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#1 Old 03-17-2017, 10:52 PM
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struggling

I keep failing at my vegan ventures. Try not to hate me. Sometimes I wonder if some of us are a lost cause. Growing up, I loved our meat and potatoes diet while a sister hated it. Veganism was easy for her. I hear that all the time, how some make the decision one day and sally forth into a meatless transition on a ceaseless, heavenly breeze, while other troubled souls like my sorry self keep running helmetless into the same brick wall.

It doesn't help that I'm single and a lousy cook. I'm not kidding. No one can mysteriously destroy even the simplest of recipes better than me. Maybe there is trouble - a demon - lurking in the depths of my soiled soul, and it stealthily emerges whenever I confront whole foods. Take my word, you don't want to eat my plant-happy meals. Even fruit hates me. Today, as so often happens, I cut into a bruise-less apple to find it rotten at the core. The same the other day with a couple of pears. Money down the drain. You'd be reconsidering your lifestyle if forced to eat food that has spent any of its ripening days basking in my presence. So I make a lot of smoothies - with fresh greens and frozen (failsafe) berries. Smoothies in this way are indestructible, even when concocted by a recipe hack like me, but then I get a bit carried away. They taste so damn good, until one day when, the thought of one more smoothie does me in. I fear I'll become frozen, like a waxed figure, only I'll be an eternal monument to smoothies. Hardened in my veins from one too many, and wham, out of nowhere the SAD life comes calling. Often because I've gone to a Whole Foods grocery for a salad and their cooked food bar calls for me. Their veggies look as if they were prepared to be as tasteless as humanly possible. I can't stomach the thought, and thus weakly indulge. Usually small amounts, but failure nonetheless. I quickly feel like a cow stuffed with the hormones of a thousand ground up linebackers, so I quickly return to my doomed cycle of smoothie's galore.

I thought for sure I had it beat this time. I finally fully understood the, dare I say it, spiritual calling of many vegans. My desire to be a caretaker of this earth has risen out of that darkened swampy place and I knew that was the missing link: enlightenment! But, so far, I've been unable to run past that unbreakable wall.

Am I alone in this? Anyone else who suffered for eternity until they finally broke free of the past? Did you suffer mightily to get beyond that damn wall? Of for most of you, has it been a walk in the park. I suspect I need to join a vegan community. Surround myself with the successful, though I fear potlucks. I'd be quickly excommunicated if my dish made the rounds.
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#2 Old 03-18-2017, 12:45 PM
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I'm not really understanding. Are you only eating at restaurants? Fast food? Meat is so much worse to prepare than bean dishes.

What are your specific problems with cooking? Are you under cooking grains? Overcooking veggies? I don't understand your comment on Whole Foods "veggies look as if they were prepared to be as tasteless as humanly possible". I'm not familiar with their food bar, but I would think they would know how to prepare veggies!

What foods do you like? Do you depend on packaged food?
Vegan packaged foods I like are-
Tofurky and Field Roast sausages
Tabatchnick frozen soups (parve)
Fat free refried beans
canned beans
hummus, salsa, torilla wraps, pitas,

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good
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#3 Old 03-18-2017, 01:04 PM
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Hi jimtoo,

How about going for the simple stuff? There are so many simple, failsafe vegan dishes. I lived for 15 years as a vegan bachelor, and I did pretty well.


Do you think you might like any of these?:

Whole wheat spaghetti with sauce, with some finely-mashed tofu mixed into the sauce

Canned lentil soup, with some 5-minute brown rice (like Uncle Ben's) mixed in

Whole wheat pita bread with hummus

Cut-up potatoes, microwaved until done. Eat with ketchup or a little salt

Simple salad: Spinach with tomatoes, with dressing

No-salt canned beans (rinse well), no-salt canned corn (rinse well), mixed together with chopped avocado (eat hot or cold)

Easy burrito: Canned vegetarian refried beans, chopped celery, and spicy salsa, in a whole wheat tortilla

Oatmeal (good at any meal) with canned fruit


If I can make these dishes, then so can you. You've got this, man!
.

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/
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#4 Old 03-18-2017, 03:48 PM
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Hey jimtoo, don't give up! I probably tried over a dozen times before going vegan finally stuck, and I had to try a bunch of times to go vegetarian too. We are creatures of habit and habits take time to change.

Here are some resources to help with your cooking issue:

Vegan Food for People Who Don’t Cook

The Vegan Stoner (The easiest and most fun to follow recipes I've ever seen)

"If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others... why wouldn't we?" - Edgars Mission
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#5 Old 03-18-2017, 08:47 PM
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Thanks for the inspiring comments all. I needed the lift. I focus on whole foods only - my body rejects anything processed, so I avoid anything from a can or box. Thus I tend to make the same rice/bean/veggie dish.

It doesn't help that I'm frequently on the fly, so if I'm home it's something quick, typically a smoothie or the above dish, and when eating out it more often than not becomes a game of avoidance. I seek out Whole Foods when I travel - I can run in and grab something from their food bar and continue on my way - but I swear, their veggies come down to 3 choices: potatoes cooked in canola oil (usually not too bad, though I question the healthiness of canola), various soggy veggies bathing in pools of oil, or steamed veggies with no herbs or anything else, and they always appear dead, ready for a bad artist to come along to paint them as a laboratory experiment gone bad. Anyway, when it comes to cooking, I think it may be a lack of patience, given I'm too often in a hurry, dealing with some deadline. I suspect it all comes down to staying inspired instead of seeing it as a hassle. It's those moments of boredom - boredom from my own tired dish or from dull choices while on the fly - that get me into trouble. I've got no excuses.
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#6 Old 03-18-2017, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimtoo View Post
Thanks for the inspiring comments all. I needed the lift. I focus on whole foods only - my body rejects anything processed, so I avoid anything from a can or box. Thus I tend to make the same rice/bean/veggie dish.

It doesn't help that I'm frequently on the fly, so if I'm home it's something quick, typically a smoothie or the above dish, and when eating out it more often than not becomes a game of avoidance. .

Yes, I can definitely relate. What worked for me was cooking a large batch of food on Sunday, so that I always had a convenient supply of food in the refrigerator the entire week.

When eating out, I also found that choices can be limited. Spaghetti and baked potatoes get boring. Some fast foods places have very good vegan options (Taco Bell and Del Taco, for instance).

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 03-18-2017 at 09:45 PM.
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#7 Old 03-19-2017, 05:10 AM
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Soups are very easy to make, and can be quick to make also. You can literally throw anything in a soup...beans, potatoes, grains, a variety of vegetables (celery, onion, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, leafy greens, asparagus, green beans etc). Use a little vegetable broth for added flavor, and spices or fresh herbs like parsley, oregano, basil, thyme...I just use water as a base, or even plant milks or ground nuts if I make a cream based soup (potatoes work for this too). One of my favorite soups is white bean and carrot soup with curry powder and ginger. I use two cups dried cooked white beans (or a can), and several chopped carrots. Simmer it for about fifteen minutes in water/and or plant milk, to get the carrots soft. Add your spices. Throw everything in a blender or food processor to get it smooth and creamy.

I keep a small thermos and bring soup to work during the week for lunches. I store the rest in a large container in the refrigerator and it keeps all week. I will dish out enough for a serving, and microwave or heat it on the stove for a few minutes while I get my coat on and stuff together, then pour it in my thermos and off I go. I bring along a crusty bread or salad to go with, or something like rice cakes with sunflower butter on them for a side dish with my soup, because soup alone is not enough to fuel me for a long day.
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#8 Old 03-19-2017, 10:33 AM
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Thanks for the tips. I'll keep trying. I'm not kidding about my fiascoes in the kitchen. Half of my soup attempts end up being tossed after forcing down a bowl or two. I even hired a vegan chef to come to my place once and give me some lessons. Her lentil stew was so good it almost made me cry. I thought, okay, I got this. After all, I was right there with her helping every step along the recipe way. I had a copy of the directions to follow and proudly made a new batch a week later while alone in my home. I've never come close to having it taste the same. Edible, but not at all inspiring. Sometimes I think I should move into a vegan commune. I wouldn't be allowed to cook. But for the pleasure of eating other's creations I'd gladly clean dishes. That I can do. I'm even a little OCD about it. Some people don't have a green thumb for growing plants, I don't know what the equivalent is in the kitchen, but I don't have it. I don't have a gastronomical tongue - well, I doubt that's a saying that will ever catch on.
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#9 Old 03-19-2017, 11:21 AM
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I'm puzzled that you seem to be distinguishing between vegan and other kinds of food, like your problems are based on leaving out animal products?
Is it that you're not using meat broths and your soup lacked taste from that? Many veggie broths aren't very good IMO. I do use this for a lot of soup broth-
http://www.betterthanbouillon.com/pr...x?productid=24

Is it spices you struggle to master?

My lentil soups are very thick and I use half and half red lentils (that mush) and brown lentils (hold their shape). Carrots, potatoes, and after cooking add a can of tomatoes and chilis
I use fresh grated ginger and garlic, black pepper, tumeric, and a little salt in cooking, but more on serving. I often add a splash of apple cider vinegar after cooking.

Does this sound right to you?
In the meantime you should see if you can find Tabachnick parve soups in the frozen section. Only premade soup I would suggest

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good
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#10 Old 03-19-2017, 12:03 PM
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Hi jimtoo,

It just takes a little practice, staring with simple recipes. Simple cooking is an important skill, no matter what a person eats.

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/
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#11 Old 03-19-2017, 12:07 PM
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I'm confused as to why you can't find decent vegan food at Whole Foods. My Whole Foods has lots of vegan options on the food bars and throughout the store other than the cooked veggies on the hot food bar - grains salads, noodle salads, raw salads, all kind of fresh veggies to make your own salad, spring rolls, vegetable casseroles, plus several kinds of soups, vegan pizza slices at the pizza bar, frozen meals that can be put in the microwave in the eating area, bulk nuts & trail mixes, vegan yogurt, vegan cheese and crackers, bagels, single serving peanut butter, breakfast scones….

It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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#12 Old 03-19-2017, 12:40 PM
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What did you cook before you decided to try a vegan diet? You've said that your body rejects processed foods - where are you getting fresh meals from now? What is your current situation?
.

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/
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#13 Old 03-21-2017, 10:56 AM
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In regards to your comment about enjoying a meat and potatoes diet, I can relate. Growing up, I was definitely that kid, whereas my sister (who's been vegetarian for years) never liked meat, so her reasons for going veggie were different than mine. But for me, while my decision was largely emotional/spiritual/mental, and though I never "cheated", I definitely had some struggles with temptation in the beginning. Fortunately I'm a decent cook, so I managed to get through. There's no question, if you eat meat/dairy/eggs, convenient foods are more readily available. You definitely have to work a little harder as a vegan, but with a little planning a few simple recipes should help.

Grabbing meals on the go can definitely be a challenge, but there may be more options than you think: Japanese, Thai and Indian restaurants often have delicious vegan friendly options. Even Chipotle and Subway have options now. If you live near a Whole Foods, you have one up on me - do you also have a Veggie Grill nearby? When my husband and I were visiting Seattle we ate there all the time!! ^_^

I can't help but smile at your lament that even fruits are against you... you seem to have a good attitude about it, and a sense of humour always helps Keep trying, you will find a few go-to recipes that will stick, and get better and better navigating restaurants. Practice makes perfect!! ^_^
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