|I hear that Bill Clinton has caved since he took this picture but I do not intend to!|
Everyone has their reasons for going from vegetarian to vegan. Mine are multiple. I'm going vegan for my health, the environment and to prevent innocent animals from being enslaved, tortured and slaughtered. Ya, I know. It's pretty heavy, right? Don't shoot the messenger. Anyway.... If you're considering switching to vegan, for whatever reason, maybe trying my step process will help. I'm on step 5. Yes, it is hard, but it's working.
1. Ditch the milk
This was pretty easy for me. I was never a big milk drinker. I only used it on my cereal. If you like it more than I do, you may have a harder time of it. Still, there are plenty of great substitutes for cows milk. My favorite is almond milk. It tastes wonderful on cereal. There are several varieties. Plus, there are GMO free brands. Check the label. Coconut milk is good too and best for making hot cocoa or adding to coffee or tea. I have every confidence this step will be the easiest for anyone trying to go vegan.
2. Say goodbye to eggs.
OK, now it's getting a little harder. As a vegetarian, you likely still had some options at restaurants. At least breakfast choices were easy. Skip the sausage and bacon. You could eat everything else, right? Not to mention, eggs are in all those yummy baked goods you love. Luckily, there are vegan substitutes for eggs in baking. Plus, there is now this great product called Vegan Egg put out by Follow Your Heart brand that you can use to make tasty scrambled eggs, much like the real thing. That won't help you in a restaurant, but at home, you'll be just fine. I had no trouble at all with this one. Piece of vegan cake. Which is scrumptious, by the way. Don't believe the rumors!
3. Cut the cheese down.
Oh boy, giving up cheese is a tough one. So tough that I had to split it into 2 steps. This first part really wasn't as difficult as I first thought it would be. Plus, of course, anything I go through while changing my diet simply pales in comparison to what dairy cows go through on a daily basis. So, I started by cutting down on the cheese in my favorite dishes and not eating cheese as frequently. I did OK with it. I only eat cheese a couple times a week now and I eat much less of it.
4. Bye bye butter, yogurt, ice cream and sour cream.
I've always loved the flavor of butter. Nevertheless, I've given it up. I've never cared for margarine. I feel the same way about most vegan butters. They're both just too processed for me. So, for the most part, I leave butter off the menu. When needed or fitting, I've found a fantastic butter made from coconut oil. The brand name is Melt. It has a sweet creamy taste like butter and isn't heavily processed like margarine or other vegan butters. It even works well in cookies.
I never really cared for yogurt. So, no problem. And if I really want it, although I can't imagine why, Silk brand makes a pretty good vegan yogurt. Tastes exactly like the regular stuff.
Ice cream is another toughie. Luckily, they make some incredibly tasty vegan ice cream these days, so I really only miss my favorite flavor in my favorite brand. I think I can move on now, though. I'm fine if I focus on the benefits, rather than what I'm giving up.
Sour cream is more of a topping. Leaving it off isn't a big deal to me. So, Bye Felicia.
5. Delete the cheese altogether.
Yes, I know. Thankfully there are plenty of good vegan cheeses because this is the step I'm headed for right now. I say headed for because although I have drastically cut my cheese intake, I still eat it here and there.
Regular restaurants and other people's homes are the main problem, although I have admittedly caved at home as well. Hey, cheese is a big one for this girl raised in dairy country, but don't you worry. I will get there. I am determined to fully transition to vegan, for my health, for the planet, for the other animals and also for the future of the human race.
*If you're transitioning from vegetarian to vegan, relax. You'll be fine. After all, you've already done without the meat. The rest should be a snap.
*I'm finding out something surprising as I transition. The less dairy I eat, the less I want. Cheese even tastes sort of fatty and gloppy to me now. Sometimes, it doesn't even appeal to me at all. Who knew?