I have had some people asking me lately about resources for becoming vegan. I am far from an expert, I haven’t even been a vegan for a year yet, but I would like to share some tips and great resources I’ve found.
I’d also like to note than due to the economic climate I know many people are in the same (or worse!) financial situation as me. While it is tempting to go out and buy every book about veganism when you’re thinking about transitioning, I would urge people on a tight budget to but fewer books and more groceries! The only way to learn vegan cooking is to do it, and in my opinion the only way to be vegan is to cook (unless you’re fabulously rich or lucky and can have someone cook for you!). Furthermore, many people complain about the cost of vegan and/or organic foods. If your health isn’t worth spending money on, what is?
Okay, so here goes.
1. Cook. Cook. COOK! Cook anything, cook everything. Make sure you use recipes from a trusted source (see mine below) and don’t alter it! at least the first time you make a recipe. If you don’t like a main ingredient in the recipe, maybe that’s not the best recipe to make.
2. Buy organic. Especially for the “dirty dozen”!
3. Start by cutting down on non-vegan things: tell yourself you’re not eating cheese (or chicken or beef) this meal, or today, or this week, or this month… And then just keep going! It feels less like you’re depriving yourself, and more like you’re not having it because you don’t want to, which by the way is the truth.
4. Find out more. The more I read about dairy cows, swine flu, pigs social hierarchy and lifestyle disease, the less I ever want to go back.
5. Find some truly excellent vegan food. In the Bay Area I highly recommend Herbivore, Cinnaholic, Nature’s Express and Lanesplitter (vegan pizza!) In southern California I love Native Foods and Real Food Daily. If you live in a city that isn’t veg-friendly, try ordering food online or go to asian restaurants, they tend to have more vegan options. And then cook some more!
My favorite resources:
Best Vegan Cookbook:
Veganomicon, Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Terry Hope Romero. This book is such a resource, it’s the size of a dictionary and so far I have not had a bad meal made from one of these recipes.
Best book about where meat comes from:
Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer.
Best All around vegan guidebook:
The 30 Vegan Challenge, Colleen Patrick Goudreau.
Isa also has an amazing blog, The Post Punk Kitchen and Colleen has an awesome podcast, Vegetarian Food for Thought (don’t be fooled by the name, it’s all vegan.)
A few other noteworthy blogs and cookbooks:
- Fat Free Vegan, Susan Voisin
- Oh She Glows, Angela Liddon
- Vegan Latina, Terry Hope Romero
- Chef Chloe, Chloe
- Vegan Express, Nava Atlas
- Lastly, for those who are interested in Raw Veganism or incorporating some raw recipes into their diet, my friend Venita has an awesome blog: Om Nom Raw, Venita Hale.
Thanks, Annie. It’s great to have a list of the best of the best!