10 tips and tricks for those who are vegan-curious
I once saw a video where a cow was arriving at its new farm but it was clearly upset by its surroundings. She was doing everything she could to escape. At one point, she got her head and legs stuck in the metal fence trying to get out. That vision broke my heart into a million pieces.
The cow knew what was going to happen. Or at least she knew instinctively to be extremely frightened. I’m sure the cow could smell the blood of her former friends wafting through the air and wanted to avoid a similar outcome for herself.
I can still see that short video clip in my mind. I never made it through the whole video because it made me sob out loud then, and every time I recall its graphic nature — even today.
The video was especially sickening after visiting Ireland where cows came to the fence to check my husband and me out as we walked along a canal. I had yelled hello to them and they came running. I saw up close that cows can have personalities. I’m embarrassed to admit that I took an unhealthy number of pictures of cows while in Ireland.
Living in the suburbs doesn’t allow for a lot of interaction with cows. It’s not that I never think of the lovely creatures, but when the developers came in and put houses where it was once a cow pasture, it barely registered with me.
After learning the health benefits of a plant based diet, and vowing never to hurt another cow, I announced my intentions to my family that we were going vegan.
Groans could be heard ‘round the world. You would have thought I was physically removing their iPhones in the middle of a SnapChat post.
I’m going to be honest and admit that going vegan wasn’t always a smooth ride, but here are a few tips to make it smoother, especially for those who have family members who aren’t as invested as you may be in the health benefits or the idea that animals are friends, not food.
- Make sure you have the best knives you can afford. I remember the insane amount of chopping of vegetables I had to do; it felt like I was in Hell every single day when I had a terrible set of knives. When my husband bought me legitimate knives for my birthday one year, it made a huge difference in my attitude and my ability to chop large amounts of vegetables, herbs, and garlic in no time. No more standing at the counter for an hour or more.
- Invest in any appliance you feel will make your life easier. Some of my best investments, besides the knives, included a Vitamix, a mandolin, and a handheld mixer. I already had a Nutribullet which is very helpful.
- Get the family involved in chopping. I found a marked increase in devouring of a plant-based dish if the kids helped prepare the meal.
- Find the best vegan cookbooks out there and use them heavily. My family was particularly thrilled with anything I made from Isa Moskowitz’s cookbooks. Our favorites of hers are: Appetite for Reduction, Isa Does It, and Vegan with a Vengeance.
- If you have a spice shop near you, visit it and buy your spices there instead of at the supermarket where what’s in the containers can be old. The spices in the meals made all the difference. It was making vegan recipes that I finally understood how a mouthful of food could have layers of flavors.
- Take the kids with you when you go shopping at the place where you buy your groceries. Have them pick out some vegan treats they’d like to try. Many snack products have a V on it.
- So many vegan bakeries are cropping up everywhere. Sometimes it’s best to let someone else do the baking! The good news is that the cupcakes and other baked goods I’ve had have been insanely good — I can’t even tell they’re vegan!
- Let yourself off the hook sometimes — there’s no need to be a hero in chopping everything yourself. When I sometimes feel that I cannot possibly julienne another single red bell pepper, I buy pre-cut vegetables from the produce section of my grocery store. I also buy enormous jars of chopped garlic even though it definitely doesn’t have the same taste as freshly chopped garlic, but, hey, I’m only human!
- Same advice goes with frozen vegetables — just buy the frozen, organic riced cauliflower. Let go of the guilt.
- I’ve found a pleasant way to multi-task while I chop the endless piles of produce. I listen to books on Audible. I have headphones on and the time passes so much faster now. Plus, I’m keeping up with my goal of reading 17 books this year (Well, ok, I’m behind by three books but I still have time!). You need to figure out what works best for you whether that’s listening to music, listening to the news, taking in a podcast, or just enjoying the silence of the slicing. Just yesterday I bought an apron with a handy pocket which happens to be just the right size for my iPhone 7 Plus.
Finally, don’t expect perfection from anyone, including yourself. There were times when I learned (too late) that something contained honey or egg. Whoops! Oh, well…move on to the next meal. Every day is a learning experience.
Like everyone says, it’s progress, NOT perfection that will win the day!
Day 4 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge I dared myself to start (and finish).