I need any tips you can give me on being a Vegan. I need to know EVERYTHING! I am going on my first big shopping trip to Whole Foods tomorrow and I need HELP! I know there are shopping lists everywhere, but they pretty much list every vegan product at whole foods. Like the list on Oprah's website is just a bunch of processed foods. It lists 5 different brands of cheese, lots of frozen foods, and not really any great advice. Also, which recipes should I make from The Kind diet? They all look so good! Any advice will be appreciated!
Yea it can be hectic in the beginning. Just when people tell you that you're limiting your options when going vegan you see a big long list! lol. Anyway I say take 1 week at a time to experiement with different things, don't buy everything at once. Create a meal plan, I suggest following the vegan meal plan that Alicia maps out in TKD (p.95). If you want something even more simple good place to start is veggie, whole grain, protein. I always go with the whole grains first, brown rice and build my meal around that; pick up some whole wheat pasta too. Veggies grab some broccoli, kale, carrots to steam or make quick stir fry. Proteins I would pick up some beans and gardein products (for a starting out vegan gardein makes a good substitute). I suggest making large batches so you have leftovers, this will help cut down your shopping list and cooking time.
Change it up every week so you can try out all the things on those extensive lists. There are 5 brands of cheese (daiya to me is the best), so try one each week and find your favorite.
I'm new myself (2 months in). My advise since I myself am so new is what another fellow vegan told me. Don't attempt to find alternatives to all the meats you love. It will set you up for failure. I love hot dogs. I bought tofu hot dogs at whole foods and was disgusted. Since then I have tried to add new types of food to my diet that I've never tried before. I've discovered I LOVE hummus. Every Friday I treat myself to a Fuji Apple salad at Panera (hold the chicken and cheese). These are just 2 things that I'd never bothered to eat before but now I find to love. Also my staple whole foods basics are Almond Milk (not too big on soy milk), and earth balance vegan butter, and soy cheese. I promise you that you won't be able to tell the difference b/w a vegan grilled cheese and a real one with these alternatives. Hope this helps. And also, don't be defeated if you fail a few times. Prior to the last 2 months I was off and on vegan for months. Good luck!
I also recommend stocking up on grains (brown rice and quinoa are my favorites) and beans and lentils. Cooking grains with vegetable stock can give them some extra flavor too. Canned beans can be a big help if you're not used to cooking them from scratch (Eden Foods has organic, no salt beans in BPA free cans). Pasta is super easy too. There are even whole wheat or quinoa pastas if you want something a little healthier. Super Firm tofu is great for stir fries or eggless salads because it doesn't need to be pressed. Mori Nu silken tofu makes awesome cream sauces.
As far as substitutes go, I recommend trying a different non-dairy milk each time you go to the store until you find one you like. I love almond milk and my boyfriend prefers rice milk, but coconut milk, hemp milk, oat milk and hazelnut milk are all great too. I even found Sunflower seed milk the other day (quite yummy). Earth Balance is a fantastic butter substitute and vegenaise is an awesome mayo substitute. For fake cheese, Daiya is great, but substituting avocado or hummus for cheese on things like sandwiches or burgers often tastes better in my opinion.
I strongly recommend Happy Herbivore's blog for easy, healthy vegan recipes that don't contain super exotic ingredients. The Kind Diet changed my life, but a lot of the macrobiotic ingredients were intimidating to me in addition to being very expensive and hard to find. One recipe from The Kind Diet that I recommend is the rice crispy treats. So easy and so good! The cauliflower steaks were awesome too. And miso soup is great. I've really fallen in love with yellow miso recently.