Hello, again! It’s been a while, but I am back. Lately, a few of my friends have been asking me: How do you stay vegan when you’re craving meat or dairy. Mostly, I’ve just been referring them to books I’ve read, but books don’t always do the trick. Sometimes a few quick go-to solutions are the best bet for quelling cravings. So, to save to a few hours of sifting through text, I’m giving you some quick-and-easy tips:
1. Find Fun Food From Different Cultures
One of the things that was helpful to me when I was transitioning from omnivore to herbivore was finding foods from different cultures that I liked. As it turns out, there are numerous different cultural styles of eating that don’t usually include animal products. Thai, Chinese, Indian (most vegetarian dishes without yogurt…like Dal Saag…though some dishes are made with ghee, which is a type of butter made with milk), Mediterranean (falafel), Japanese (veggie sushi and hand rolls), Korean, Vietnamese, Mexican (veggie burritos/fajitas), Ethiopian, and numerous other foods from different cultures have a handful of vegan options. Just about any Asian restaurant will have several good veg-friendly options readily available.
Okay, this isn't something I got at a restaurant, but it's super-easy to make a vegan burrito.
2. Find Stupid-Simple Delicious Recipes.
Exploring a few simple recipes helps with the cravings and/or omnivore to herbivore transition too. This I know for sure…when I’m craving food in general, there’s no room for logic or patience. For that reason, stupid-simple cooking works for me while in crave-mode. One of my favorite meals to make is vegan chili with brown rice and sauteed kale w/garlic&olive oil. Here is the chili recipe I’ve been using. Also, The Vegan Stoner has been my favorite blog for stupid-simple recipes. Do some searching, some throwing-together-of-food, and see what you like!
3. Discover Your Fav Vegan Soups and Frozen Foods
Having a few frozen packaged vegan foods or vegan soups in stock can help with the cravings. Soups can fill you up quick, and depending which soup you get, they can fill you up for a while. The Amy’s brand has some really good soups (the Tom Kha is my favorite, mostly because I’m crazy for Thai food). Also, Trader Joe’s has a really good frozen Panang Curry and vegetable gyoza (Chinese dumplings).
Trader Joe's Vegetable Gyoza. They taste great with most types of peanut sauce.
4. Meatless Meat & Dairy-Free Cheese…The Mockery That May Melt the Cravings
If you’re craving dairy (which I have been lately…bigtime), SoySation and Daiya have some good dairy-free cheeses. Sometimes just the cheese taste and texture will be enough to satisfy a hankering for the melty stuff. When the craving hits me, I make a bootleg vegan pizza with a whole wheat tortilla, some pesto, some tomato sauce, dairy-free Mozzarella cheese, and some mushrooms on top (Molly Clemens helped me out with that one). Also, Smart Dogs are a great veg substitute for hot dogs…plus, they’re less acid-y and easier on the stomach.