1. TELL PEOPLE
I don't mean broadcast it from the rooftops but tell those who you are close to. Tell your family and friends what you are doing. No doubt they will be supportive and probably super impressed. I know sometimes telling people that you are going to go vegan usually results in an eye roll or a big argument about where will you get your protein and how will you be able to live without cheese.. stick to your guns! They will be blown away when they see how good you start to feel!
2. BUY VEGAN
A lot of products these days are accidentally vegan which is amazing when you love a bit of junk food at the weekend. Always read labels and you might just be surprised that some of the products you love are already vegan. Also, a lot of healthy wholefoods are naturally vegan.. Fruit, Vegetables, Legumes, Grains, Nuts, Seeds etc.. so hang out in the Fruit + Veg Section and fill your basket with all your favourite colourful foods.
3. VEGAN SUPPORT GROUPS
Facebook is overflowing with support groups.. type in the word vegan in to the search bar on your timeline and see what appears. Bad Vegans is a great page and they do their best to prevent any negative judgements flying around. There is also pages dedicated to Eating Out in Ireland and Vegan Products. Lots of bloggers have now gone vegan so there are a tonne of vegan recipes floating around online.. for free!! Minimalist Baker, Oh She Glows, My New Roots, Mama Eats Plants and Erin Ireland are my favourites and they are all amazing to follow on Instagram as well.
4. EATING OUT
Don't be afraid to eat out when you go vegan, they are so many places that have alternatives, specific vegan menus. They are usually more than happy to help with any requests you have. Also, most cafes now stock alternative milks so your creamy dreamy flat white can still be yours. Try it with Coconut Nut.. my absolute favourite. Also, Hazelnut Hot Chocolates are a dream! I find once you put it out there and are confident with it, people will see it more as an inspiration that something of a nuisance.
5. JUST DO IT!
Just go for it and don't be afraid. You will learn to love it. I have never had such a varied and interesting diet. I eat more foods that I did before. I find it more challenging and exciting. I have never lacked any protein or any other nutrient. If you slip up, don't sweat it. Take one meal a time or one day at a time and make gradual changes but just go for it. Honestly, you won't regret it!
Creamy Mushoom Pasta - Serves 2-4 (depending on how hungry you are!)
- 1 lb mushrooms, quartered
- 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
- 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 red chili, sliced
- 2 Tbspn apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- 1 tsp smoke paprika
- 1/2 tin canellini beans
- Fresh spinach
- 3 Tbspns chickpea flour
- 400ml almond milk
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- sunflower oil
- To garnish:
- Fresh parsley
- hemp seeds
- Lemon zest and juice
- Preheat oven to 200C
- Add 1 tspn of sunflower oil to a saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Sweat on a medium heat until translucent.
- Add sliced chili to vinegar and marinate.
- Cook pasta accoring to packet instructions.
- Add chopped mushrooms and green pepper to a roasting tray, toss in the smoked paprika, sea salt and drizzle with sunflower oil. Roast for about 15 mins until caramelised.
- When onion mix is done, remove from the saucepan and leave to one side.
- In the same saucepan, add 2 Tbspns vegan butter/sunflower oil and 3 Tbspns chickpea flour. Whisk to remove all lumps and stir until foamy.
- Remove from heat and stir in almond milk, add nutritional yeast, mixed herbs, sea salt and black pepper. Allow to come to the boil and thicken. Add more chickpea flour if it needs to thicken further.
- Once thickened, add the onion mix, the marinated chilies, the canellini beans and the roasted mushrooms. Cook for another 5 minutes. I added an extra cup of pasta water.. then add the fresh spinach.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and plate
- Top with chopped parsley, hemp seeds, lemon zest and juice.