There are many books and articles on the topic and lots of opinions. I remember going to a vegan restaurant, excited that I could eat anything on the menu, and the cashier pegged me as a newbie. I told him I’d been a vegetarian for over 30 years* and rendered him speechless. And then he admitted he’d been a vegan for less than a year.
(*Can we not quibble about the actual number? He didn’t need to know.)
It’s easier now than it used to be, but change is hard. I’m not advocating. People need to make their own choices. But if you are interested, here are a few things to know.
What do you eat?
Well, everything. Anything I want. I eat the vegan version.
My mom and I talked about this recently. It’s amazing how many times we’ve been asked this question. Then she and I proceeded to talk about our favorite vegan foods for 30 minutes. No one needs to feel sorry for us.
Follow Tabitha Brown
What makes a dish taste a certain way often has more to do with the sauce and the spices. And Tabitha Brown freed my spice drawer. She’s an incredible cook, a vegan and her recipes are amazing. I just watched her make vegan crab salad. Before TB, I was too tentative with the spices. I measured everything. I was afraid to deviate. I didn’t trust myself. Now thanks to the inimitable Aunt Tab, “I do what I want because that’s my business.” 🙂
Make a vegan swap in a favorite recipe.
We love this vegan Feta recipe from Rainbow Plant Life.
Vegan parmesan (store-bought or make your own with help from Minimalist Baker).
The swap for anchovies in our favorite pasta puttanesca sauce is capers.
Pro tip: Google “vegan alternative to _______” and you’ll be off and running.
Try premade vegan options
These are packaged foods and should be eaten in moderation.
Just Egg (the folded style is my favorite)
Beyond Meat breakfast sausage
Chao macaroni and cheese
Boca Veggie Burgers and Chik’n Veggie Patties
Roast your vegetables in the oven
Clean and cut veggies
Toss with olive oil
Season with your favorite spices
Spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer
Bake at 375℉
You’ll need to experiment with cook times and remember that hard veggies (carrots, potatoes) take longer to cook
You don’t need to impress anyone. Do what works for you. Experiment. Be open to new flavors. Try one new recipe per week or even per month.
If you are Autistic and sensitive to textures, smells or changes to your routine, start very small. If you like mac and cheese, try a vegan version. Or try vegan coffee creamer. It helps to research vegan swaps and read reviews. Recipe reviewers often mention texture, and this might help you decide to go for it or stay away. I also found a few articles featuring Autistic chefs that said that learning to cook helped them overcome food and texture aversion.