Everyone has their reasons for going from vegetarian to vegan. Mine are multiple. I’m going vegan for my health, the environment and to prevent innocent animals from being enslaved, tortured and slaughtered. Ya, I know. It’s pretty heavy, right? Don’t shoot the messenger. Anyway…. If you’re a vegetarian who’s considering switching to vegan, for whatever reason, maybe trying my step process will help. I’m on step 4. Yes, it is hard, but it’s working.
1. Ditch the milk
This was pretty easy for me. I was never a big milk drinker. I only used it on my cereal. If you like it more than I do, you may have a harder time of it. Still, there are plenty of great substitutes for cows milk. My favorite is almond milk. It tastes wonderful on cereal. There are several varieties. Plus, there are GMO free brands. Check the label. Coconut milk is good too and best for making hot cocoa or adding to coffee or tea. I have every confidence this step will be the easiest for anyone trying to go vegan.
2. Say goodbye to eggs.
OK, now it’s getting a little harder. As a vegetarian, you likely still had some options at restaurants. At least breakfast choices were easy. Skip the sausage and bacon. You could eat everything else, right? Not to mention, eggs are in all those yummy baked goods you love. Luckily, there are vegan substitutes for eggs that taste just like eggs. That won’t help you in the restaurant, but at home, you’ll be just fine. I had no trouble at all with this one.
3. Cut the cheese down.
Oh boy, this was a tough one. I’m cutting out cheese as a two step process. I grew up in dairy country. Of course, anything I go through (by giving up cheese) pales in comparison to what dairy cows go through on a daily basis. So, I started by eliminating cheese from my favorite dishes one step at a time. Giving up that Parmesan on my spaghetti was rough. Still, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
4. Delete the cheese altogether.
Yes, I know. Thankfully there are plenty of good vegan cheeses because this is the step I’m on right now. Next week when I buy groceries, I’m heading to a local market that sells Daiya brand cheese. I’m told it best imitates the real thing. Yes, it reportedly even melts like real cheese. I can’t wait to try it. I’ve tried a few others with mixed results. I’d like to find one that works well in all circumstances. I heard they even have a cream cheese. Vegan cheesecake? You bet.
5. Bye bye butter, yogurt and sour cream.
I’ve always loved the flavor of butter. Margarine just isn’t the same is it? Nevertheless, if I’m to follow my convictions, this will be the last step. I don’t do margarine because I know what it’s made of. It’s just too much of a chemical process for me. For the most part, I’ll be leaving out the butter. When needed or fitting, I’ll substitute olive oil for butter. For instance, I know olive oil with spices is great on fresh vegan bread, but I wouldn’t put olive oil on hot cereal, like I do butter.
Yogurt has been a part of my life for 45 years. Nevertheless, I think I’ll be OK without it. After all, fruit without yogurt is pretty good. It’s just as good as fruit with yogurt (or yogurt with fruit). As for sour cream, well, it’s just a topping for Mexican food in my book. Vegan tacos taste just fine all on their own merit. In fact, the flavor comes out more when they’re not drowning in dairy.
*If you’re transitioning from vegetarian to vegan, relax. You’ll be fine. After all, you’ve already done without the meat. The rest should be a snap.
*I’m finding out something surprising as I transition. The less dairy I eat, the less I want. Cheese even tastes sort of fatty and gloppy to me now. Sometimes, it doesn’t even appeal to me at all. Who knew?
More from Jaipi:
Healthy Vegan Foods that Pack Well for Hiking Trips
Healthy Vegan Substitutes for Grated Parmesan Cheese
Plant Based Protein and the Vegan Diet: Busting a Myth