Hi there, I am from Oklahoma City and don't know many vegetarians at all, only 2 health food stores. I read Alicia's book and am really wanting to go vegie... where do I start?? I see all the different kinds of tofu i am overwhelmed.... any suggestions??
Kathy and Ann, Congratulations on beginning the exciting journey of veganism! I remember being extremely overwhelmed at first, too, but it turned out to be way easier than I thought. The first thing I would do is "veganize" dishes that you know you already love.
For instance, if you're a fan of pizza, try a vegan crust (a lot of ready-made crusts are vegan, and health stores definitely have them) with marinara, rice or soy cheese, and a ton of vegetables. If you love Chinese food, tofu is an easy substitute. Look over the ingredients in your favorite dishes and find replacements! Try not to overdo it on processed stuff (veggie burgers, tofurkey, etc) though; whole, unprocessed foods are always better.
Another suggestion is to make sure you're getting enough calories, especially if you're adopting a more "whole foods" lifestyle (like the Superhero plan). Pack snacks (fruit, vegetables, crackers, trail mix, soy yogurt, etc.) so you stay energized all day long. One of my favorites is homemade hummus with vegetables!
I did a google search for all the organic grocery stores in my area. I am lucky to be in California so I am not sure what my options would be if I lived somewhere without an organic market. I know there are organizations you can have organic produce delivered. On Weekends I plan my meals for the week and decide which recipes I am going to make, make my list of ingredients and head to the store. The first couple times I swear I was in there an 1 1/2 trying to find everything since I didn't know what half the things were. I just ask a store employee when I can't find things and they are always helpful. After awhile you get to know where things are and where you suspect other new items you decide to try will be based on your past experience. It get easier. Don't stress too much if it says firm tofu for the recipe just choose one. Try out a whatever it's hard to make a mistake. I am just beginning myself on day 14 and it is a challenge sometimes more for me prep and planning for long working hours. Good Luck!
Dont worry too much and take it one step at a time. You might want to start with making dishes that you've made before vegan. Substituut meat with tofu, beans, brown rice, lentils etc. These are not too expensive... Eating rice with vegetables is a great way to start. S[aghetti with vegs, chili sin carne...
If you drink soymilk or any other kind of milk it gets you also plenty of everything. Eat some nuts, lots of fruits/vegs, make nice smoothies. You'll be fine. And slowly slowly it will grow on you. I started like that and slowly slowly incorporate some of the more excotic suggestions... Just look at how your body reacts. What do you like and what you like less... What feels good, what suits less...
I am a newly vegan, about one months now... I did not eat meat for 20+ years but ate some fish every now and then. I dont know how this vegan stuf ;) came in my life, but all of a sudden it was everywhere... Cutting out dairy was more easy than expected eventhough I used to eat a lot of cheese! I am now eating vegan it going fine. Mostly also because i discover i really like cooking, which i never did. I used to buy most things ready because i thought it was difficult to make them. But now i am experimenting, just made lentil-artishoke stew, vegan chocolate-mousse and veganaise! All easy and so good :) I posted them on the forum. So finding out that i am not a toad in the kitchen but blossoming into a princess is an extra reward i did not expect when i embarked on this journey :) Good luck!
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