Welcome to Day 3 of Vegan Week here at Adventures With Three Girls! Today we’re talking about what exactly a vegan eats.
One of the biggest misconceptions about veganism is that it’s a very limiting diet full of strange foods. I thought so too, before I started. I mean, no meat is one thing. Most people can imagine a vegetarian lifestyle, even if they’re not interested in it. But no dairy, no eggs? That’s a big step. A true vegan also avoids honey. I don’t. I’m not a big honey eater. I’m not sure I eat anything with honey. But I do have honey in the house and I would eat it. My rationale is I think bees are good for the environment and should be cultivated. But that’s another post.
This post is about what a vegan actually eats. I can’t speak for all vegans, but I can tell you what I generally eat. I think you’ll see, it’s pretty varied and not really limiting or weird. So here’s a run down of some of the things I eat regularly. Quick food rules in my house. With three little ones running around I’m lucky I get to eat at all most days. I do not have time to spend making a bunch of fancy stuff.
Oatmeal, pancakes, cereal with plant-based milk, frozen vegan waffles, orange juice with calcium, smoothies made with plant based milk, whole wheat bagel with peanut butter or vegan butter. Sometimes I’ll throw some hemp seeds into the oatmeal or cereal for extra protein, they have kind of a light nutty taste.
You can also do tofu scrambles if you’re an egg person. I like tofu scramble breakfast burritos sometimes.
Hummus and pita bread, I buy my hummus and like the spinach-artichoke kind the best
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich made with vegan butter (Elvis had a good thing going on), quesadilla with Daiya cheez, vegetable burrito, soup like minestrone or vegetable, green salad, vegetable wraps, frozen vegan dinner.
My family is not vegan. I try not to make my life too difficult by having to make two big meals every day. I try to find a way to veganize what I make for them.They do eat vegan or vegetarian four to five days a week. However, on the weekends when Sean’s home, I usually make something a little bigger for myself and save the leftovers for another night.
Pizza- we have pizza every week. I buy a crust and add the toppings. I make my part vegan by either using Daiya cheez or just skipping the cheese and adding veggies. I kind of prefer just the vegetables.
Sweet potato enchiladas– I put cheese on for my family and leave it off mine.
Vegetable based soups, salads, baked potatoes, quinoa or brown rice with vegetables
Pastas with roasted or sauteed vegetables tossed with an oil vinegrette of some kind, spaghetti in marinara sauce
fakin’ bacon, sprout, and tomato sandwich with vegan mayo
Chili made with vegan meat crumbles or a bean chili
This is a place where I love vegan food. Vegan desserts are cholesterol free, lower in fat, generally lower in calories, and often lower in sugar than traditional desserts. And they taste divine. I bring a vegan dessert with me when I go places and people don’t realize they’re vegan. Even if at some point in the future I decide to not be a vegan anymore, I will continue to eat only vegan desserts. They’re a healthier alternative.
Dark chocolate, cookies, cupcakes, cakes (I have a really yummy chocolate cake recipe with a raw crust made with nuts and coconuts), ice cream made with rice/soy/coconut milk, (if you’ve never tried coconut milk ice cream, buy some. Way better than cow’s milk ice cream). I’ve found it very easy to veganize my dessert recipes without sacrificing on taste.
Going Out To Eat
This can be a little more challenging for me. If I’m going to someone’s house, I offer to bring something that I can eat as a meal. I’ve brought minestrone soup, vegan chili with meat crumbles, a grain mix with veggies and an oil based dressing, and pasta salads.
When I go to restaurants I try to look at the menu before hand. It can be hard sometimes, but I do the best I can. So far, I’ve been able to do it by just asking them to leave the cheese off. (If you look, you’ll be shocked at how much cheese is on menus.) I try to stay away from American cuisine, there’s usually only one thing that can easily be veganized, and it’s not that tasty.
I’ve found ethnic food easier to work with. Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Mexican often have pretty good options. If I think there’s not going to be much to eat, I’ll eat a little before or after.
There are more and more restaurants catering to vegans or vegan friendly. My husband just found one for me last week. Half the menu is vegan and half is omnivore. We can both get something there. Win-win.
Also, French fries are usually cooked in vegetable oil these days, making them vegan, and I do have them sometimes. Some fast food places offer a veggie burger as an option too. You just have to ask for it. Burger King is one that I know has them.
Trying New Foods
I have tried a lot of new foods since becoming vegan. I like most of them. I eat tofu, quinoa, hemp products, rice milk, tempeh, and seitan. I’ve been shocked by how well tofu blends with cocoa powder to make desserts. They sounded strange to me at first, but, like I tell my kids, you can’t say you don’t like something if you’ve never tried it. So I try a lot. I don’t like everything, not a fan of the almond milk, but I do like most of it. And it’s kind of fun to eat something new.
There are a lot of vegan cookbooks out there as well right now. I probably try one new recipe a week, just to see how it goes.
Yes, I eat salads. Green leafy vegetables are your friend. They’re really healthy. I also enjoy a simple pasta salad and I really love a multi-grain salad. Something with things like quinoa, beans, lentils, barley, and veggies all mixed together. But salads do not define my diet or even make up the majority of it. I’m trying to eat more of them really.
Do you think you would try vegan cooking? Is there something about it that scares you? Is there something not on my list that you’re wondering if there’s a vegan version? Ask away, I’ll answer as best I can.
Come back tomorrow and I’ll be talking about if you need to go all the way or if you can just be vegan sometimes.