It’s been over six months since I began my transition to veganism and it’s been amazing! I’ve learnt so much about nutrition, cooking, and also learnt some things the hard way. I thought I would start a “Beginner Vegan” series to help out anyone wanting to transition or is just generally curious about a vegan diet.
First cab off the rank with this series is some staple items for the pantry. These things are always plentiful in my pantry and I use them for almost every meal!
Now I’m going to be a bit of a Mum here and tell you to take your vitamins. B12 vitamins to be exact. I won’t go a lot into this in this post, but B12 is a vitamin that is traditionally sourced in animal products such as meat and eggs, though it is present in algae and yeast. However, it can be difficult to get enough B12 in a plant based diet, so it’s recommended to take a supplement. In any case, if you would like to learn more about Vitamin B12, why it’s important and how to get it, read more here.
Nutritional Yeast Flakes
If you’re not already vegan, you may not have heard of Nutritional Yeast. My cooking game seriously changed after finding out about this gem. Nutritional Yeast or “Nooch” is basically dried yeast flakes. Sounds gross right? But when added to your cooking, or sprinkled on top of your tomato pasta, it gives an awesome cheesy flavour. It also happens to be a great source of B12 (see above) but not enough for daily supplementation. Some of my favourite ways to eat nooch is sprinkled on top of popcorn, in mashed potatoes, or simply adding to cooked dishes like Tofu Scramble.
All kinds of beans! My favourites are kidney beans, black beans, chic peas and lentils. You can make a myriad of recipes with beans, and they are an awesome source of protein (you may notice everyone will be super worried about your protein levels when they learn you’re vegan). The best meals I make with beans are burrito bowls, vegan con carne, lentil dahl and three bean salad.
Spices will be your new best friend! I barely used anything besides salt and pepper before, but since transitioning, I find using spices way easier. The ones I use almost every single day are garlic powder, cumin, tumeric, paprika and cinnamon. Try experimenting with a few combinations and don’t be afraid to try new flavours!
A part of turning vegan that some people struggle with is finding the right plant mylk for them. I am planning on doing a more in depth blog post on this, so if you’re interested, comment below. However, I find it best to try as many plant mylks as you can and just find the one right for you! I promise it’s out there – gone are the days of only opting for soy milk! I personally really love Oat Milk. It doesn’t have a strong taste (like soy) but is still creamy (unlike Rice Milk).
Let me know if this post was helpful!