal industry on out planet is Cowspiracy.
It was a total eye-opener to the far reaching devastation this planet is facing if we do not change our ways.
It will even answer the question of sustainable farming, if any of you have this consideration to add as a solution.
This is an aerial view of a factory farm and it’s surrounding terrain.
It looks like a disease on the earth.
This hazardous material (waste and by-products of dead animals) cannot be concentrated.
It will inevitably seep into every crack and crevice the earth offers and the water system is global.
So if you think the effects of a farm out in the mid-west USA some where is not making its way into your ground and the water supply. Think again.
Veganism is a very touchy subject for the meat eating masses; I have been met with some very nasty criticisms for the way I choose to eat (and not eat).
I have heard all the reasons why we “should” eat meat.
I have found an interesting phenomenon that occurs when non vegans are confronted with the vegan lifestyle.
A severe defense mechanism kicks in to defend their deep rooted and obvious subconscious emotion that killing another life is not really something many people would or could do themselves; so they really don’t want to be reminded of how their food got to their plate
In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.
I am not here to spark a debate on whether or not we “should” be eating animals.
I have heard it all before and I will NOT go into any of that here.
“We need Protein to survive”. “Our ancestors ate meat”. “If I was on a dessert island and had nothing else to eat…” “God gave us the animals to eat” etc etc.
This segment is reserved for those folks who support the Vegan lifestyle. Notice I did not say “DIET”.
Veganism is a lifestyle, it is a way of living your life that does not exploit animals in any way.
This means no animal products either, like eggs and milk, no honey, no leather, no fur, no down, not even palm oil since it is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development land for “food” animals to be raised.
This large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes many species will become extinct in the wild within the next 5 years.
So for me, this is more than a diet. It is a way of living my life without harming others.
Do you want to know something? I~ who is nicknamed Mrs. Terrified of Spiders, can no longer bring myself to kill another one? One day I woke up and suddenly realized the value of life. I trap them in jars and let them outside. (But yeah… that house centipede thing, I hypocritically admit it, I’m not there yet)
Who am I to feel superior to another? The reason I am vegan is because I do not.
I will love it if you would join me as we walk through compassion together. Let’s do our part to be kind to all beings and maybe one person at a time the whole world will change.
Peace and Love~ Gretchen and Winklebean
*R.I.P my little baby boy, Winklebean Died April 6, 2018
Congratulations, Gretchen! I’m happy to go along with you on your journey and I thank you so much for venturing out into the unknown to try and recreate all of your outstanding recipes into outstanding VEGAN recipes. You are my new hero and I applaud you for changing your entire lifestyle because you want to be compassionate to all animals. One by one, we must stop contributing to the ‘cruelty’ industry. Thank you for doing more than your part and I hope to inspire others, as well.
HI! Thankyou! I replied to your email on Gmail! Basically stay tuned for the information as it develops on the course and you have been signed up to get all the info FIRST! Thankyou for your support!
What she said! #wearetheirvoice
Hi Gretchen, I wanted to write to you and encourage you. I have been a vegan for about 35 years and vegetarian before that, I am married to a meat loving man and raised two meat loving children. This is to say, I cook one way for me and one for the rest of my family. I to have received criticism for not making my family eat as I do. My feeling is, I don’t want to be made to eat or do something I don’t believe in and I treat my family with the same respect. Believe me I keep my foods totally away from the families, we have two refrigerators and freezers, two sets of pots and pans, one for me and one for them.
Go with your heart, it sounds to me as though you are already doing a great job!
Hi Suzie, thankyou for sharing and for the encouragement and support!
I just read your pro comments advocating veganism..and you make a good argument to a point however but did you ever read in the Bible… Revelation chapter 11, verse18? I must say it is very encouraging because today not just the animals but everything both physically ,spiritually and morally onthe earth is in a state of ruin but the creator has promised to remedy this he has a purpose it will be fulfilled to the delight of peace loving individuals go to jw.org to learn more if you’re interested.
Your comment is a little bit confusing because Revelation 11:18 (NKJV) Support everything that Gretchen has shared. I know some people think that because they sacrificed animals in the Bible, that God created it to be this way. What they are forgetting, is that God created the garden of Eden for us to enjoy all Plant life except “the tree of knowledge of good and evil” once Adam and Eve ate that fruit, They literally received the knowledge of evil. The sin that entered the world at that time is what led to the slaughter of animals. First for clothing then for food etc. HTH
Good for you doing what you believe is right! I’ve been vegan for about 25 years and I am so happy to have found your YouTube videos and your blog! Thank you for all your hard work and expertise advice and recipes! ❤
Words cannot convey just how happy I am to have found your site and YouTube channel! I have always been a baker (not nearly as professional as you though!) and an avid animal lover. In June of 2017 I went vegan after being a vegetarian for many years and felt the exact same way you did about buying into the horrific and exploitative dairy industry for baking ingredients and started experimenting with vegan baking. Although there have been many fails, there have also been quite a few successes and I can confidently say that now that I have found your site there will be many more successes to come. Thank you for sharing your work and more importantly, thank you for advocating for animals.
YAY! thank you too Alycia! <3
Hi Gretchen, I just purchased your book, Modern Vegan Baking, and I am so excited to try all your yummy recipes! I have never been a baker, and since going vegan in 2017 I didn’t think it would be possible, since all my (previously) favorite baked goods incorporated butter, eggs, and milk. I can’t wait to dig in and start my baking adventure! I plan on working my way through your entire book, bringing loads of delicious baked goods to my office, and hopefully proving to all my omnivore co-workers that vegan baking IS delicious! Thanks so much for your activism!
YAY! thank you so much! and good luck and HAPPY VEGAN BAKING!!
I am so excited to have found your website! You’re such an inspiration to me and many others too!! While reading why you became vegan, I could make so many connections. I am so happy for you for finding your way to veganism in your baking. You followed your dreams and made them come true. You are going to make such a difference in the world. I am buying your book right now!
HI!! Thank you so much! I appreciate the support!!
Hi Gretchen! First I have LOVED every recipe I’ve tried from your previous blog and am excited to try the vegan recipes as I’m working my husband slowly to a vegan lifestyle. (He’s resistant to give up all meat eating). I am so proud to see someone standing strong for their beliefs as you are! I do have an ethical dilemma question…one cat mom to another…what did you feed Winklebean? As we move to a vegan lifestyle, I can’t do the same to my kitties! Thanks for everything you do!
Hi Kristen! Thanks and YAY for going vegan, hopefully will change his thought sooner than later, but with you making all kinds of great food, I am sure it won’t be long!
I fed Winkle standard cat food, I believe there are vegan alternatives for cats but I did not look into that for mine. Winkle died last year at 18 and Sophie is still doing OK at 19. I’m not about to change anything for her at this stage in the game.
Kristen, while I can appreciate being conflicted about feeding cats food containing meat, I feel I would be remiss if I did not tell you that cats are obligate carnivores. This means they evolved over thousands of years to eat meat. I worked in the pet food industry for years, and no responsible pet food manufacturer would sell a vegetarian or vegan cat food. Don’t take my word for it; ask your veterinarian.
I just purchased your book. I noticed that most of your recipes ask for soy milk. Is there another plant based milk that could be substituted? Love the book and the recipes.
Hi Thank you, I do prefer soy milk for baking, but you can sub in another plant milk of your choice- just try to go for the ones higher in fat & protein
Hi, Grechen, I have been following when you had your bakery and lo ed your recipes. Why did you stop. So I’m not vegan but need to watch my weight so I am will to try vegan dessert
Hi Ruthie! thankyou! Since last December my non vegan blog has shut down.I couldn’t keep up the cost to host it on the internet and maintain it monthly anymore
The cost to host such a huge database online was close to $400 a month with tech support monthly to keep it clean & safe and smooth.
I certainly do not (did not) make that much in adsense revenue through Youtube & Google.
That became a pretty steep price to pay for a website that had been conflicting me financially & emotionally for so many years,
so after 5 years of keeping it free & open to the public I finally decided to shut it down.
I did not keep any of the recipes for myself when I shut down the database
(which was the only place the recipes were stored)
I just did (do) not feel comfortable anymore sharing recipes laden with animal ingredients promoting the very industry I loathe so it really didn’t make sense for me to keep them nor keep open and available such an expensive website.
With all that said, I hope you try the vegan recipes! Just understand that Vegan does not always mean Healthy! Since I am still using vegan butter (fat) & sugar- after all it’s DESSERT! LOL
You have to eat this stuff in moderation! The most difference in vegan baking from non vegan baking is ZERO cholesterol!
So for food, you will do well with a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet
I purchased your book last year and coincidentally ended up on your website today. I’ve tried A LOT of the recipes in your book (my favorite is the Gingerbread cupcakes!!) and some from your site and they are ALL amazing!
I read about your path, and your decision to close your old bakery and follow your heart through switching to vegan baking. I’m currently in this situation and SO torn on what to do but reading your story has given me a lot of hope and encouragement. So I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing your journey with us.
Hi Jessica! thank you so much for reading it, I appreciate that. Also thank you for doing the best you can do for the animals, the planet and of course your health and the health of your family! The great thing about going vegan is that no matter which reason you choose that speaks to you the most , you get the BONUS of all 3!!
I am not sure if you mean “same situation” as in you have a bakery? And it is NOT vegan?
If I had been younger and not so burned out on the professional bakery biz for 20 years already, I may have had the energy to actually transform it to all vegan over time. But for me at that time in 2015 after 10 years of owning a falling apart bakery (and a falling apart body LOL) with no money to push into it for major repairs needed not to mention what it would take to literally re-vamp the entire menu which would naturally (AT FIRST) lose many of the existing clients but eventually gain many more vegan customers, I just didn’t have the resources or energy to do that.
But I did experience similar in my switch from Non Vegan BLOG/YouTube channel to an exclusively Vegan Blog. I definitely lost people, but I have steadily been gaining subscribers over the years since the switch. I have just reached over 201,000 subs in my YouTube channel and that is with the complete shut down of the NON vegan blog!! yay!!
Well, whatever you decide just follow your heart because that is where the happiness will be. Anything else is just be a sell out. No real happiness when you are not being true to yourself. GOOD LUCK!!
Just found this site while looking for vegan recipes, Irish soda bread to be specific. I have been flexitarian, mostly lacto-ovo vegetarian for the past 5 years. I am now converting to more of a vegan, for the animals, the earth and my own health. After being diagnosed two years ago with stage two lobular breast cancer I’ve become very aware of the science stating a vegan diet is best for All! I recently found through NIH and National cancer inst. that Milk raises the risk of breast cancer by 49%! Soy reduces our risks by 30%! Thank you for your recipes and being conscientious. I am now there too!
Thank you for this comment! Excellent information, and yes! Good for you! and for your health!
Thank you, Gretchen, for sharing your inspiring story and thank you for sharing your delicious, modern, beautiful vegan recipes with us. Your story resonates with me. I had been vegetarian off and on since my teen years and have most recently been an ovolactovegetarian for 18 years. I’ve tried going vegan 2 or 3 times but didn’t last long because of my addiction to cheese (and growing up in an Italian family, pizza and other cheese-laiden Italian dishes were my favorites). However, you have inspired me to once again try to go ‘full vegan”. It bothers me that I haven’t done it thus far since I, like you, love all animals and have always had several cats as pets–I have always rationalized buying “free range” or “vegetarian” (LOL) eggs or eating “rennet free” cheese, all the while not thinking about the dairy industry horrors, etc. My husband has been vegan for 3 years so I am grateful to have a compadre on this journey. Thanks again for reminding me of some truths I had so conveniently forgotten–and thanks for creating so many luscious vegan recipes and giving tips on products. I’ll be ordering your “Modern Vegan Baking” cookbook as well 🙂
WOW! That’s awesome! I am so happy to hear you are finally ready! YAY YOU!! and YAY Hubby for being a support and crutch to help through the “cheese addition”! And it IS an addiction! So don’t be discouraged! And like any addiction you have to give yourself the time to detox and recover and you will be on your way! There are so many amazing vegan cheeses now it should not be too difficult!
AND THANK YOU for the support and for buying my book!
just FYI and quite off-topic: most of the images in the above post seem to be broken. I think they would contribute well to your message! Feel free to delete this post, it’s not really a comment on your story.
Hey thanks for letting me know. Im not quite sure how/when that happened as the last time I checked the images were there 🙁
Hi Gretchen, thank you for all you have shared with us over the years.
I wish you all the best on your vegan journey.
I am sorry if I come across as impertinent.
May I know if your previous non-vegan cookbooks are still available for sale?
I lost some of the non-vegan cake and icing recipes I downloaded before like your delicious red velvet cake and carrot cake recipes.
I missed out on purchasing your non-vegan recipe books from before and would love it if I could have a second chance to purchase them.
Please let me know if there is still a chance for me to get them.
Thank you very much for reading my comment and I look forward to hearing from you.
Please take care and stay safe.
HI Caroline, Thank you for the kind message. It is completely understandable! Folks just want their recipes and expect them to always be there, not ever thinking about or fully connecting the “human-ness” and struggle it takes to keep these blogs open and available to the public.
I am sorry though, but I have not kept any of the NON vegan recipes as they are of no use to me anymore, and even if I had, I honestly would not feel comfortable sharing recipes laden with ingredients promoting the very industry I loathe. This was my major conflict for the last 5 years having the NON vegan blog open whilst being against all of the cruel practices it carries out in the name of “eggs & milk”
Thank you for your understanding as well! And thank you for your support over the years! I DO hope you will try the vegan recipes though! If there is one thing you KNOW about me, I would never share an inferior recipe and the VEGAN recipes are no different! CLICK HERE for Red Velvet and CLICK HERE for the BEST Carrot Cake you will ever try!
Hello from Australia. It was a very ordinary day when I first watched a short clip on Youtube highlighting the way the dairy industry will remove a calf from its mother so that we may continue to extract her milk. I was with my two little girls and my eldest was perplexed to see me crying. ‘What’s wrong mummy’? was her response. I explained that the man was being cruel to the baby cow and it was making me sad. Sad. I was sad. But I considered that I had a fridge full of cheese, milk, meats and many animal products in my pantry. This was a scary confrontation. What was I going to do now? I didn’t know anything about being a vegan. I started by replacing my milk but was that enough? Three days later I watched a documentary called ‘Dominion’ and I was done. I became a Vegan overnight. It has been very challenging because I didn’t know what I was doing and I had to feed my kids! With the help of your channel I have made some exquisite cupcakes and cakes and I wanted to thank you for putting your information out there. Good luck in your journey! Good for you.
Thank for sharing your story, having a heart full of love & compassion and for teaching your children that death and violence is not necessary to eat and survive, on the contrary we THRIVE by leaving that stuff off our plates! YAY YOU!! You ROCK!
hello from Bharat (India),
majority of us are vegetarians but not vegan. I don’tunderstand what kind of compassion they want to show to the world while they consume dairy products. I was a vegetarian since the age of seventeen following my mom who has always been a vegetarian but even she doesn’t understand the pain which cattle goes through. my younger sister played an important role in my vegan life, she showed me the real face of dairy industry. now I’m determined to be a vegan for rest of my life, also will try to spread awareness for veganism.
I just discovered your blog and am super excited to get into making your recipes! I am going to make your chocolate mousse for my family as a NYE treat (starting simple as I don’t have a lot of baking experience). I just wanted to say thank you for promoting veganism and showing the world what you can make… all without animal products. It always irks me when veganism is promoted as a “diet” and not a “lifestyle” as I absolutely believe that veganism is about much more than just personal health!
Hi! thank you so much! I agree it is definitely not a diet! Please let me know if you need any help with any of the recipes! 🙂
I respect what you’re doing and appreciate you sharing your journey and your recipes! I’m not quite there yet but you’ve given me a lot to think about! One thing I can’t help but mention; after reading all of that I scroll down to be met with a Twix ad on this page. I’m pretty sure Twix is not vegan! Don’t you think profiting from such advertisements is hypocritical? Seriously, wow.
Hi Liz thank you so much for reading the article and for being open minded to try some vegan recipes going forward.
That said, while I do rely on ad revenue to support the cost to host such a large database as this website, while sharing all of my 25+ professional baking years of knowledge with everyone for free.
Buying ingredients, testing, executing and then filming step by step video tutorials for no fail results with my recipes every time, not to mention free 24/7 baking support on all platforms (Facebook, YouTube, etc…)
All for free.
Sadly I cannot control the ads that run on my website.
I am so sorry you are offended by what you propose is me being “hypocritical” that unknowingly an ad ran on my page that is not a vegan product.
To me this is not hypocritical anymore than me going to a supermarket filled with animal products. Should I just not go there?
Like you, I definitely wish that Twix would realize they could totally change their formula to vegan and it would still be awesome and then NO ONE would have to be offended!
Imagine what a wonderful world that would be!
Anyway, thanks again for reading, stopping by my website and I do hope you’ll return for the best vegan baking recipes!
I just bought your Modern Vegan Baking and love it! I’m vegetarian but am trying to move over to vegan. Do you have a vegan cookbook that includes main dishes for lunch and dinner? I feel like I make the same things over and over and am getting bored with them. It makes it difficult to stay vegan. If you don’t already have a cookbook like that, I hope you consider one soon!
Hi! Thank you so much! I tried to do a spinoff on my YouTube channel which included some “food” recipes but no one really cared! LOL
It seems they only want baking from me, so I stopped.
But I do have a few recipes here on my website if you want to check it out