What made the switch from a standard American diet to a plant-based diet easier, was eating what we like to call transitional meals. That means replacing meat, dairy and eggs with something that tastes and kind of looks like meat, dairy and eggs.
I had a similar transition, and am still transitioning since technically I believe I am what one might call a “flexitarian” because I am vegan at home and mostly vegan with friends. Unless I’m at Central Provisions. Then all bets are off. Seriously. Have you been there yet? I spent an hour on the elliptical and 20 minutes with weights for a shared meal that included bread with nasturtium butter and whipped egg yolk, arancini with spicy tomato sauce, and shredded chicken lettuce wraps that I won’t describe here because I will not do them justice. And, I will do it again.
Back to transitioning (or not really transitioning at all) to veganism. In the beginning, I would spend days looking for seitan and combing through recipes with tempeh and trying to manipulate chickpeas into little vegan cakes that resembled meat. I’ve made fake cheese with nutritional yeast and tried to fool myself with cashew butter.
I’ve never been wildly successful with any of that and am happiest when I stick to vegetables as my staples, like enchiladas made with acorn squash and black beans (thanks for that, Veganomicon) or spinach cooked with onion, garlic, rice vinegar, and chickpeas with raisins and a smack of honey to it.
I had to make that slow transition, though, because I wanted meat (sometimes I still do). I felt very deeply that all protein came from animals and I needed that chewiness to make me feel like I had really eaten supper. I didn’t think I could feel satisfied.
But, you know what? After a vegan day (heck, after a vegan supper), I don’t have that gross feeling like I over-ate. I always feel satisfied, but never full. I like it.
It was good to see someone else have the same need to transition. I mention it here, because Groom and I had grilled romaine with grilled tomatoes and some grilled Tuscan bread (thanks for that, Black Crow) for dinner. And it was perfect (with some extra bread left over for lunch). I wouldn’t have felt that way a year ago.
If you’re even thinking about a lifestyle like this, let yourself transition. Explore your options. And, if you lack true convictions like I do, try not to beat yourself up if you eat a small piece of roast beef a family member made for you because, let’s face it, you’re in it for the long haul.