Swap Out Substitutes for an Easy Vegan Transition

If I am really going to try to live a life of a plant-based diet, I am going to need substitutes or other food to swap into my recipes!

It's hard to just give up what might seem like everything we love to eat. That got me thinking: What if instead of giving it up, we were just able to swap out ingredients and make most of our meals plant-based and healthier?
Sounds easy, but we gotta know what to substitute!

I have been reading a lot of plant-based or nearly meatless diet and recipe books and I have come across a lot that just suggest giving up all that we do eat now for a new diet and that can be really daunting and hard.
We are raised with so many recipes and traditions we adore and I just don't want to have to stop creating the food we love because we have to omit meat. We can swap it out with other foods and get nearly the same texture, but with much better health benefits.
It's that texture we don't want to give up that makes it hard for me to give up meat, for right now.... I can tell I will be really giving it up soon - within the next few months. All that I read about having a plant-based diet is positive. And, I believe in trying more things that are positive, or at least create a positive change for others or you.

The Vegan Cookbook for Beginners is a wonderful book - it clearly explains the transition into Veganism with health benefits, how to change your diet, how to eat out, recipes and even a Vegan Meal Plan for 2-weeks.

It's mostly recipes, but the beginning of the book has wonderful information for anyone that is - you guessed it by the title of the book - a Vegan Beginner!
Although the book has no Author (It's WEIRD! HOW COULD THIS BE??), I still trust it... Is it because it's published? IDK!

The Book's Substitute Suggestions:

The Egg Substitute suggestions below are KEY! I know I can't give up cookies and maybe making them with unsweetened applesauce or a banana will make them have the same texture..? I don't know yet, but I am willing to try it out!
Egg Substitutes (Equal to One Egg): 
- 1/4 Cup Soft Tofu (Blended with liquid ingredients)
- 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch (+3 Tablespoons Water)
- 2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Flaxseed (+3 Tablespoons Water, blended)
- 1 Tablespoon Whole Flaxseeds  (+4 Tablespoons Water, blended)
- 1 Small Banana Mashed  (+1/4 teaspoon baking powder, mixed)
- 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce

Meat Substitutes: Seitan, Beans, Tofu, Tempeh, Broccoli, and (OBV!) Vegan Meatless Products. 

Save This!

Have you tried any of these suggestions? Do you have any swap suggestions of your own? Let me know in the comments below!

Vegan Recipe: I love cooking in my slow cooker and simply putting in my favorite veggies with my favorite pasta sauce on low heat for several hours results in moist, tender veggies steeped in flavor. It's so easy. Give it a try and let me know what veggies you used in the comments below!

Next blog, we will tackle either plant-based meal plans that meet the Daily Dozen goals or vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants and how to easily find them!


Feeling the Change

Ever since I watched the movie WHAT THE HEALTH, I have been very conscious of how I can incorporate more plants and less meat into my diet. When I say "Diet" I mean what ever I am eating. I am not on any certain diet, but I do have skin issues related to what I eat. As I get older, I am noticing how sensitive my skin really is, and how what I eat either creates inflammation or if it eliminaties it.

This year, I have been reading HOW NOT TO DIE and other plant-based and anti-inflammation books. What is weird is that I have been reading the book and, well....
While at a close relative's house, they mentioned they had been diagnosed with Diabetes. I was a little weirded out because I told them I am reading the book HOW NOT DO DIE by Michael Greger, M.D. and I had actually highlighted the section on what to eat to combat/reverse diabetes - which is odd because after reading a lot of the book, I haven't highlighted ANYTHING else.

I really liked the diet Dr. Greger recommends from the book to stay away from Diabetes:
"Instead of starving by eating less food, what if diabetics just ate better food, as in a 90% or more plant-based diet of all-you-can-eat greens, lots of other vegetables and beans, whole grains fruits, nuts and seeds?"

I like where this is going. This seems like the diet I want to take on, even though I am not diabetic.
But, it's always easier with a meal plan. Although this is not a specific meal plan, it's at least a guide:

"Eat at least:

  • one big salad every day,
  • as well as veggie-bean soup,
  • a handful of nuts and seeds,
  • fruit at every meal,
  • a pound of cooked greens,
  • and some whole grains;
  • restrict animal product consumption;
  • and eliminate refined grains, junk food, and oil."

In his book, he ultimately recommends "whole-food, plant based nutrition" and has a checklist he calls his Daily Dozen, a check list of 10 foods, beverages, and exercise to try to hit everyday. You can download his app, Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen, to help keep track of your Daily Dozen intake and to understand exactly what and how much of the Daily Dozen you should try to eat and incorporate daily. Check it out - it's free in the Apple App Store.

Dr. Greger is really emphasizing how the path to a healthier future is simply eating real food. I know you could argue all food is real food, but come on, you know what I mean these days. Not highly processed and mostly fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and whole grains.

He goes into more detail HERE about how to incorporate his daily dozen into your diet so it doesn't seem so daunting. He also has wonderful videos on his website nutritionfacts.org. "But there's no need to be obsessive about the list. On hectic travel days when I’ve burned through my snacks and I’m trying to piece together some semblance of a healthy meal at the airport food court, sometimes I’m lucky if I even hit a quarter of my goals. If you eat poorly on one day, just try to eat better the next." - Dr. Greger, mindbodygreen.com.

After I started reading the book, I signed up for Imperfect Produce - a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Delivery service. The difference between Imperfect Produce and most other CSA's is you can log in and actually choose what you want for the week. I love it because we are getting exposed to fun fruits and veggies we can't really find in our grocery - Asian Pears, Blood Oranges, purple potatoes, and colorful carrots are just a few of the fruits and veggies we have been sent. It's actually a lot of fun getting a delivery of delicious and different fruits and veggies. I'm on the bi-weekly plan and it's about $7/week.

So far, I love it. I don't have time to go to the farmer's market to see what else is out there. If it's not available at my local grocery, it's hard to search for and find different fruits and veggies.

Imperfect Produce is just a start to a healthier lifestyle. Change is hard, but I have been reading a lot of different books and I want to start a blog focused on how I'm changing my eating habits and how it (hopefully) will change everything from my skin issues to my anxiety - if I feel better inside, I know it will show.

Next blog, I am going to focus on substitutes. It's hard to just give up everything we love. What if instead of giving it up, we were just able to swap out ingredients and make most of our meals plant-based and healthier? Sounds easy, but we gotta know what to substitute! Let's tackle that one on the next blog.



Ipsy Vs. Birchbox Round 2

ICYMI: I recently gifted myself a year subscription to both IPSY and Birchbox and I am blogging to figure out which one I will continue.  
I have been a Birchbox subscriber before, but recently a friend told me about IPSY and how much she liked it. I knew what IPSY was but.... Could it be better than Birchbox? Let's find out! I will be revealing what they sent me each month in this blog series to determine a final winner in the end!
This is ROUND 2!


March Boxes: 

UGH! I don't know why the photo is blurry... I will need to update these 

Birchbox came with Kiehl's - an instant favorite for me. Anything they make, I love!

IPSY came with a beautiful brush, lipstick, eyeliner, lotion, and eyeshadow. 
Also, a fun bag that came with a few markers to start coloring!

Looking at all the magical goodies, I think IPSY is this month's winner, again. 
Although the Birchbox came with Kiehl's face lotion, the IPSY bag had variety, once again, and it came with a cute bag WITH markers. I was worried the bags that came with IPSY would be lame and I would want to throw them away, but so far, so good! 

I can't wait to try the products, review them, and color in my bag!! Check out my Instagram to see the finished bag. It will be up there sometime....

What do you think? Who is this month's winner? Let me know below!

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