Veganuary came at the perfect time and was the incentive that I needed to get back to what I truly believe in, and that's a plant-based diet! As I write this, I'm on day 26 of plant-based eating. It's easier than ever. It's because this time around, I have the tools for success.(If you missed it, I share why I chose a plant-based diet here). It's going great, but I'll admit, at first, the transition was not easy and even frustrating at times. You essentially have to change your cooking habits and reinvent yourself as a home chef. You even find yourself looking in your fridge and thinking, "well wtf am I going to eat?!" There is definitely more cooking and prep that goes along with plant-based eating if you want to do it the healthy way and fewer options when you go out for dinner (although it's becoming more and more!). Ya, I could probably survive on chips and PBj's. Still, I really want to reap the health benefits, which means eating primarily vegetables and minimally processed foods. Like all great accomplishments, success means practice - there are so many benefits to eating plant-based, so don't get discouraged! The first step to becoming plant-based: start slow. Perhaps that means starting with going vegetarian (no meat but still eating eggs and dairy). Then, possibly choosing one day out of the week to eat plant-based (no animal products like dairy and eggs). This will give you a chance to try out new vegan recipes and products. Looking to make a change in your diet? Then you're in luck as there are so many awesome plant-based meat and dairy alternatives these days, and they're freakin' delicious! To be successful in your new plant-based journey, you'll need a few tricks and tools - here are some things that helped me.
Plant-Based Eating - Tips and Tricks for Success!
Purchase plant-based cookbooksI can't follow a recipe for the life of me, but I have so many plant-based cookbooks that I use for inspiration when I'm trying to figure out what to make for dinner. That being said, I recommend following the recipes if you're new to the plant-based game, which will teach you new skills in the kitchen. Here are some of my favourite plant-based cookbooks:
- "Oh She Glows Cookbooks" by Angela Liddon - I have this one, this one and this one. Angela shares very easy, very delicious recipes that your whole family will love.
- Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F*CK
- Fraiche Food, Full Hearts by Jillian Harris (not vegan, but she shares how to "veganize" almost every recipe."
- The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples
My favourite plant-based alternatives*** I purchase the majority of these products through spud.ca, and they're delivered right to my door! If you'd like to give this health and sustainability-focused grocery service a try, use this discount code CRVAN-DALCAF for $30 off your first order when you sign up here! (valid until January 31, 2021 - after that, it will go back to $20) If you're used to cooking meat, an easy way to start cooking plant-based is to just keep cooking your go-to meals but swap the meat or dairy for vegan alternatives. Here are my faves: Meat: Beyond Meat Breakfast Sausages and Burgers, Fields Sausages, The Very Good Butcher. Mayo: Hellman's Vegan Mayo and Vegannaise (the Pesto one is the best). Cheese: Daiya Shredded Cheese, Parmela Creamery Smoked Gouda (SERIOUSLY AMAZING), Rawesome Cashew Cream Cheese, "Nuts For Cheese" Cultured Cashew Cheese. Pizza: Daiya (kids love the cheese one) and Oggi (made with beyond meat), Wholly Veggie! Milk: Earth's Own Oat Milk, Earth's Own Barista Coffee Creamer, Silk Almond Milk
Meal PlanFlip through your new cookbooks or Pinterest and get some meal ideas for the week, then write a grocery list based on that. This makes dinner so much easier! Some of my favourite plant-based meal ideas that I know the kids will eat:
- Veggie Burgers (homemade or store-bought) with homemade fries, veggies and hummus
- Frozen Pizza (for mid-week lazy nights)
- Easy Vegan Pad Thai
- Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
- Vegan Cabbage Rolls
- Spaghetti with Yves Italian Round Ground and tomato sauce (jar or homemade) and kale caesar salad
- Cauliflower tacos
- Soup/Stew! I make soups based on what needs to be used up in the fridge. Usually, I consist of soup using root vegetables, tomatoes and peppers that I roast, veggie stalk, coconut milk, ginger, garlic and lentils.
- "Meat and Potatoes" kinda meal - Fields Sausages with mashed potatoes, broccoli, balsamic beets and veggie gravy