Whether you are embarking upon a vegan diet for health reasons or because you want to protect animal life, you may find some stumbling blocks on your journey. For example, you may need to take some time to get used to the new flavors, or you may feel as though you run out of recipes quickly.
Fortunately, if you know some cooking tips specifically for vegans, then you can have a much greater chance of success.
1. Read the ingredients
One of the most important steps for you is to read the ingredients on any items that you purchase. For example, you may buy an item that you always thought was vegan to find that it has animal products in it. Some packaged goods, such as cookies, might have animal products in them.
When you are whipping up a fast dessert to bring to a friend’s party, make sure you’re checking out what those pre-made pastries say on the packages. You should also be careful that you don’t start consuming too much sodium. Some vegan foods are loaded with sodium, which is not good for you either. Speaking with your doctor about your specific nutritional needs can help you to plan healthy vegan meals.
2. Start with a base
If you think that you’ll just cook up your favorite vegetables every night, you are probably going to become bored with your new diet rather quickly. Instead of approaching your cooking habits in this fashion, look for a solid base with which to start your meals.
For example, you may decide to build a meal around beans, or you might opt to build a meal around large mushroom caps. You should also remember the importance of infusing protein into your diet. Beginning with a protein base can help you to stay focused and to enjoy your food.
3. Find substitutes
Care2 suggests finding substitutes for the foods that you used to eat. While a diet filled with meat and dairy substitutes is not the best approach to a healthy lifestyle, infusing some of these ingredients into your recipes can help you to stay full and to better appreciate your new vegan way of eating. Keep in mind that you don’t have to simply purchase pre-made substitutes.
You can follow recipes to making your own substitutes. For example, you could use ingredients that you already have around the house to make a substitute for butter. When you prepare these items at home, you also have a better idea of what is going into them, which can be helpful for people who are concerned about the intake of certain products.
4. Plan your meals
When you think of gathering vegan cooking tips, you may just envision putting together a catalog of advice that you can follow when you’re preparing meals at home. However, keep in mind that you may need to bring food to the houses of relatives and friends. Some of them may not serve meals that you can eat. Serious Eats reminds you that you may find yourself packing your own food more than you did in the past.
Due to this need, you should make a collection of fast recipes that you can stir up and that can travel well. Even if relatives and friends offer to prepare vegan food for you, you don’t necessarily know how they were prepared, which could be a problem.
5. Diversify your meal plans
If you get into the routine of eating the same food every day, then you are likely to give up on your goals of becoming a vegan for life. Eating Well notes the importance of eating a variety of foods.
A good idea is to make recipe cards. You may want to write them out by hand or use a website or an app to keep track of them. If you can even 35 ideas down, then you have suggestions for dinner for more than a month.
Try to rotate the base that you choose for the meal as well as the side dishes and the ingredients that you choose. Eating a variety of foods is also important for your health and nutrition; planning meals helps to make this process easier.
6. Consider the cookware
When you are really dedicated to a vegan lifestyle, you may need to change the cookware that you’re using. For example, you may have cooked meats or dairy products in these dishes for years or decades.
The flavoring of some of those items may have transferred. In fact, some cookware is designed to capture the seasoning. In a marginal way, you could be still consuming animal products.
Even if changing out the cookware takes a while due to budgetary concerns, make it a goal. For the holidays or your birthday every year, you can ask for a new piece of cookware to be added to your set.
7. Speak to your doctor
If you are starting a new diet, the best idea is to talk to your doctor. Right now, you might think that you will just go to the supermarket and buy all of the ingredients with the label of “vegan” on them. However, you may have certain conditions that preclude you from eating these ingredients.
Since you were not vegan in the past, you may not even know that these conditions exist. On top of that, your doctor may advise you to ease into the new diet. When people suddenly change diets, they may have adverse side effects, especially if you are eliminating a host of foods that you once ate.
You could work with your doctor to develop a plan for slowly becoming a vegan. In fact, you may find that you are more likely to stay with this new way of eating if you eliminate foods slowly as opposed to all at once.
Cooking when you are a vegan is going to be a new experience. When you are willing to keep some considerations in mind, you can have a healthy and fascinating journey.