Vegan Eating

Vegan Eating

About 10 weeks ago I was looking for some healthy eating motivation when I came across the documentary What The Health on Netflix. I thought it would talk about everything I already knew like eating more vegetables and avoiding processed and artificial ingredients. I had no idea it would be promoting plant-based eating and showing the moral, environmental, and health benefits to being vegan. By the end of the documentary, I couldn’t unknow everything I now knew and I was an overnight vegan. Ever since then, it’s been a learning process figuring out where I can eat, what I can eat, and answering a lot of questions from my family and friends. The #1 question I get? “What do you eat?!” It’s a valid question since meat and dairy are such huge staples of the American diet. I decided since I get asked that question so much, I was going to write this blog and show you all! Keep in mind that it’s still a learning process but so far, I’ve been really happy with eating this way and I feel great!

The first thing you need to know about me is that I’m lazy. I get in my cooking moods where I want to try recipes and I get excited. Most of the time though, I want something I can throw in a pan or in the microwave and not have to fuss with it. I’m trying to be better about cooking from scratch more because that’s the best way to get bang for your buck, they always turn out really yummy, and I’m always catching myself staring longingly into the fridge wishing I had cooked something. For now, you may notice more photos of something that came from a bag or restaurant but hopefully that will change in the future!

Breakfast

There are tons of options here! You could have a smoothie, cereal with almond milk, vegan pancakes/waffles, whatever your heart desires! There’s no shortage of awesome recipes out there! However, I like it simple when it comes to breakfast. Give me some toast and fruit and I will happily eat that every day. I use vegan butter which is a blend of oils similar to margarine but most margarine still has dairy in it. I have a small tub of it but I also get the sticks for baking (like when I made the most amazing pumpkin bread you will see later in this post!).

Before becoming vegan, I would eat eggs almost every morning. So, when I first made the switch, I decided to make a “tofu scramble” which used turmeric to make it yellow and it was all crumbly to look like scrambled eggs. It wasn’t bad but I wasn’t exactly a fan. I like tofu but I learned to stay away from things that try to make tofu taste like something else. Tofu tastes like tofu. Side note: For those that think being vegan or vegetarian means eating tons of tofu, it’s not true! I barely ever eat it and I only do so because I genuinely like it.

Every once in a while I will switch up my toast routine and have oatmeal or a bagel. For oatmeal, I cook up some oats and put some agave on it!

This has to be one of my favorite vegan ingredients. I put it on oatmeal, peanut butter sandwiches, and in any recipe that calls for honey! Even if you’re not vegan, this is a great alternative to honey for health reasons.

You have to be careful with bagels because most have whey (AKA milk) in them. Find one sans dairy, toast it up, spread some vegan cream cheese on there and crack some pepper on top. Yum!

If you’re like me, you love your morning cup of coffee. The first day of being vegan, I panicked a little when I went to make coffee and realized I couldn’t have creamer. Did I have to give up coffee?! Thankfully not! Luckily for me, we had some almond milk in the fridge because my husband is lactose intolerant. So now I put a little sugar and almond milk in there and I’m happy. My Starbucks order? Cold Brew with Vanilla and Almond Milk. YUM!

Who else celebrates coffee day every day?

Lunch/Dinner

So as I said before, I like to be lazy. I like to make big dinners and then eat the leftovers for lunch and dinner the next couple of days. If I don’t have leftovers for lunch, I’ll usually just eat a sandwich. Super exciting, right? The most important ingredient on a sandwich, to me, is mayonnaise. I introduce to you, Vegenaise. I was amazed and very happy to find that it tastes exactly like traditional mayo!

I tried a couple of different vegan “deli slices” because I love sandwiches. I thought they tasted like dog food so…never again. Now, I’ll have different veggies like tomato slices or avocado with some salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Tomato sandwich on toasted bread with balsamic roasted brussel sprouts on the side

A popular vegan brand is Gardein. They use soy protein to make all different meat replacements and I love them. Gardein products are sold at the commissary for only $2.50 and I get 2 or 3 meals out of them so they’re cost effective. They are also delicious and convenient!

Annie’s salad dressings are really good! They’re not always vegan, so be sure to read the label.
Paired here with some simple brown rice and broccoli
Crispy tenders topping a big salad

Let’s discuss vegan cheese. I will be totally honest…it’s…an adjustment. I had a deep love for dairy cheese so vegan cheese doesn’t get me excited. It’s not bad but it I had to get used to the flavor and texture. When I’m really wanting something with cheese, it does the trick!

This plate of way-too-much-quesadilla-for-one-person-but-was-definitely-eaten-by-one-person is brought to you by vegan cheese

Okay now we can get to some food I actually cooked from scratch! There’s no end to delicious vegan recipes online. Some of them have crazy ingredients that would have you finding a specialty health food store. I do my best to stick to recipes with ingredients I can get at any regular grocery store.

Homemade Tomato Basil Soup with Vegan Grilled Cheese
Mediterranean Sweet Potatoes
Slow Cooker White Bean Soup
Curried Coconut Quinoa with Spinach and Roasted Cauliflower

I’m sure you can now see why I want to do more cooking. As tasty and convenient the other stuff is, these dishes look and taste so much better!

Eating at Restaurants

My husband and I have a 13 year history of loving going out to eat. It’s basically our favorite thing to do together. We love finding new, awesome restaurants, especially for a special occasion when we can really indulge. This is where the biggest adjustment has had to be made since becoming vegan. Almost every restaurant has a vegetarian option but not a vegan option. I’m thankful for the vegetarian option at the least because I can usually finagle it to be vegan. I’m determined to make any restaurant work because I don’t want to keep my friends and family from being able to eat wherever they want. So far, I’ve been able to do just that!

Veggie sandwich at Subway
Veggie pizza from Blaze Pizza where they have vegan options like Daiya cheese
The Vegan Burger with side salad and wine at Yard House

I’ve been fortunate in that my family is willing to try actual vegan restaurants from time to time! They are always so good and even the non-vegans at the table are really happy with their meals.

Vegan Mac and Cheese at Hook and Ladder in Sacramento, CA – I googled the cheese brand to be sure it was actually vegan. That’s how close/good it was!
Vegan Mushroom Burger with Lentil Chips at Zest Kitchen in Roseville, CA
Vegan Fajitas at El Papagayo Mexican Restaurant in Carmichael, CA

Snacks/Dessert

Vegan snacks are easy! That makes it hard for a snacker like me to not just binge eat chips all day but I’m thankful overall.

Hippeas – Chickpea-based cheese puff type snack.
My favorite flavor is White Chocolate Macadamia Nut

Desserts… I learned the hard way that you cannot take a traditional dessert recipe and simply sub in vegan ingredients. I made some cookies that skipped “not that good” and went straight to “trash.” My cookie-loving husband wanted to try them and I did my best not to let him. That’s how bad they were. He insisted on trying them, did, and instantly regretted it. The good news is, actual vegan dessert recipes are SO good! For instance, my husband baked me the most amazing vegan chocolate cake for my birthday this month. It was so good, my son wouldn’t stop begging for birthday cake for a week straight.

I also recently made the most delicious pumpkin bread with a brown sugar streusel on top! I had to pawn off most of it so I wouldn’t eat the whole thing. I’ll be making more for Thanksgiving!

If only you could taste food through the internet

Going Vegan

I will say I believe I had an easier time cutting out animal products because I was already health-conscious with food. However, I truly think anyone can make this change! We live in the age of the internet! You can Google “Vegan ________” literally anything and there will be an answer or recipe. There’s also an ever-increasing number of vegan options popping up everywhere you look, especially in grocery stores. If you’re interested in learning more about being vegan here are some things you can do:

Visit Vegan.org

Check out my favorite vegan recipe website – Minimalist Baker!

Watch these documentaries on Netflix – What The Health, Vegucated, Forks Over Knives, and Food, Inc.

Even simply reducing your intake of meat can greatly benefit the environment and your health so I encourage everyone to research and learn about it! I completely understand not everybody wants to be vegan and I would never try to push it on anyone. I had a happy accident that led to this part of my health journey and I’m grateful. I wanted to answer the question “What do you eat?!” and I hope this showed that the answer is a lot of really delicious food!

2 Replies to “Vegan Eating”

  1. Al of these meals look so delish! I am slowly trying to turn my diet more plant based and I am with you on the cheese being an adjustment. That is literally the hardest part. No meat? No problem. No cheese??? Struggle bus city.

    1. Exactly! Replacing dairy has been much harder than going without meat! Thank you so much for your comment! That’s so exciting that you’re trying to be more plant-based!!

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