Transition Foods

 The hardest part about incorporating a new lifestyle is how to blend your old life with your new life, especially when you have a family that isn't interested in your new lifestyle. It's so difficult because I have all of these new convictions, new knowledge, and dedication to do this for my and my families health. But when they, mainly my husband is not on board that can make things tricky. I knew that the kids wouldn't be that difficult to transition because they naturally do not like meat, well real meat anyways, they love chicken nuggets and hot dogs but I do not consider those real meat and haven't for a long time. But my husband on the other hand was another story. But he wanted to start eating healthier which I was happy about, at least he was taking that step forward with me in my journey.

 Image via Veggieboards.com

But, I made the classic mistake of going too far too fast. After my initial introduction of no red meat and meatless Monday went over well I was feeling great about it. I took that part slow. But then once I decided that I was going vegan for the first time I wanted to make all of our meals plant-based. This was a bit trickier because I went against my instinct to take it slow. I was smart enough not to clear out the pantry and fridge and start over with all new plant-based options, I knew that would be too much even for me, not to mention way too expensive. So I replaced things as they ran out with new plant-based items. Since I make all of the meals and do all of the shopping for our family this was easy to control. But then I made a mistake I wasn't into the idea of making a meal for them and a different for me especially wanting them to give up animal products like I did. So I just stopped buying certain products hoping that my husband would just forget about them, mainly milk. I'm laughing as I write this now because I had high hopes that would soon be dashed. I quickly learned that he would not forget and after a couple of heated discussions I soon realized that my new lifestyle changes were not worth ruining my marriage over. It never got to that point but it wasn't worth arguing over. It wasn't my place to make those decisions for him especially since I'm the one who decided to change years into our marriage. It makes me sad knowing that he still eats mostly the same way but he has accepted some new changes and I'm happy with that. I have managed to keep the dinners that I cook plant-based but I do still buy animal products that he can add to the meals to make it like he likes, mainly cheese. Some meals he will do this to and others he will leave all plant-based. I feel this is a good compromise, the main part of the meal is plant-based and healthy so that is a step in the right direction for him. He also is willing to give things a try which is great but he will quickly speak up if he doesn't like it.

Some of the easiest food changes I've made are mayonnaise, margarine, chicken nuggets and baking. Vegenaise is a great eggless mayo replacement. I can find it a my local grocery store and even found a large jar at Costco. Earth Balance is my new favorite margarine replacement, we were big Country Crock fans and I find this to taste the same, with no casein or whey. Baking has been easy too, I've made a ton of vegan cookies and even Duncan Hines cupcakes. For Duncan Hines just check the ingredients but most of their cake mixes and frostings are animal product free. I'm still working on the perfect egg replacer that actually keeps the cake together better but the taste is spot on and using a fork to eat the cupcakes fixes the crumbly problem. Gardein's crispy tenders and Madarin orange crispy chick'n nuggets have been a yummy addition to our meals. The first time I made the the orange chick'n with a stir-fry my husband kept asking me why I was eating meat. All I could do was giggle. He was shocked at how yummy they were, I even turned my in-laws onto them. Costco has them available in a large bag, so these have become a staple. Last week I put them on top of a salad with the orange sauce as a dressing and it was amazing!

Image via namelymarly.com

Other products that I love and my family will eat are Gardein's beefless grounds, burger patties and Life Lite Smart Dogs. These aren't their favorites but they will eat them. I know these products aren't the healthiest way to eat and some might call these vegan junk foods but they are great and much healthier when trying to incorporate the whole family in a plant-based life style. There are many other brands of beelfless grounds and "meat" products that I've tried and that work but the brands listed above are my favorites. It is so easy these days to go plant-based. There are countless products and tons of information out there, it really is much easier than you might think.

However I will not lie, vegan cheese just doesn't do it for any of us. That is the one thing that I just cannot seem to get on board with. It makes me sad to say that but I'm not going to lie about it. I love the taste of animals products and I try not to compare them to their vegan counterparts because I know they will not be the same but I just cannot do cheese. Luckily I've finally gotten to the point where I can just eat things without cheese or a cheese substitute. This has been very freeing. I'm not a slave to cheese anymore. There is only one cheese product that I have been able to tolerate so far and that is the Daiya Havarti Style Wedge. But I do not use it much at all. 

Milk has been a super easy item to replace because I already liked almond milk and rice milk. I do not like soy or hemp milk though. But to each their own. My favorite almond milk is Silk Unsweetened Original Almond Milk which is Non GMO Project Verified and my favorite rice milk is Costco's Kirkland Organic Rice Milk. I don't exactly drink these by the glass full but they are great in cereal, baking and cooking. I've also completely replaced Daniel's bottles of cows milk with these.

I know there are many more products that I've purchased and used but these are some of the staples that have helped me and my family transition to a healthier way of eating without changing our weekly meals too much. So my advice is take it slowly. Replace items as needed when transitioning. Do not go cold turkey especially if you have a family that isn't on board. We still have a freezer full of meat because I used to stock up on marked down meat. I still occassionally make a meal that has meat as the main dish and I just eat the side dishes and a big salad usually. I still buy dairy, eggs and meat for my husband. I don't like to but I do because I love him and respect his wishes.

Sorry if this was kind of a boring post but I wanted to share the things that have helped us transition and keep transitioning as a family. I feel it's very important to be honest and real. It's hasn't been the easiest transition for us but it's been easier than I thought it would in the beginning. It is so worth it for long term health.

No comments :

Post a Comment