Friday Tips: Make the Vegan Transition!

Delicious Vegan Dish of the Day:

Tonight we had a roasted potato, white bean and olive dish.  LP asked what it was called and I said “Potato and olive yumminess.”  LP bought it, so we’re going to go with that.

Money Matters:

Today we went to playgroup in the park and hung around the house.  Nothing spent!

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:

Make the Vegan Transition!

So you’re thinking about becoming vegan.  Maybe you read VB6 by Mark Bittman.  Maybe you keep hearing about the wonders of a plant-based diet in the news.  Maybe you got hooked on this blog (hey, a girl can dream, right?)  But now you’re ready to really try it out and eschew meat, dairy and eggs for a while.  How do you start?  Here are some hyperlink-rich tips for getting started.

Start with the familiar:  There is a good chance you already eat “vegan” food, because most people at vegetables, fruit, grains and beans!  So, consider some of your familiar meals and think about how you can leave the cheese off, trade in the meats for seitan or beans or even bake your favorite treats without eggs!
Posts to check out:
Vegan Baking

Plan a menu and get ready to grocery shop: I can’t overstate the importance of our weekly menu in our meal preparation.  Knowing what are dinner options are makes cooking a breeze.  Just as an example, this week our menu had garlicky pasta con broccoli, tofu scramble with waffles, carrot ginger soup with roasted asparagus, polenta topped with rosemary white beans and tonight we are going to have roasted potatoes and beans with olives and sun-dried tomatoes.  Browse a cookbook, or the internet and find some interesting recipes.  Add in some familiar favorites (see tip #1) and you are ready to go!
Posts to check out:
Shopping in your own pantry

Vegan kiddos: I’m lucky that I was vegan when I became a parent.  However, given the lengths we often have to go to in order to get LP to eat something besides toast, I an appreciate how difficult a vegan transition might be if your kids aren’t used to it.  The best suggestion I have for getting any young children to eat plant-based food is to eat it yourself, and eat meals as a family when possible.  We started having dinner with LP (instead of waiting until he went to bed) when he was about 10 months old, mostly because neither the G-man or I wanted to keep making two rounds of dinner at night.  I suspect that made it easier for us to get LP to eat, since he has been eating what we eat since then.  Of course, I also make cookies after the kids go to bed, but what they don’t know won’t hurt them 😉
Posts to check out:
Feeding the Vegan Baby when Starting Solids

Eating Out: When you become vegan you first become adept at reading labels.  You learn that whey and casein are actually animal products.  Next, you learn to speak up at restaurants.  You ask about dairy and eggs in “veggie” burgers.  You learn to ask if the “vegetarian” soup was made with chicken broth (sometimes it is.  Go figure).  However, learning how to adapt to the non-vegan world of food this way isn’t an instant process.  Check out these posts for some tips and tricks to help!
Posts to check out:
Vegan at the Airport

If you think you could be almost vegan, but you don’t want to stop eating (fill in the blank), then, just start with what makes sense for you.  Can’t imagine not eating cheese?  Then stop eating all other animal products except cheese.  Afraid of how you will handle the holidays with family?  Eat vegan, but when you go to grandma’s house on Christmas Day, eat what she makes.  There is this myth out there that vegans are all about perfection.  We’re not – I promise.  For me, being vegan isn’t about perfection.  Instead it is about living my truth.  I became vegan over a long time, that started with cutting out red meat, poultry and dairy for health reason and ended with me fully understanding that cows were having their babies stripped away from them so that I could eat cheese.  Once I really understood the ethical implications of eating animal products I just didn’t eat them anymore.  But getting to that point was a long, multi-year journey.  My point is two-fold.  Firstly, don’t aim for perfection in your transition.  Instead, just do what you can when you can, and slowly but surely you will probably become vegan.  Secondly, do give yourself time.  Try eating vegan for a month.  Better yet, try the 30-day vegan challenge from colleen Patrick-Goudreau.  You’ll get recipes, information, shopping lists, and everything you need to help you make the transition.

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