I received this text from a friend the other day and as you can see, I was excited about it. This is, after all, the main reason why I started My Vegan Website – to help people get started on their new vegan adventure!
I think it’s important to realize, as you are making the decision to Go Vegan, that you do not have to do it all overnight. I certainly know people who have, but for most of us, that just isn’t realistic!
One Meal At A Time
You’ve probably heard of the “Meat Free Monday” movement – they suggest that you make one day a week a vegan/ vegetarian day. I see nothing wrong with simplifying it even more – how about just one dinner to begin with?
The internet is full of amazing cooks who share their recipes freely – no need to buy expensive cookbooks right away (although I guarantee that you will, overtime, gather a great collection of vegan cookbooks – mine is coming along very nicely. More on that another day!). Free recipes are everywhere, all you have to do is search for veganized versions of your favourite meals.
Depending on how skilled you are in the kitchen, you may want to preface your search with “easy” or “simple”.
Go For Real Food
I believe that it is fully possible to be 100% vegan for a lifetime and never eat a fresh vegetable. Just like you can be an omnivore and eat nothing but processed junk food, you can be vegan and do the same. And it’s obviously not going to do anything good for your health or well-being.
That, plus the fact that if you are going straight from the animal-derived products you are used to, to fake meats and cheese replacements, I can almost guarantee that you will not like them. There are tons of great vegan products out there to replace ground beef, sausage, eggs and cheese in your food, I use many of them on occasion, but I find that you are more likely to please your own palate as you make the switch by using whole foods in your recipes. You already know the texture of real foods, and they will be more familiar to you. Plus, your meal will be a whole lot healthier!
In my city, going shopping for vegan items is a real “hit-or-miss” experience! The selection of healthy foods in grocery stores really vary depending on neighbourhood – my nearest grocery store, for example, has a very lmited selection of plant-based products, and even the produce section isn’t that great. I suppose there isn’t a huge demand for it, so they don’t stock it. We do have several health/ natural food stores in my city, and they have everything I need, but the downside is that they can be quite pricey.
I wish I had a one-stop shop for all my grocery needs, but instead, a typical grocery trip for me usually involves one store for produce and bread, another for canned goods and general groceries, and a final stop at a natural food store for specialty items that I can’t find anywhere else.
Whether you are vegan or not, making a meal plan and a grocery list will help you plan and budget for the week ahead, as well as making your shopping trip a whole lot easier!
Go Easy On Yourself
You’re new at this. You don’t have to perfect the ultimate vegan lasagna today. You don’t have to figure out how to bake a vegan birthday cake this week. All you have to do is find a place to start – one meal to cook. Start with something easy, like a veggie stew, a chickpea curry, or how about this amazing shepherd’s pie from one of my favourite recipe sites:
(It’s actually easier than making a conventional shepherd’s pie!)
(Picture is from the Tasty.co website)
Good luck, and Happy Cooking!