new veganYou're finally on board with the vegan thing.
Sweet! Whatever your story is, you're now part of the most badass club on the planet.
But you're probably wondering what we all wondered when we first went veg: What the hell do I do now? It's cool - this is the list of beginner vegan essentials. It has everything you need to know in order to stir a sauce, make something that doesn't taste shitty and not sound dumb when someone asks you what tempeh is.
Already bored cause you're a long-time healthy bitch? Sit still. You might learn something new.
easy eatsEasy Eats
Look, you're not gonna survive on the vegetable medley at your local food joint. Vegans can get all of the nutrients (without any of the gastrointestinal yikes-factor) as omnivores. But first you have to know what you're talking about. What is all that shit I can't pronounce? Let's review:
Hummus. Hummus is blended beans, usually garbanzo. The beans are blended with garlic, olive oil and often a teaspoon of sesame paste, but many other ingredients can be added or substituted. Hummus is eaten as a kind of dip, often with pita bread or veggies, but it also makes a great spread for sandwiches.
yeastNutritional Yeast. Grown specifically for healthy folks like you, nutritional yeast comes in powder or in the form of flakes, and it adds a yummy cheesy (without icky dairy) flavor to foods. If you're jonesing for mac and cheese but don't want to imagine baby cows ripped away from their mothers to be slaughtered, then nutritional yeast is for you. Bonus? It has tons of vitamin B12 - an essential one for plant-based eaters.
Seitan. Seitan is primarily composed of wheat gluten. Yes, that gluten - so if you have Celiac's disease or feel that you're gluten sensitive, you may want to avoid seitan. But if you've ever had faux meat that you swore could have been the real thing, you were probably noshing on gluten.
Tempeh. Made from soybeans (that are sometimes mixed with grains) that are fermented, tempeh is a healthy choice that has more nutrients (and less phytoestrogens) than tofu, and it's also generally more flavorful.
tofuTofu. Tofu is created by coagulating soymilk and then smooshing the curds. On its own, it doesn't pack much flavor, but it can be eaten and cooked in so many ways that it's a very versatile little dude to include in your fridge.
Spices. Girl, get a spice rack. Vegan food depends on the flavors of fresh herbs and spices. No need to be meticulous about what you're throwing in a pot, either. Experiment. Have fun.
Tools and Things
In an ideal world, we'd all have that $400 shiny food processor on our counters, but it's like, a recession. So we can't. Here are the bare minimum gadgets and tools to keep on hand:
A good knife. Whether it's veggies, fruits or tofu, your ass is gonna be a-choppin'. If you can't afford the foofy Williams Sonoma kind, try going to a restaurant supply store in your 'hood - they have fantastic knives that are often a third of the price.
potA big-ass pot. You need this to make veggie broths, soups, stews and chili. These are hearty and nutritious and will save your ass in the winter months.
A frying pan. Stir fry has endless variations and will keep you from getting bored of eating beans and rice every day. You can also make delicious banana pancakes and other vegan recipes with this simple staple.
A sauce pan. Preferably, get one with the metal steaming attachment so you can steam your veggies too. But if you can't afford that, you can steam vegetables in the microwave quite easily.
blenderA strainer. This is a "colander" in fancy talk. You'll drain veggies, pasta and beans like, all the time, so you need one. You can find them at Target for $1.
A blender. The poor person's food processor, your blender will make you delicious juice, smoothies and veggie dips, and you can get them pretty cheap these days. When in doubt, check Goodwill or garage sales.
The Bottom Line
You can buy expensive stuff if you want to, but your vegan lifestyle will work just fine with the tools you've already got in your cabinets. Try not to let the unknown properties of tempeh or juicing freak you out. Just like when you ate animal products, try to eat a delish, balanced diet that will give you tons of energy to get through your day.
And when you get stuck with questions, hit us up on www.healthybitchdaily.com
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