So I bought the Kind Diet a while ago and really enjoyed reading it. I think I am ready to jump in and try the vegan thing, but I am nervous. I am not a big cook, so I am worried that I will end up just eating lettuce and peanut butter sandwiches. I guess i would like some advice on how to make easy, yet yummy, meals that arent just tons of carbs.
Also, how do I make sure I am getting all of the nutrients I need? I just feel a bit overwhelmed.
I was considering veganism for a while and found myself browsing blogs for ideas. One day, I saw an especially gorgeous photo of some butternut squash dish and I decided that I would make that. Turns out, it was just as amazing to eat as it was to look at! I went back to the internet, found another dish, and tried that, too. I kept doing this over and over again, each time trying something unfamiliar and often trying new cooking techniques (veggies are tough!), and soon I found that my refrigerator and pantry were full of foods that I've now grown to love.
That being said, my advice is simply to try things. Find a recipe that looks yummy that contains a grain or a vegetable you aren't familiar with, and give it your best go. Don't worry so much about building your meals around nutrients--you'll drive yourself crazy. Eating a variety of foods will provide your body with the nutrition it needs. The only nutrient I really pay attention to is B12, which you may need to supplement, but that's easy enough.
I agree with Liz, you're going to have to invest time and effort and TRY lots of new things. It's a bit tiring and demanding at first, b/c you might feel you have to come up with new recipes every single day... But after a few weeks, you should have a roster of recipes you like and are comfortable with. From there you can just add 1 new recipe a week, so it doesn't seem so overwhelming. Here's a few tips that really helped me:
1) Cook whole grains (and dried beans) in large batches. They take longer to cook, so it's nice to have several servings on hand that you can reheat or add to recipes (up to 3 days in fridge).
2) Make one large pot of soup on the weekend. Soups are cheap to make and you can't really mess them up. Most will last up to 4-5 days in the fridge.
3) If you're making stew or chili, double the recipe and freeze half so you have a delicious homemade meal at your fingertips for those too-busy-to-cook weeknights.
4) Invest in a couple of good, simple, reliable vegan cookbooks. My absolute favourites are Clean Food by Terry Walters, Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook by Kim Barnouin (don't let the title scare you off...), and all books by Isa Chandra or Robin Robertson.
If you truly embrace this as an adventure, you will thrive and feel like a million bucks. All the cooking really scared me at first (hubby used to do most cooking), but after some experimenting, I'm now known as quite the cook amongst my friends. They're always looking forward to eating my food, and even ask me for cooking advice. If I did it, anyone can!
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