When you first go vegan you may wonder what you are going to eat. Chances are many of the things you already eat can easily be “vegan-ized.” There are many vegan dairy and meat substitutes on the market that can help. Especially when you are new to the lifestyle these can help with the transition.
Start by making a list of your favorite recipes that you make on a somewhat regular basis. Go ahead do it now … I’ll wait. ….
Okay! Done with that? Good!
Now pick one of those recipes and look at the ingredients. Which ingredients are already vegan? Which ingredients are the animal product ingredients?
Now look at the animal products ingredients and go down each one and decide if can you just delete this ingredient and do without it or is there a vegan alternative that you can use such as dairy free margarines or soy cheese or veggie crumbles. Consider adding fresh herbs, garlic and other seasonings to really kick it up a notch. Or replace animal product ingredients with fruit (like bananas in baked goods) or veggies (like broccoli in pasta sauce.)
These are some of the vegan dairy and meat alternatives to use. These can be especially helpful for new vegans. As time goes on you may decide you don’t need or want to use these either. Be aware that corn and soy product can be GMO so look for organic products or check the Non-GMO Shopping Guide.
Egg Replacer – For use in baked goods – Ener-G or Bob’s Red Mill are good brands.
Nut, Seed or Grain Milks – Soy, almond, coconut, rice, oat etc.-Use organic only. For raw, make your own using raw nuts or seeds. (or just use water)
Non Dairy Spread – replaces butter. Earth Balance is the brand I have used. It offers an olive oil based product. Or just use olive oil or coconut oil or flax oil.
Non Dairy Cheese and other products like sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt – There are many brands. Find one that you like. It make take a minute for you to get used to the flavor. Better still learn to enjoy foods cheese free. Even pizza can be delicious without cheese.
Meat – There are dozens of different fake meat product out there. There are chick-in nuggets, crumbles to use in place of ground beef, sausages, burgers, fake fish, you name it. Or add beans or legumes or tofu or tempeh or seitan to replace the meat.
Always read labels. Even veggie products sometimes contain animal products. Products that once were vegan may be changed and animal ingredients added. For a list of ingredients to watch out for check out my post Ingredients To Watch Out For As A Vegan.
You are embarking on a flavor exploration. You might not like everything but I bet you will discover some new flavors you will love. Give your new dishes a chance to grow on you. As your systems clears out your tastes will change. Try new things several times before you decide they aren’t for you.
Do you have vegan dairy and meat substitutes that you like to use? Share it in the comments below.