A Vegan Diet

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photo credit: rusvaplauke

 I have recently had some health concerns that have had me thinking about how my diet may be affecting my health.  I was a vegetarian for years when I was younger.  I felt better then and managing my weight was easier.  Some of that had to do with my age, but thinking about what I ate made it easier for me to make better lifestyle choices overall.

A few months ago, I started making the switch to a vegetarian diet and in the last few weeks making strides toward a plant based or vegan diet.  This has been an enormous challenge, but I am taking the steps necessary to change the staples in my diet to ones that are plant based instead of diary based.  I am lactose intolerant, so this has always been a goal, but giving up cheese and cream in my coffee is hard.

I think this is a movement in itself these days.  I know lots of people trying to get healthier and making life changes to get their families on the right path earlier in life.  After doing research on what I should focus on for my health, I feel that eliminating meat and diary from my diet is the right decision as long as I take the time to be sure my diet is balanced and really helping me to be healthier.  Ideally, this will set a good example for my children and their eating habits.  I don’t want them to struggle with their weight or health the way that I have and I think that instilling better habits and ideas about food now will make it easier for them in the long run.

Some people I have shared this decision with have been very supportive, but many have had this reaction- “No meat? No dairy? Like, no cheese?  What do you eat then?” 

So, I thought that I would share what my new staples are.  Most of these foods have always been part of my life, just in smaller portions.  It hasn’t been toooo bad, but I do miss regular creamer in my coffee!

 

My new vegan staples:

  • Fruits and veggies (fresh, frozen and canned)
  • Almonds and other nuts
  • Peanut and other nut butters
  • Almond milk
  • Soy coffee creamer
  • Coconut milk yogurt
  • Dark roast coffee ( much nicer flavor without the bitterness – makes the switch easier)
  • Salsa and tomato sauce/paste
  • Avocado/guacamole
  • Pita bread, Naan and Tortillas
  • Earths Balance Buttery Spread (delicious and dairy free!)
  • Hummus
  • Olives/tapenade
  • Beans
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Garden burgers and meat replacements
  • Boca crumbles

I do enjoy honey despite it not being a “plant based” food.  If you wanted to avoid that as well Agave Nectar is just as good.  I use it in recipes all the time.

I do cheat a little.  We have had a ton of events in the last month or so that included dinners prepared by a caterer.  I did my best to stick with vegetables and pastas, but I know that those veggies were cooked in butter and there were often creamy sauces on things.  But this is not an ethical issue with consuming animal products; it’s about making better choices for my health.  I cheat here and there because of situational circumstances, it’s still better than not making the change.

If you are a sandwhich person or need ideas for a quick meal, my favorite go-to meal is Veggie and Hummus on Pita or Naan.  Even a wrap is good.

  1. Spread a thick layer of hummus (whatever flavor you like) onto your choice of bread. 
  2. Chop cucumbers, peppers, onion, tomato and lettuce to preferred size.
  3. Layer in top of the hummus and fold in half

YUM!

If you take a look at my other blog, I post menu plans weekly and they have been Vegetarian and Vegan for quite some time.  If you are curious about what I am eating or what you could replace a meal with, please check it out!  I hate to cook, so these recipes are NOT difficult – I promise that 🙂

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