Well, I'm writing my shopping list for things I'll need during the week-long challenge, and I'm realizing all the things I eat that contain dairy. *sigh* There will obviously be some learning along the way, and I'm looking forward to finding and trying new products to replace the old ones. I hope they are decent and I don't get discouraged.
So I went to my local health food store (Health Nuts) and bought some new items - vegan butter, vegan blue cheese, vegan lunch meat (which I've used before), and some vegan sausages to use in the Red Beans and Rice recipe I posted. I really can't wait to make it, it looks delicious! I think my family may even try this one!
I tried a bit of the vegan blue cheese and I have to say that it tastes NOTHING like blue cheese. It doesn't taste bad, and the texture isn't bad, but there is none of the tang you would expect from a blue cheese. I'll add it to salads and sandwiches, but it's just not the same. Oh well, I'm sure I'll find some way to "get my tang on". I'll just have to keep looking.
Now, for any of you that are new to being vegetarian, or are just trying it for this one week, you may find it hard to face the meat substitutions. My suggestion to you is this: don't use any of them for this week unless you have tried them before (like tofu) and like them. If you go straight from eating meat to using a substitution for it, you will hate it. The texture and taste is never going to be an exact match, but when you haven't had meat in a while, and then you try the substitutes, it is just like having the meat you remember (or pretty close). If you try to do a side-by-side comparison, you're never going to like the substitute. Instead, try adding mushrooms, avocados, or roasted bell peppers for the "meatiness" in your sandwiches, and add pickles, shredded carrots and sprouts for texture.
I already use Vegenaise (vegan mayonnaise), olive oil spread instead of butter, tofu in place of scrambled eggs (sometimes) and have used some vegan cheese slices on sandwiches, so I'm off to a good start, but I do still love real cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, and yogurt. I've been having some issues with eggs lately and switched to just egg whites, but still having mental issues with that as well, so it should be fairly easy for me to stop eating the eggs....hopefully.
I am dedicated to doing this, but I know it may take some time to make the full transition. Hopefully this week will show me that it's a lot easier than I believe it to be, and I'll be able to continue with my vegan diet going forward. I am so thankful for those of you joining me on this journey and being willing to give yourselves one week to give this new lifestyle a "test drive". I hope you are all successful in finding your own level of comfort in what you eat, and if nothing else, hope you at least learn about foods you've never before considered, and that you will pay more attention to what you eat and how it affects your body.
- Cari Ann
- Clarksville, Tennessee, United States
- I have been an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian for a few years and am considering making the switch to a full Vegan diet. I decided to become a vegetarian because I could no longer disassociate the meat on my plate from the loving, kind and peaceful animal it had once been. I have always been an animal lover, so I guess this was a natural progression. I am not a diet or nutrition expert by any means, I am just a woman on a mission to eat better, feel better and live better.