Join Date: Jun 2015
The earth has enough resources for everyones need but not their greed.
Since you like eating the fried, cheesy, salty stuff, why don't you first make a transition to vegetarianism? Many like to jump directly to veganism which is great but it would make things a whole lot difficult for a starter. First directly become a vegetarian, you can still have cheese on your pizza & milk smoothies if you like them. After 3-4 months of disciplining yourself not to have meat & animal products, you can slowly cut out milk and cheese products as well.
Veganism is an all-round lifestyle of not using animal products wherever possible, so if you shun leather, suede, silk, do not use products with animal content or animal testing in them then you'll always be considered a vegan.. I don't think anybody is a perfect vegan yet. Green smoothies are great but once you become a complete vegan you need to dig into a variety of foods for nutrition like nuts for vitamins, calcium & other metals, & boiled veggies for fibre. I'm no recipe expert but you'll hear a lot about rice, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, whole wheat breads, potatoes, kale etc as they'll form the bulk of what an average vegan eats. You'll get a lot of cooking ideas from the other members here. Just plan the transition out carefully so that it can be done easily & with minimum cravings, going veggie first is a good idea.
What vegan foods do you already enjoy?
Any fruits or veggies? how about breakfast cereals (quite a few name brands are vegan) and breads? Do you like pasta or rice?
How about calcium rich foods? Do you like fortified orange juice,almond milk or soymilk?
And protein rich foods- do you like peanut butter? baked beans? peas? I see you like chicken, maybe you'd like boca ch'kn patties and nuggets. My 7 year old (who has a very restricted diet due to sensory issues) loves them.
a vegan diet can be as simple as-
cheerios with soymilk and a glass of OJ for breakfast
peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch
a banana for snack
spaghetti (no meat) for dinner
Hello and welcome! Can you tell us what sort of foods you like to eat? I know you mentioned fries and pizza. You can make your own fries at home by cutting potatoes, sweet potatoes, and even carrots into wedges or strips, coating them in olive oil and salt, and baking them in the oven. Pizza is also easy to veganize: just skip the cheese or add vegan cheese, and top with veggies for a healthier kick. Just make sure to eat enough to keep from binging. You never have to feel hungry or deprived. I like to keep healthy snacks like nuts and fruit in my bag so that I have a quick and easy option when I'm away from home.
Hi Yanatai and welcome to Veggie Boards! It's great that you want to be healthier!
I have seen a lot of people (even in my own family) go from one extreme to the other...from eating total junk food and never cooking to living on salads and cutting out everything but fruits and vegetables. Usually it results in returning to eating junk and giving up because they feel too deprived and think it is too hard. There is often a misconception that being vegan means eating ONLY fruits and vegetables and that you can't be healthy otherwise. It never has to be all or none and there are so many plant foods that are awesome and satisfying if you give them a chance. Sometimes it is a matter of overcoming myths and biases perpetuated by popular diet gurus and cultures. Whole grains, potatoes, soy products, gluten etc are often labeled as "bad" and "detrimental" to weight loss/health due to their carbs or because they are not as high in protein etc, but this is far from the truth! There are a very small handful of people that have true allergies or intolerances to some of these foods but that does not make them bad for the rest of us. They can be great sources of many nutrients, are lower in fat, and they help with satiety and energy!
A gradual approach to becoming healthier is often the most sustainable way to do it. For example, removing soda pop from your diet and replacing it with those smoothies or plant milks or water will go a long way in helping with weight loss and feeling better. Your body will begin to function better and it encourages more changes.
Convenience is also another issue that seems to come up with so many people. If health is high on your priority list, you can find ways to eat healthy foods without sacrificing a lot of time to prepare them, but it still requires somewhat of a lifestyle change and learning how to cook and prepare healthy food ahead. I have a very busy lifestyle myself, and Sunday is my one day that I have a few extra hours to spend doing some food prep ahead. I plan out a week of meals ahead and on Sundays I spend a few hours cooking dried beans or making homemade bread or cooking whole grains that take longer to cook (like millet, brown or wild rice, quinoa etc). I make big batches and then have them on hand for all week. So when I come home from work during the week I can throw together a thai stir fry over brown rice and it takes all of fifteen minutes to prepare since the rice is cooked ahead. I make five lunches on Sundays and portion them into Tupperware containers for each day. That way, during the week before I leave for the day I just grab one of those containers and off I go. You'd be surprised at how many plant foods keep for an entire week that way.
I like to make energy bars and freeze or refrigerate them to have something to grab and eat when I am hungry. They are far less expensive than some of the designer vegan bars on the market (such as cliff, luna, larabars, etc). I like to follow this recipe formula and mix it up:
Sometimes you can cut up some veggies like cauliflower, carrots, celery, snap peas, jicama, broccoli etc and then make or buy some peanut butter or hummus or a bean dip to go with them. This makes a great snack or lunch side dish. Commercial hummus is almost always vegan and easy to find nowadays.
For a quick breakfast that is creamy and high protein and quick to make, I blend a half block of firm tofu or an entire block of small silken tofu with a banana and some pure cocoa powder and maybe a pinch of stevia and salt. It makes a great chocolate pudding that is not too sweet and is very thick and creamy, sort of like a plant based version of Greek yogurt. The tofu provides a great source of calcium and protein as well, and the banana provides an energy source and potassium etc. It's easy to digest first thing in the morning. If you want it sweeter, you can add stuff like maple syrup or agave etc. In place of banana you could try strawberries or another fruit. the vitamin C in strawberries would make the iron in the tofu more absorbable as well.
Some of my favorite vegan sandwiches:
chickpea salad sandwich with vegan mayonnaise (brands like Vegannaise, Just Mayo, Spectrum eggless mayo, Nayonnaise, and Earth Balance Mindful Mayo are just a few brands available out there) and celery, onion, ground black pepper. Canned chickpeas are easy to mash and make a great egg substitute. These sandwiches taste sort of like chicken salad.
Sliced avocado, fresh basil, and sliced tomato sandwich. For a richer sandwich, grill this on the stove with just a touch of oil or Earth Balance vegan butter
homemade or store bought vegan tortilla spread with fat free refried beans (fat free canned refried beans are very cheap and are usually vegan...the full fat varieties often contain lard), lettuce, tomato, and any other veggie you can think of.
Tortilla rolled up with a peanut or nut butter inside...I often make this when out on the trail or canoeing long distances as it provides a source of sustained energy and satiety
Sandwich with strips of red bell pepper, sprouts, and hummus.
Dates all by themselves are like dessert! They have a chewy texture and are sweet and caramel like. Be sure to bring some plant milk to have with them! I have a small container with a tight fitting lid I use to pour some plant milk into and bring along to work. I often have plant milk and dates as a snack at my desk
I like roasted salted pumpkin seeds with shell on and mix them with raisins or chopped dates for a sweet salty snack that also provides a good source of protein, fatty acids, etc
You can make salads more filling and even make them a main course by adding fresh fruits to them, or sprinkle with sesame or sunflower s eeds or walnuts, and add steamed veggies like sliced beets or green beans. I make homemade vegan dressings with tahini or with blended fruit or mustard and vinegar. I also add canned beans like chickpeas or black beans or kidney beans and sometimes use salsa in place of dressing. Salads take very little time to prepare. I make a big salad and portion it into five containers for the week, and add the dressing each day before leaving for work.
Sweet potato takes about two minutes to peel the skin off and about ten minutes to steam in a steamer basket. I like it as is but you can add stuff like coconut milk to it or fresh pineapple with the juice or for something savory add black beans and curry powder. Or as someone else mentioned instead of steaming them cut them into strips and fry or roast or bake them for fries. Sprinkle on some chili powder or salt/pepper.
Toast with beans and salsa or beans and catsup (organic if you can afford it) or a bean spread on top is great for a quick meal too.
When I first went vegan I started with a list of all the foods I was already eating that were naturally vegan and built up a repertoire from there. I read a ton of cookbooks and vegan blogs. Nowadays there are lots of vegan cookbooks in libraries and bookstores. If I didn't want to spend the money to buy one, I would go to some place like Barnes and Noble that had a coffee shop and sit with a cookbook and pick out recipes that looked good/easy and write them out lol. I also printed off recipes from the web with good reviews and made a three ring binder for them (I have six three ring binders full of them now). The more you learn about all the creative ways to prepare plant based food, the more intriguing and easy it becomes to never be bored with vegan food and always have fresh ideas. It is all second nature to me now and I barely have to think of what to eat at all. I have learned so many techniues and ways to cook and prepare foods without eggs and dairy and all that that it boggles my mind that people think they still need eggs for pancakes or breads or omelets lol. I am also very flexible with food as a vegan. Because vegan commercial mayo can be hard to find where I live and is expensive (except Just Mayo), I learned to make my own which is very easy. I also make my own bread and have done it so many times it is second nature and no longer a daunting task. I just work it into my day (usually Sunday). It is so much cheaper to make your own versions of foods than buy commercial foods with tons of additives and sugar etc. It takes time though to build up a vegan kitchen and know what ingredients you need to have on hand. Be patient with yourself and make small changes. In the long run it will be very rewarding!
I forgot to add, for a very simple salty and fun vegan snack I air pop some popcorn and spray on Braggs liquid amino acids or soy sauce. Sounds weird but is very tasty!
What kinds of stores are around you? Do you have a health food store, Whole Foods type natural foods, Trader Joes, or any ethnic food stores- IndiAn, Asian?
Green smoothies are great, but yeah, you do need 'other foods'. I'm glad you see that.
I always reference her, but Ginny Messina has been an invaluable resource for me, especially once I stopped consuming dairy (I stopped consuming animals and eggs a fair while before. Dairy had me worried).
She has a FB page and a website- The Vegan RD.
Have a read of what she's got there. I think it will help. She also has some books. I quite liked "Vegan for Her". But her "Becoming Vegetarian" book is great (she has a "Becoming Vegan" book, but I haven't read it. I'm sure it's quite good though).
Go to meals for lunch- I think we talked about that in another thread on here...... People were sharing bean salad recipes. Bean salads are the easiest things I've ever made!
I mainly eat leftoevers. But, things like hummus, edamame, or even a piece of fruit are all good things to have 'around' on any given day. I find they're good, quick, snacks if I'm just not in the mood to cook or don't have the time. I tend to graze a bit.
Also, looking at what you like to eat....We have a Buddha Bowl thread happening the Food section of the forum, maybe it'll help?
Aside from that, I think some of the most practical advice I got being vegetarian, which has helped me as I've cut eggs and dairy, is to plan. So, while it does take a little extra work, make sure you cook more than you need so you have leftovers to take for lunch. Stirfries don't take that much time to throw together, so I prefer them over everything else.
If you start to get sick of the same old food, seek out new foods.
The less you eat eggs and dairy, the more your tastebuds WILL change.
Where are you in the world? There might be some store bought solutions as well.
For instance, Woolies in Australia now have a whole heap of vegan salads you can just buy, ready made! I adore them! (And they're good salads, not those horrible ones you wouldn't even feed a rabbit :P)