Here’s a little background on myself.
I became vegan in March of 2015. Before adapting a vegan lifestyle, I was vegetarian for 6 full years. I had attempted veganism a couple of times but failed due to my “I could never give up MY cheese” attitude. I emphasize on MY because that is a common misconception society has on animal products. We tend to think that animals belong to us. In reality they do not, the animal (in whatever form it may consist of) does not belong to us. That animal did not give his/her consent to be raped or slaughtered for our moments of satisfaction.
You might be wondering “how” or “what” caused me to have a realization (or what I refer to as my awakening) that set me on my vegan journey. The answer: A Netflix documentary called VEGUCATED
There are many other educational videos on veganism.
Other Educational Videos on Veganism:
At the time, my husband and I were only dating. Upon meeting him, my actions towards what was on my plate rubbed off on him. He had slowly merged into a pescatarian diet, yet still questioned the reasoning’s behind why he should give up fish.
I was not educated enough at the time to give him a good enough reason. We both agreed to watch “Vegucated” together (to further educate ourselves and make a conscious decision on whether or not to go vegan). Both of us did not have a clue what we were about to get into. So many emotions flooded through us. By the time we were finished with the film, we both had made an agreement to “try” out veganism for 30 days. Humans are capable of so much, being vegan for 30 days would not kill us, only a slight hindrance when it came to grocery shopping (this only last a couple of weeks/months until reading labels becomes second nature).
I discarded all animal products that nested in my cabinets and fridge. I could have saved them, gave them away, or even used them up; but this was not an option for me. I was determined to go all the way with my new lifestyle.
The Fun Part
Before I get into this, I would like to note that when I first ventured off into veganism I was not what you would call a “healthy” vegan. I gorged on vegan junk food and relied heavily on substitutes for things such as: sour cream, cream cheese, ice cream, meat alternatives…you name it, I ate it. Those items are great for transitioning into this new lifestyle, but over time your body will crave less junk and more whole food plant-based meals. The better you start to feel, the more you want to keep eating healthier. These products are great for beginners, they help you through any tough cravings or withdrawals you may experience. That’s right, withdrawals. Animal products are highly addictive and pumped with nasty chemicals and hormones that keep you coming back for more.
If you haven’t guessed already, once the 30 days of challenging myself to a vegan diet was up, I felt way to amazing to do anything other than continue on with the diet/lifestyle. I would like to share with you a helpful list of some useful products that may help you with a smooth transition if you are considering going vegan.
Please do not write off these products completely if you are not satisfied with the first one you choose. There will be a type or brand in which you fall in love with, you just have to find the right one.
Milk: Soy milk, Almond milk, Cashew milk, Hemp milk, Oat milk, Rice milk, Coconut milk (great for curries!), Quinoa Milk.
Cheese: Daiya, Chao (this brand is amazing!), Earth Balance, Go Veggie (check to make sure its vegan and not the lactose one which still contains milk), Tofutti (amazing sour creams & cream cheese), Nutritional yeast (used often for sauces but I’ll sprinkle it on anything!)
Butter: These are the only two brands that I know of, and that are sold in my area. Earth Balance, and Vegetable Shortening (works well in pancakes).
Substitute Meats: Tofu, Temphe, Tofurky (Thanksgiving!) – these are normally found in the produce isle. Boca burgers (“chicken”, vegan patties & crumbles are for sure vegan), Gardein products, Beast burgers (It’s scary how close this brand is to recreating meat). – There are many other brands but these are the ones I’ve stuck with.
Cereals: Check out this endless list that Peta approves.
Beverages: Most beverages are vegan. Unfortunately, a lot of wines and beers are not vegan. Check this site: Barnivore. This site allows you to type in a beverage of your choice so you can double-check if your beverage contains animals products. Also, Kombucha is a delicious, popular, probiotic drink which helps fight off nasty bacteria in your gut. You may find it in health food stores or even your local grocery store may carry it. I brew my own!
Staples: Potatoes, Rice, Oats, Beans, Agave nectar or Coconut nectar (use in place of honey), Nuts & Seeds, Dates, Applesauce, Vegan Mayo (“Just Mayo” is a great brand which also carries “Just”…Ranch, Caesar, Italian, Spicy Mayo, and Cookie Dough), Pasta. The list goes on.
Try to fill up on as much fruits and veggies as possible, you can never go wrong with them! Always carry vegan snacks with you. Remember:
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail – Benjamin Franklin