Anything You Can Make, I Can Make Better

No, I’m not necessarily implying that I’m some amazing chef with a magic touch. I wish I was.

I’ve been inspired to make this post thanks to my boyfriend, who I’m lucky enough has been extremely understanding of my vegan lifestyle. That’s actually he started the ball rolling: as the kids say, he “slid into my DM’s” on Twitter asking me questions about veganism. Over the past weeks together, I’ve started teaching him about my typical days of eating and how to read food labels. But the most admirable part of this time has been not only his willingness to dabble in veganism, but the fact that he is so amazed by how easy it is.

My family has also been amazed by the ease of veganism. I’m a very flexible person, and when I first successfully transitioned, coming back home for meals was scary. I didn’t want to be a bother for my family, having to constantly go out of their way to make separate meals for me. But it was much easier than even I expected.

And when mentioning how easy veganism truly can be, this is even coming from a small Midwest community that doesn’t host specifically vegan restaurants or stores. This is simply choosing plant-based items already found in supermarkets like Walmart or Hy-Vee. These chain stores are really expanding their vegan options as the lifestyle becomes much more popular and recognized.

Not to mention the mind-blowing selection of vegan substitutions for traditionally non-vegan foods like meat, cheese, butter and yogurt. I have even found them better than the original (let me tell you, puppy chow made with dairy-free chocolate chips and vegan butter? Heaven in a bowl). Buying all of these fancy products isn’t going to keep you at a low budget, but they are very helpful when first transitioning or simply revamping classic dishes into healthier options.

So many of the basics you already enjoy are naturally vegan. Obviously the main food groups of grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables are available, but many other products are, too. With a simple label check, you’d be surprised by how much is vegan. Or, in some cases, how much is not vegan. For example, my boyfriend and I went to store to pick up ingredients for some mushroom po’boys. Which were awesome, might I add. But we both forgot to read the label on the buns we picked out from the bakery. Turns out they had both milk AND eggs in them. We were both appalled that something as simple as bread, a food you by no means have to make with animal products, somehow managed to have dairy.

Depending the recipe you want to make, changing out a few ingredients can be very simple. I think the most challenging thing has been figuring out the best egg replacement in desserts. I’m someone that needs to end every single day with a treat, but we often don’t pay much attention to the egg mixed into the batter. There’s obviously several options worth trying, such as a flax egg, apple sauce or banana, but it might require some experimentation.

Another example coming your way. My family is one to try out every macaroni and cheese recipe we find. Obviously that isn’t an option anymore for me. But we’ve been trying out knockoffs with different substitutes for the cheese sauce until we find the magic combination. It’s a work in progress. A delicious work in progress.

And for people who aren’t vegan and have no interest in veganism, they would be amazed at how delicious vegan food can taste. Even with the “fake” products, which are constantly improving in taste and texture. Even if you have to trick a few people by not disclosing the vegan status of a recipe just to see their reaction…they’ll probably be quite surprised.

All in all, now is the perfect time to transition to veganism. It has never been easier, as if I haven’t said it enough today. Whatever your food preferences are, if you’re willing to try, it can become vegan. You can go to restaurants and cook your favorite dishes, all while being vegan. Have I ranted enough? Eh, probably not. Now I just have more things to get excited about: not only do I get to enjoy the benefits of veganism, but I get to help my boyfriend discover how great veganism is, too. I’m not even pushing him in a certain direction; he’s just open-minded enough to see the potential the lifestyle has. And I couldn’t ask for anything more. Veganism isn’t necessarily for all tastes, but maybe if you taste the right vegan foods, they’ll convince you otherwise.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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