I have talked about this before but this is a real issue for many new vegetarians so I want to focus on it again. That is the issue of “But it doesn’t taste like it used to.”
One of the biggest changes I had to make mentally when I became a vegan was that I thought my food should taste like it did before, when I was a meat eater. I would make a vegan recipe but I would have in my mind how I thought it should taste based on my animal product version memory.
This usually led to disappointment. The fact of the matter is a veganized version of your recipes won’t taste the same! Get that clear in your mind. It just won’t!
But don't despair. That doesn't mean it can't taste good. In fact, it can taste even better! This is where the magic of seasoning comes in. This is were some experimentation and creativity comes in.
And most importantly, this is where your mindset is vital. Change your mindset and you will change your experience.
If you are focused on finding the taste that isn’t there you can only be disappointed. Not only that, you will miss the great flavors that ARE there. I can truly say that what I eat now is just as tasty and satisfying as what I ate before. In fact it is usually more flavorful and satisfying.
For instance, tacos were a big favorite of mine. When I first went vegan I tried different varieties of vegan crumbles to replace the taco meat. Nothing seemed to work.
Then I decided to stop trying to match the before. I started using a soy chorizo sausage. It was different, but it was darn good. Now I don’t usually use a meat substitute most of the time at all. I’ll add sautéed poblano peppers and onions. I add black beans well seasoned. Maybe I will use some home-made guacamole. How about some salsa? I don't bother with soy cheese either. Or I’ll do a raw version with a nut pate and romaine lettuce for the tortilla. All of these versions bear little resemblance to my old meat and dairy based dish. But they are all quite tasty anyway.
Making the mind shift from “needs to taste like before” to “how good does it taste now” was the single biggest change I made that led me towards loving my food as a vegan. Combined with learning about seasoning and spices I now can create meals that I enjoy even more than I enjoyed the old animal products meals.
What about you? Are you still trying to find a “taste like before” satisfaction? How can you change your mindset to open yourself up to the great tastes that are before you? Give it a try for a week or two and see if it makes a difference in how you enjoy your food.