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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Tips for New veggies and vegans!

So you'd like to eat less animals and more plants-that's great! Maybe you'd like to go full veggie or vegan-that's even better!

I'm not really going to go into the whys, because chances are if you’re considering vegetarianism/ veganism you've heard all that already..!

But here are some tips that I hope might help you on your way!


Includes: Tips & links to useful stuff.

Tip 1:Do it your way!

It’s up to you whether you want to make a clean break and go vegan overnight or if you’d prefer to gradually cut out animal products a bit at a time.  No one is judging your performance or time-scale!  This is your choice and your journey, so do it your way!! The fact that you are trying to make a difference at all is a great thing! 
(It's also up to you what kind of veggie/vegan you may want to be.  Want to make everything from scratch using the freshest ingredients possible?! That's great! But prefer to stick cooking something out of a jar or packet?! Ok-you're an adult-do what you like!)

Tip 2:Start off with what you know...

If you’re the kind of person who’s used to sausage, chips and beans for dinner then that recipe for tofu and quinoa salad may not sound too appealing!
You may find it easiest to stick with familiar meals to begin with, ie, swap your meat/vegetarian sausages for some vegan ones such as Linda McCartney (easy to find in supermarkets), swap meat mince for veggie mince and so on...
There’ll be plenty of time to try new and  more unfamiliar foods as you go along.

Tip 3:..don't be scared to try new things! 

Once you've mastered all your old favourite meals, expand your horizons to try new and exciting foods!  Rather than restricting your diet you'll more than likely find that you end up expanding it.
The internet is full of vegan recipe websites and blogs, and Amazon is a good place to find lots of cookbooks. (see below for recommended websites and books). 
Maybe you could try and commit to trying one new food or recipe a week?
*Extra tip!* A lot of the best recipes are in US measurements, so invest in a set of measuring cups (much easier than converting recipes!). They're cheap to buy and will last a lifetime.

Tip 4: Be prepared!

Plan ahead and keep a well stocked  kitchen so that you can always have dinner ready in a flash!
Similarly when out and about plan where you can pick up something to eat, or take food with you.
Also-prepare to be questioned by curious family/friends/co workers!  Do your research so that you'll have all the answers when someone inevitably asks "but where will you get your protein?!" (some good answers to tricky questions can be found on the Veganuary website here:http://www.veganuary.com/myths/)

Tip 5: Prepare to be weaned!

You don't still drink your own mother's milk (I hope!), so why drink milk from someone else's mother?
(We're not baby cows, so there is no reason for us to drink milk meant for them!)
Luckily there are plenty of tasty plant based alternatives to put in your tea/on your cereal.
These days most supermarkets offer an array of plant based "milks" including soya, almond, coconut, hazelnut, rice, and oat.  Some are found in the fridge, whilst others are in the long-life section near the UHT dairy milk. There are sweetened and unsweetened varieties, and many are fortified with calcium and vitamins. Try a few and see which ones suit you.

It’s also easy to find non-dairy custard, yogurts, cream and ice cream. You can even get vegan cheese! 
If you are worried about calcium or any other vitamins and minerals, then there is helpful info about plant based sources on the Vegan Society website, at www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-health/vitamins-minerals-and-more

Tip 6: Connect!

The internet is swimming with lovely veggies and vegans, most of whom are very supportive and love to chat about food and all manner of related things.   It is nice to know you are not alone!

If you are on Facebook you might like to follow some pages or join some groups where you can ask questions about things you’re not sure of, and get support and advice. (see links below for group and page suggestions).  

If you are on Instagram then search for hash tags like "VeganFoodShare" to see lots of yummy photos of vegan food.  
Pinterest also has lots of inspiring food photos to get your imagination going! (search for Pinboards such as "vegan dinners").

Tip 7: Don’t be put off by the vegan police!!

Vegans are a passionate bunch and so sometimes have disagreements! Often arguments arise between vegans about whether each other's food choices are ethical enough or healthy enough.Try not to be put off by those arguments!  Remember-this is your journey.  We are all just trying to do our best in a non-vegan world.  Live by your own values and make your own choices. (You’re taking more positive action than most people ever will, so be proud of that.)  As a friend of mine says “vegans should unite, not fight!”

Tip 8: Don't beat yourself up!

If you fall off of the veggie wagon now and then to begin with, don’t be too hard on yourself.  Just remember your reasons for wanting to go veggie or vegan (whether it's to boycott animal abuse or to improve your health).  It might take a little while, but put any mistakes behind you, look forward and  you'll get there in the end!

Useful links:
      Some recipe sites:
      • Post Punk Kitchen: Recipe blog by popular vegan chef, Isa Moskowitz  (author of “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World”).
      • Fat free vegan: Delicious reliable recipes, mostly with a reduced fat content.
      • Vegan Richa- Interesting recipes with appetising photos.
      • Mouthwatering vegan: Gourmet style recipes.
      • Vegweb-over 15,000 recipes, for every kind of food you can imagine! Recipes are uploaded and rated by members.
      • Maple Spice:Extensive directory of sweet and savoury recipes.
      • Parsley soup: Easy recipes with UK measurements and ingredients.
      • Veganbaking.net: Really useful vegan baking website.
      • Gourmet VeganMore easy to follow interesting recipes.
      Useful guides
        Suggested vegan Facebook groups and pages:
          
        • The Vegan Society (Page) Official page of The Vegan Society (UK)-followed by over 220,000 vegans worldwide!
        • Evolve!Campaigns-(Page) UK campaign group that regularly shares inspiring stories, recipes, news and more.
        • Vegan Life Magazine (UK) (page)The accompanying Facebook page to the UK's first mainstream vegan magazine.  Shares competitions, stories etc, and invites discussions.
        • Vegan Cheese Lovers Club (Closed Group) A group to discuss all things cheese related! 
        • Veganoo (Page) Reviews of vegan-friendly products in the UK.
        • What Fat Vegans Eat (open group) A group for vegans worldwide to share pictures of their dinners! (not a group for discussions).
        • Suitable for vegans off topic chat- (closed group) A group for general vegan chit chat.
        • Compassionate Cooks (Page) The facebook page of US cookbook author Colleen Patrick Goudreau. Thoughtful insights on vegan diplomacy and how to promote veganism in a positive way.
        • VegNews magazine(Page) Recipes and articles on Veganism (US).
        • Post Punk Kitchen (Page) Facebook page of US vegan cookbook author Isa Moskowitz. Recipes, videos and cooking tips.
        • The Vegan Womble- (Page) A UK vegan giving helpful hints on new products and vegan options in various supermarkets.
        Vegan web stores:
        Cook books (many more can be found on Amazon)

        Savoury
        • Isa Does it -Quick delicious recipes, for every day of the week.  Beautiful book, lots of nice photos. 
        • Appetite for reduction-Delicious healthy recipes, with a lower fat content.

        Sweet

        Good luck on your journey!   If you ever have any questions or would like any advice I am happy to try and help.  (Comment here or on my Facebook page).  

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