When I first moved towards a plant-based diet, I relied on a few processed vegan foods. Pre-made burgers, mock cheeses, and pretend hotdogs were a big part of my diet, and I must credit them with making the transition to vegan eating much easier. Eventually, it occurred to me that I should view these foods the way I’d viewed their meat-and-dairy-based counterparts – as occasional treats and not the mainstays of a healthy diet.
I didn’t eat a lot of processed foods when I wasn’t plant-based, so I began to think of things I’d eaten and enjoyed in the past that would lend themselves well to being veganised. Brazilian, Cajun, and Cuban beans could easily be converted, so I’ve been eating those a lot. The same with most greens. I ate loads of greens growing up in the American south, and it isn’t difficult to substitute garlic or onions for ham in most of the recipes.
I was worried about variety, but when I actually considered it, I realised I ate the same meat and dairy foods over and over, week after week. So having ten or so delicious and easy recipes would make plant-based eating a bit of a no-brainer, and I’m over halfway there, and I really feel a difference.
My near-constant brain fog has improved, I’ve lost a little more weight without trying (still a chub, but no longer shopping in the ‘plus’ size aisle), and I find my desire to snack is diminished. I also feel a lot lighter in my mind, if that makes sense. I think I’d carried guilt for eating animal products, and even though I kept the thought at arm’s length most of the time, it was always there weighing me down. I’m still not truly vegan as I have an egg from our garden hens every so often, but I think that’s ok. A world full of imperfect vegans would be a pretty wonderful place.