I live in a very SMALL town, actually, BBQ capital of the state. Everyone here is addicted to meat and hunting, it sucks. When I vege about 5 years ago I had a lot of judgment put down on me but now everyone, for the most part, has accepted it that I will never eat meat again. It was/is extremely hard eating out at places.
But now I wish to be vegan, so far it's going pretty well except... The only grocery stores around here are Walmart and Food Lion. Very little organic and vegan things. The closest Whole Foods store is about 45 mins to an hour away from me. I bought The Kind Life book and REALLY wanted to try the foods, but I can't get my hands on ANY of the ingrediants!
I'm very new to cooking, but I'm getting better. It seems like most of vegan foods require so much skill and time, which I have neither. It's like everything is stacked against me: small meat-based town, no time to cook for hours to eat, little to no skill in cooking, and a stubborn family. I once tried making toast in the oven and burned it to literally ashe I'm that horrid.
There are online vegan grocery stores (veganessentials.com) where you can have hard to find veg items delivered to you.
I think most veg food prep is very simple. Just like preparing any meal (veg or not) there are gourmet recipes and there are simple and quick ones. I definitly had a lot of mishaps in the beginning (I couldn't even make rice back then)--but it seems like cooking in general is new to you. And unless you will be eating convenience foods as the majority of your diet, you will need to learn to cook eventually. And you may even find out that you are good at it. Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbooks are my favorite. Super easy for those starting out and they are pretty much foolproof! It is been a VERY long time since I have been in the kitchen preparing a meal for hours!
Since your new to cooking, keep it simple. Try rice w/ beans dishes, soups, salads, tofu scrambles, stir-fries,...these kind of meals. Breakfast can be simple oatmeal w/fruit & nuts on the side or peanut butter on toast/bread & fruit smoothie. I imagine items such as Earth Balance, Vegenaise, miso or quinoa might not be easily found in a small town so a trip Whole Foods is worth it. U shouldn't have to replenish these for months...miso will keep for a year & more. You can freeze a lot of food, too: tofu, nuts, brown rice, faux meat crumbles, even breads, so stock up on these when you make it to WF. Hang in there, like learning to do any thing cooking takes practice, u will find it gets easier over time.
Do you happen to have a Publix closer than Whole Foods? Publix has a great service where they'll order and stock any product you request. My local Publix now carries everything from Agave nectar to Veganaise to Daiya cheese. I don't shop anywhere else. I try to see eating out less as a benefit. My boyfriend and I use to rely so much on ordering takeout and pizza and going to restaurants almost daily. I could barely boil water! Now that I'm a vegan, I cook every night. (I've fallen in love with cooking and I hope you will too.) Now when we go out, it's a special treat. Not only are we saving money, we're eating better! I usually order several side dishes as my meal when there's nothing vegan on the menu. Salads are good too when you ask for no meat or cheese. Good luck!
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