I'm totally new to the whole vegan thing. I mean, I used to be one of those people that would make fun of vegans, but yet, here I am. I really want to make changes in my life and feel deeply about it starting with being kinder. Kinder first and foremost to myself and then to everything else around me. I never ate a lot of meat to begin with, so I'm hoping the transition isn't going to be too hard. I know there will be some items of food I'll miss, however, I know it'll only be temporary. It is true that the more I eat veggies and fruit the better I feel. It's a matter of time before thinking of meat will cause me to think about the outcome, not only with my health but also with the environment and the well being of beautiful animals.
I'm not a great cook (single man here! Yikes!), though I'm also not a terrible cook. I just don't know really how to get started. I guess the first thing is to go through recipes and write down a grocery list??? This is hard for me as diving into a snack that contains animal products is so easy and so cheap.
Does anyone have any helpful tips to getting started? I love soups so I think I'll take a look at those recipes. I think making a large portion of anything and freezing the leftovers will be helpful as well. I'm trying to think easy here until I can get acclimated with this wonderful life style.
Geo, you are right on track! Soups are great to freeze and super easy to make usually! Don't worry, I hate cooking but I have fared pretty well. You will get used to it. I love cooking vegan food way more than when I used to eat meat so maybe you will find the same thing. Some people find it easiest to start by making meals they are used to but substituting in faux meats and things like that. I never got into the faux meats and only eat them while out to a restaurant. I instead found it easier to find good recipes for stews, chilis, soups, crockpot meals, etc that were all veggie based where the hardest thing was to chop up some veggies. Good luck and don't be shy asking questions on this site!
Geo, I'm so excited for you! I always love hearing about new vegans. Like you, I always laughed at vegans. I've been off and on vegetarian, but vegans seemed way too "weird" for me. The cooking was also difficult for me, as I've never been big on spending more than 5 minutes preparing any meal. I used to eat frozen cheese pizzas 3-4 days a week! Also my go-to was pasta and alfredo sauce (all from cans/boxes just to be heated up on the stove). So I get your fear / lack of desire to delve into the world of cooking. I agree with catconsrv that it might be easier to start with simply substituting fake meats for stuff you ate before. I did that a lot in the beginning when I went vegan (almost a year ago now). I bought the fake lunch meats (bologna is my favorite) and made sandwiches. Fake hotdogs are also super easy and good. I still eat them. If / when you DO want to start cooking, I highly recommend the book, "Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food," by Alicia C. Simpson. I recommend that cookbook on here all the time since I got it this past Christmas. It's the BEST and easiest cookbook I've ever seen for vegans! And the beauty is that it is full of "regular" food prepared the vegan way. Enchiladas are my favorite so far. The ingredients are pretty normal and easy to find too. And as the name suggests, the recipes are pretty quick and easy. Granted, not as quick as sticking a frozen pizza in the oven or microwave...but quicker and easier than most other vegan recipes I tried when I first made the switch. Look for the book on Half.com to see if you can get it for cheap. What I still do, is go through the book (or other recipes) and pick out what I want to eat for the week, go shopping, get the stuff needed, and you're ready for the week. Good luck!
Thanks everyone for all of the great ideas. I went shopping and was frustrated with the number of items that were loaded with sodium. I have high blood pressure and that would just kill me. Do any of you know of a great web site, cook book, that deals with vegan items with low to zero sodium? If not then maybe that'll be a great business idea. :)
Hi Geo! Welcome! I'm not sure if you have Alicia's book yet, but the superhero section is loaded with great recipesand you don't have to worry about sodium because it's fresh! The fresher you go, the less sodium should be an issue. Stick with whole grains, beans, veggies, fruits, and nuts and try your best to stay away from processed stuff- that's where all that sneaky sodium lies. That being said, I know it can be a hard transition sometimes, so if you are ready to throw in the towel, by all means, eat whatever vegan treats you need to stay on track. For me, as I was transitioning into this life, it was mint chocolate chip ice cream pies (soy, of course!). Those little buggars are delicious...
One thing that I'm doing is picking my favorite and easiest current meals and then vedging them out. For example, one of my favorite things is tacos. I've been pleasantly surprised by having BEAN tacos with all of my usual trimmings instead of meat tacos--and I skip the cheese and add guacamole instead. (Not a fan of the vedgie cheeses yet). A VERY easy breakfast that I do almost every single morning is the brown rice garbage plate. Twice a week I make a big batch of brown rice, and then take some quick time in the evenings to prechop vegetables (like red peppers, greens like spinach, bok choy etc., and zucchini etc.) and store them in the fridge. In the morning, it is so so easy to pull out a frying pan, spray it with cooking spray, and then toss in my vegetables (sometimes crumbled tofu as wellO and my seasonings (they change every day and are random) and then toss in a half-cup to a full cup of the rice. It's a Breakfast 'fried' rice of sorts. It's my boyfriend's favorite breakfast too! We have it almost every morning. In the evenings, you can do the same thing in a casserole dish, and add some beans and bake it.
Good luck! Let me know how you're doing! I'm just re-starting and need a buddy!
Geo, my husband and I cook from the McDougall Diet recipes. The guy is and MD and his wife makes all the recipes. He has had great success reversing diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. Check out his website. His recipes use no salt. You can add a little at the end, but you will use way more salt if you add it during cooking. His recipes are easy to make and use all things that would easily be found in a regular grocery store. You can buy his cookbooks (our fav is the quick and easy one--delish red lentil chili by the way!) or you can also get free recipes from his newsletters online.
Looking into 'healthier' food habits, picked the book up after some mild research to verify it wasn't a 'Celebrity-gimicky' Book (No Offense to Alicia...) What an eye-opener. I'm going to take small steps (to bring my family along for this life-SAVING ride! I knew I hadn't 'felt' right in years, but your book opened my eyes to facts and information I never 'dared' put together with this 'crappy' feeling within me...I was brought up to be corn-fed and country'fried'...how dare i think THAT could be the culprit for ANY of my ills...little did i realize the damage I was perpetuating on myself AND my family! Thanks Alicia, it'll take time (Old habits die hard...) but I'm going to do this to save US and be kind to the planet!
Is there any one new out there who is in Australia working to live the 'be kind diet'?? If there is can you make contact if you can help me if where I can buy some of the things that Alicia talks about in her book.. I'm struggling to find some of the wonderful items, and maybe there is someone out there that can provide me with some guidance..
With thanks in advance to any 'Be Kind' Aussies that may be out there... (Us Aussies are always very kind as we have shown over the past few months with all the destruction we have had, but I need a 'Be Kind Diet' Aussie...