Happy Friday! I love how Tranquil Space has highlighted Veg Week this week. Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about how to keep the vegan lifestyle going, regardless of whether you made the transition to a vegan diet quickly, or very gradually, as I did. I first cut out farmed fish and factory meat, then ate mostly flexitarian for a while, then cut out dairy and eggs on account of food allergies, then all meats, and then eventually wild caught fish. There are so many different reasons – ethics, health, the environment – for transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, but whichever the reason, maintaining the lifestyle need not be complicated. For me, the key is a little bit of forethought and availing oneself of resources, many of which I have shared below.
At the Grocery Store: Greens, other veggies, fruits, beans, quinoa, seeds, nuts, almond milk and organic soy products are my go-to staples. I also round those out with some Daiya cheese (which I use for pizza or to top veggie chili), certain So Delicious products and the occasional Luna and Larry pint of amazing coconut milk-based ice cream. As much as I love my staples, I also love the growing variety of specialty vegan products, and am often trying out new kale chips or the latest vegan chocolates. Reading labels becomes second nature, and you may find that your favorite cereal or crackers were vegan to begin with. Resources: Protein and veganism, Tips on a balanced vegan diet and Thoughts on Faux Products.
Breakfast: Breakfast is one of my favorite meals, ever. Many go-to breakfasts are already vegan, like toast with peanut butter and jam (just check the toast to make sure it contains no dairy or eggs) or oatmeal (substitute almond or coconut milk for regular milk). I gravitate towards smoothies or tofu scrambles, mainly because I used to eat egg-based breakfasts in my pre-vegan days. Recipe ideas: Ode to Breakfast, Red, White and Blue Smoothie, Classic Tofu Scramble and Chickpea Flour Scramble.
Dinner: Dinners fall into one of three categories for me, including hearty salads, cooked beans/greens dishes (such as this one) or a one-pot meal. Recipe ideas: Vegan Sausage Broccoli Hash, Vegan Asparagus Risotto, Beet Quinoa Salad with Scallion Cashew Cheese and Butternut Squash and Black Bean Salad.
Travelling, socializing vegan: Since transitioning to a vegan diet, I have travelled to Boston, New York, Kansas City, San Diego, Indianapolis, and San Francisco, among other cities, and have eaten very well, always vegan. Over the years, I have also socialized with friends (many non-vegan), gone to business lunches and generally led the life of a professional woman in Washington, yet vegan. Resources: How to Travel Like Vegan Pro, Tips for Vegan Travel, and Joyful Veganism.