How To Eat Vegan

9/11/09

Adam Kochanowicz

I should also make it clear this guide is not a list of recipes or cooking techniques but is centered on practical lifestyle changes for going and staying vegan.

1. Convert your environment too.
If you're finding it difficult to go "cold tofu" giving up your favourite products from your non-vegan past, there's no sense in having them around the house. Convert your kitchen while you convert yourself. It's not just the presence of non-vegan food but the absence of vegan food which creates a barrier for you to immerse yourself in a vegan way of living. The most practical food items you can have around the house are healthy non-perishables like nuts, seeds, trail mixes, and dried fruits. Of course, you don't need to completely subsist on these foods but leaving a few bowls of sunflower seeds or dried goji berries will tempt you to dip a hand in before you leave for work or while you sit around munching on trail mix while watching The Vegan News.
If you have a local natural foods store, visit it. See what they have. Even though products from these stores may be out of your budget, you may find a few affordable products which you can add to the groceries you get from your usual vendor.
While the best food comes from right at home, it surely helps to know of the vegan and vegan-accomodating food and drink businesses in your area. Numerous generous vegans have collaborated on an extensive listing of vegan and vegan-accomodating establishments around the world at Vegan.fm/places, a component of Vegan.FM/isitvegan. Here, you can also add restaurants you find or add details to already listed establishments.
2. Don't just eat like a vegan omnivore.
Your decision to go vegan is a great opportunity to learn about all the awesome different kinds of plant foods we normally don't consider part of the Standard American Diet. While I will testify to buying my share of vegan hot dogs, burgers, and cheese, you should keep these vegan analogues on the back burner while you get used to eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and trying out vegan staples like seitan, tempeh, tofu, various combinations of rice, grains, and beans, nutritional yeast, cacao, etc. Get a good vegan cookbook which embraces these non-typical foods.
3. If you're not an ethical vegan, become one.
From personal experience, the people who go vegan and quit are "vegan" for anything but ethical reasons, or barely so. By adopting a vegan lifestyle, you're already doing the "work" morally imperative for acknowledging animal rights, why not learn about it?
A couple of my favorite authors are Gary Francione (Introduction to Animal Rights, Animals as Persons, Rain without Thunder, and Animals, Property, and the Law) and Bob (Making a Killing) and Jenna Torres (with Bob Torres: Vegan Freaks).
Visit some vegan forums like Vegan Freaks or Animal Emancipation, watch or listen to vegan podcasts, and talk about your thoughts on the rights of animals with vegans on Twitter or Facebook (real life is also an option but is not compatible with Firefox so I don't use it.)
4. Increase your vegan portions
Sometimes the answer to "What should I eat?" is as simple as making the portions of your favorite foods which are vegan larger. For instance, I always liked a side of potatoes with my food, so I started my meals with mashed potatoes and added to it. For those portions which are nearly vegan, try to find a vegan replacement for that one or those two ingredients which unveganize it. In my case, instead of eating mashed potatoes with milk and butter, I use pepper, olive oil, dill, sea salt, and Earth Balance vegan margarine. I actually like it better! There are also lots of opportunities to veganize your favorite foods with egg replacers like baking soda, ground flax seed, apple sauce, or bananas.
5. Don't don't don't carb load.
The #1 most popular nutritional problem of newlyvegans is carb loading. Knowing not how to get the same amount of calories in vegan form, newlyvegans often look to pasta and breads for their calorie load. I'm willing to bet most of the bloggers who claim they "tried veganism, got sick" and deduced veganism was "not for them" were simply carb loading, not doing their research, and therefore falsely representing the overwhelmingly healthy potential of vegan diets.
For this problem, I usually advise my peers to start meals with beans, rice, fruit, and vegetables. Get one of each of those on your plate and you're bound to have a healthy meal. The other night, for instance, I made tacos (rice, beans, tomatoes, lettuce) with a side of oranges. Easy.
Got tips of your own? Feel free to help out our potentially vegan friends and leave them in the comments below.
(I realize I referred to my own website several times in this article. Sorry. However, one of the very reasons for its existence is helping vegans, so...)

http://www.examiner.com/x-4198-Vegan-Examiner~y2009m11d9-How-to-eat-vegan-practical-ideas?cid=exrss-Vegan-Examiner

From Dusk 'til Dawn
An Insider's View of the Growth of the Animal Liberation Movement

© Keith Mann
puppypincher@yahoo.co.uk