Just over a year ago, my husband and I decided to give "veganuary" ago. Having been complete carnivores before then (sometimes eating meat three times a day) it was quite a shift. We told our five boys, some of whom were really up for it, and a couple who were not impressed, that for January food at home would be vegan.
A year on and whilst we are not 100% vegan (more like 98% with the odd bit of cheese) we love eating a plantbased diet. The boys are now totally fine with vegan food and no longer ask "is there any meat in this?"
So if you are thinking about going vegan or just want to cut down on animal products then this might be usefulTop tip 1. Cupboard basics
Stock up on cupboard basics that can be turned into a variety of easy, nutritious, tasty and balanced meals (you probably already have many of these).
- Add flavour - onions, garlic, ginger, spices, soy sauce, miso, nutritional yeast (amazing to add a cheesy nutty flavour) dried mushrooms, balsamic, tins tomatoes, veggie stock cubes, Turmerlicious) check out the recipies here
- Add bulk - quinoa, pasta, noodles, couscous, polenta
- Add protein - nuts, tins of beans kidney, black, blackeye, chickpea, flagolet, butterbean, peanut butter, cartons of tofu - yes I know the dreaded tofu and yes I could not stand it in the beginning buy yes I do like it now when cooked in a certain wayTop tip 2. Everything goes with everything!
When your diet is made up of plants you can make a meal from pretty much anything you have in the store cupboard or fridge. Aubergines and lentils, peppers and butterbean dips, spinach with garlic and pinenuts, tomatoes - well they go with everything.Top tip 3. Avoid substitutes
I would avoid "substitutes" eg meat look alike, sausage wanabees, cheese imitations - there are virtually none that actually taste nice let alone are not full of rubbish. In the beginning I bought loads to help "bridge the gap" but they were mostly pretty awful so we now just eat plants that look like plants.Top tip 4. Tofu, cashews, cauliflower and chickpea juice
These are some amazing alternatives to dairy and eggs. I make an amazing mayonnaise type dressing from whizzing up silken tofu with some apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. You can make a perfect bechamel sauce from whizzing up a cauliflower cooked with a handful of cashew nuts. And if you whisk up chick pea juice you can make merengues and mousse!Top tip 5. What to put in your tea!!
This is the big one for most people - what to put in your tea or coffee! After much trial and error my best options are oat milk for tea and coconut milk for coffee