Welcome to The Garden Grazer!
Hi! I’m Kaitlin and thanks for stopping by. Sharing plant-based foods is one of my greatest joys and my hope is to spark your excitement too – with easy, approachable vegan recipes that are packed with enough flavor to please both herbivores and carnivores alike. Most of us don’t have time to stand in the kitchen making long, complicated meals. So here at The Garden Grazer, I focus on sharing super simple recipes, showing just how easy and fun healthy eating can be. And because it brightens my day (hopefully yours too) I especially love creating dishes with as much color as possible.
One of my favorite parts of having this website is connecting with people. I genuinely love hearing from you – seeing what you’re cooking up, your thoughts, travels, what you’re reading, and what inspires you. I encourage you to come join me on The Garden Grazer Instagram and share if you’d like (or subscribe to The Garden Grazer Newsletter.)
I love animals, reading, puzzles, nature (especially Yellowstone & mountains), matcha, exploring this beautiful Earth, and doing my best to live consciously and compassionately. I grew up in a small town in southern Michigan which is where my vegetable love-affair began. My parents lovingly labored to provide us with a beautiful vegetable garden right behind our house. I spent many childhood days sitting between the rows, eating fresh tomatoes, green beans, sugar snap peas, and strawberries right off the vine. (Hence the name “The Garden Grazer”.) It was pure summer bliss! Here I am planting seeds with my grandma in our garden (early 1990’s in Michigan):
I graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Environmental Biology/Zoology, then my husband and I traveled around the western part of the country. We spent time living near the Yellowstone area, Tempe, Arizona, and Portland, Oregon. We reside in Bozeman, Montana now and love it – mountains and fresh air energize my soul!
About the Recipes
I’m passionate about using one-ingredient, organic/non-GMO, whole foods as much as possible. Rice, quinoa, beans, fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc. (Basically I like to follow a whole food, plant-based, mostly no-oil diet.) I love simple, healthy meals that aren’t complicated, so I put a ton of emphasis on developing the recipes in a way that’s easy to follow and most efficiently uses your time. (i.e. I’ll let you know as the quinoa is cooking, that’s a great time to dice veggies.)
There are a few reasons why I choose a vegan lifestyle. For one, I’ve always been a huge animal lover. (Just look at these adorable little faces!) I’d never want to harm or kill an animal, so I realized why pay others to do it for me (often in a cruel way) just for the sake of consuming them? There are so many wonderful foods out there to enjoy without harming or taking other creature’s lives in the process.
Plant-Based Health Benefits
Another big reason is health. Years ago I read “The China Study” by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and it immediately changed my life. I started preparing more plant-based meals and was also inspired to enroll in a 6 week online course to obtain a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell, based on Dr. Campbell’s research. (Wonderful class if you’re interested!)
Soon my husband and I fell in love with the notion of plant-based foods, and gradually shifted to preparing all vegetarian, and then vegan meals. We considered ourselves pretty healthy people, so it came as quite a shock when we experienced how much more health and energy there was to gain by eliminating all animal products from our diet. My awful migraines disappeared, debilitating menstrual cramps went away, stomach issues resolved, acne cleared, and many others. So much research is continually coming out backing the amazing benefits of incorporating more plants into our diet to slow, halt, or even reverse diseases – it can be such a powerful tool to take control of your heath.
Last but not least, the environmental impacts of a meat/dairy diet are alarmingly destructive compared to a plant-based diet. I believe it’s important to become aware of the connection between our personal actions and our environment and do the best we can to live gently & consciously. (Check out the documentary “Cowspiracy” for more information on the environmental impacts.)
Transition from Vegetarian to Vegan
After about 4-5 years as a vegetarian, a couple things inspired me to try a vegan diet. First, I became even more aware of the awful conditions and violence within the dairy/egg industry. Second, I’m in a constant search for discovering what food and nutrients my body needs to achieve optimal health & well-being, and aligning it with a responsible connection to our earth. In addition to meat, I found eliminating all animal products (eggs, dairy, etc.) gave me even more energy, health, and overall happiness. Once I started listening to my body, I felt much more empowered and connected to the food I eat. The power of whole foods continually amazes me, and it’s a lifestyle that all-around just feels right in my heart.