Welcome to Day 4 of Vegan Week! This will also be the last day of this series. But, it’s Thursday, you say, confused about how that represents a whole week. True, I say. But I usually don’t post everyday and Fridays are saved for The Red Dress Club and I hate putting up more than one post a day. I figure you all have other blogs to read, don’t want to fill up your reader. So, I decided today would be the last day.
So you’ve been reading this week and are a little curious about eating vegan but maybe you’re not so sure you can give up all meat and you’re really not sure about the cheese thing. Trust me, I get it. So, can you be a part time vegan?
Yes! This is my opinion, but I think going vegan needs to a be a gradual process and it’s not for everyone. You can still see the benefits by going part-time vegan. The environmental impact if everyone gave up meat one day a week is enormous. It’s the equivalent of getting tens of thousands of cars off the road permanently. You can even see some health benefits from just one day a week, and from what I’ve read, significant benefits from eating a plant based diet three days a week.
Then the question becomes how to make it work for you. Here are some ideas that might help you along.
1. Go Vegan One Day a Week
Make the commitment just one day a week, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Pick a day that will be easy for to follow through. Maybe weekends are easiest for you or maybe you have a lot of family get togethers involving food on the weekends and a weekday works easier. Try to choose a day where you’re not going to feel like you’re missing out on something. You’ll be more likely to cheat that way. Food is a very social thing and it won’t work if you’re feeling like it’s punishment.
2. Try Being a 5 Day a Week Vegetarian
Not ready to go vegan? That’s fine, maybe you’d like to try vegetarian eating instead. Still lots of health benefits to decreasing the amount of meat in our diets. I did this and it was pretty easy to do. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on meals. It’s pretty easy to eat vegetarian in our society. Most restaurants have lots of vegetarian options. Plus, this way, you don’t have to completely give up that hamburger.
3. Try a Vegan Meal Once a Week
Maybe you’re not ready for a five days of no meat or even one whole day, that’s okay. Maybe you could try a vegan meal once a week. Look online for new recipes and just give it a try. Maybe you’ll find something you really love and start incorporating it into your regular meals.
4. Substitute Vegan Foods In Your Cooking
Don’t want to go vegan at all, but looking to decrease the fat and cholesterol in your diet? There are a lot of things you can do straight substitutions for without a significant change in taste.
Try using vegan butter instead of margarine or real butter. Earth Balance makes a great one that can be used in cooking or spread on top of toast. Tastes just like the real thing without the cholesterol.
Try an egg replacer when you bake. Not the kind in the refrigerated section. Those usually have egg whites in them. There are powdered varieties like Ener-G egg replacer or Bob’s Red Mill. I use the later. It cost about five dollars and replaces 200 some eggs and lasts a year in the fridge. Not bad. There are also a lot of other things to substitute for eggs like tofu, fruit purees, pumpkin puree, and flaxseeds. I haven’t tried those yet, but it’s on my list in the near future.
Try meatless meat in some recipes. They are usually in the refrigerated or freezer section. Not all are vegan because they contain egg or casein (milk protein). I like Gimme Lean. You can use it just like ground beef in stews, chili, casseroles, tacos, or whatever else you’re cooking. Make sure you crumble it up a little before trying to brown it. I learned the hard way it doesn’t break apart quite as easily as beef.
5. Bake Vegan
If you’re baking, use the egg substitutes. There’s no taste difference and it eliminates the cholesterol and a lot of the fat from the food. Extra bonus, no eggs means the kids can lick the batter without worrying about Salmonella. Even better, substitute applesauce for some or all the oil. It’s a straight substitution. The applesauce does make the food a little denser and changes the taste a little.
It doesn’t have to be an all or none thing. Try making some small changes, see if it works for you. It’s okay to go part-time or slowly lean into it. Take it out for a spin and see how you like it.
What do you think? Is there something you might want to try?