Sunday, January 27, 2013

Going Vegan - The Transition

If I thought going vegetarian would provoke a number of questions, it was nothing in comparison to going vegan. “WHAT do you EAT?”, “HOW do you get your protein?” and “WHY did you decide to DO this?” are probably the most frequent questions.

Every day, someone brings up the subject with a very good question! I actually have to laugh because it’s so unbelievable that the subject keeps coming up! If there is one thing I have learned, it is that people are very accustomed to our “American diet” which doesn’t include many vegetables at all. There was a time when my diet consisted of meat and potatoes and not much else so I understand. So – at first – going Vegan can seem a little daunting! You might ask yourself questions like, WHAT am I going to EAT?”, “HOW will I get my protein?” and “WHY did I decide to DO this?” But it does get easier - I promise!

I have found so much more to eat than I ever did with my standard BBQ chicken and mashed potatoes with a veggie on the side. Now, I have tried various ethnic cuisines from Mexican enchiladas to Ethiopian stews! The possibilities really are endless, once you start to look differently. It is a change of mindset.  I enjoy cooking so it’s a lot of fun to try new recipes. However, it’s pretty easy to eat pasta with cannellini beans instead of beef. I like sandwiches made with avocado, tempeh bacon and tomatoes. Here is a list of the simpler recipes in our home:

Avocado, Tempeh Bacon & Tomato Sandwiches

Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Cannellini Beans

Whole wheat pizza with Mushrooms, Garlic and Daiya Mozzarella Cheese

Kale Salad with Miso-Agave Dressing

Three Bean Chili (Made on Sunday so we have leftovers during the week)

Smoothies, Oat Meal with Fruit, Cereal

Tonight I made Chili – perfect for a cold winter evening. It was great because I was able to throw in everything I had in the fridge and didn’t want to waste. Try this recipe or a variation of your own!

What is Left in the Fridge Chili:

In a Dutch oven, chop and add 1 medium onion, 1 carrot, 2 celery stalks, 1 Leek, ½ cauliflower head, 1 cup button mushrooms and stir occasionally until tender.

Add 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped

Add 1 tablespoon canola oil (or olive oil or water) to the Dutch oven

 Stir in spices:
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon each - cumin, coriander, dried oregano. Next add ½ teaspoon cinnamon and salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper.

Add 1-28 oz can of plum tomatoes, chopped

Finally, add two cans of rinsed red kidney beans until warmed and sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 main dish servings. Serve with warm bread on the side and a glass of wine!

HOW do I get my protein?
Protein is in vegetables (they have protein too) and beans and non-dairy milks, tempeh, tofu, pasta and more! You have to check out Forks Over Knives website and the movie if you haven’t see it! It helped me to understand more about protein and healthy eating!

I also highly recommend Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s 30 Day Vegan Challenge. It is filled with helpful information on how to eat and live vegan. She is awesome and makes it so simple!

Why did I decide to DO this?
Because I love animals so much and they need our voice! If I don’t speak for them, if you don’t speak for them, then who will? I know I can impact their well-being by deciding what to eat and what to buy. I’ve never felt better and I am so happy with my decision to go vegan.
Everything I do is primarily about the animals, our health and helping others to see how easy it can be.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more recipes soon!