Vegan How To Series – Introduction (Why this series?)

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As the year draws to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot about this space and what I can do in the new year to challenge myself (and hopefully you) in new ways. It probably doesn’t come across this way on the blog, but I often struggle with questions like – What am I doing to make a difference? What can I do to help people and animals? Am I growing on a personal level? Lately, these questions have gone mostly unanswered. Don’t get me wrong, I love sharing my recipes with you (and I know it makes a positive difference based on your feedback – thank you), so I have no plans to stop recipe development. It’s something I enjoy immensely more days than not. But there are other things I could be doing and I’ve felt this pull at my heart strings a lot in recent months. With only weeks to go until my cookbook manuscript is due, I’m feeling worn out and I’m sure this a big reason for the rut I feel like I’m stuck in. The good thing about a rut is that it usually prompts a change for the better (with time). Discomfort prompts motion.

In spirit of change, I’m starting a series on veganism this year – simple posts that can make the transition to a plant-based diet easier. I’m really excited about this. To be honest, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for over a year now, but I tend to suffer from the mindset that if I can’t do it exactly right or if I don’t know all the answers, then I shouldn’t do it at all. Well, this is a rather silly way to go through life, don’t you think? The truth is, I’m the only one holding myself back. I want to share whatever it is that I can offer and trust that it will be helpful for some of you. Even if you have no desire of going vegan or if you are already a vegan yourself, I still hope that this series will be inspiring and peak some curiosity about things you may want to know more about.

Here are some examples of questions I receive every week:

What can I replace yogurt with?

What’s a substitute for sour cream?

I have no idea what to do. Do you have a vegan 101 Series I can read through to get started?

What do you eat each day?

How do I get protein?

What the bleep is a flax egg????

What do I do if I have a craving for an old food?

Why do you soak beans and nuts? Will my husband fart less if I soak his nuts? (Yes someone wrote this once…I almost spit out my drink.)

I want to start TODAY…help me!

It occurred to me that it would be more helpful if I posted my experiences on the blog, rather than simply via email. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that a vegan diet isn’t about what you take away; it’s really about what you add in. I didn’t know this for a long time. For every food that I decided to forgo, I eventually added at least a handful of new, vibrant foods in its place. But first, I had to learn what it is I could add into my diet. This wasn’t easy for me in the beginning and I suspect it’s not for many. Three and a half years into it, I’m still very much learning.

To make this series a success, it’s important for me to have your feedback and input. I’d love to know some of the questions you are struggling with right now or perhaps things you struggled with in the past but triumphed over. Everyone loves a good success story, myself included. [Side note: I’m considering the return of reader success stories, perhaps in a Q & A format – would you enjoy this feature again on OSG?]

For those of you who are making some changes to your diet in 2013, I hope you’ll find this series timely and helpful in your journey. More on all of this very soon.

For more in this series, see:

Part 1: How To Make The Transition

Part 2: Replacing Dairy Milk

Part 3: Homemade Oat Milk

Part 4: Homemade Almond Milk

Part 5:  Ten Tips for eating out as a vegan

I wish you a happy, fun, and safe New Year’s surrounded by the people you love! Happy New Year to you all. Thank you for reading Oh She Glows and bringing me into your home each week. I bid farewell to 2012 filled with gratitude.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

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Bailey B July 25, 2016

Hi Angela!
I am wanting to make the switch to vegan, but I am struggling with what I should eat each day, as in what my plate should look like. How many fruits, how many veggies, how many carbs etc. If you could help me I would appreciate it! I have been following your blog for 3 years now and you are so inspiring! Thank you! -Bailey

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Daniel Corich February 9, 2016

Hello Angela,
My name is Daniel Corich. I have been vegan since October 2015 and am enjoying all the foods and health benefits the lifestyle has to offer me. I am writing a research paper and giving a 20 minute presentation on the impacts that the animal agriculture industry has on human health and our environment as my school’s senior project and for part of it I need to find a mentor that I can consult when researching, that can read my research paper, and I can interview as part of my research. I decided to ask you for help because you are a well known name in the vegan demographic, are very knowledgeable and experienced.
Thanks for your time and I hope to hear back soon.
Daniel Corich

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Jane Koda November 21, 2015

Dear Angela,

I am a 73 year old newly mostly vegan person who is thrilled with your cookbook. I have always enjoyed cooking but really love it now. I have tried many recipes from your book. I have one recommendation and one request. Will you ever list the nutritional value of each of your recipes? Our family has to be very careful of sodium intake, getting enough protein, etc. It would be helpful to have this information. Also, do you have a list of slow cooker recipes that are vegan.

Thank you for making becoming vegan exciting, fun and delicious. I love serving a vegan meal to my family and them not realizing it is vegan until it is over. That just happened this week with the tex-mex casserole.

Jane

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Anna April 10, 2014

Hi Angela,

I am really enjoying your cookbook and the recipes are delicious. I am in the process of making a gradual switch to a plant-based diet. I am having difficulty with feeling content after meals and often feel hungry and am reaching for food. This doesn’t happen to me when I eat meat. I tend to feel full for longer periods of time. Do you have any tips to help? Can you give me an example of a typical day of eating for you of meals and snacks? Maybe I am just not eating enough. Thanks so much.

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Marija December 2, 2013

Hi Angela,
First of all, thank you for all the wonderful work that you do – I have tried many of your recipes (admittedly, most are deserts. Did someone say, sweet tooth?), and they are all totally, completely, fabulously delicious!

I would like to ask for a favour, if possible. At the beginning of your blog, you used to review skincare and beauty products, and I really enjoyed that section. As a new vegan, and to add to the how-to vegan discussion, I would greatly enjoy your input on your new skincare and make up regime, and any lessons learnt.

Kind regards,
Marija

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Lynne February 10, 2013

Thank you so much for this series…i watched Forks Over Knives movie and with too many patients with cancer…I am trying to incorporate the plant-based life. It’s all new to me – I do not enjoy veggies but I also have a strong desire to make this work. I have been drinking green smoothies and tried a few recipes. I can’t wait to read and follow this blog. So helpful. I share your story in the ups and downs and eating and not eating. I look forward to healthy and nutritious without guilt :))

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Kylie February 7, 2013

I am new to this Vegetarian/Vegan world. I really want to make the transition to becoming a Vegan but I know that I shouldn’t rush myself, especially when I am having the hardest time even coming up with meals/recipes to eat on a daily basis. I don’t want to be the one whom only eats salads & never experiments. Looking at all your recipes has honestly made me want to go grocery shopping! One challenge I am facing is this; how on Earth do you know what seeds, oils, spices, etc. to buy? I went to the local grocery store for Flax Seed & about sent out a search party to find it (I thought it was a spice.. apparently not). I’m assuming a majority of this is trial & error, correct? A majority of these foods are very new to me (aside from the obvious vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc.).

Your entire page has inspired me beyond belief. I even shared it with several friends. Keep up the amazing work!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 7, 2013

Thank you for your comment Kylie! I learned about ingredients by reading blogs and researching about a vegan diet online. It is a slow process, yes, but I hope you don’t feel discouraged! I have a post called my vegan pantry which talks about some of my most used ingredients: http://ohsheglows.com/2012/04/09/my-vegan-pantry/ sometimes I also watch you tube videos on food prep techniques when something is new to me. works like a charm! goodluck

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Madeleine February 6, 2013

Hi Angela, I recently found your blog and I’m so glad i did, it really is fantastic. You have a wonderful story and great recipes too! I live in Australia and was vegetarian since the age of 8 until i decided to go vegan at the beginning of 2012, being 18 at the time. I became curious about vegans and to me, the word always had a negative connotation. I always remember before i even knew what ‘vegan’ really meant, people generally having a mildly distugusted/confused look of their faces when they said it haha i also did the same face when i talked about it out of habit. People would say “Oh you’re vegetarian, that’s okay, you’re not VEGAN *face* though?” my reply would be “Oh no i could never go VEGAN *face*” haha that’s society and it’s stereotypes and ignorance for you! Coming to think of it i never really believed i couldn’t go vegan; i had cut out major things in my diet since i was 8, meat- which i loved, especially ribs :s haha also when i found out what gelatine was – all my favourite lollies GONE. But i managed every time i cut something out. To me, i could do that with anything now. It’s not a good thing, but i think it’s largerly due to pride issues and self conciousness- if i say im going to do something ill stick to it even if i dont like it, for fear of being judged for quitting or feeling guilty. However my decisions were purely my own and based on my beliefs so it can’t be all bad. Anyway i thought i’d look a bit further into the industries like dairy and egg production which i had never really directly linked to animal welfare issues and factory farming. I had a cold turkey style diet change after learning a lot about these industries and watching things like “Meat: The Truth” and “Earthlings”. I’ll admit it probably wasnt the best idea having such a drastic change in my diet, especially as i was starting my first year of university and had 5 days a week travelling 1.5-2hrs public transport both to and from uni. I struggled a lot with what food to eat, mainly relying on processed meat substitutes, pasta and indian food from where i work, basically i didn’t have a balanced diet in the slightest . I really had no idea about what dropping dairy and eggs meant for my health, things like knowing where to get my B12 and omega 3 (i still ate eggs from our loved chickens that we have, but not as much). So my first year as vegan was not the best i’ll admit. But having the time after uni, ive done more research into vegan meals and nutrition and i have realised ive been doing it wrong! I love all the fresh veggies and fruits you use in your recipes also the nuts – as i dont like them very much by themselves. It took a while to admit that my diet in fact had been terrible to my omnivorous family who were super supportive when i was vegetarian but much less so as a vegan. I think because they were a lot less involved in my food- even when i made simple pasta dishes they’d often make something else just because it was ‘vegan’. The lack of support was truly difficult, i had a horrible first year at uni and felt distanced from my family due to my diet changes and having noone to really discuss my diet or my beliefs behind my veganism with- without being nagged by worried family members- really brought me down. Reading and relating to other people’s journeys is a really nice feeling as well as seeing new ways to cook delicious and nutritious things and make interesting dishes which i can make for my whole family. Thanks!!

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Melch January 26, 2013

I’m pretty late with my reply, but I’m interested in how to get an athletic level or protein (60+ grams) in during a day without much soy. Also, things that are good to bring into work for lunch. And staples to keep in the house to eat when I’m tired and lazy. Thank you!

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Tiffany Z January 8, 2013

I’m so excited to see you are doing this!! I went completely vegan Jan 1, so I’m all for reading your tips and advice! I, took all last year to ease into vegan trying new recipes and reading everything I could get my hands on so I could do it right once I committed. Thanks for all you do!

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j dahlberg January 8, 2013

What a wonderful blog you have created! I found it a week ago when I was looking for a healthier version of fried onion rings to make for my “southern” husband. If he had his way, everything would be prepared with bacon grease! I love your new vegan 101 series as well as all your recipes. I am the total opposite of my “meat eating southern bell” and mostly eat plant based dishes. I too enjoyed the whole husband farting soaking nuts comment and woke my own husband up from a deep sleep as I laughed when i read it. I was most inspired by what you said about not worrying about what you take away, instead be happy about what you add in. This will help me as I transition to more plants and nuts and nutritious alternative flours instead of white and wheat. You got me to purchase spelt flour. Thank you for challenging me and inspiring me! God bless you and your family…….yes that includes the animals! I thought I was the only one to take so many crazy photos of my cat and dog. Look forward to following you on this blog.

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