Vegan Mac ‘n’ cheese
Disclaimer: This is not a complete guide to going vegan. Just some help and advice if you are a picky eater.
OK, so it is only month two but I felt the need to confess. I am a picky eater. I have been this way all of my life. I generally hide it from people except those closest to me who are non judgemental. Sometimes food makes me gag. Bad textures and tastes are too much for me. I think it is probably more of a psychological thing. Now I am 25, it has gotten a lot better. I can chose what I want to eat, take my time getting used to new foods and there is rarely anyone here to judge. A few years ago I felt so lethargic and tired all the time. A poor diet was the cause and I believed I ate so poorly because I was a fussy eater. I rarely ate meat or fish, as it made me feel ill eating part of an animal, and over a year ago became a full time vegetarian. I lived off cheese sandwiches, pizza, pasta, bread, yoghurt and lots of sugary foods.
You might think that eating a restrictive diet is hard but it really isn’t. There is so much choice and it is a lot healthier than eating a diet full of animal products and there is a lot of evidence to support this. Eating a plant based diet has actually helped with my fussy eating habits and it has pushed me out of my comfort zone. My vegan journey has only just begun but I have come up with a list of things that I have learned and might help others:
Transition into the vegan diet. It is a big change if you are an omnivore and even bigger if you are a picky eater. If you need to make the change slowly then take your time. Eat the remaining non vegan food in your house but switch out a few meals a week for vegan ones.
Finding alternatives to animal products is key to begin with. Take out the meat of your dinner and replace it with a meat substitute, switch out the milk you eat with your cereal to soy and vegan cheese really is not as bad as it sounds and will help with the cravings.
Eat simple meals. Some of simple meals that I first started with are spinach and cucumber salad, tofu on toast, Quorn vegan pieces on toast, a roast dinner – vegan pieces, roast potatoes and veggies, vegan cheese toastie, pasta with vegan sauce (there are so many recipes online), quinoa, rice and smoothies. I eat a lot of fruit too and generally have a smoothie and a plate of fruit in the morning as this makes me feel so good.
Invest in a good blender. I did have a blender before going vegan. It was OK but it was so loud and started to leak. I’ve just bought a Nutribullet and it is amazing. It is high powered, quiet and even smooths out nuts and seeds. Many vegan recipes, as well as smoothies, require you to blend ingredients. Nuts in sauces are often tasteless but have plenty of goodness in them. It is also recommended that you buy a food processor. I would love one but the ones I have been recommended are £200-£300 so for now I just use my blender and blend ingredients in two halves if I have too.
Find a gateway vegetable. If you don’t like vegetables or won’t try them, start simple. My gateway vegetable was courgettes.They don’t taste of much and are versatile. I prefer them spiralised and fried with vegetable stock and tofu. If you cover them with a sauce it takes the taste away too so that’s always a good option.
Try a little something with your meal every day. I struggle to eat a whole plate full of something that I’ve never eaten before. Instead, when eating something new, I have a small amount and the next day a little more. I get myself used to eating a little of something before I can eat a whole dish.
Eating out. Chips are almost always on the menu so do not worry yourself over that. Plus you now have an excuse not to choose everything else on the menu, that you just happen to not like, that has animal products in.
Carbs are good for you.
Non processed sugar is good for you.
Processed sugar is not good for you.
Falafel is really good.
Make sure you are eating enough calories else you will feel weak and dizzy.
Dairy free chocolate exists in places such as Holland and Barrett and most supermarket’s own brand dark chocolate is dairy free.
Nice cream is delicious and healthy – look it up.