I’ve Been Vegan for 11 Years… Here Are Some Useful Things I’ve Learned
Being vegan for more than a decade, you pick up quite a few tips and tricks. Here’s just some of the stuff I’ve learned since I stopped eating meat, dairy, and eggs.
Get ready to eat more food. A lot more food.
People think that when you go vegan you “give up” certain foods. But the reality is you learn about sooo many more. Your diet expands and becomes more diversified. Before I went vegan, I never ate tempeh or quinoa or kale. And I never knew about all the healthier plant-based alternatives to things I grew up eating, like yogurt and ice cream.
Tofu is a gift from the gods.
No, tofu is not the only thing vegans eat, but it is everything. Tofu is the most versatile food in the world. It can be used in savory dishes, desserts, and even amazing vegan cheeses. You can make it taste like virtually anything. From firm to silken, you must experiment in the kitchen with this stuff.
Cashews were obviously invented to make cream sauces.
If you think going vegan means you’ll never have fettuccine Alfredo or ranch dressing again, you are so wrong. Get yourself a high-powered blender and Google some creamy cashew recipes. Seriously, cashews can be used to create almost any cream sauce. You will be amazed!
The name “nutritional yeast” is dreadful… but the product is pure magic.
Even after researching what this stuff is, I’m still not sure. But here’s the real: Nutritional yeast is essential. This flaky, cheesy food can be used in almost any recipe to give it an amazing cheddar flavor. Think mac and cheese, queso, etc. You can also sprinkle it on popcorn and salad to add a little something. Don’t let the name fool you!
As a vegan, pregame your travel.
Before you book that next vacation or business trip, plan ahead. Make sure you check out apps like Happy Cow to look up all the vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants where you’re headed. YouTube and Google it. I’ve literally booked hotels because they were next door to a Whole Foods or vegan restaurant. No shame in that game. And remember, for international flights you can request vegan meals 24 hours in advance on most airlines. Do it.
Chickpeas are life changing.
Make no mistake, chickpeas are life! First of all, they’re the main ingredient in hummus. And you should be putting hummus on EVERYTHING. Second, they can be used to make an incredible vegan tuna salad. You can roast them or add them to salads, and the water they’re packed in can be used to make vegan meringue (Google aquafaba).
What other people think of you is none of your concern.
It’s true that after you first go vegan you might receive some unsolicited feedback from friends and family, but that’s completely on them. By avoiding animal products, you’re not telling anyone else what to do with their life, you’re simply aligning your values with your actions. If that makes other people uncomfortable, it’s up to them to investigate why.
Patience really is a virtue.
When you first go vegan, you’ll naturally want all your friends and family to immediately go vegan with you. Give them time. Quite a few of my friends and family members have gone vegan over the years, but it definitely didn’t happen overnight. And all of them went vegan because they came to it on their own. Don’t be pushy.