In my first few weeks of shifting to a vegan-based diet I found I was desperate to replace all the things I was in the habit of eating. I bought all the soy burgers and sausages, the plant-based “cheeses” and other items that were really reconstituted versions of things that looked and kind of tasted/felt like animal products. These worked well as a bridge while I adapted to a changing diet and still help sometimes while I eat with my family who hasn’t fully shifted their diet so that our meals look similar and don’t take extra work (e.g., burgers).
For the most part though these products are highly processed and processed foods reek havoc on my stomach. It didn’t take long for me to realize that shifting to this new diet without shifting the kinds of meals I was making was just unrealistic and really limited the creativity that could come with the exploration of new types of foods and meals. Instead I began to focus on what I felt like eating and on building meals based on integrating fresh vibrant whole fruits, vegetables, beans and grains into new combinations. It is possible still to eat an unhealthy vegan diet if your focus is on processed foods.
Above is herbed smoked tofu over a bed of arugula and topped with hemp hearts. Below is the vegetarian version for my son. He didn’t mind the hemp hearts (sprinkles) and he loves peppers but he did complain about the lack of cheese I omitted from the eggs. Might have to try adding the vegan Parmesan my dietitian recommended next time 🙂 It’s harder to shift the diet of a child because they don’t always eat everything you plan and therefore don’t get all the nutrition they need. So I use a hybrid method of integrating more vegan than not into all our family meals rather than trying to convert my husband and son. Overall the meals are more or less the same looking though and take little to no extra preparation.
If you are looking for a fabulous breakfast recipe by the way I highly recommend Cookie and Kate’s Super Simple Vegan Pancakes they have been a big hit.