Life changing events led to Learning the vegan world.
I am completely new to all of this about 4 weeks in and extremely overwhelmed. My mother was just diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I was immediately introduced to A vegan (8 year cancer survivor) who led me to this lifestyle. Along with trying to prolong my amazing mothers life, I can't even believe what I have learned in the past few weeks about my own eating habits. I am just horrified at what we out in our bodies these days. Sadly my moms oncologist said a lot of cancers today are environmental. And cancer is huge and on the rise. He says it has all to do with how we fuel our bodies. I completely believe that now in the short time I've been learning so much. I'm slowly making lost of changes but I do have to admit some things are hard. Getting rid of cows milk was not a problem and I drank milk everyday. It made me sick to learn about cows milk. Meat isn't a big thing for me, never has been, but cheeses.....that will be hard. Anyway, I'm here and wanting to learn as much as I can. Thanks everyone.
Congratulations on becoming vegan! I hope you overcome the initial challenges, easily. I have been vegan for about 10 years and vegetarian for about 16. I find that most cravings for me personally, are really just cravings for a few basic elements: fat, salt, and sweet (sometimes creamy) . If you find that you are craving cheese it is very easy to whip up something creamy with fat and salt in it. Here is what I did when I first started out:
1. Identify the specific non vegan food you are craving. For example, if it is cheese what kind of cheese and how are you craving it? In mac and cheese? or maybe ricotta for your lasagna?
2. Google or read from cookbooks the type of dish you need to satisfy your craving. Use the recipes and try another recipe if you did not like it.
3. Ask yourself if you are satisfied after you have eaten the vegan version of the dish you consumed. Be honest if it did not satisfy, try to add a little extra salt or fat or sweet to the dish until you are satisfied. This method has always worked for me. So much so that when I see a commercial for foods with meats or cheeses. I only crave its vegan equivilent. Obviously, cooking with too much salt, fat or sweet is not healthy even if it is vegan. However, I find that for permanently losing those cravings for me it was necessary. I eventually weaned myself off of the extra salt, fat and sweet. And only occasionally now indulge in excess.
I would like to also express my sympathies regarding your mothers cancer. I hope she heals quickly. I think a plant based diet would help her tremedously. I would also like to say that extra salt, fat and sweet would probably NOT help her heal. So these recommendations are better for those persons who are currently healthy.
There are MANY recipes for vegan cheeses, from cheezy sauce to cheese wheels to ricotta to parmasean to cream cheese. Google contains a plethera of these recipes for free. Also, I have 2 specialized vegan cookbooks that I enjoy called 'Artisan Vegan Cheese' by Miyoko Schinner and
'The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook' by Jo Stepaniak. Although, most vegan cookbooks would have some kind of vegan cheese recipe like any of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbooks.
Lastly, my favorite vegan cheese is Daiya brand cheez. It comes shredded in a bag. It melts great and I make it into a cheezy sauce for pasta by boiling vegan milk and sprinkling the cheese and stirring until it changes into a lovely creamy sauce, add salt. You can also add garlic powder, tumeric and paprika if you like.
I wish you luck!
One other thing, always tell yourself you can eat what ever you want. Just say to yourself, ''I'm gonna try this vegan version f irstand if it doesn't satisfy then I can eat the non vegan version." I don't remember a time when it didn't satisfy and I wanted that other thing. Just keep telling yourself that in the end you will be satisfied so there is no reason to feel guilty or worry that you won't.