Vegan Faves

It's been a little over two months now since I've transitioned to a plant based diet. During that short amount of time I've found quite a few products and alternatives that soothe my omnivorous cravings. I've been trying to stick to a more "whole foods" based diet rather than filling my body with a bunch of processed stuff but sometimes you just gotta change things up!

Some people may ask why vegans want to eat something that mimics the look and taste of animal products. I think this quote from an older Huffington Post article says it best: "As it turns out, vegans did not stop eating animals because they didn’t enjoy the taste. Who doesn’t enjoy the taste of a juicy hamburger, or a few slices of bacon? However, vegans chose to stop consuming and using animals on an ethical basis." Do I miss the taste of a burger or grilled chicken sometimes? Like, kind of. I do for a split second then I think about how those animals were mistreated before being slaughtered and how it's like a living thing that I would be eating. After all that gruesome stuff goes through my mind the thought then usually disappears and I remember all the awesome things I get to eat anyway. Regardless of whether or not you eat animal products I've found a bunch of awesome alternatives that I think could fit into any diet!

First and foremost, Daiya products have been a game changer. So far I've tried their frozen (GLUTEN FREE!) pizzas, all three flavors of their (GLUTEN FREE!) mac & cheese, shredded cheese alternatives, and a salad dressing. All of them have been more than satisfying and dare I say even better than actual dairy products?! I dared it, and I said it.

Next up is Ben & Jerry's dairy free ice cream. You seriously wouldn't even know they were dairy free unless you read the label. They have a somewhat limited collection compared to their variety of regular dairy ice cream, but the options they've provided are delish so I ain't complainin!

Earth Balance faux cheesy corn puffs are bomb. I used to really love Smart Foods white cheddar popcorn and this is the perfect replacement.

One thing I was really pumped about was discovering vegan pizza. As I mentioned before there are a few frozen alternatives but when I'm craving a specific kind of pizza and wanna save some cash I go the "homemade" route. (I say homemade because so far the only gluten free/vegan crusts I've been using are frozen, lol.) On top of the crust I just use regular tomato sauce, Daiya's mozzarella cheese, and vegan pepperoni plus whatever veggies I want. So far I've tried two different varieties of vegan pepperoni and the Tofurky brand has proven to be my favorite. It pretty much looks exactly like pepperoni and the flavor is pretty close. It's just not as intense as the real pepperoni taste in my opinion. But still, it hits the spot when you've got a craving!

Vegenaise Pesto Gourmet spread is amazing. I use it on wraps and sandwiches that are piled high with fresh veggies. It's kind of my replacement for hummus at the moment because I need a break from it. (I went HAM on the hummus when I first transitioned to a plant based diet and I'm over it for the time being.)

Like I said before, I try not to rely on these processed products too much. Just because they're vegan doesn't mean they're the healthiest options, especially when compared to fresh produce. A lot of these products can also be quite pricey. I think seeing these prices in stores can give people some false impressions about how affordable a plant based diet is. If you're only buying some of these products occasionally and the rest of your shopping list contains fresh fruits and veggies, grains, and legumes it all balances out. I also think a lot of time people are okay with paying a little extra for "good" meat, so paying a similar price to something without meat seems crazy to them. But when meat isn't in the picture any more you're able to invest more money in quality and even specialty plant based options.

So far I'm pretty happy with how eating this way makes me feel, both physically and morally. Intentionally eating this way is pretty empowering when you think about all the ways you're helping by making some small sacrifices. I'd encourage anyone who's interested to switch out some regularly occurring animal products in their diet to plant based ones and see how it goes! 


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