Today marks one full year of me being completely vegan! Wow. If you had told me even two years ago that I’d be doing this and being successful, I wouldn’t have believed you. It feels like I’m still so new at this compared to the 25+ year vegans I’ve met but, at the same time, I feel like vegan has become a part of my identity, like it’s second nature. Not being vegan doesn’t even seem possible to me anymore! Wow! Who would have thought? I like to believe that life would have brought me here no matter what, but perhaps it’s not that simple. I am really proud of where I’ve come in the last year so I made these Chocolate Chip Banana Cookie Dough Bites to celebrate!
I know that other people are capable of such sudden, positive change because I did it myself! I have literally been there and done that. I’ve plugged my ears and closed my eyes to the things I didn’t want to learn. I made excuses and distasteful jokes. I said I couldn’t live without cheese/chicken/ice cream before. I once thought that animal activists were crazy extremists and I didn’t know that the number of animals killed every year due to animal agriculture is more than the number of the entire human population from ancient history to the present day. I just didn’t know. And neither did my loved ones nor many of my friends. I believe that awareness of the vegan movement is the single most important thing we can do to gain momentum. Maybe I’m an optimist, but I think that if more people knew about this, then maybe our society wouldn’t continue these practices. That perhaps we could look at what’s on our plates as a reflection of who we are and who we want to be, not just as an individual, but as a collective group of people.
I am not a spiritual or religious person, admittedly, but after this past year something about my soul feels better. My actions feel more purposeful and like I am truly a part of something important. I hope that I can see a more compassionate world in my lifetime and I’m going to do my best to contribute to that.
So for the sake of Veganuary and because knowledge is so important, I’m going to give you all a little bit of homework! It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking about going vegan, are already vegan or vegetarian, or if you’re currently hooked up to an IV of bacon puree. Knowing what we’re contributing to (or purposefully not contributing to) is important. I think it’s our responsibility as humans to see what we’re doing to ourselves, animals, and the planet we share. This is an easy assignment: I want you to watch some movies this week. The following films are on Netflix or YouTube. I have linked you to the YouTube video and the websites dedicated to the Netlifx films. Here is the list and a brief explanation of the film and why it’s important. I picked documentaries focusing on (1) the planet, (2) the animals, and (3) our health.
- Cowspiracy (Netflix)- This film focuses on the environmental impacts of animal agriculture and the conscious efforts done to keep this a secret.
- Earthlings (YouTube)- This film focuses on the global suffering of animals at the hands of various human industries and the concept of “speciesism.”
- Forks Over Knives (Netflix)- This film focuses on the connection between poor health and animal consumption as well as the positive effects of eating a plant-based diet.
There are many, many other documentaries about veganism but I would consider these to be the Big Three. I want to take a moment to talk about Earthlings before you watch it. I am going warn you that it is extremely graphic. But I encourage everyone to watch it in entirety. Many people take the “I don’t want to see that” mentality, but not seeing it doesn’t make it any less real. I wasn’t aware of how horrific animals were treated and this documentary was a major driving force in my desire to change my lifestyle. Bearing witness to the plight of these animals allows us to tell their story. We need to speak for those that are voiceless and I think watching this film is a great way to start. I showed this to my sister on Dec 23rd and she has maintained a vegan diet since then! If you only watch one of these films, watch this one. Take breaks if you need to, but keep in mind that everything shown in this film is the reality that we live in and it’s happening every single day, all over the world. Get a box of tissues and some vegan comfort food (like some non-dairy ice cream or a sleeve of oreos), because if you’re an emotional eater like me, you’re gonna need it.
I want to build on this veganism crash-course that I’ve started here. I think next week I will make an easy grocery list and perhaps a meal plan to try! Then I will address things like clothing, cosmetics, and household supplies 🙂 I’m so proud of everyone participating in Veganuary! Feel free to message me on Facebook and Instagram, or leave comments here if you need some extra support.
And the Recipe?
Now on to the celebration of my Veganniversary! I made a sweet treat today and it’s only 5 ingredients and less than 100 calories (they’re about 95 cals) per cookie dough ball. Basically no cooking involved and the recipe is pretty fool-proof. Good for anyone to enjoy! Woohoo! I’ve had 3 today so far and man are they GOOD! I’m eating them alongside a nice cup of tea and cuddled up in a soft blanket because it’s a cold and gloomy day today. A perfect couch potato Sunday!
An ingredient that I have grown to really appreciate is… BANANAS! Yes! I used to dislike bananas, actually. Then I learned the beauty of nice cream, banana pancakes, banana french toast, banana bread, and now these banana cookie dough bites. They are so wallet-conscious, naturally sweet, and work great as an egg replacer (who would’ve thought?!). My new favourite breakfast is banana french toast (this will be the next individual recipe that I post so keep an eye out for it next week!!). It is amazingly simple and my entire family fell in love with it over the holidays. I think my Dad told like 5 different people about it, haha!
This dessert is great for taking advantage of those times when you bought way too many bananas and didn’t use them in time. Black bananas look absolutely gnarly but they add enough sweetness that I didn’t need any additional sweetener in this recipe! I froze an entire bunch of black bananas in the peel several weeks ago and I just set one to thaw in a warm bowl of water and it was perfect!
I included the weight of each ingredient in grams because I know bananas tend to vary in size, and also because I am holding myself accountable for what I’m putting in my body. So far so good, no diets here, just conscious eating and these scrumptious cookie dough bites!
Chocolate Chip Banana Cookie Dough Bites
10 minutes active time. 30 minutes freezing time. MAkes about 22 cookie dough bites (95 calories each)
- 1 large(134g) black banana
- 1 1/2 cup (150g) rolled oats
- 3 T (45g) Earth Balance original, melted
- 2 1/2 (220) cups of chocolate chips (I really like chocolate so you might want a little less than this!)
- 1 t vanilla extract
- Mash up the black banana, earth balance, and vanilla
- In a blender or food processor, pulse 1 cup of oats until they are a fine powder and slowly mix into the banana mixture. Then add the remaining oats and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips.
- Roll them into balls, using one tablespoon of the cookie dough per ball. Set them on a lined cookie tray and freeze for 15-20 minutes
- Melt the remaining chocolate in a microwave safe bowl (about a minute should work, mix it up and add more time if necessary) and quickly dip the cookie dough balls into the chocolate and replace on the cookie tray. If you need to, remelt the chocolate!
- Replace them in the freezer for later or let them thaw for another 5 minutes or so before enjoying 🙂
You can store these in the fridge or freezer! I hope you love these!