I’ve been getting lots of message on Instagram since I’ve shared my vegan food pics on the social media platform. The most questions I get are “how can I eat vegan?”, “can you give me advice on what to eat as a vegan” or “can you give me recipes for vegan food”. I love seeing people being interested in veganism and I love when people message me to connect with me on my favourite topics! However, I always find it hard to answer their questions. I’ve been vegan for over 4 years now which is basically all my adult life. I’ve been cooking for me, my boyfriend and my mum since I was 16. Mainly because I knew that veganism was a new concept to my mother and I didn’t want to be burden on her but I also wanted to take the control and cook the food that I researched myself. My mother and boyfriend liked the food that I prepared and we started to cook vegan food together – one of my favourite teenage memories!
After 4 years of vegan cooking, I have my go-to meals that I now prepare for my boyfriend and me and I rarely experiment with new dishes anymore because it makes everyday life just a little bit too complicated. Because eating vegan is actually not different to eating animal products. Yes, you reduce cruelty, environmental impact and negative impact on your health but it is just a diet which means people still have different preferences when it comes to taste, people still enjoy certain national cuisines better than others and people still want their food to be quick and simple.
Therefore, when someone asks me what they can eat as a vegan, I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed. I want to explain that everyone likes different food and veganism is not an exception and that I can tell them what I cook for myself but if they don’t like that, doesn’t mean that they don’t like vegan food – they just don’t like my vegan food. I think people that are new to the concept of eating vegan don’t know yet that there’s actually
A LOT of vegan food in the world:
LIST OF VEGAN FOOD:
all fruits (apple, banana, orange, pomegranate, mango, grape, …)
all vegetables (cucumber, zucchini, aubergine, asparagus, corn, mushrooms, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, paprika…)
lots of types of pasta (spaghetti, penne, farfalle, …)
all types of rice and grains (couscous, quinoa, polenta, bulgur, …)
all beans (kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas,
all types of lentils (red, green, brown, …)
all nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews …)
all seeds (sesame, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, …)
lots of types of bread (baguette, pita breads, naan breads, flat breads, sourdough breads, ciabatta breads, pizza breads, …)
basic staples (like sugar, all types of flours, coffee, cacao, herbs, spices, oats, teas, …)
plant milk (soy, almond, cashew, rice, oat, hemp, coconut)
plant-based non-dairy products (yoghurt, desserts, cheeses, ice creams, creamers, …)
plant-based mock meats
other foods (like corn for popcorn, tofu, seitan, maple syrup, dried fruit …)
sauces and condiments (ketchup, curry pastes, tomato sauces, sweet chili sauces, soy sauces, chutneys, mustards, nut butters (tahini, peanut butter,…), …)
junk food (like oreo cookies, other types of cookies, cakes, chips/crisps, already-made popcorn, pringles, …)
beverages (juices, ice tea, coffee, soft drinks like cola, sprite, …., alcoholic drinks like wines, beers, vodka, whiskey, …)
AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON… These are just the foods I could think of right now but there’s so much more!
So now, can you believe me that it’s difficult for me to tell someone what to eat as a vegan? The possibilities are endless! It is simply not possible to tell you 5 recipes that you can cook so that you become vegan because you probably like completely different foods than I do and there’s too much vegan food out there that you won’t be eating then. It is better to learn what foods are vegan and which ones are not and then figuring out recipes on your own!
I always recommend people to google vegan recipes versions of their favourite foods:
Do you love hamburgers and fries? –Vegan burger with fries
Do you love Nasi Goreng? –Vegan Nasi Goreng
Do you love indian curries? –Vegan indian curries
Do you love risotto? –vegan vegetable risotto
I think you get the idea. And even if you want to make a vegan risotto, there are hundreds of different vegan risotto recipes out there!
People also get quite surprised when I tell them that most cultures around the world already have their own traditionally vegan dishes :
Middle eastern countries: Falafel pita
Greece: fava, courgette balls, stuffed vine leaves, giant beans, …
India: vegetable curries, Samosa, …
Europe/ USA: french fries/ chips
China: Tofu & vegetable dishes
Japan: avocado/ cucumber/ vegetable maki, vegetable noodle dishes like zaru soba
Thailand: mango sticky rice, coconut ice cream,
Italy: sorbets, the traditional & original Marinara pizza (pizza base+ tomato sauce with herbs), the traditional Napolitana tomato sauce pasta
Morocco: vegetable tajine
So here are my tips for getting started with a vegan diet:
- research what foods are vegan and which ones are not (by reading ingredient lists on the foods, by using google (or even better Ecosia) to research if a food is vegan) to have an understand of what you can eat and what not!
- research what vegan “processed foods” are available in your area (foods like vegan ice creams, vegan milks, vegan meats, vegan sweets, …) so that you can treat yourself with them or even make the transition easier
- research vegan versions of your favourite recipes and try them out! Have fun in the kitchen! Starting a vegan diet means that you unlearn what you know about food and relearn your eating behaviour!
- get in your new vegan routine: when you know what foods are vegan and when you know what your favourite vegan dishes are, you can now write your grocery lists with all the food that you need for breakfast, lunch and dinner, buy only these foods and get in the habit of cooking your vegan dishes
- BONUS: now that you’re in your every-day life routine, you can explore how to eat vegan in restaurants and how to eat vegan when you travel. Researching online definitely helps for finding out the traditional vegan food in foreign countries, the vegan restaurants in foreign countries and the vegan options at your local restaurants. I always love exploring vegan food when I’m traveling (here’s my favourite website to find vegan restaurants all around the world)! And I have a vegan guide to Paris and Cyprus and even a review to a restaurant in Ubud and Vienna.
I think I’m going to share my favourite vegan recipes with you too so stay tuned for that! But as I said, you can get inspiration for vegan recipes everywhere on the internet!