I thought I share some insights about my decision to go Vegan (food wise) It’s been 6 Months.
Very fresh so to say and I can inform you already, there is no way I am ever going back.
Why? Because I do feel a difference.
I have more energy and I’ve never looked better. Not that I lost a lot of weight, not at all = 2 kg. But even after the first 2 weeks I saw that my body started to change dramatically (again no weight loss but I looked slimmer and my skin felt tighter.)
I simply looked and felt better.
It felt like my body started to use all the saved up old fat and I kind of got a different body shape (This is how I can describe it the best).
Hoping, I am not over sharing here but my bowel movement improved a lot. I thought everything was fine in that department but now I know that this was very much not the case…
Anyways, I guess the biggest change is to go back to actually eating food instead of packed “food like products”.
Be prepared to spend a lot more time in the kitchen and a lot less money on food. And realising how easy it is to prepare certain foods. Love, Humus for example but it never even crossed my mind to make it myself. Now chick peas and Tahini paste (The picture is from the site I linked too), which is now my favorite, go to ingredients. Tahini makes everything taste better!
In general, I do enjoy cooking and know my way around the basics. As well as I am used to make my own lunch, the evening before I go to work. These are things that helped me a lot since I didn’t needed to change my routines that dramatically as other people might encounter.
The other problem I had was that basically all the dishes I am used to eat are, well…. Not an option anymore.
So I needed to learn “cooking” from scratch again. I had no idea about all the different kinds of beans and lentils out here! honestly the only kind of bean I was able to come up with was the Kidney bean. (used only in Chilli con carne – needless to say I had a lot of catching up to do).
Coming from eating mostly German dishes, Italian dishes and Swedish dishes (full with meat,cheese,fish and cream….. did I mention cheese? and more cheese!)
I needed to change a lot in what I can eat since I realised rather early that all these “Vegan meat” options are nothing for me, Soy sausage must be the most disgusting thing I ever ate. Bäh.
So what saved me?
Actually the cultural broadness of Swedish Supermarkets. There are 2 (a little bit crazy) supermarkets that more or less speciallized in Middle Eastern / Persian / African Foods and of course there are more then one Chinese and even a Thai food store (yeay!)
The first thing I did was going into the Middle Eastern/Persian Supermarket and bought all kind of beans I was able to find. I’ve never seen most of them ever before and had literally no idea how to cook these or in general what to do with them. But thank God there is this thing called the Internet! So I was able to Google my way through different recipes that I adapted (usually I call it “veganizing” – I have a whole collection on Pinterest with recipes that are vegan or need to be “veganized). Most of the times it’s only to change out the “normal milk” with Oat milk or something similar and obviously not having meat in it.
So I took a lot of inspiration from Country’s that have a hot climate and generally don’t have much to do with milk and cheese, simply because it would turn bad fast in the heat.
I added a few recipes for you that truly changed my way of Vegan eating. I cooked all of these dishes myself but realised I’m not as good in taking “sexy” food pictures. I will try to get better.
Egypt = Stewed Fava beans also called Ful (In the recipe I linked to, they wrote to cook eggs, but just leave that out. Like I did.)
(Here you can see my first attempt on a food picture, I did add some extra Tahini on this dish – yummy!)
Lebanese/Arabic = Mujaddara Instead of Turkish yogurt, I like to take a little bit “Oatley i mat” it’s like the Vegan creme-fraice.
Greek/Israeli? = Moussaka Here you will find a lot of non-vegan ingredients, which is no problem to “veganize”
– Don’t use beef (dah) Choose beans instead!
– Instead of cow milk use Cashewnut milk! (since we use more cashews later it goes together beautifully)
– Use magarine without milk! (I was so surprised that magarine, always has milk in it, if not stated diffrnetly, weird)
– Crush, cashews and use them instead of Parmesan!
– The best egg substitute is potatoe wheat, If consistency is what you are after.
You see, easy
Africa = Manioc/Garri (That’s the name I know it from) but also called Cassava – Is one of the most tastiest things ever! I think you can best describe the taste as some sort of potato (even though it is a woody shrub). My childhood friend’s father was from Nigeria so this is how I had my first taste of Garri. And I never forgot it. The only time I was able to find it again was in a Restaurant in Stuttgart, Germany called Ambiente Afrika and here in Sweden, in one of the “little crazy” Supermarkets, Prisma. I love Garri. Like a lot.
There are plenty of Vegan (Vegetarian) options in the African way of cooking (just don’t add the meat)
I think you can say the same about Indian cooking. There are lots of DELICIOUS vegan dishes… hm, lentils.
Asian food became my new best friend. And I love Tofu. Natural/marinaded/fried.
The best thing about it is that it is super convenient, I can get a Asian dish on basically every corner (In Sweden, in Germany, Australia or wherever I am) Most cases you can just switch out meat with Tofu – Boom, now it is Vegan.
So much to the “new dishes” I learned about but I also wanted to show you my beginnings on the Vegan food front. as mentioned before I had actually problems to come up with dishes to cook. So I didn’t.
Did you say Vegan burgers?
Well of course I needed to try this! I am not a big fan of the Soy sausage. But these Burger patties are actually quite delicious! (This is something nice to have in the freezer in case that you do not feel like cooking a big dinner or if you just need: food, fast!) The better alternative is to grill some paprika and zucchini and use them as Burger patties. Maybe with some sweet potatoe French fries and a home made Peanut dip? Very good. As you see I couldn’t say no to the vegan cheese. Just for the eye.
That one is also rather funny, These are Vegan fish fingers and yes they are tasty… Really, I was a bit surprised.They do not at all taste like fish (which is a good thing in my opinion) but the bread crumbs around it is the best thing anyways. Tasty things. Also since one of the classic dishes I am used to eat from home is: Fish fingers with Spinach and mashed potatoes. It is good to know that I can still have this “Feel good dish” So far I only had it once but you never know.
Vegan Pizza. It is quite funny, while here in Sweden I had more than one Pizza place that simply refused to make pizza without cheese. Honestly, I thought they where joking at first. I really do not understand where the problem is, I still do pay the same amount?! But the answer I got was that it just wouldn’t taste good. Crazy, no? So that was why I was forced to make my own pizza at home. But very easy to make. Of course better if you prepare and plan in advance and give the dough some time to develop. Which I normally not do, I go for the 30 min version with dry yeast, because – convenience.
What you see here is Vegan Mozzarella, I am very happy that these products do exist, but with time I need less and less.
This is a Pie, I love Swedish pies , so here I completly freestyled and “veganized” a classic recipe. The crust is actually the easiest thing to do. You need: (Vegan) Magarine + wheat + oil and water thats it. The filling is made of onions, very fine chopped. Cherry tomatoes, (drain them very well! Otherwise your pie will be very soggy and that’s just wrong). Spinach and to get the consistency I used potatoe wheat instead of eggs, works like a charm. To give it more of a crunch to it I added flax seeds, the bits you see on top is vegan Mozzarella.
And this is a truly own creation. It’s a merge between a pie, lasagna. I love Filo dough, that is very much a life savor. It works for salty dishes and as sweet desserts, as I will show you later.
Down here, in the neatly rolled you see: filo dough filled with spinach and chick peas. It is really tasty, I took this with me to a BBQ I was invited to. At the beginning everybody thought it was kind of strange to par chick peas with spinach but turns out this is a D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S combo. Don’t be afraid to try new stuff.
I am constantly “free-styling” dishes, depending on what I do actually have at home, as I am sure lot’s of people do.
But now lets move over to the sweet stuff. I am not a crazy sweet tooth but sometimes I also need my chocolate fix. Just eating dark chocolate is sadly boring in my opinion so when I crave something sweet that means baking. I personally think that Vegan baking goods like cakes, muffins,coconut balls, cupcakes are the tastiest. Honestly.
Here I made some very simple and easy chocolate cupcakes. All you need is dark chocolate (preferably fair trade) Wheat, magarine, baking powder and vanilla sugar – it is fast, easy and gives me the chocolate fix I need once in a while. Maybe you want to add some Peanut butter? Or nuts? Work with some berries? Whatever you have at home.
Vegan pancakes, are as well super easy to make, and are perfect for a luxury Sunday morning breakfast. Also here you need only: vegan milk of your choice, baking powder, wheat and melted magarine and sugar. Maybe you want to add some apples? Or to get a fluffier consistency you can also use a tiny amount of mineral water. And then when baked drown them in maple syrup. That’s at least what I do.
And last but not least my all time favorite filo dough in a sweet variation. Hm, Hm, Hm this apple roses are very easy to make (as most of the stuff I bake is = because I’m lazy) All you need is melted vegan magarine to spread all over the filo dough, sprinkle it with sugar (I personally like it with dark sugar/ maybe even a dash of cinamon, in case you what to get into a Christmas mood) Fold the dough to a approximately 5 cm wide “flat sausage” add one more layer of sugar and magarine, put the apples on top of it and roll it all together. Tada! They look fancy even though it is really no effort at all.
So as you might see, I really had a learning curve. Starting of with the dishes I know and felt most comfortable with. Also the occasional frozen dish at the time. Of course I needed to try all the “Vegan meat” and “Vegan cheese” alternatives. I am very thankful for all the “Oatly” products that make my life so much easier and I can still enjoy “creamy” dishes. It is a great way to start, explore and get to know Vegan dishes.
One step at a time. But as mentioned before, after a while you will crave less and less “Vegan meat/cheese products” and go back to REAL FOOD.
(most of the time I only purchased them to see what the ingredients are, so I can make my own version of it, I learned a lot about bread spreads that way)
You see going Vegan is easy. Especially now a days, since veganism is going more and more mainstream and more products are requested.
What I like the most about Vegan food is that it lasts soooo much longer then dairy products. I love that. If you are someone who constantly needs to throw away “cow milk” since you use it only for your morning coffee consider changing to a vegan alternative instead. It is easier, healthier and cheaper.
I didn’t attached my “free-style” recipes since, I mostly take inspiration from already existing recipes and add the stuff I want and like.
But please let me know if you want me to write detailed recepies. I am happy to do that for you.