February 1, 2019 accidentally marked the start of my journey towards a fully plant-based diet. I say accidentally because at that time, I didn’t know that I would keep up with the vegan lifestyle outside of Wonderland Healing Center. Well, one year in, I thought I’d share some key learnings & answers some of the questions I get asked the most frequently.
- Start slowly. I transitioned quite drastically and it did feel a bit overwhelming at times. But I was dedicated and had lots of time on my hands (I was still travelling).
- Sauces and spices are the key. Greens and grains are yummier in a peanut sauce then on their own – that’s a fact. It also brings more variety of flavours to your meals.
- Plan ahead. Getting inspired and knowing what you will eat makes it easier and offers reassurance that your diet stays balanced.
- Stock on the basic ingredients like spices, nut butter, nutritional yeast, sesame oil, soy sauce and maple syrup. They are frequently used in plant-based cooking.
- Have fun! Eating shouldn’t be a punishment and saving the planet doesn’t have to be bland. Figure out what flavours you like and start from there. A lot of ethnic cuisine is suitable for vegans too: Indian, Mexican, Thai (beware of the fish sauce), etc.
I can’t remember how many nights I’ve had to settle for pastas & tomato sauce because there was nothing else I could eat in the house. Enough to make anyone want to quit. But starting slow, with good planing, a bit of research and the right ingredients in the pantry will make this journey easy-peasy!
Why did you become a vegan?
Environmental reasons sparked my reflexion, but it is mostly for spiritual reason that I committed to a plant-based diet. In yoga we often say “We are one”, meaning that killing a living being is hurting the universal energy. And it wouldn’t be coherent with my energy healing work to keep eating animal products. It is also aligned with my values of sustainability.
Is there anything you miss?
I do miss seafood. As I didn’t eat much red meat even before going vegan, it wasn’t hard to make the transition. But when oyster season starts or when I see calamari on the menu, I sometimes feel nostalgic.
What do you eat?
Lots of things! When planning my meals for the week, I try to mix up my proteins to get all the nutrients and a balanced diet. Same goes for fruit and veggies. I’ve replaced cow’s milk by oat milk in my coffee (you can barely taste the difference!) and dairy products by coconut-based alternatives like CoYo. I am not a big cheese fan, but some cashew-based options a pretty damn good!
Where do you get your proteins from?
Many places! Pulses and grains, veggies, nuts, etc. On my weekly rotation, I usually have: quinoa & brown rice, beans, lentils, tofu/tempeh, nut butter & nuts, chia seeds and hemp seeds.
Do you think you’ll ever eat meat again?
I don’t intend to. Although it is more challenging for eating out and being invited over, once you have simple go-to’s, it isn’t much harder to handle than having a food allergy. Luckily, the plant-based diet is increasing in popularity and it’s easier than ever to find vegan alternatives for almost anything.
Is your partner also vegan?
No, he isn’t. Well, not by choice anyway! At home, we eat the same dinner which is cooked to suit my vegan diet. For breakfast, he sometimes has eggs and uses cow’s milk in his cereals. When we eat out, he will make sure there are vegan options where we are going.
Bonus – My 3 favourite recipes!
- Italian Tomato Barley Risotto from There’s a Vegan in the House cookbook (This book also offers ‘flex it’ options which makes cooking for vegans and non-vegans super easy. You don’t have to plan different meals to accomodate everyone)
- Spicy Maple Pecans from Canadian cuisine icon Ricardo. The recipe is on his website and makes a perfect hostess gift, a happy hour snack or a delicious toppings on pancakes and French toasts (or any other breakfast!).
- Anything in a bowl. These two have heavily been on rotation in our house: the Fall Harvest Power Bowl & the Peanut Tofu Buddha Bowl.
Oh yes, I put maple syrup in everything! I am Canadian after all…
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with plant-based recipes! Please drop a line in the comments below or get in touch with me via the contact page.