The Lent season is over and for 40 days I have not consumed meat, meat products or bi-products. And honestly I have not felt better. (let’s just forget those two tacos I consumed at Galt, lol. Because Sundays didn’t count and I still ate vegan on Sundays :)) This was a good change for me because although I didn’t eat a lot of red meat to begin with, I never really thought about where my food came from. Having to check food labels and making sure that what I was eating wasn’t processed with fish, milk, or eggs, I really became more aware of where I was getting my food.
Also, it was a great way to explore with different kinds of food. I became more open-minded about vegetable-based foods and eating other foods that could replace the protein I wasn’t getting. I already loved tofu but now... I REALLY love it! :) I made so many dishes with tofu and also tofu-based products. Soy became my best friend!
It was a nice change and I actually felt good after eating a meal, knowing that I was consuming more nutrients and less cholesterol. I also have more of an understanding for people who choose to live a vegan lifestyle. It really is a great way to live. Now I can’t promise I won’t ever eat meat again, but I do know for sure that I have found a new way of eating and will definitely be living a vegan lifestyle, if even only partially. :)
RECAP: Here are a few things that I found ESSENTIAL when I started my vegan diet. Hopefully, if you ever choose to live a vegan lifestyle or even just eat vegan, this list will help you out.
Whether it's chocolate, vanilla, sweetened or plain, this is great for baking, cooking, eating with cereal or just drinking plain!
2. SOY YOGURT:
This was basically my sour cream substitute. I used this for baked potatoes, tacos, falafels, etc. It really came in handy!! You can also eat it plain and add a little agave to sweeten it up or eat it with fruit in a parfait.
This was my go-to snack! I always had hummus on hand and I tried a lot of different flavors and loved them all! Great with pita chips, crackers or pretzels. I also used hummus to make vegan quesadillas.
Tofutti cream cheese saved me in the breakfast department because I ate it with my bagels, on toast, with fruit, with jam/peanut butter... it just came in handy! And I have NO idea what everyone is talking about... it tastes like cream cheese to me!!
Vegan or not, broccoli is ALWAYS a staple at my house. I roast it, steam it, boil it, make into soup, cook tempura broccoli, eat it raw in a salad, eat it with pasta... the possibilities are endless.
6. EARTH BALANCE:
This was a good butter replacement. I used it baking, for toast, to sautee, in my baked potato, for everything! And it tastes just like butter.
You can grill it, fry it, add it to veggies, eat it plain, turn it into a sandwich, use silken tofu for baking... it's AMAZING the different ways you can use tofu in a dish!
LASTLY: Ready-to-serve meals from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods saved me A LOT of time when I was planning what to eat. It was a great life-lesson and really changed the way I will eat from now on. I might not always choose the vegan options, but I will DEFINITELY be consuming less meat and animal products. Thanks to all of you who helped me out during this time! It was great to get everyone's tips on a vegan lifestyle!!