Hi waterbunni and welcome! How awesome is that that your family is so supportive and helpful! Give them an extra hug from me will you?
I just mentioned this on another thread, but I found a few books very helpful for learning how to meet my nutritional needs as a vegan:
"Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant Based Diet" by Brenda Davis, RD
"Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet" by Jack Norris and Virginia Messina
I also read lots of vegan blogs and cookbooks (libraries are getting better and better at stocking a lot of vegan cookbooks) to learn what food staples to keep around and basic recipes etc. I LOVE making pancakes and there are a TON of vegan ones, and I also love to eat healthy whole food meals too. The key for me personally has been to keep an open mind and try everything and not be too restrictive, but keep it relatively healthy. Cost is a factor for me, and beans, rice, oats, and some fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables are relatively inexpensive. For plant milks, soy milk is the least expensive and probably has the biggest nutritional bang for your buck. Almond milk is becoming more popular too and not as expensive as it used to be. I love that I can occasionally buy vegan mayonnaise at mainstream groceries now...Just Mayo is an eggless vegan mayo that is awesome! And I can find them in a lot of stores like Target, Seven Eleven, the Dollar Store...
If you can't afford to replace everything (toiletries, leather etc) right off the bat don't feel bad or like less of a vegan. It can take a while to replace items. Use up what you have unless it makes you uncomfortable to do so. I have some old silk blouses and scarves to local churches with clothing drives and so on. I recycled some harsh cleaning stuff by bringing it to my city's waste management facility. They have a program where you can bring that stuff to a room there and others come and pick out stuff to use for free. I keep my cleaning supplies simple...lemon juice, vinegar, washing soda, essential oils (tea tree, lavender, peppermint). I also use Kirks Castile soaps, Dr. Bronners soap, Planet Earth dishwashing liquid. Kiss My Face has some great toothpaste and floss products. They even have sunblock. A little goes a long way with all that stuff.
I also like to use "Vegdining" and "HappyCow" apps and online to find stores and restaurants in my area that have vegan friendly food and other items.
I wish you the best in your transition! Hope to see you around!
In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel
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