The pictures above are just a sample of a few of the meals I have enjoyed while transitioning to a Vegan Diet- Yum! My favorite starchy vegetable is still the sweet potato. My curret favorite spice is tarragon. I am still not a big fan of kale but I can now prepare southern greens as my girls say "all by myself!" Interestingly, our grocery bill has not changed much since meat is the most expensive food to buy and the spice cabinet is now stocked. During the last 5 months I have learned of more and more restaurants catering to this lifestyle in North Texas, including V-Eats, Taco Ocho, Best Thai, LYFE Kitchen, The Loving Hut, and Jeff's Vegan.
I would like to say that after 158 days, I am officially "vegan",... but not so much. Full disclosure- I may need a cookie-anonymous support group. The funny thing is, I was doing great until I made VEGAN cupcakes and VEGAN protein balls with my girls! They were so good and so much fun to make, but boy did my sweet tooth wake up!
Attention all cookie enthusiasts! MY INNER COOKIE MONSTER DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST VEGAN COOKIES!
I have also learned that I must read the label! A lot of foods labeled "vegetarian" contain animal products such as milk, cheese or eggs. Sticking to foods labeled vegan or preparing your own meals is the only way to be sure these are not included.
Other lessens I have learned in the last 158 days:
1. "Going vegan" is really what you make it. You can be a "hard-core" vegan, but that would mean I would have to sell my leather couch, leather boots, leather jacket...yeah, I'm not quite there yet- just being honest! I guess I would categorize myself now as "Vegan-ish..."
2. Everyone will NOT drink the Kool-Aid. Sometimes we get so excited and passionate about a change that we can't understand why others are not jumping on the bandwagon. Each one's choice is their own to make. I have figured out ways to decline certain food items without causing offense or spouting off vegan statistics. At the same time, the idea of eating a plant based diet is becoming increasingly popular. My niece and nephew had lots of questions and enjoyed helping me cook this Christmas! I have found the most effective argument is the taste test, so I am building up my repertoire for potlucks and family gatherings.
3. Prepare for the blank stare you will get from waiters and waitresses after asking them to remove meat from a meal. You will repeat this request often, but no matter how you phrase it, the stare always comes! I found knowing which local restaurants have vegan options or asking for a vegetable plate helps tremendously in this area.
4. Cut yourself some slack if and when you miss the mark, especially during the holidays. You won't implode and Santa won't drop a lump of coal into your stocking! Remember, this change is new for you, your friends and your family; there are bound to be some hiccups along the way.
If you know of any other restaurants with tasty vegan options, or have the number to Cookie-Anonymous, please comment below!