What I have learned so far . . .

  • When you tell people you are a vegan expect weird looks and people feeling like their way of life is threatened.  Win them over with love and awesome vegan food.  Arguing will never lead to acceptance.  Be prepared for them to ask you why you are a vegan.  Find a way in a condensed form to answer this question without sounding judgmental of their lifestyle.
  • Don’t be a vegan-nazi.  When you are eating out, at a party, or in someone else’s home, do the best you can without making your friends, family, servers, and chefs crazy.  You don’t want to be the person no one wants to invite.
  • Veganized desserts are a good gateway food for non vegans.
  • Offering to bring your own food to a dinner party goes a long way in putting a non vegan host/hostess at ease.
  • Beware of casein.  Casein is a milk protein used in making things like cheese (as well as plastics and adhesives).  Some “veggie” cheeses have casein.  Casein comes from cows, and is therefore, not vegan.  :o)
  • Just because it says it is vegetarian does not in any way make it vegan friendly.  Become an expert in reading labels.
  • When you see an ingredient you have trouble pronouncing or do not know what it is, look it up and make an informed decision before you eat it.
  • Although not healthy, Oreos are in fact vegan! 🙂
  • Whole Foods rocks as a grocery store.  In my home we lovingly call it Vegan Mecca!  Be aware, though, it can be really expensive.
  • There are many vegan processed foods.  These are great, if you are really craving, but please do not make them a staple in your diet.  Fresh wholesome ingredients are amazing in and of themselves.
  • As a vegan, you learn to appreciate vegetables and fruits like you never have.
  • I can eat at almost any restaurant, if they are willing to work with me and see the menu as a springboard of ingredients.
  • Bar-B-Q sauce rocks on a Baked Potato!  Lemon juice works well, too.
  • Shitake mushrooms can be fried in such a way to mimic bacon.  (Had this at a vegan restaurant, Plant, in Ashevile, NC.)  It is the closest thing to good vegan bacon that I have had.
  • Although Daiya Vegan Cheese is highly convenient and good, there are other options.  There is a whole movement of Vegan Artisan Cheeses.  Thinking I am going to learn how to make my own vegan cheese.  Also, if you are making a dish for non vegans that involves cheese, If you by a block of vegan cheese (I love Galaxy’s Vegan Rice Cheddar) and shred it yourself, it looks more like non vegan cheese.
  • Better than Bouillon (the vegan friendly ones) have become staples in our house.
  • Silken Tofu can be used in a myriad of ways.
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer is amazing in baking.
  • Extra Firm Tofu is awesome stir-fried as a protein or used as you would boiled or scrambled eggs.
  • There’s a duo out there who are cooking through and veganizing the entire Betty Crocker Cookbook.  It is because of people like them that I knew I could be a vegan.  You can check them out here:  http://www.meettheshannons.net/p/betty-crocker-project.html
  • Frozen Vegan shrimp/prawns are completely bizarre and rubbery.  Still learning how to veganize seafood well.
  • There is a huge learning curve to being vegan.  Think of it as an adventure.
  • If you are going to shop for new ingredients like Ener-G egg replacer, Vegan Cheezes, Veganaise, etc.  Google them before you leave the house, so that a) you know what they look like, b) you know what section of the store to look in, c) you can figure out what stores carry them.  (And do not be afraid to ask for help.)
  • Vegan sausage is the best vegan meat I have encountered so far.  Vegan pulled pork is a close second.

About Living Well

I am a vegan who loves food and loves life. Why am I vegan? Vegan living seemed to be a holistic way to live. Choosing to live as a vegan is helping me to live more environmentally conscious, more ethically, and more healthy. That said, I still wanted to be able to have foods that I loved. This site will be a place that I share ideas on living well and share vegan recipes. Some recipes are naturally vegan; other recipes I will take and veganize them. My influences in cooking are from my Granny (who is now 96 years old) who taught me how to make homemade buttermilk biscuits, syrup cookies, okra, and other southern comfort favorites; my mom, who knows how to host, and from living in places like London, Spain, and Costa Rica. When I am not cooking I am a professional artist. Cooking is just one more way I get to be creative. May these recipes inspire you, and may they always be delicious! P.S. If you want to check out my art, you can visit my website at: www.GraceWorksStudio.org.

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