Don't Let These Myths Stop You From Going Vegan

I was on Instagram live the other day talking to my peeps (come follow me on there so we can connect, too!) about how and why they should start a vegan journey.

One of the ladies asked if it's normal to start and then "fall off the wagon" only after a few weeks.

This is pretty common! Maybe you can relate.

Before I became vegan in April 2010, I tried it earlier that year, but only lasted about two weeks.

I lived on fruit, sunflower seeds, and water during that time because I had no idea what to eat, cook, or how to vegan grocery shop.

I was sooo overwhelmed!

These days there are a million resources, ingredients replacements (homemade and store-bought) and support, so there's no excuse to not incorporate healthier and more compassionate options.

Even if you tried to do this before, you should never give up!

 

 

BEING VEGAN IS TOO EXPENSIVE

What do potatoes, spinach, black beans, corn tortillas, bananas, apples, rice, spaghetti noodles and canned tomatoes have in common?

All of these items are vegan and very affordable.

I will admit that our grocery bill spiked when we started this journey, but that was because I was buying all organic for a family of 5. These days, I do buy some organics, but overall I just focus on what we can afford. Period. 

Don't let a tight budget be the reason you don't stay on this vegan journey.

Quick Tips to Keep Your Grocery Bill Down:

*Buy as many whole ingredients as possible - it doesn't take a million hours to cook from scratch. I promise! 

*Think about how you can make enough for leftovers (soup & chili recipes are perfect for this) to save both and time.

*Only shop at Whole Foods (AKA Whole Check- chile!) for speciality vegan products that you can't get at a regular grocery store. Do the rest of your grocery shopping at your regular store. You can also save some coins using Thrive Market

*Buy what you need - I know this isn't popular advice, but in my experience, you will waste money buying produce in bulk because it's hard to eat it fast enough before it spoils.

*If you prefer to buy organics, see if you can get a better deal at the farmer's market. Also, my grocery store has store brand organics that are super affordable. See if you store has this option.

 

VEGAN LIFE IS TOO MUCH TIME-CONSUMING

I can understand why this is a struggle for many people.
We're all used to grocery shopping and cooking at some level - The problem is, most of us aren't used to writing a detailed meal plan and paying close attention to what we buy while grocery shopping.

This is the reason vegan life can feel time-consuming in the beginning. 

I promise once you get used to those uncomfortable feelings (by pushing passed them) and get into a routine, all of this will become easier.

Hang in there!

RELATED: Here's an episode from my podcast with tips on how NOT to spend all weekend on meal planning.

 

VEGAN FOOD IS BORING & TASTELESS

Before I was a vegan, I thought we could only eat salad and smoothies. I promise this isn't the case at all!

I love variety just as much as the next person. I wouldn't be on this journey if I felt limited by my food choices.

You can make or buy everything vegan.

Sometimes vegan meals have a reputation for being bland and boring. Vegan life is what you make it! 

I don't know about you, but I'm not interested in blah meals. I live for flavor! Some of the most common spices/seasoning I use: Salt, black pepper, cumin, garlic and onion powder, cayenne, smoked paprika, and oregano. 

RELATED: Blog post and audio with more information about pantry and spices basics here

 

VEGANs DON'T GET PROTEIN

Some people think you can only get protein from chicken, beef, fish, eggs, etc. but this isn't the case at all. There are sooo many plant-based options that can easily replace the meat on your plate.

Grains: quinoa, brown rice, couscous, barley, cornmeal, wheat flour, oat brans, etc.

Beans: black beans, tempeh, kidney beans, chickpeas, tofu (made from bean curd), etc.

Nuts/Seeds: pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts, walnuts, etc.

There's also a protein in spinach, apple, grapefruit, tomatoes, etc.
 

I hope this post was helpful!

 
 

Is Pasta Vegan? + Explore Cuisine Black Bean Pasta Review

A few weeks ago someone asked me whether or not pasta is vegan, so I want to answer that question right here.

The way this vegan life is set up, you can make everything vegan. Seriously.

Ice cream. Cake. Pizza. Scrambled Eggs. And yes, pasta.

The great news -- most of the pasta brands in the regular grocery store aisle is already vegan -- made out of just wheat and water.

On my YouTube channel, I did a review of pasta made out of black beans. I swear they have everything these days. lol

Click below to watch...

Others options for vegan pasta are ones made out of: 

  • Quinoa (my fave)
  • Spelt
  • Brown rice
  • Corn
  • Lentils
  • Black beans

The black bean pasta featured in this video is made by Explore Cuisine. I was able to find it in the natural section of a regular grocery store.

When buying pasta, be sure to always check the ingredient list because some brands contain eggs. Fresh pasta in the refrigerated section of the grocery store and at authentic Italian restaurants usually contain eggs.

Need a couple of quick meals featuring pasta for this week?

Spaghetti recipe here

 

I hope this is helpful!

How Do I Meal Plan As A Busy Mom? | Q &A

Question from my email: How do I find time to meal plan as a busy mom? This is exactly how I got discouraged the last time I tried going vegan. Finding the time and energy to meal plan and prepare meals in advance is hard for me. Especially, when I have to chase my 7 month old all over the house...LOL! Basically, the only free time I have is on the weekends. Who wants to spend the entire weekend meal planning and stuck in the house? Not me....that's who! Any tips and ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

 

Answer: I know what you mean about not wanting to spend all weekend on meal planning!

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

TIP #1

Think about what you're already eating and figure out how to make those meals vegan.

For instance, if you eat spaghetti, you can easily make this vegan by using vegan crumble, lentils or mushrooms in place of ground beef/turkey. 

There's a vegan replacement for any ingredient you can think of!

Related: Watch me make vegan spaghetti in this video...

This spaghetti is familiar, simple and delicious!

Get out there and start exploring options and replace your non-vegan ingredients with healthier and more compassionate vegan ones.

Few examples of vegan replacements:

Cow's milk ---> Almond coconut or soy milk for cooking and cereal

Ground beef/turkey ---> Vegan crumbles (Beyond Meat is a good brand), lentils or mushrooms

Cheese ----> Field Roast chao slices and vegan queso on nachos are great options

 

TIP #2

Get in the habit of checking sites like Pinterest and YouTube for recipe ideas.  

Commit to 5-10 minutes a day to gather recipes for the next time you go grocery shopping. Taking this step will cut down on overwhelm when it's time to grocery shop.

Use the search term "vegan recipes" in Pinterest and YouTube to check out options. 

Also, check out vegan cookbooks from the library for recipes.

I use the eatWell menu planner from Inkwell Press and love how I can quickly jot down ingredients we run out of and meals I will make the following week.

 
 
 
 

TIP #3

I used to plan all seven days at a time, grocery shop, then come home and cook. All of this left me overwhelmed and discouraged. When you're just starting, ease into vegan life with just a few days of meal planning then build on that.

You can make wraps, veggie burgers, slow cook meals, etc.

Be sure to make enough for leftovers, so you have fewer meals to plan.

It also helps to keep your breakfast meal the same during this time, so you don’t even have to think about it. 

Here's a 3-day meal plan incorporating leftovers & only one breakfast:

Day #1

Breakfast -- oatmeal and fresh fruit

Lunch -- veggie wrap on whole-wheat wrap with hummus, red bell pepper, zucchini, salt & pepper

Dinner -- vegan red beans & rice in the slow cooker and a simple salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots & balsamic vinaigrette

Day #2

Breakfast -- oatmeal and fresh fruit

Lunch -- leftover veggie wrap on whole-wheat wrap with hummus, red bell pepper, zucchini, salt & pepper

Dinner -- leftover vegan red beans & rice in the slow cooker

Day #3

Breakfast -- oatmeal and fresh fruit

Lunch -- Pasta salad with fresh fruit, carrot sticks & hummus

Dinner -- Veggie burger, roasted potatoes (or store-bought fries from a brand like Alexia) and steamed broccoli seasoned with garlic powder, black pepper, and salt

Be gentle with yourself, take your time and I promise it will get better once you get a nice routine down.

You've got this!

P.S. I shared more tips in this podcast episode called, Stop Spending All Weekend Meal Planning

>> Listen here <<

 
 

How to Go Vegan - Tips From My Vegan Peeps at DC VegFest ~

I went to DC VegFest a couple of weeks ago!

Vegan festivals are the best way to connect with like-minded peeps. 

You can eat all the vegan food you want and learn more about vegan life overall from speakers, vendors, and other attendees.

It's always a good time!

While I was there, I had to bring out my camera and do some quick interviews with some of my favorite vegan peeps.

Folks like: Tracye McQuirter, Bad Ass Vegan, Vegan Cooking with Love and Torre Washington shared their best tips on how to get started on a vegan lifestyle.

Watch it here...

What was the common theme from these interviews?

It's okay to make gradual changes to your diet to get started on a vegan journey. You can do this!

Here are all the vegan peeps from the video:

See what vegan festivals are near you here