If you read Turning 30 - My Hardest, Most Transformative Year Yet, you know that I had to make life changes in an instant and turning vegan / plant based was one of those quick pivots that I decided to make. Despite how challenging it may seem, becoming vegan was a lot easier than I thought and I'm so grateful I made the leap. I must add that I've never been a major meat person, on the contrary I just ate meat because its all I knew. In my vegan transformation I realized that many of my limitations to changing my lifestyle was mental. Here's my mindset shifts on how to become vegan easily overnight:
Meat Replacement Products
The reason I struggled so much to ditch meat is because I kept trying to replace meat with meat crumbles, tofu, beef crumbles and other imitation meat. For me these products never tasted like meat and when I had that expectation I was frequently left disappointed. Once I realized I could simply eat meals without chicken, steak etc., then I was able to remove meat from my diet.
Seasoning is Everything
I found that meat doesn't always have a taste. The taste is from the seasoning applied. I learned that if I seasoned my vegetables like I would my chicken, I loved the taste just as much.
I Didn't Need Meat to Feel Full
I always thought being vegan meant eating salads all day long, but I've learned that vegan food is way broader than I imagined. When I removed meat I realized that I just needed additional sides to feel full, which for me meant more sweet potato, vegetables, 3 veggie tacos instead of 2 etc.
Milk & Dairy Aren't Needed for Taste
You can put almond milk in almost anything and it tastes just as yummy - don't get me wrong there will definitely be an adjustment period. When it comes to cheese I realized it was just the consistency that I enjoyed, which can be replicated with other food combinations that do not involve dairy.
Convenience is Key
This was a key shift and skill I needed to develop. Changing to a plant based lifestyle is a huge adjustment. I found that when it was time to eat I needed to be armed with options that I can eat in an instant. Here's what helped me:
I watched many different recipe videos to acquire ideas on what I can create. It's really important to do this on your free time and not when you’re starving because you may find yourself Hangry and frustrated, ultimately giving up and opting for a non-vegan meal.
Add Recipes to Notes
Anytime I ate a meal I liked or made something I was proud of, I took a picture of it and saved it under "recipes" in my notes app on my iPhone. This was helpful because embarking on this new journey left me clueless on what to eat at times. Having a repository of all of my favorite food gave me instant ideas when I needed them most.
I tested out Greenchef because they delivered organic vegan meals straight to my door. This removed the guesswork out of what to cook and empowered me in curating meal ideas. If you are like me and find these meal kits quite expensive, I would recommend using a coupon code and only ordering a box every so often to spice up meal ideas.
One of the hardest things about being vegan for me is when I eat out. This is because friends, family and even restaurant staff don't always understand or cater to the vegan food restrictions. So far the best work around I have found is using apps like Yelp or Happy Cow to find vegan meals ahead of time so I know there won’t be a problem getting a meal to enjoy.
I’ve been vegan since June 2018 and I'm still learning and discovering everyday what it means to be living a plant based lifestyle. I feel so much better mentally and ethically about this transition and wouldn’t change it for a thing.
Please share any vegan tips below!
P.S. Here are some of My Favorite Quick Vegan Meals
Vegan Lasagna from Whole Foods, Chipotle without meat is still awesome, any place with rice and beans and veggies, pizza - no cheese/ add veggies, Subs - veggies of choice, honey mustard on a toasted bun, veggie burgers - many places offer either the Beyond Burger or Impossible Burger.
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