One of the things that has always been unique about me is how I eat. I was a vegetarian from a young age, and I remember getting a ton of questions about that from new people I met – mostly, what do you eat? I remember a few people telling me that I must get most of my calories from drinks because they couldn’t understand what I ate. Now people seem to understand being a vegetarian more, but since I’ve gone vegan, I get a whole new set of questions. So, I thought I would answer the four frequently asked questions in this article.
1. How Did Your Family React When You Told Them You Were Vegan
My family was really good.
My parents struggled with me not wanting to eat when I was young. They would make me finish my meat before I could leave the table, and normally I could outlast them on that one. I never ate chicken or fish because those words described animals, and I didn’t want to eat animals. So, my parents were never really clear to me about what hamburgers or hot dogs or steak was made of so that I didn’t refuse it. Once I got old enough, of course, I stopped eating it. It took them over 25 years to fully accept me being vegetarian, but, eventually, they did.
My husband and I had tried to go vegan a few times, but the day after we watched What The Health, I knew that I was going to be vegan forever. I phoned up my mom, told her that we had gone vegan and this time it was going to stick, and then let her know that we would have them over for supper (instead of her trying to make vegan food) as I figured out how to cook vegan. In the beginning, I was having a heck of a time with it and I knew my mom was going to have an even harder time.
My parents were fine with it right from the beginning. They had a lot of questions about we could or could not eat. They bought us vegan food as they learned more about it. They enjoyed the food we cooked. And eventually, they begin to tell other people about us because they thought it was such a good thing.
I don’t have an extended family that I see, so I didn’t need to explain it to them or see their reaction.
My friends didn’t mind at all. They were used to me eating differently than them anyway. They were curious, but didn’t understand it and really didn’t care.
My husband’s family was a little different. He comes from Italy and his mother and sister are the only two who are living in Canada, so there’s not a lot of family members to deal with. But, his mother could not accept us being vegan.
We eventually had to stop eating at her house because she was putting eggs and dairy in dishes and we felt horrible that we had to refuse them.
In other words, us going vegan caused us to limit the time we spent with her because she is all about food and feeding other people, and she just wouldn’t accept that we didn’t eat butter, cheese, and eggs. She still buys us milk chocolate every Christmas.
Honestly, his mother knows how we eat but pretends like she’s ignorant so she can get upset. If you’ve ever watched Sopranos, and know Olivia and how she acts around other people, then you know my husband’s mother. They are two peas in a pod. It’s funny to watch, but not so fun to deal with.
His sister thinks it’s interesting and has had a lot of questions. But she cooks traditional Italian food for her family, and she is so wrapped up with her in-laws and her abusive husband (a whole other story) that we never eat with her anyway.
2. Do You Like Vegan Products That Resemble Meat?
No, because I’ve never liked meat to begin with. Since I was young, my favorite dishes didn’t have meat in them, so when I went vegan, I didn’t need to use fake meat.
My husband, on the other hand, was a meat-eater for a few years after we got together. Then he went vegetarian and he would sometimes buy fake meat for himself.
He mostly like Yves products. Lately, he’s been eating a ton of ground round, and he likes the deli slices – ham and salami. He says it reminds him of the deli slices he used to eat. He’s tried the Beyond stuff and he likes it, but he feels sick after he eats it. It’s almost too junky for him.
Why does he like fake meat? He likes the taste of it.
I think a lot of vegans that went vegan for the animals or environment still want the taste or texture of meat. While my husband says a lot of fake meat doesn’t have the same texture, the taste is pretty decent.
3. Is There Anything I Miss As A Vegan?
Yes! Mozzarella. Specifically, mozzarella in cheese sticks.
I used to eat cheese sticks for celebrations. My best friend and I used to go out and get cheese sticks when she would come up. I loved cheese sticks with mozzarella, and vegan mozzarella just doesn’t have the same texture and fattiness that makes dairy mozzarella so great.
I liked mozzarella on lasagna. I miss that.
Miyoko’s mozzarella is good, but it’s creamy when baked, not chewy.
So, in short, I miss the taste and texture of mozzarella.
But, other than that, I’ve found a cheese replacement for every other cheese I liked and replacements for the dairy products I liked. For instance, I have a vegan sour cream recipe that I like more than I ever did dairy sour cream.
4. What Do You Eat As A Vegan?
When I was a vegetarian, I would just tell people that I eat what they eat… except without the meat.
As a vegan, I can still say that, but I’ve expanded my taste buds and cooking skills more than I ever did as a vegetarian. I have a passion for food that I never had as a vegetarian.
Vegan food is good. I would love to say that I ate something different every day – and there are enough vegan recipes out there for me to do that! But we have a lot of favorites that we eat over and over again.
We eat a lot of Mexican and Indian dishes. In other words, there are a lot of spices in our diet. If there is a spice out there, I have it in my cupboard. Burritos, burrito bowls, fajitas, enchiladas, chili, samosas, pakoras, and curries are a few of our favorites. Here’s our new favorite vegan curry recipe.
We eat a lot of lentils, black beans, kidney beans, and rice. My husband loves chickpeas, but I’m not the biggest fan of those unless they are made into hummus… then I love them!
Our favorite lentil soup is this one. I actually made it last night.
Baked beans and baked potatoes. This is often our go-to meal for when my parents come over because it’s so easy and everyone likes baked beans.
We enjoy vegetable stir fry’s with this peanut stir fry sauce. We just replace the honey with agave. We usually use spaghetti noodles for the noodles. If my husband lived alone, this would be his go-to meal. I think he would probably make it every night.
I love baked pasta (lasagna or just pasta with sauce) with this cashew ricotta.
My husband makes an amazing Arrabbiata sauce with pasta and I have an old family spaghetti sauce recipe made with ketchup and vinegar that we like.
As far as parmesan for the pasta, we use this recipe.
For quick mac and cheese, GoGo Quinoa has the best vegan mac and cheese available. Other boxed vegan mac and cheeses have weird tastes, especially as they cool off, but this one is creamy and delicious, hot or cold.
We enjoy pizza and have found our new favorite pizza.
I like potato soup, borsch, and other soups a lot, but we don’t make them that often. I’ve been meaning to change that. We have a good dumpling and a good biscuit recipe that we like to use with those. I prefer dumplings, always.
We do have a favorite Thai place that we go to occasionally. They have amazing vegan soup, spring rolls, and tofu rolls. Their satay soup is so good. I don’t like tofu that much, but their fried tofu in that soup is delicious.
I don’t like fake hamburger meat, but I do love my husband’s portobello mushroom burgers. He cooks the mushrooms with garlic and cashews, throws some slices of vegan cheese on there (there are lots of good options to choose from) and then we make our burgers. It’s so good.
There are fries, hash browns, and chips in my diet. Not all chips are vegan, but there are enough to keep me happy. My husband doesn’t eat that stuff.
He likes his smoothies with protein powder and blueberries. He likes spinach wraps. And he likes oatmeal with chocolate soy milk and blueberries. He naturally enjoys healthy food. He always has.
As far as sweets, that used to be hard, but now there are more and more vegan options coming out. Neither my husband nor I are too big on sweets, but occasionally we go through a sweet kick. There are healthy ways to get your sweets, such as use dates and eating sweet fruit. My husband likes a banana and jam wrap with peanut butter.
But, when I want something really sweet, I would say Cinnaholic is my favorite place to go. They have vegan peanut butter cups. That’s something that’s still hard to find!
As far as chocolate bars, that’s also still hard to find. But I really enjoy the vegan butterfingers I talk about here and will make a big batch and freeze them so that there’s always something available if I want it.
That’s what we eat as vegans!
I’ve always wanted to do 365 days of what I eat and try something different every day. But we often eat the same things, and I always cook too much food and we often have leftovers, so it’s hard to do that. Maybe one day.
Bottom line, there are tons of options on a vegan diet.