I went vegan this whole weekend, but there were free sandwiches at work, so I quit.
I don’t do well with sacrifice. I don’t have much experience with it. It’s one of the things that makes me a bad friend, and, at times, a temperamental person. It’s something that makes me egotistical and, at times, entitled. I don’t always think about it in those terms, but recently I’ve been accosted by people who have given up so much, and it makes me embarrassed and ashamed.
I was sickly. The wind would blow, and it would send me to the hospital. Mostly it was asthma and things that triggered my asthma, but it felt like everything. At my sickest, I would count the seconds between my breaths and write “when I die” letters to friends and family (that I never mailed). I didn’t think that I had much time, and while it was scary, I’d made peace with it. I was just a little girl.
Not experiencing sacrifice and growing out of asthma were the worst things that could have happened to me. I’m unable to let things go. I’m not able to give up anything.
And food made me stocky. It made me feel strong in a time when I thought, melodrama aside, that I was dying. It’s always comforted me. I eat in times of despair. I eat in distress. I eat for celebration.
If you’re anything like me, this is why you can’t go vegan.
But if you’re still trying anyway, first, figure out how you feel about food.
Second, move past those feelings.
Third, try this stuff. You might run into free sandwiches, but if it’s worth it to you, I know you’ll keep at it. The struggle is real.
- Slowly integrate more fruits and vegetables into your daily routine and/or meal prep. If you make pasta, add beets into the sauce. Carrots work well too because the flavor won’t become too prominent. We use the Nutribullet when we make any type of sauce. For simple spaghetti, we mix chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, beets, and carrots in; then blend.
- Replace dairy milk with Almond or Coconut milk.
- If you’re an ice cream fanatic, try switching to sorbet (but double-check the ingredients. Not all sorbets are vegan). I’ve heard avocado ice cream is amazing, but I haven’t tried it yet.
- If you’re a bread lover, try making your own. It’s actually really easy, all you need is flour, water, and yeast. Seriously. I’m lazy AF, but I can make some pretty amazing bread. (Also, if you have children, this is actually a really fun project they can help with, if you don’t mind the mess). Plus, once you’ve learned the joys of making your own bread, you can make cool sandwiches, pizzas (with cheese substitutes or creative ingredients), etc. too.
- Make tofu eggs instead of egg-eggs. They’re really great with onions and a little tomato. The first time might be a little rough, but I promise, you won’t be able to tell the difference. (Sidenote: One of my favorite meals is vegan Philly Cheese steaks. #changeyourlife). Google a quick recipe if you have time this weekend.
- Eat more quinoa, lentils, and couscous. Use zucchini to make pasta. I had a really great recipe for making cabbage pasta, but my culinary skills aren’t that advanced. Baby steps.
- Try cashew cheese! If you can’t find that, there are some vegan cheese options. If you close your eyes and don’t think about it, you won’t even notice the difference.
- If you’re in Chicago, go to Native Foods! If you’re in Houston, check out Pepper Tree.
- When you make pancakes, add bananas and applesauce instead of eggs.
- Make smoothies! I’m a spinach, kale, collard/mustard green fanatic. If you need milk, see #2.
- Avocados. Sweet potatoes. Apples. Oatmeal. Soups and salads. Chili.
- Use vinegar to make vegetables taste better, and to reduce your salt intake (but not all vinegars are vegan-friendly. Double-check.)
- Make cakes with oatmeal. Substitute eggs for apples. Same thing with pies. Bananas also work as an egg substitute, depending on the recipe.
- Eggplant sloppy joes. Veggie sushi. (Not in that order).
Are you an aspiring (or wildly successful) vegan? What tips can you recommend? Any recipes we should try?