Whether you are new to the plant based life, thinking about going vegan or having to cook for a vegan visitor, this section of my blog will aim to share some tips for creating easy, satisfying meals. I’ll also share some product swaps to help you on your way.
*Knowledge is power! You need to do some research. Understand what it is that you are giving up but also learn about what you are now taking on. A plant based diet is DEFINITELY not about being deprived, far from it!
*Plan! Plan your meals and recipes including snacks before heading to the supermarket. That way you wont get overwhelmed and confused. What do vegans eat??? It will become second nature eventually but not in the early days. You will only make mistakes if you get anxious at the supermarket because you aren’t prepared and fill your trolley with hummus and carrot sticks and think ‘I can’t do this!’.
*Learn to read labels! You will be amazed by how many products contain milk powder. Even the ones you would least expect. Just because a product says it’s ‘dairy free’ it may still contain eggs. Reading labels will become second nature….even if it’s a little disappointing and depressing at times.
*Go easy on yourself in the beginning. The most common thing I hear is ‘I could never be vegan because I LOVE cheese!’. My answer to that is ‘so eliminate everything other then cheese’. It’s a good start! Once you are on your way you will find your taste buds change and you will naturally become more disinterested in dairy products. I can remember thinking that I couldn’t imagine being able to say ‘no’ to brie or camembert but now even the smell of it is offensive to me-really pungent. Plus there are now so many ‘dairy free’ cheese options on the market to try. (I’ll do some reviews soon!).
*Cook. Get interested in cooking. Vegan food is not complicated/complex cooking. It really isn’t or it doesn’t have to be. The more interested you become in your diet, the more interested you will become in ingredients. Eating out can sometimes be difficult (depending on where you are) so the better you are at creating your own meals, the more satisfied you will be with your diet.
*Junk Food vegans. When people use the word ‘vegan’ an image of a skinny, healthy hippie is conjured up. This is a crazy stereotype best left in the 70’s! I promote a plant based diet that is 80/20 in terms of healthiness. 80% good wholesome, plant based nutrition to 20% junk food. You can actually still be vegan and live a cruelty-free life and exist on crisps and chips and oreos and veggie burgers and quorn sausage rolls. Processed food full of chemical additives and substitutes. This is not something I suggest and if that’s your plan you might want to think what it is you are trying to achieve for the animals AS WELL as yourself.
*B12. B12 is a vitamin naturally found in many meat and dairy products. Animals store B12 in their liver organ and muscles and pass it on to their eggs, meat and milk which we in turn ingest. As vegans we aren’t getting this vitamin in the same way we were as non vegans. It’s very important to be aware of this and substitute with a B12 vitamin and keep up our intake of fortified foods like breakfast cereals, soy products and nut milks which are a reliable source of B12. A sustained B12 deficiency can be serious and lead to nerve damage and neurological issues. I personally was on B12 injections for 6 months. (I’ll talk about this in another post).