How to Test the Vegan Waters – Without Running ScaredPosted: March 3, 2011
By Tracie Boyle
When I went vegan, it totally opened up my culinary world. I never realized how boring my diet was until I started to discover all these really amazing vegetables, spices and other goodies that were totally foreign to me, but readily available in my local supermarket. Kale is a perfect example; I use it all the time in soups, salads, as a side dish or added to stir-fries. And the spice adobo; I have no idea how I survived without it for so long. You can sprinkle it on everything from salads to French fries and it gives everything just the right kick.
A common complaint I hear is “I can’t be veg because it’s too expensive.” As long as you stay away from the specialty faux meats and cheeses, a vegetarian and vegan diet can actually be more affordable than the standard American diet. You don’t have to only shop in specialty grocery stores like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods; there’s a bounty of vegan grub at your local supermarket. Explore the ethnic foods aisle. There’s a plethora of vegan goodies hiding on those shelves that you may not even realized are vegan. Read the labels. Even if you think they may not be vegan, you may surprise yourself and stumble upon something new and yummy. I was surprised to learn that branded products such as Dark Chocolate Peanut Chews, Mrs. Smith’s Dutch Apple Crumb Pie, and Healthy Choice Asian Potstickers are totally vegan.
Finding vegan replacements for my favorite non-vegan dishes helped me make the transition. The internet is an amazing resource and you can basically find a recipe for anything your heart desires. You’ll be blown away by the ingenious things that people come up with. I mean, who would have thought that I’d still be able to have crab cakes, stuffed shells and mac & cheese! Even if you’ve never cooked before, just set out your ingredients and calmly follow the recipe, word for word. You’ll be whipping up amazing animal-free meals before you know it!
Don’t worry about being the perfect vegan (or vegetarian) and stop worrying about what other people think. Take it one day at a time and be kind to yourself. Be the best veg you can be and remember to celebrate the small victories. Get through one day, one week and one month and before you know it, you’ll be asking yourself why you didn’t do it sooner.
Questions about how to incorporate vegan meals into your omni diet? Leave a comment and Tracie will reply.