Feeling Overwhelmed

Bart

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OK so for the last 51 years I've been a meat eater, this isn't working out for me. I'm seriously obese and unfit. I've dieted and lost lots of weight plenty of times but then I revert to form with the obvious consequences.

So after a last hurrah in Las Vegas last week my plan was to go vegan overnight on my return home to the UK.

This has not proved to be as easy as I expected it to be. (I have a tendency to not think things through) It seems that Tesco's doesn't have a vegan ready meals isle and stuff I didn't expect to have animal products in it does.

So I'm going to have to learn how to cook, apparently bunging ready meals in the microwave isn't cooking.

The vegan recipes I'm finding are unfortunately not written for idiots like me, they start with things like "sauté some potatoes" I have no clue what that means, they also involve ingredients that I have never heard of, I don't know where to find them or indeed what they even look like.

So I have revised my plan. Meat has gone from my diet, that's the easy bit. I'm gonna start with attempting to cook a couple of vegan meals a week and gradually build up knowledge and ingredients.

Suggestions on where to shop, and easy (very easy, did I say easy) meals to cook welcomed.
 

gab

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Bart ... Tesco does have a well stocked vegan ready meals isle. I promise, I live near one ;)

Examples of stuff I find in my local Tesco (there's much more):

http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=263123095

http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=264259612

http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=283760830

http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=283741939

Jacket potatoes (microwave), beans (microwave), vegan cheese like these below:

http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=285363592

http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=285363364

I hope this helps - I did spend hours in mine ready labels and identifying the right products.
 

Jamie in Chile

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How about boil some pasta or rice and then add some veg to it. You can buy one of those packs of frozen mixed veg. You could even throw the veg in with the pasta (perhaps for less minutes) and boil them together to keep it really easy.

Instead of doing stuff with potatoes just slide a tray of chips in the oven. Although seriously obese hmm Ok maybe not too often.

For breakfast I do one piece of toast with vegetable butter with tomato (uncooked) and mushroom (fry). It takes about 5 minutes to prepare. Another really easy breakfast is cereal. However, if you are obese, consider just a piece of fruit for breakfast, at least some of the time.

I have lost 9 kilos on a vegan diet in 7 months. It's not a magic bullet though, I also ate less food and sometimes went hungry and almost completely cut out junk food.

A vegan diet is the best diet for someone obese but eat whole plant foods with almost no junk and minimal processed foods to do this right.
 

Naturebound

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Yeah, if trying to lose weight and learn to be healthier, ready made meals are probably not the best way to go.

Breakfast:
oatmeal is very easy. You can buy it in bulk or a canister and it is VERY cheap. To make, measure out some oats into a bowl. One serving is 1/2 cup dry. I usually eat two servings (1 cup dry and it comes out to 2 cups cooked). Add a little cinnamon spice if you wish. Heat some water in a pan on the stove. If you have one serving of oats (1/2 cup dry) you would need 1 cup of water. If you have two servings, you would need 2 cups of water. Heat the water to almost boiling, then pour it over the oats in the bowl. Let it soak about five minutes and you have cooked oatmeal. I like to add frozen or fresh berries to mine, or a banana, or nuts or seeds, or a combo of the above. It doesn't get much easier than this. I do not add sugar to mine. The berries and/or banana make it somewhat sweet. If you want more of a salty effect, add some chopped walnuts or almonds, or a tablespoon of peanut butter.

Beans on toast. Bread can be tricky as so many are not vegan due to honey and added D3 or other strange ingredients like L cysteine. Sometimes you can find vegan bread in the freezer section of your grocery. The reason they are there is due to not adding preservatives to be shelf stable. These are often vegan friendly. Otherwise, you will need to do some research to find out what brands of bread are vegan in your area (I am not familiar with the U.K.). Once you figure that out, and where to find it, life gets easier lol. I tend to make my own bread which is cheaper and easiser yet, but I understand when you are new to cooking that would be overwhelming. At any rate, I like to add black beans and salsa over toast, or can of fat free refried beans (full fat ones usually contain lard), or white beans and blackstrap molasses over toast.

Another simple breakfast. I cube a serving of tempeh or tofu (if a package says it has three servings, I divide it into thirds etc). I add it to a nonstick skillet. I chop some collard greens, or kale, or chard (usually about 4 large leafs) and add it to the skillet. I chop some fresh pineapple and add that too. then add a little water, just a splash, less than 1/4 cup. Heat on medium heat until the leafy greens are soft and tempeh is heated, about three to five minutes. I add garlic powder or ginger powder to this, and a squirt of soy sauce. Simple healthy breakfast, high protein, and the pineapple adds a nice flavor to the leafy greens and tempeh.

Lunch: soup is the easiest dish to learn to make. you really can't go wrong. add a can of beans to a pot. Chop some onion and add that. Here are some vegetables I like to add: chopped bell pepper, zucchini, green beans, minced garlic (you can also find this in a jar already minced for you), broccoli, collard greens, tomatoes, tomato paste (can), celery, carrots...The soup can be as simple as a can of white beans and chopped carrots and curry powder. I usually just add water, enough to cover all the beans and veggies plus a few inches above. Vegetable broth or stock adds flavor also. I add spices like basil, oregano, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder etc. I have a lot of bottled spices. They help make a very flavorful soup without the need to add loads of salt. Let your soup simmer for twenty minutes or so to get everything soft. If you want a creamy soup, you can add the batch to a blender and blend. If you have a small blender, add a little at a time, blend, pour into a bowl, then add more to the blender and so on.

Sandwiches (some ideas for a vegan sandwich):
sliced tempeh and sauerkraut
hummus and black olives
peanut butter and banana
chickpea salad sandwich (find some vegan mayo...Just Mayo, Vegannaise, Nayonaise, Spectrum eggless are all vegan mayonnaise brands I am familiar with). In a bowl, add a can of chickpeas and then mash them down with a fork or potato masher. Add some chopped celery and onion, then add a few tablespoons of vegan mayo and mix all well. Add some black pepper sprinkled on. Then add to a few sandwiches (I can get three or four sandwiches from one can of chickpeas). This sandwich is very much like egg salad vegan style.

To go along with your sandwiches, or for a snack:
any fresh fruit...apples, pears, grapes, bananas, peaches, plums, apricots are all portable fruits you can bring to work or travel with easily
pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds with shell on, usually roasted and you can find these prepackaged if roasted. Makes a nice snack. I add a handful to a baggy, then add chopped dates or raisins in with them for a sweet salty mix.
garden salads are always great. You can add anything to them, even beans or raw seeds for a boast of nutrition. Dressing can be as simple as balsamic vinegar or a squirt of lemon juice. Or, for a heartier dressing, add a few tablespoons of peanut butter, up to 1/4 cup, to a small pan on the stove. Add a pinch of cidar or rice vinegar or just plain vinegar (about a tablespoon). Add a tiny bit of soy sauce, and a tablespoon or two of water. Heat to soften the peanut butter into a more liquidy but still thick concoction. Add this to the salad. I also like to add turmeric powder to my peanut sauce but it's not necessary.

Dinner:
whole grains like brown rice, bulgur wheat, millet, quinoa, couscous, wild rice etc are all great as a base for a meal. Add some beans, spaghetti sauce or vegan gravy, and some sauteed veggies to the mix. Sauteeing simply means adding your items to a pan or skillet and adding a little oil or water (only a tablespoon or two) and heating the items.

baked potatoes are very easy, but take time to heat in the oven. Some people microwave them but I have not done this. I like to add steamed broccoli to mine, and a sauce. My sauce is simple...nutritional yeast flakes, plant milk, a pinch of cornstarch or other starch, some spices like marjoram or garlic powder or even dijon mustard. I heat this and stir to make a thick "cheese" like sauce. Then pour it over my baked potato. There are vegan commercial cheeses on the market you could add to your baked potato, but they tend to be less healthy and more calorific.

If you can find a steamer basket somewhere, this makes cooking so much faster and easier. I can skin and chop a potato or sweet potato and add it to my steamer and have a soft potato/sweet potato in less than fifteen minutes. Vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, carrots, cauliflower are also very easy to steam and take mere minutes to soften. When you learn to cook more, carrots, sweet potato, and cauliflower are all great bases for making a vegan sauce. I can make alfredo sauce by blending steamed cauliflower, almond milk, and spices, and a little blanched almonds or olive oil too. It makes a simple creamy sauce that goes well with pasta or over a baked potato. no fancy ingredients there. Blending cooked carrots or sweet potato with nutritional yeast and/or nut/peanut butter and plant milk (especially coconut milk) also yields a rich creamy sauce.

It does take time to build a vegan kitchen as far as ingredients. Once you have some basics, cooking becomes much easier.
 

Naturebound

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cont...

Here are some staples I keep on hand (I don't necessarily have all these at once, but they are common ones):

Vinegars (usually rice and cider vinegar and sometimes balsamic)
lemon juice and lime juice
soy sauce or tamari (for making dishes for my gluten free Mom)
vegan mayonnaise (Just Mayo or Vegannaise)
salsa
dijon mustard
organic catsup
applesauce
flaxseeds/ground flaxmeal
unsweetened coconut flakes
vital wheat gluten
cornmeal or polenta
oats
whole wheat flour, white spelt flour, whole wheat pastry flour
white rice flour and brown rice flour
sorghum flour
chickpea flour (awesome to have around to make chickpea flour omelets)
baking soda and baking powder
tapioca starch, cornstarch
maple syrup
blackstrap molasses (great source of calcium and iron and goes well in hot cereal, homemade Asian sauce, smoothies, baking bread etc)
tahini
peanut butter (just peanuts)
sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds (shelled)
brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans
nutritional yeast flakes (found in bulk section of natural food stores)
buckwheat groats, oat groats, millet, brown rice, jasmine rice, couscous, quinoa, bulgur wheat (great for making taco "meat", spaghetti sauce "meat", sloppy joe "meat" etc as the texture is similar to ground beef and it absorbs other ingredients well)
spaghetti, whole wheat penne pasta, buckwheat soba noodles (without egg), udon noodles
cans of tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced or stewed tomatoes
dried lentils (brown, red)
dried split peas (green, yellow)
cans of chickpeas, white beans, black beans, kidney beans (sometimes dry too)
cans of pineapple
cans or artichoke hearts
canned pumpkin (great in place of egg for some baking and for smoothies or pancakes etc)
turbinado sugar
agar flakes (if you like to make things that "gel", this works beautifully in place of gelatine)
spices like cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, turmeric, paprika, garam masala, coriander, oregano, basil, dill seed or weed, thyme, black pepper, onion powder, marjorum, mustard powder
vegan commercial bread on occasion (Rudi brand or Ezekiel/Food For Life) or I make my own more often
Frozen mixed vegetables, bananas I freeze in chunks and keep in freezer bags, frozen berries in winter months, frozen peas and limas
tempeh, tofu (I almost always keep a package of tempeh on hand but tofu is something I buy less often)
plant milks (almond, soy usually but have tried oat, hemp etc and used to make my own flaxseed milk and almond milk)
sweet potatoes (great in soups, burritos, casseroles, mashed with pineapple or coconut etc)
potatoes (red or russet)
a variety of leafy greens always on hand (collards, kale, bok choy, spinach, turnip greens, romaine etc) (good for smoothies, salads, in sandwiches, wraps, soups etc)
bell peppers
cucumbers
zucchini, yellow squash
winter squash (butternut, acorn)
green beans
snap peas
mushrooms
tomatoes
jicama
celery
carrots
onions
asparagus or brussel sprouts
broccoli always on hand
apples
oranges
bananas
seasonal fruits (berries, plums, peaches...)
cantaloupe or pineapple
 

gab

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Thank you so much, I learned a few easy recipes. Hope it helps the original poster too ;)
 
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Sally

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Thank you Naturebound. I must say that Dijon mustard is an essential of mine, it just makes soups so creamy. I do love it though, I've eaten mustard sandwiches since I was a child.
 
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Naturebound

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Thank you Naturebound. I must say that Dijon mustard is an essential of mine, it just makes soups so creamy. I do love it though, I've eaten mustard sandwiches since I was a child.

You are welcome! I used to hate mustard when I was younger, but when I went vegan I started using it in recipes, especially Dijon, and have grown to like it. I never used to be a sauce person either, but as a vegan I love making different sauces, like cauliflower Alfredo, or sweet potato/nutritional yeast "cheese" sauce, or peanut butter thai sauce, or fruit compotes over pancakes. :)
 

JohnW

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I'd also like to thank you nature bound for the awesome meal ideas. I've tried to go vegan many times and my recent attempts have been dreary due to my boring meals.

My favorite discovery has been nut milk. It's so easy to make and so much cheaper than buying from the store. We eat a lot of cereal.
 
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Bran

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Hey Bart, may I ask where you are from?
a google search might help find a local organic or health shop, I have just moved and I am lucky to have an independent whole foods store nearby now, and they cater for specialist diets such as vegan, organic, gluten and wheat free etc so my hopes are we can find a local place for you to go to, also this link will help you with a transition too

http://www.viva.org.uk/

good luck =)
 

Gail Robins

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Good stuff here.

I had loads of health issues and cured myself over time with the right food and reducing my toxic load.

I started going to a new chiropractor when my back went out. He is vegan and had cured himself years go of his health issues, so he was a great help to me.

Here's what I did:

He recommended that I do a liver and gallbladder cleanse. You can find the book on Amazon, but only buy the one from Anreas Moritz. It's only a week and very doable.

Once my liver was clean, it was simple to transition. I just kept eating the food I was eating that week on the cleanse and the weight kept dropping. I had no cravings because I had cut out grains and sugar that week. It was so simple and I was so pleased with the results, I just kept eating the same food.

Of course, I had to make sure I was getting a variation of produce every week, but I suddenly realized I was a vegan!