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These 5 tips Will Help You Go Vegan with A Family

We started our vegan journey as a family back in 2010.

Before 2010, I was the queen of Hamburger Helper, those frozen Voila bagged dinners and hitting up a drive-thru on the way home from work.

I used to think eating healthier would require too much time and I honestly wasn’t in the mood to hear complaints from my family.

I'll be the first to admit going vegan as a family wasn't easy for us.

My kids weren't interested at all, and even though my husband was supportive (with me doing it alone lol), he still wanted me to cook meat and potatoes.

Being consistent and patient made all of the difference in the world for us!

Instead of making my family feel like they "had" to be vegan, I focused on making a vegan version of their favorite dishes and asked them to help me grocery shop and cook. :-)

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Here are some tips to go vegan with your fam....

*Replace ingredients - This is very important! Instead of feeling like you can't eat certain foods anymore, replace them with vegan alternatives.

For instance, instead of dairy milk, use almond, cashew or soy milk. And instead of pork or beef sausage, you can use a vegan sausage like Field Roast (made out of wheat and vegetables).

*Start with breakfast and snacks - If you prefer to take a baby step approach, breakfast and snacks are perfect because there isn't as much of a difference in what you're eating.

For breakfast: You can still eat toast (just check to make sure there are no eggs). Instead of dairy butter, you can use Earth Balance vegan margarine, jelly/jam, smashed avocado, etc. smoothies, grits, oatmeal, and tofu scramble, or JUST Egg instead of chicken eggs.

*Get clear on your "why" and have a candid conversation with your family about it. Is it for health? Is it for the animals or the environment? Be specific and loving. :-)

*Find your community. The Internet makes it sooo easy for us to connect with people from all over the world. Find and get inspired by like-minded people on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

*Watch documentaries and read vegan books - They will motivate you to get started and keep going. I like Sistah VeganDiet for A New America, and What the Health?

*Put as much of the lifestyle on autopilot as possible - The less thinking you have to do the better. Establish easy go-to vegan meals such as spaghetti & tacos.

*Don't beat yourself up - It takes time to get comfortable with a vegan lifestyle....especially with a family. Be patient and keep playing in the kitchen. :-)

Please please please be gentle with yourself as you move forward in your vegan journey.
Do you see all this Keith Sweat begging I'm doing right now? Seriously!

This is a process, so don't give up if it doesn't feel comfortable or when you don't feel like you're "doing it right"
There's a lot to learn (and unlearn), so don't expect everything to be perfect.
Progression over perfection...always.

MY CHALLENGE TO YOU:
I want to encourage you to start meal planning today.
Even if you're only adding ONE vegan meal to your meal plan this week, I promise taking this first step counts!
You don't have to be a gourmet chef every night.
Keep your meals simple, so that you can gain the confidence to move forward.

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Need more tips and easy family-friendly recipes?

Take the 10-day vegan family challenge and get the support you need to start vegan life with your fam!

>>> Get the challenge <<<

You will receive:

  • Daily recipes for breakfast, lunch & dinner

  • Shopping list

  • Snack List

  • 60-page ebook with vegan family strategies

This 10-day challenge is designed for families who want to go vegan together with real-world tips and practical recipes.

>> Get the 10-day vegan family challenge <<



~Get the Free Vegan Starter Kit~

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DON'T Make These Vegan MISTAKES + Tips on How to GO VEGAN

In this video, I share some of the mistakes I made while struggling as a vegan and share tips for folks who want to start their own vegan journey.

Mistakes I’ve Made:

  • I didn’t tap into my vegan community for support

  • Stopped cooking

  • Stopped learning & experimenting

  • Wasn’t gentle with myself as I dealt with a difficult time

Tips for New Vegans:

  • Get clear on your why

  • Don’t restrict yourself more than you have to — You don’t have to be gluten free, oil-free, etc in the beginning (or ever)

  • It doesn’t have to be all or nothing to start your vegan journey. It’s okay to incorporate a few vegan meals each week and grow from there.

  • Connect with like-minded people online and in person — use social media and meetup.com

Resources mentioned in the video:

~Get the Free Vegan Starter Kit~

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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!

 
 

~Get the Free Vegan Starter Kit~

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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!

~Get the Free Vegan Starter Kit~

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