It’s been four months since I posted why I was (attempting) to go vegan. As expected, I’ve failed. There were some days where I ate only vegan foods all day but, most others included things like eggs, cheese, and butter. I can proudly say I have really cut down on my actual meat consumption – way less beef, and no pork in a long time, chicken the most of any of the meats and seafood just a few times.
So what have I learned in these four months besides it being hard and harder to convince my boyfriend and kids to tag along? A lot actually.
But first, a reminder of reasons why you should go vegan.
* Meat is not a necessary nutrient in our diet. We consume animals like cows and chicken to obtain their protein. Just remember where they get their protein from – grass and grain. High meat diets have been linked to heart problems along with high cholesterol and obesity.
* Animals are treated cruelly. Their living conditions downright suck and they are not treated in a “humane” way before slaughtering. Baby cows are snatched away from their mothers after birth and are not allowed to nurse their mothers just so humans can drink their milk instead. Remember cows milk is to sustain a baby cow – think about what that’s doing to you and your kids.
* Environmentally meat production and farming is one of the leading causes of pollution in the world. Going more plant based is one of the biggest factors in saving the world from ever lasting damage.
So here are some tips to help you not stray from this lifestyle change.
- Try new things – brussels sprouts and broccoli grossed you out as a kid and now that’s all the memory you have of them? Guess what? Taste buds change. Also, you may like a food cooked/seasoned one way and not another. Like people who love hard carrots but can’t stand soft cooked carrots. Be open minded – you will really surprise yourself. I personally am not a fan of tomatoes but the other day I made a skillet dish that involved tomatoes and I really don’t think it would have tasted as good without it! There are so many different fruits & veggies out there. Expand your pallet & you’ll never get bored of meals.
- Know you’re fruits and vegetables – nothing will make you crave a cheeseburger more than a meal that you just slaved over and turned out mediocre because half the foods weren’t ripe. The internet is a useful tool if used correctly – this is one of those ways.
- Learn to grocery shop to fit your needs – Some people are really good at meal planning – if that’s you, than do that. If you’re more like me and can’t fully commit to meal planning learn what you eat the most and buy a few days of ripe foods and a few days of food that’s needs time before its ready to consume. This also helps cut down on wasting foods. Don’t overbuy because it’s a good deal – 10 apples for a good price but will you really eat all of those apples before they go bad? Which brings me to my next point.
- Learn to store your foods – you can preserve foods to last longer if you learn a few tricks! Carrots and celery can actually be stored in standing up in containers of water. Air tight containers like mason jars are great for preserving lettuces and other foods. Almost all fruits and veggies can be stored in the freezer with no prep work! Don’t be afraid to freeze your foods!
- Ditch following the Pintrest recipes – don’t get me wrong, I have an entire board of vegan recipes. But, when you click on the links and there’s 20 ingredients and you only have 8, just use what you have. You don’t have to use every single ingredients for these recipes to taste good. I promise. I hardly follow the recipes to a T anymore, I put in my own seasonings, and stopped worrying about not being able to make something because I don’t have some fancy ingredient from the whole foods store.
- Seasonings – this blog post is really flowing for me today! Learn to season your food. I guess this is true for non vegans too but this is another tip that if you don’t follow you will probably stray from your new lifestyle – if you eat to many bland meals or the same meals it gets old and boring. Learn to make different sauces and toppings to spice up your foods. You can make the same dish with 5 different seasoning/sauces and they will each be so unique! This goes along with tip number 1 – trying new things!
- Labeling – this one I added in last minute because I wanted to share a semi funny story so you don’t make the same mistake I did. If you keep things preserved in mason jars like I do, be sure to label for something like salt and sugar. Or else you’re making banana bread, get distracted by the kids and before you know it you’re pouring a 1/2 cup of salt instead of sugar into your recipe and you’ve wasted perfectly unripe bananas.
Whatever the reason you decide to go plant based – for the animals, for the environment or just for your own health – I hope these tips help you stay on track so you can succeed.
Hopefully by my next vegan blog post I can say I am 100% on board too!