I don’t normally go for resolutions because I’m of the opinion that you don’t just change something because it happens to be January. Placing your motivation on ‘it’s January’ is a weak place to get motivation from and often dies out really quickly (which is why so many people fail at their resolutions).
So the day after Christmas I just went for it. I did not tell anyone about it. I did not make a big deal about it, I just did it.
I went 100%, completely Vegan.
I have not eaten any animal products at all since 12/26/18. This isn’t actually a huge amount of time. When you look around you’ll find amazing people who have been eating this way for decades. I had been experimenting with Veganism since sometime before Thanksgiving but now I’m officially doing it.
It’s not actually as hard as I thought it would be. I think taking a few months to gradually phase out various foods really helped because it’s been a long time since I had cheese, for example, or any sort of meat but I didn’t go cold Turkey so I don’t really remember when I had any and I don’t miss it. Even now when I write about it.
So today I’m going to take you through a shopping trip and how I plan my meals. I don’t meal prep so I like to have some meals that I can prepare super quickly in 20 minutes before I leave for work. I also need to have enough food to last me for 12 hours and also have a plan for if I don’t have food and ultimately end up eating out (which we do a lot). Fortunately there are actually a lot of restaurants with Vegan options and I’ll give you a few of those in a future post.
My go-to meal is basically a hodgepodge of veggies thrown together. I start with a bean base – garbanzo or black bean – and throw chopped tomatoes, bell peppers and red onion on top. Finish with black olives, mushrooms, some edamame, sunflower seeds, lemon juice and nutritional yeast. If I have an avocado that’ll go on there as well. You could add anything you feel like honestly – cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, mini peppers…. If you feel like eating it, go ahead and throw it in there.
Super easy to prep (step one: dump everything into a bowl) and I just store the rest of the veggies in a ziplock bag in the fridge to use the next day.
For breakfast I’ll eat oatmeal prepared with almond milk. It takes ten minutes to prepare (heat milk, add oatmeal) and you can jazz it up with berries or maple syrup. Delish.
Snacks are usually fruit or Lara bars with the occasional half bar of vegan chocolate (which exists and is actually delicious).
So for shopping, my list usually includes the following:
- Canned Garbanzo beans
- Canned Black beans
- Jar of black olives (read the ingredients to make sure there is no added sugar)
- Edamame (I typically buy it already removed from the pod because it is just easier to eat that way)
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Bell peppers
- Red Onion
- Sliced Mushrooms
- Almond Milk (the small boxes because you can store those if you don’t finish a whole container in a week)
- Grapes OR some other fruit that sounds good
- Tomato Sauce
- Veggie Noodles (noodles made completely out of chickpea or lentil flour)
- Kombucha (one for each day I’m at work)
- Oatmeal (in a big container)
- Sunflower seeds (unsalted if possible)
- Lemon juice
Then, because I can’t just eat three different meals, here are some things I purchase when I’m feeling bored with my current food:
- Portobello Mushrooms (which I marinate and roast)
- Brussels Sprouts (which I coat in maple syrup and roast)
- Beyond Meat burgers (the sausages are also delicious)
- Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Ice Cream
- Veggie Sushi (from Wegmans)
- Veggie Poke Bowl (also from Wegmans, uses beets instead of tuna)
- Gardein brand Orange Chick’n or Chick’n strips
Once I nailed down the meals that work really well for me grocery shopping became so much easier. If I have leftover food from the week before I obviously won’t buy more and I generally end up going shopping about once a week depending. Sometimes things go bad more quickly and need to be replaced (bananas, avocados) and then some weeks I won’t use even half a container of almond milk so I only buy one the next week.
I do not have a preference for organic veggies. Yes, I understand why some people do and I have no problems with that, but for me right now my focus is just becoming a strong vegan whose habit it is to eat vegetables. I don’t generally buy fake meat products because they are very processed and I’m trying to avoid overly processed foods as well but there are times that I just want that texture so I’ll buy a bag of fake chick’n nuggets or a veggie sausage and I’ve found that it really fills in that gap and I don’t actually crave real meat any more. The same goes for non-dairy ice cream. Yes, it’s vegan and yes, it is delicious but I have discovered that in order to maintain my weight I cannot make it a daily part of my diet. I mean, Oreos are vegan but we all understand that you can’t just eat a whole sleeve of them and consider yourself healthy.
I don’t feel restricted, I don’t feel as if I’m constantly hungry and I don’t feel left out. This is a personal choice I made and I’m living with the results of that choice. Will there be occasions that I cannot participate in activities because of what I chose to do in my life? Yes, and that’s okay.
So yeah! I can prep three meals in about twenty minutes and even get the dishes washed. If you aren’t the sort that likes raw veggie salads every day then maybe this plan isn’t for you, but be assured there are shelves upon shelves of Vegan cookbooks. I recently purchased two of these books and will start posting photos for you all soon!
I’m interested to know what other vegans have on their regular shopping list. What meals have you found work best for you? How do you plan for the upcoming week? Any tips or tricks you’d like to pass on? Please leave a comment!
Have a great week!