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Vegan / Vegetarian Discussion - All Things Veg*n Forum

Hi, everyone. I found this forum online and figured it might be a good place to come to for some beginners advice.

I live with my mom and we've been working toward a vegan diet on and off for quite a while, but keeping hitting some roadblocks. First of all, my mom is diabetic, so recipes based on pasta or grains aren't exactly good for her as we transition into a healthier diet, which appear to be a staple in some of the recipes I'm coming across. I've also had to incorporate iron-rich foods recently as that's become a serious problem, as well. The cool thing is that we're using a lot of foods like spinach and spirulina, but it means that a slower transition into a vegan diet is probably better just to make sure that she actually gets without it being too difficult of a lifestyle change.

The other major problem is that neither has an entire afternoon to cook, or the inclination to replace our entire fridge or pantry with vegan-friendly ingredients that, I'm sorry, will take some time to get a taste for, and my internet searches for easy vegan recipes apparently result in options with ingredients in the double digits, lots of spices that I'm never going to use (cayenne is not going to convince me that ANY recipe is awesome), and frankly, are way more complicated than I'd cook for a meat dish. I have nothing but respect for awesome people who think outside the box and come up with these great recipes that I would never think of in a million years, but I'm not a cook. Any meals I make generally involve casseroles (throw everything into a pan and it somehow turns out edible), chopped vegetables (and not the pretty diced ones that you see in photos) that I've sort of cooked on the store, or foods that I've lightly seasoned (with a prepackaged seasoning) and baked at 350-400 for half an hour to an hour....that's literally my general rule. It's possible that I'm being unfair to the recipes out there, but it definitely looks a little overwhelming.

So I know how the foodies in the blog world do veganism, but I would like some actual not-cooking-person advice, keeping in mind that I'm moving in baby steps, here. Does anyone have any recipes recommendations for meals, or snacks, whatever, that only require a small number of ingredients and are easy to make for people who don't like/aren't blessed with cooking talent? Or am I the only one out there who finds the recipe world a bit overwhelming?

Responses (3)

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    Posted by paulalecht at 04/07/18 14:49:41

    Hi, first off congratulations to you and your Mom for looking into veganism. That will have a major impact on health for you both and will make a huge impact on the lives of animals and the environment. Second, can I ask, why did you and your Mom decide to look into veganism? I ask because you can let the answer to that question, whatever it may be, guide you as you face challenges along the way. For example, if its for health reasons, whenever making a healthy choice seems hard you can take a moment to reflect on why you chose to make a change and the changes may seem less daunting. For me, I reflect on the beautiful faces of all of the animals that humans share the planet with and feel an overwhelming need to protect them from this terrible system of greed and ignorance that has lead to their exploitation. That reminds me of why I would never, despite various challenges and pressures, eat any kind of animal product, nor wear, use or profit by animals suffering.

    Okay, on to your actual question. My advice is this. First off, do you have a Pintrest account? Pintrest has a truly amazing array of vegan options. It would be well worth it to join if you don't. Second, if you can afford it, you might want to look into buying an "Instant Pot". From my understanding, they are great for people who aren't that into cooking because you can have quick easy meals. Third, I would highly recommend a cast iron skillet. They provide iron to food that you cook. I think you said that iron was something you were wanting to make sure you get. You can cook pretty much everything in a cast iron skillet, even bake in them. Its my favorite kitchen tool. Those are pretty reasonably priced and will last your lifetime and many more.

    As for cooking, the first thing that comes to mind to meet your terms is Mexican cuisine. A lot of it comes prepared like canned beans, tomatoes, tortillas, salsa and plant-based cheese and you can do so many things with these ingredients: burritos, baked casseroles, salads. That will provide protein, flavor, and many other nutrients.

    Lastly, I have to say that cooking and food preparation are soo much fun. Food preparation takes time but that is time well spent. Definitely start with easy projects. The biggest challenge is, I think, preparing a comfortable space in your home for this purpose and starting with one or two tools to learn at a time, and then allowing yourself the time. We live in an instant culture that is ultimately unfulfilling and you have to ask yourself how important your health and happiness are, how important the health and happiness of animals and the planet are, and begin to make room in your life for yourself.

    I have pretty limited time and so I have a few go-to meals that get me through the week, then on the weekend I will spend a little more time to prepare make-ahead meals for the week and that can be frozen. Breakfast: toast and fried tofu w/vegan butter w/coffee. Lunch: small salad from store bought bagged greens, whatever main course I made over the weekend, and some fruit for a snack. My main course this week was a recipe I found online around St. Patricks Day for Irish cuisine and is called Colcannon which is, I discovered like fancy mashed potatoes. I "veganize" any recipes I find that aren't vegan by substituting things like butter or egg. Tons of vegan substitute information on Pintrest or online but plant-based milk subs for milk and egg in baking is subbed with either flax meal and water or some folks like chia egg, or can now be bought too (VeganEgg) though I haven't tried.

    Anyway, I hope any of this helped. I have saved a lot of vegan recipes on Pintrest if you want to check out my account: paulalecht. Though I would recommend doing your own search for recipes that suite your interests.

    Good luck!

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    Posted by Enchanted at 04/08/18 15:40:12

    That was really good advice offered for good ideas. Pinterest is a great place to source recipies. It is also a great place to read peoples experiences. I wish you well with it.

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    Posted by bakeydoesntbake at 04/10/18 21:58:50

    I completely understand where you're coming from, it can all be daunting at first but when you find a few dishes which you love, you can do variations of these & it becomes super easy.

    Stir fry's would be a great place to start - Veggies, soy, rice noodles. Perhaps some variations with readily pressed firm tofu (so you're not having to use up time pressing it), different sauces (black bean, chili sauce, peanut sauce), chickpeas, something different to the noodles such as quinoa or rice.

    I would take a look at some slow cooker recipes. Even if you don't have a slow cooker these can be done in the oven with a slight change of the timing. Peta have a good section on their website for this.

    Bosh TV have some quick recipe's, e.g. their pasta bake (have linked below). I know you have said no to pasta, perhaps you could try a chickpea or lentil based pasta as an alternative? Or change it up, replacing the pasta with aubergine so it's a purely veggie bake.
    https://www.bosh.tv/recipes/easy-peasy-pasta-bake

    I'd take a look on Pinterest and create a board for quick vegan recipes to help yourself out so you always have them at hand.

    Hope you find something suitable soon! Let me know if I can help any further :)

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