Well, I finished up my first week as a vegan. It definitely wasn’t as difficult as I thought it’d be, but there were a few challenges.
Some of the things I found easy was making the transition from mostly vegetarian to vegan as I am used to eating non-animal proteins like beans, lentils, and tofu. My freezer is already full of veggie burgers/paties and Gardein chicken tenders as that’s what I’d normally eat. Honestly, making meals was not a challenge at all except for the fact I was more conscious of not using dairy cheese/sour cream/butter. Although I already use lentils in many recipes, I decided to try this Korean lentil recipe, and it was delicious and provided four filling meals.
Another thing that was great was trying out new recipes. I LOVE mac’n’cheese but never make or order it because of how greasy and fatty it is. It usually sits in my stomach like a ton of bricks. I decided to make this recipe, and it was AMAZING! I would highly recommend it. I honestly enjoyed it just as much as regular mac’n’cheese. I know it’s not completely healthy, but it has more nutritional value than traditional mac’n’cheese and is cruelty free.
OK, now here come the issues. The first problem was trying to find products that are good replacements for some of my dairy favorites. I LOVE cream cheese on bagels, but the So Delicious brand I bought at my supermarket is not very appetizing to me. I hope to make my own cashew cream cheese in the future (also to cut down on purchasing products packaged in plastic) as I think it’ll probably taste much better without all the additives and preservatives.
Another thing that I found difficult (and will probably be the hardest part about going vegan) is ordering at restaurants. We usually don’t eat out much because we love to cook and save money, but my husband really wanted Chipotle on Friday night, so I got a sofritas bowl with rice, beans, fajita vegetables, corn salsa and guac. Usually I’d get an addition of sour cream and cheese, but I definitely didn’t feel like I was missing much without them.
On Saturday morning I had to take my husband to the ER because he pulled some muscles in his back the day before, and after we hit up the pharmacy, we decided to get breakfast across the street at Egg and I. We never go here, but after being at the hospital and waiting for prescriptions for a few hours, we decided to try it out. I was disappointed to find there wasn’t much on the menu I could eat. I would normally order some kind of vegetarian egg breakfast or pancakes. I asked about several options that looked appetizing (oat pancakes with berries and steel-cut oatmeal), and both had dairy. I settled on a fruit bowl, side of greens, and a plain English muffin. It was filling and tasty, so I was satisfied.
There are some really good restaurants in town that offer a great vegan selection, so I am looking forward to frequenting them. Until I am on the Front Range where there are more vegan options, I will be experimenting in my kitchen making my favorites. I plan on trying out a mushroom french dip and pulled jackfruit sandwiches next!