When most folks think about vegan food or plant-based diets they think they are only going to have carrots, french fries and salads to eat the rest of life. They couldn't be more wrong! However, as varied and delicious as many plant-based food options can be it is very difficult to adopt a completely plant-based lifestyle over-night or even over weeks. From habitually reading every ingredient and researching what's what from the ridiculously unpronounceable and unrecognizable latin science names to knowing what to replace that ever familiar piece of flesh with that's not super processed and equally unhealthy... well, it can all be very confusing, daunting and exhausting.
With so many ingredients that are legally allowed in our foods and aren't mandated by law to go on the label it would be impossible to avoid every single unhealthy thing unless you are growing your own permaculture organic food forest, eating a mostly raw diet or making everything down to your cooking oil from scratch. Nobody needs to be that ridiculous in their quest to perfect eating habits unless they really want to or enjoy super homesteading. Then, as if that wasn't enough, there are plenty of ingredients that just aren't familiar enough to actually know what they are or how they are derived. What is red #40 made from and is that really necessary to put in our foods? Food manufacturers have a sneaky way of super processing something and then calling it something else (because by the time they bleach, acid bathe and boil it down to bits it IS something else lol). So mucus milk (dairy) can be called anything from milk to whey powder to casein etc. Even simple things like baking powder or soda have to have the latin names, further confusing consumers as to what is what so it can be extremely difficult to navigate an ingredient list even with the most watchful eye if you don't know exactly what to look for. Furthermore, thats only half the battle.
You can not survive on french fries and salads for long... for those in the back.. VEGANS EAT MORE THAN SALADS! Also.. PROTEIN DOES NOT NEED TO COME FROM ANIMALS!!! So now that that's out of the way let's be clear, salads can be pretty delicious if you add more than lettuce and carrots but there's arguably over 80,000 edible plants not including non commercialized main stream edible plants and it's Not Just Sticks & Berries either. However, it can be a bit challenging at first to figure out what to eat instead of the rotting corpse you're used to pairing with your french fries. Most people assume incorrectly that they will have to give up their favorite foods or they won't feel satisfied with only eating vegetables. The fact is I eat all of the same foods I used to eat, I just swapped the animal ingredients for plant-based ingredients and eventually figured out how to make most of my same recipes from before I changed my diet. It did take some time, maybe almost 6 months or more and I'm still learning and discovering new things all the time.
As a basic guide to help get you started I think it's helpful to have some tips so you won't struggle and possibly revert out of frustration and desperation because the hangries can turn the sweetest person into a monster and a lunatic (me.. Im talking about me.. although I'm not that sweet to begin with.. never mind ).
•Canned Coconut Milk will replace evaporated milk for mac n cheese recipes
•Vegan Cheese comes in all sorts of varieties in shreds, crumbles, blocks and slices
•Milk from all sorts of nuts, seeds, and grains are now available and some brands are gross and some are amazing and won't bust your belly and cause mucus in the body.
•Refined Coconut Oil can replace butter in any recipe but vegan butters are widely available as well. Unrefined coconut oil will taste and smell of coconut macaroons.
•Soy, Wheat Gluten & Pea Protein all make wonderful meat substitutes and come in an array of different products and flavors and textures. As with any food some are delicious and taste, smell and feel just like the flesh it's replacing and some are terrible tasting and the texture are off. Be aware however that most are highly processed and are just as unhealthy as eating animals but for different reasons. (Animal products contain cholesterol whereas plant-based foods have 0 cholesterol, however are full of sodium).
•Flax Meal and water can make an egg substitute for french toast or baking
•Chickpeas are very universal and can be used for recipes from mock tunafish to ground turkey to egg substitutes.
•Banana or Applesauce can replace the egg in some baking recipes or in pancakes
•Eggplant and Carrots sliced very thin and seasoned appropriately can be made to taste just like bacon
Unfortunately, I haven't found anything that tastes and feels exactly like Chilean Sea Bass or bonafide pork bacon but Ive found some things close enough that I don't miss or crave anything I no longer eat. With the occasional craving of a chicken cheese steak from my old favorite place but thats more nostalgia I think then anything because I make a pretty tasty vegan cheese steak myself. Either way the cravings subside after a few weeks and the third day for whatever reason of any change, detox or diet seems to be torturous on the will power but if you can make it through that you'll be home free. I never feel overwhelmed with gluttony to the extent of actually giving in and eating animal flesh again because Im committed to not harming my health, the environment or animals with my food choices. That's why I wrote my first cookbook so perhaps I can help guide others to a healthier lifestyle through eating and nobody wants to taste their health. Delicious recipes, grocery list, meal planner and food journal all in one for those who want to make the change to plant-based but don't know how to start.
Most vegans or plant-based eaters will only give you the positives and the many benefits of avoiding animal based products to eat, however there are many challenges that go along with it. None of the challenges could ever be as ridiculous as eating the flesh of one animal and calling another animal a pet and caring for it or as difficult as dealing with high blood pressure and obesity as a direct result of consuming the secretions of animals breasts and eating its body parts. Nevertheless, I am always here to provide the general realty of all things be it the good or the bad, and generally everything is a matter of the observer's perspective so it is what it is and as always I'm here to give you the facts and then prepare you to deal with any challenges you may encounter on your journey to living happy, living free and living decent.