I went to Whole Foods tonight to do my grocery shopping for my latest and greatest project entitled “A Very Vegan Valentine’s Day” which was inspired a runner friend of mine who is vegan!
As most of you know by now I try and buy most things organic. Most of what I got at the store this week was organic, but I noticed my concern wasn’t so much about organic as it was just finding vegan foods.
I am making a dish from The Greek Eating Project cookbook this week. It will be lentil soup. I purchased some “imitation” cheese to put on this and found this to be a somewhat frightening experience! As I scanned the imitation meat and cheeses in the vegan section at Whole Foods I looked at some of the ingredients that are in “chorizo” and “sausage”. Honestly, animal parts and byproducts aside, some of the ingredients on that list were just as bad for your as eating a bag of cookies. I did find a soy cheese that did have ingredients that I could pronounce but some of them were rather interesting. I don’t recall seeing any completely organic imitation cheese which was kind of surprising.
I’m a coffee nut and couldn’t give that up so I bought a different kind of coffee creamer which I can’t wait to try. I got one hazelnut flavored and one french vanilla flavored coconut milk based creamer.
There is a vegan restaurant in Chicago called “Soul Vegan” and they sell some already-prepared single serving size meals at Whole Foods. I mean a regular size portion too–not an Olive Garden sized portion which is ridiculously large for any one person to eat in one sitting in my opinion. Last week I tried a single serving of the already prepared lasagna and it was so good! It was a lot lighter and a lot less dense than regular meat or even veggie lasagna. I liked it so much I bought it for a meal this week. I also bought a few vegan salads with lots of fresh veggies and non-oil dressings!
For snacks I got some unsalted cashews, some juice drinks that I get every week with chia seeds which are really good. Google Mamma Chia for more information. The coconut mango flavored drink is awesome. They are also 100% organic!
My usual breakfast was already vegan so I’m keeping that: organic vanilla soy milk, oatmeal, organic banana, organic milled flax seed and all natural almond butter. It’s really good!
I also purchased three small boxed Pacific Natural Foods organic soups to try that were completely vegan. I got three types to try: carrot ginger, Thai sweet potato and butternut squash. I usually eat their roasted red pepper and tomato soup from Costco but that is not vegan because it contains milk.
When I was walking through Whole Foods tonight I was a bit worried that I’d be hungry for the next two weeks because I won’t have meat as a source of protein. What I learned tonight is that you should never shop when you think you’re going to be hungry! Just like you shouldn’t shop when you are hungry. I think I’ll be ok. I’m eager to see how I feel. I’ve never gone completely without some sort of animal part or byproduct in my diet before. Even if I’ve made a vegetable dish it usually contains some sort of cheese.
Next week I’ll try and make a more vegan type dish that’s more exciting than lentil soup. That’s not really what I’d call daring to be vegan and taking a walk on the vegan wild side. I’ll admit this week I bought some already prepared vegan food to get an idea of what I like and don’t like and also made a pretty easy recipe. I’ll try something more adventurous next week. I’m easing my way into a vegan lifestyle for the next two weeks so for my first week I’ll give myself a break. I’m just happy that everything I got was 100% vegan, mostly organic and didn’t have any scary ingredients!
And I have to put this in here: you can be vegan and eat unhealthy foods. I’m doing this to see what it’s like to still eat healthy and see how my body responds to no animal parts or byproducts. I’m not planning on eating potato chips, cookies and peanut butter sandwiches.
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Regarding faux meats, the only one I really like is Field Roast brands…they are not packed full of junk and are really good! Like any diet, a vegan one can be unhealthy too if your only focus is omitting animal products instead of choosing healthy foods overall. I think you’ll like a fav web rescourse of mine…theppk.com She has some great recipes!