By Heather Brooks

 

Hello and thanks for stopping by to learn more about me. My name is Heather Brooks, and I’m a visual artist, author, photographer and vegan wedding catering specialist in Maryland, living it up kindly and a little dangerously just outside of the D.C. Beltway. I am also the founder of The Write Women Book Fest and Women Authors of Maryland, which has monthly salons for women writers.

I’m a silver-haired lover of event planning, decorating, and generally finding a reason to host a party. I’ve been throwing impromptu “happy unbirthday” parties and fairy parties for over ten years, and enjoy making magical, immersive, joyful experiences. Most recently I’ve enjoyed a little hobby of making beautiful plates of fruit for breakfast. It takes a little extra time, but it’s an easy way to treat yourself well.

My particular destination to veganism started where many others start, with vegetarianism. Back when my daughter was about eight she decided she didn’t want to eat animals anymore and asked if she could be a vegetarian after seeing Lisa Simpson struggle with her conscience on The Simpsons. What’s a loving mom to do? Having a “meat and potatoes” husband made the task challenging, but at the time a brand of vegetarian frozen foods was becoming available. I soon learned to substitute TVP for ground beef, and stuffed it into tacos, put it in stroganoff, and generally turned most of our very typical American diets into vegetarian versions, because my daughter really wanted to. At the time her sister was a toddler and I stopped feeding her meat as well, figuring she wouldn’t miss what she never had, and it would be easier for her to be vegetarian if she couldn’t remember eating meat, since being addicted to meat and cheese seems to be the thing hardest for people to overcome.

My older daughter grew up, and eventually became vegan. Before she’d said the word “vegan” to me I’d never heard it and became quite curious. Seeing her struggles in social settings, and how people could be downright disrespectful, it inspired me to be even more supportive. For a long time I would say, “I’m flexitarian, but vegan sympathetic.” Even when a lot of people didn’t know what that meant. But her dedication really made me proud and taught me so much, so inch by inch I would find ways to reduce not only my meat and seafood intake, but also dairy.

The trip to veganism has not been a straight line. My “meat and potatoes” ex and I are no more, and the man I am with now prefers a plant-based menu, which makes the transition so much easier. In time my lifestyle as an artist meant I was surrounded more and more by people who lived alternative lifestyles, and therefore I came to know more vegans. I always aspire to reduce suffering, of animals, of the planet. I’m an animal lover after all! I’ve got two cats, and I’m about to rescue two more. We’ve even got a rescue fish named Chickpea in the house! But that’s a whole other story.

We had a pretty big vegan wedding in 2018, and even though most of our guests were not vegan, it was good to make that a part of stepping into our lives as a couple. I still have plenty to learn about the lines where consumerism and compassion intersect. I also am best suited to cheerleading others in their endeavors. Whenever somebody is curious about plant-based eating and veganism, I am happy to share. And when somebody has something new to impart, I listen.

I’m an imperfect human trying to be a good vegan, and that means supporting other vegans and would-be vegans, spreading kindness and reducing cruelty. If I can help make the world even a little bit better through my work, that makes it all the more rewarding!

 

 

 

 

Heather Brooks lives near Washington, D.C.. She is the Wedding Specialist at D.C. Vegan Catering, a full-service catering company serving the DMV area, and is part of the management team. Heather is also an author of fiction, founder of the Women Authors of Maryland writers’ group and salons, and founder of The Write Women Book Fest.

Her journey towards veganism began with her daughter Amber, who decided she wanted to be a vegetarian at a young age. Heather is a big believer in empowering her daughters, so she worked at figuring out how to incorporate this new diet into their average American lifestyle.