The first thing I hear when I tell people I'm a vegan is, "what do you eat?" There's a common misconception in people's minds that all vegans do is eat fruits and veggies and we're starved and and deprived and hungry all the time. There are raw vegans who only eat not cooked and processed foods, henceforth the term raw. And those vegans are happy and healthy too! I won't say all vegans are healthy, because just like with anyone, if you don't eat properly, you deprive yourself of necessary nutriets that your body needs to flourish. You have to eat a balanced diet, but you don't need meat or dairy to have a balanced diet. Spinach has more iron than meat! Bet you didn't see that one coming. And that kale has more calcium than milk. The meat and dairy industry has been blinding people for years into thinking they need to eat these things to be healthy when in fact it's the polar opposite. People are like "oh I could never be a vegetarian/vegan, I'd die without (insert meat.)" Really, you won't die. But you know who does die, painfully, and often times tortured? The animals. Your bacon had a mom. Your veal was literally separated from it's mother at birth, scared and alone, so that you can have your milk. So I promise, you won't die without meat or dairy. In fact, you will flourish.
As a vegetarian for almost 16 years, and a vegan for over a year, I can honestly say that eating vegan is the best thing I've ever done for my body, my mind, my heart, and my soul. I thought I felt good being a vegetarian, but it's nothing compared to how I feel being a vegan. I eat a variety of foods; fruits, veggies, legumes, vegan marshmallows, faux cheese, snacks, and everything in between.
So what does a typical food shopping trip look like for me?
My food shopping trip is bright, colorful, and fulfilling. You see a variety of fruits both fresh and dried, veggies, The Good Bean Sweet Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas which are amazing, Amy's brand vegan burritos which are delicious, and quinoa which is so good for you as it's full of complete proteins and so versatile. You can add veggies and/or beans and make it your own kinda flavor. You could eat it plain. You could replace your oatmeal and add some maple syrup and cinnamon and start your day off right. You could have a field day and just invent a new meal.
So what about my actual meals?
For the record, let me state that I am super lazy with food. That's why I eat so many fruits and veggies because they just require washing and eating, and I'm good at that. I hate to cook, and when I do, I do it minimally. Like in the form of sauteing veggies and throwing them in quiona lol. I like to eat healthy, and I do pretty well with that. I'm just lazy.
Waffles and berries is some of my most favorite foods ever. The warmth of the waffles, the salt from the butter, the cool texture from the berries, and the mapley goodness from the maple syrup is just delicious. I eat waffles and berries for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Sometimes I eat it for all of my meals, I won't lie. All you need is fresh berries, some Van's vegan waffles, Earth Balance buttery spread, and pure maple syrup. Or, if you can find it, you can add some coconut whip cream instead of the butter and syrup and it's like going out to breakfast at the diner and getting Belgium Waffles but the vegan version so it's better. Unfortunately, I can't find the coconut whip cream anywhere. I'm hoping my food store will start to carry it soon.
Lunch and dinner are interchangeable for me. I eat pretty much the same meals for each. Avocado and tomato sandwiches with a pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper is my favorite and I have it at least 3x a week. Simple and easy, full of good fat, and super filling. I eat this sandwich for dinner and I'm not hungry the rest of the night. Sometimes, I'll skip the bread and mashed up the avocado and mix in the tomatoes in a bowl and get some blue corn tortilla chips for dipping and just chow down.
McDougall's makes some really awesome quick meals for work lunches or just super lazy dinners, like the Lentil Couscous you see above. They also make a Tortilla Soup, Ramen "Chicken" Noodle, Black Bean, Minestrone, White Bean Pasta, Miso, and "Chicken Noodle" perfect for when you're feeling under the weather. They have lower sodium versions of some of their stuff. I love McDougalls and couldn't recommend them enough. They have fiber and protein, and they're filling. Just be cautious with your salt intake. I'm like a salt junkie, so I try to be mindful of that when I food shop.
Also, I love Beanitos Bean Chips. I need a crunch with my meals, always. These bean chips have the best crunch ever. They have a more savory crunch than your usual corn tortilla chips. Like, you can really taste that they're made out of beans. They're also delicious, and have lots of fiber and protein. Be warned: as they are made with beans, they can cause some (a lot if you're me) belly issues. I ate a whole bag in one sitting once watching TV, and my poor fiance wasn't happy with the end results he had to deal with all night lol. But, they're a good alternative to actual potato chips. I usually dip these in my soup, or break them up into smaller pieces and put them into my soups.
Justin's brand makes amazing almond and hazelnut butter spreads, including a chocolate one that's similar to Nutella if you're a fan of that, which I most certainly was. Peanut butter and banana is not only delicious together, but great for protein. Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter and banana are so good together that it feels like you're eating something bad, but really it's good for you.
There's nothing quite like a grilled cheese. Especially when it's cold out and you pair it with tomato soup. YUM! You don't have to give that up being a vegan! Brands like Daiya and Tofutti make really great vegan cheese that melts and stretches like real cheese. If you're feeling daring and want to spice up your grilled cheese a bit, add a few thin slices of fresh peaches and pair it with vegan provolone cheese for a sweet and savory sandwich.
Sauted bell peppers and cherry tomatoes are one of my favorite easy meals. Add these on top of quinoa for a simple meal that looks way fancier than it is!
Potatoes of all kinds are just an ultimate comfort food for me. A warm bowl of mashed potatoes is like a big cozy hug. I usually put a little butter and cinnamon in my mashed sweet potatoes. If you're looking for a savory but still sweet dessert, melt in some Dandies vegan marshmallows and stir it all together, grab a spoon and dive in. That's one of my most favorite desserts of all time, hands down.
There's some days where I just can't even be bothered to do more than have hummus and chips with a side of olives for dinner. I'm not a fan of Sabra hummus because I think it tastes like mayonnaise. However, I love Tribe and that's my go to brand. They have so many different flavors of hummus you're guaranteed to find one you like!
So, what about snacks?
I honestly eat more fruit and veggies than I do anything when I'm in the mood for a snack. Cherry tomatoes with sea salt and cracked pepper I can eat by the container. Fresh berries and fruit in general with a little Sugar in the Raw gives me that sweet craving I need without all of the bad stuff.
But, when I want the bad stuff, I want the bad stuff lol. Not that any of these are per say bad, but a bowl of fruit compared to a handful of vegan marshmallows, it's clear which is better for you. Dandies Vegan Marshmallows are tiny little fluffy pillows of happiness. They melt like real marshmallows, make amazing rice crispy treats, are great paired with fruit, and are great on their own.
There's a vegan bakery about a half hour from me that makes all sorts of baked goods, like the Smores cupcake and jelly filled donut you see above. I haven't mastered the art of vegan baking yet, so when I have a real sweet tooth craving, my fiance and I head there and go to town.
There's been at least one (probably 2) occasions where I've eaten an entire box of Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Squares in one sitting.They're delicious! They don't taste like Cheez-Its which I used to love, but they're a good substitute.
Justin's brand also makes vegan dark chocolate peanut butter cups, which are a good substitute for Reese's Cups, another thing I was quite fond of. Enjoy Life brand has dark chocolate bars, like Hershey's that are also super delicious.
Literally, I could go on for days about what I eat. But, this should be enough to give you guys an idea of what vegan's eat. As you can see, we eat pretty much everything non-vegans can eat, except better!