Monday, August 10, 2009

update on our "vegan" adventure

I've been needing to write this post for weeks. I have TONS of updates to write about recent happenings, but I thought I'd get this one posted now since it doesn't require going through all my photos. Plus, I've had some questions about it recently.

Ok, that was a super boring intro. Please read this post and this post to find out why we are cutting out most animal products.

Our quest to eat a more plant-based diet has been going pretty well. Here is the run down of what we've been doing and not doing...

1. NO buying milk, cheese, eggs, yogurt, etc.
2. NO buying meat (this was not a change for us)
3. DO get salmon occasionally. We've had it on average about every 2 weeks.
4. DO still buy butter. We don't eat it a lot and I think margarine is weird.
5. DO occasionally buy ice cream products. We have Creamies (ice cream popsicles) right now.
6. DO occasionally eat dairy products when eating out or at someone else's house. (We have bought pizza with cheese a few times)

So what do we eat? I actually don't feel like our menus have changed all that much. We now put rice milk on our cereal. We use soy milk for cooking. I've been using ground flax as an egg substitute in baking. You mix 1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsp water to equal one egg. I've used this substitute to make waffles, pancakes, cookies, brownies, cake, and even french toast!

This french toast was made with flax "eggs", soy milk, cinnamon, and a bit of nutmeg. The only thing I had to do differently is I had scrape some of the dip mixture off the bread because the flax is stickier than normal eggs. You also need to make sure your pan is well oiled for the same reason. Most people would not be able to tell the difference in taste... it is just a bit more nutty tasting.

I used to drink a lot of milk and eat a lot of cheese. I thought I would really miss these more than I actually have. The thing I miss most is probably cheese on mexican style food. We have found that avocado makes cheeseless bean quesodillas and burritos delicious.

Another fun and easy lunch is to make hummus sandwiches. We like to add tomato, avocado, and greens to ours.

The biggest challenge has been the kids. They definitely prefer cow's milk on their cereal. And they do miss yogurt. But overall, they've been pretty good about our changes. They still get milk and cheese at their mom's house which makes it more difficult for us. But we feel strongly that this is the right thing to do.

We eat a lot of beans. We have tofu a couple times a week. We have also integrated quinoa quite a bit into our diet. It can be used in place of rice and is packed full of protein. And of course, we eat lots of fruit and veggies.

The two cookbooks I mentioned in another post are very useful--Vegan Planet and How It All Vegan. A friend of mine also told me about the blog Whole Foods Vegan Momma which has lots of great info. I particularly found her posts on breastfeeding/pregnancy useful. See here and here.

This has been a process and it's not an instant change for us. There are still things I'd like to limit more in our diet--sugar for example. I also want to get the amount of white flour and pasta down to almost nothing. We do love our pasta around here. I'm going to start buying only whole wheat pasta.

So I would not say we are extreme by any means, but we have made some pretty big changes. As I said, it has not been as difficult as I thought it would be. The more I read and educate myself about this, the better I feel about our decision to limit animal products. The best way to eat really is WHOLE plant foods. Also, another great benefit of this way of eating is that you get to eat MORE! Seriously. And I've even lost a few pounds which I won't complain about one bit.

Let me know if you have questions. I'm going to try to do more regular posts with recipes/meal ideas from now on. Here's to healthy plant-based eating!


  1. This is seriously impressive. And I thought giving up caffeine was hard.

  2. I love the How It All Vegan cookbook. Their chocolate pudding cake is our favorite spur of the moment dessert, only we add a cup of canned Morello cherries and substitute 1/2 juice for the boiling water. (If you have a Trader Joe's, their jar of cherries is good for two recipes worth. We use half and then freeze the rest for another time down the road.) The tomato squash soup recipe is also a favorite, though we puree the whole thing so it is more of a bisque.

    I'm still too attached to my cheese to give it up, but may one day get brave enough to let it go.

    I'm excited to read more of your adventures in recipes and plant based eating. It's always fun to get inspired in the kitchen from other bloggers.