If you’ve ever wanted to know how to get started on a vegan diet, I have Stephanie (aka the VeegMama) here today to tell you how! Below is an excerpt from her new ebook: VeegMama’s Guide To Going Vegan, printed with permission.
When I first went vegan, I was overwhelmed by the looming overhaul I would have to do not only to my lifestyle, but to my family and my home as well. I had no support system at all. I spent hours combing through online resources and reading books to learn about this new way of life. As a the primary grocery shopper and cook for my family, I had to find new recipes for my weekly meal plans and create a brand new way to cook for both me and my family that didn’t compromise my new values.
I felt that becoming vegan was a personal choice and although I imposed some restrictions on my family (dairy milk was no longer consumed or allowed in our home), I felt the decision to eat a plant-based diet should be theirs. This entailed creativity and commitment on my part: to introduce new foods to them and convert some of their favorites, all while preparing a strict vegan diet for myself.
To build a new repertoire of recipes and learn about new products, I cooked a lot. Although I was energized by all of the learning and committed to the lifestyle, I was also exhausted and intimidated by all of the work and effort involved. The following tips break down the transition process so that it is not so overwhelming, and maybe even a little bit fun!
Cleaning Out Your Pantry
A well-stocked pantry is critical for any good cook. You may be surprised at the number of items in your pantry that are already vegan – dried pasta, rice, and marinara sauce. Set yourself up to succeed by clearing out the animal products and replacing them with vegan alternatives.
For example: use vegetable broth instead of beef broth, lentil soup instead of chicken noodle soup, packaged rice mixes with whole grains from the bulk bin. Switch out honey and non-vegan sugar for agave, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or molasses. For baking, replace those milk chocolate chips and marshmallows with vegan alternatives. Once you make your switch-outs, stock up on some staples that are found in many vegan recipes.
The top three items I use on a daily and weekly basis in my pantry are nutritional yeast, tahini, and beans. For the rest of the stuff, I buy them as needed. Restocking a pantry (and refrigerator…and closet…) will be overwhelming. Take it a little at a time. If you plan out your meals once a week, you will get a broad view of the ingredients you need for your weekly recipes and shop accordingly. You will save time, money, and energy that way.
Cleaning Out Your Refrigerator
Depending on how you choose to transition, clean out your refrigerator a little at a time as well. Besides fresh fruits and veggies, some of the vegan items I like to keep on hand are:
Earth Balance butter
Daiya cheese shreds
Hummus (in variety of flavors)
If you plan your meals in advance, you can stock up on tofu and faux meats as needed. And speaking of faux meats, my favorite brands are Gardein, Beyond Meat, and Field Roast. I don’t eat these weekly because they are processed, but they are great “meat” substitutes that are delicious. These are great products to try when you are first transitioning too.
To get more advice, tips and meal ideas on how to transition to a vegan lifestyle, in “VeegMama’s Guide To Going Vegan.”
Stephanie Dreyer is the founder of VeegMama, a lifestyle brand sharing new approaches to healthy living, and the host of YouTube’s “The Good Life With VeegMama”. On a mission to live the good life in every meaning of the word and inspire others to do the same, she encourages her readers to live their best life every day through food, wellness, and personal fulfillment. She is also a children’s book writer and mom of three. Her ebook, VeegMama’s Guide To Going Vegan, is an Amazon Bestseller. Stephanie was most recently featured on KCAL 9 in Los Angeles and Chickpea Magazine. She is a proud partner of Raddish Kids, providing vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free recipe substitutions for their monthly subscription boxes.