Brrr.... The temperature here in the Boston area took a crazy swing from balmy 60 degrees last week to mid-20s this week. There's a cold north (Arctic? Sarah, help me out here!) wind blowing. Wait, I'm not ready for it to be winter already! Don't we have another month left of fall?!!
I have long since made my peace with winter. I used to dread it so much when I was a kid. Sure, I love sledding, hot chocolate and skiing but hey, that's just 1% of winter I used to think. The rest is schlepping through mounds of snow, negotiating slippery ice and worst of all, the limited daylight.
So a few years ago, I found a book that changed how I thought of winter. It's the Winter Vegetarian by Darra Goldstein. It's not completely vegan but it's got some great recipes and ideas that can be veganized. The best part about the book is that it made me change my perspective of winter from something that should be dreaded to a season that can be enjoyed. Winter picnics? Flaming hot drinks? Count me in!
Another big realization came when I figured out that staying warm is key to how much I enjoy the season. For vegans, this can be a bit challenging in a cold weather climate since wool isn't our friend. Cashmere and merino are no gos but omnipresent in most stores. Silk--no way. Let's not even bring up angora! Many cheaper sweaters are made from acrylic but I don't like acrylic..it balls up easily after just a few wears and looks terrible. Cotton sweaters can be helpful and the option I use the most but it's important with cotton sweaters to layer, layer, layer. It's typical around these parts to use long underwear to stay warm..however, vegans have to be careful to avoid wool and silk, two common components of "long johns." After much searching over the past few years, here are a few of my favorite things:
- Cuddlduds long underwear..they even have bamboo variations!
- Non-down vests from Isis (this is the Wasabi vest). Note that not all their vests are down-free but they tend to have a few non-down alternative each season.
- Hats and gloves made from Bamboo. Bamboo is my new favorite fabric. It's silky and warm!