In my household, I became a vegetarian and did not think much about the complications I created. It was very much like me, I guess, not to think about others more than I needed to and I could find a lot of excuses for having been that way.
By the time I became a vegan, I was alone with three little children, five and half years, three and half years old and 14 months old. I was the cook then and got to think a little more about what to cook. Thank goodness for agencies like the Human Services, I was referred to food pantries whose staff new about the kinds of help people with little children needed. My children were not forbidden to eat meat or fish, there just were not any fish or meat to eat. Did I take them to MacD? The short answer is, yes. Qualified as, occasionally.
I was not at war with any one, I was not standing for anything, I was not a champion for anything. Just me. I cowered inside when people called me a vegan. The name vegan came with expectations that were not part on my life. I had simply chosen to simplify my life, (a subject for another day) by not eat animal products. I had made the decision and my body helped me by rejecting foods with animal products to the point where eating a candy bar made sick.
What to do with a Vegan?
So, what will you do when suddenly, someone close to you declares, “I am a vegan”? I guess in 2021 it might not be such a big deal. Veganism is on the rise and in some circles of life it is synonymous with healthy eating. I chuckle when I think of parents who at one time or other in their loving lives might have shouted, “Eat your vegetables!” suddenly struggling with the fact that their beloved now wants to eat vegetables and plenty of them.
What to Feed Your Vegan Family/Friends
Earlier, 20 to 30 years ago, the argument against a vegan diet was that it did not provide protein. This was presented as a scientific fact but it was not a fact. I mean to say, your vegan is safe as long as she pays attention to eating balanced meals. A salad unless crafted to be that way will most of the times not be a full meal. Many were party gatherings where I went and was given a bowl of iceberg lettuce for my meal while others ate three full courses. Sometime the salad had chicken or cheese in it. “just take out the chicken, take out the bacon, take out the cheese.” The hosts did not know much about vegan cuisine back then.
A healthy and balanced vegan meal should include more than just vegetables. Think just like you would if you were cooking for a non-vegan. The key is remembering to substitute animal protein and fats for plant based protein and fats. I am pleased to say even the Culinary Arts Institute now teaches future chefs how to cook delectable vegan meals. While you don’t need to be on that level, cooking vegan food isn’t difficult at all and you can do it too.
There are resources online, at the bookstore, and the library. In some cases, there are food co-ops with staff who are knowledgeable about healthy vegan cooking. We are in the age when supermarkets stock vegan food and schools, colleges and hospitals serve vegan meals. Help is everywhere.
If you already cook, the solution might be as easy as downloading vegan recipes from online sources, watching a YouTube presentation or demonstration and you will be on your way to taking care of your beloved vegan son or daughter, father or mother, and more. There are a lot of easy to prepare meals, meals you could make together, maybe. Learning how to cook vegan meals together is one way of handling the situation. Vegans eat food, there is no need to panic or get upset. Read Eat Vegan With Me by Chef Mary Lawrence. Her Easy Peasy Vegan Eats is a great resource for setting up a vegan kitchen and more.
If it is hard for you to let go of the traditional meals you had got used to growing up have no fear. Let me introduce to you a chef with your best interest at heart, please find, read, and cook from award winning Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s Chloe’s Kitchen, 125 Easy Delicious Recipes for making the food you Love the Vegan Way. I watched Chef Chloe beat regular bakers on the Food Network Cup Cake Wars TV show with her vegan cup cake recipes.
If you’re not looking to buy a cookbook, there are plenty of online resources. There will also be a regular supply of recipes here on A Veggie Lifestyle, join our mailing list for updates direct to your inbox.
Please leave a comment ans let me know what recipes you’d like to see. I’d love to hear from you.