You may be one of the many people who are interested in veganism (well, hey, you are reading this aren’t you?). But you don’t know really where to start. It’s so overwhelming to imagine your life without. Just without. Because you think of it that way. You think of all the things you’ll have to give up. Here are a few steps to help you on your journey toward a healthier and kinder diet.
1. Change your mindset and brace yourself for an adventurous ride. Prepare as if you were going to do a massive experiment, because this is what you will be doing. You will be buying all kinds of things, tasting things, exploring recipes and new ways of eating. Be open to new experiences.
2. Embrace nondairy milk. Take your pick. There are about 20 varieties or more of soymilk. There are ricemilks, almond milks, whole grain milks, hazelnut, coconut, hemp, oat, and many more kinds of milk. Please make sure that you get the fortified variety. You will need the calcium, vitamin D, and B12 that are added. Make sure the vitamin D is D2, which is laboratory-created and not D3, which is derived from lanolin, from sheep oil. Taste different kinds of milk and decide which you like best plain, in cereal, coffee, or however you use cow’s milk currently.
3. Find the new and great meat subs. The new meat substitutes are amazing!! Go out and scan your supermarket, health food and specialty stores, fresh and frozen sections, and just try out lots of things. If you’re not in an area where you can get much, you can order frozen and packaged vegan specialties that will be delivered via UPS, http://www.veganstore.com is one example. There are vegan versions that really do approximate bacon, chicken strips, chunks, nuggets or patties, hamburgers, ground meat, sausage, hot dogs, ham, turkey, cold cuts, and so on. And they have gotten so good that you would be fooled!!
4.What about CHEESE???? You’ve hit on the sore spot of vegans for a very long time. I bet you could attribute a great percentage of failed conversions from vegetarian to vegan to the lack of a tasty cheese alternative. But that problem has just about become obsolete with the new products. My favorite are Daiya shreds for any melting (pizza, other Italian and Mexican food, grilled, etc.) and Sheese hard cheeses for slicing or toasting, plus Dr. Cow for eating straight. Vegan Gourmet, Tofutti slices, and Vegan Rella are also great. Yes, they are relatively expensive, but worth it. Why let cheese stand in the way of becoming a vegan when you can use these cheeses? You might have to special order them from an online vegan store, but they are entirely worth it. It’s gourmet and a real treat, and good enough to use in your every day cooking and eating.
5. Check out other dairy food replacements. Try soy versions of yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, butter and mayonaise.
While you’re exploring, try to add more vegetable dishes to your diet. We’ll talk more about this later.