How you do your Groceries?

Tanya

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I want to become vegan, but currently it seems quite difficult for me to do my groceries in normal supermarkets, as I spend a lot of time on reading product ingredients or googling vegan food. How do you normally do your groceries? Do you go to specialized stores, or maybe use some apps to check if the product is vegan? Did you also have struggles in the begging? Would be grateful for any recommendations:)
 
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Veganite

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Welcome to the forum, Tanya.

I can't speak for everyone else, but I find shopping for vegan food quite easy. I simply avoid the meat and dairy sections of the grocery store. I'm not joking either. It really is that simple for the most part.

Just about everything I require is in the produce section. However, I stick to mainly whole foods, with the exception of a few condiments, and maybe the odd package of Beyond ground. There are other items I will occasionally buy, but I'm usually familiar with them, so no googling or label scrutiny required.

As for checking labels. I still check labels when necessary, but there's not many processed items I buy these days where it's needed. So this will depend on how you transition and what your dietary goals are.

I'm not really familiar with any apps, but I'm sure there are some. Maybe other members can suggest some.

And to answer your last question, I think most people struggle somewhat in the beginning. I know that for me I basically learned to cook all over again. I can't tell you how helpful I found YouTube and Google for learning new recipes. You will find there's a vegan version of just about everything you enjoyed as a omnivore.

That's just my 2 cents worth. I'm sure our resourceful members will have lots of other useful suggestions.


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Tanya

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Welcome to the forum, Tanya.

I can't speak for everyone else, but I find shopping for vegan food quite easy. I simply avoid the meat and dairy sections of the grocery store. I'm not joking either. It really is that simple for the most part.

Just about everything I require is in the produce section. However, I stick to mainly whole foods, with the exception of a few condiments, and maybe the odd package of Beyond ground. There are other items I will occasionally buy, but I'm usually familiar with them, so no googling or label scrutiny required.

As for checking labels. I still check labels when necessary, but there's not many processed items I buy these days where it's needed. So this will depend on how you transition and what your dietary goals are.

I'm not really familiar with any apps, but I'm sure there are some. Maybe other members can suggest some.

And to answer your last question, I think most people struggle somewhat in the beginning. I know that for me I basically learned to cook all over again. I can't tell you how helpful I found YouTube and Google for learning new recipes. You will find there's a vegan version of just about everything you enjoyed as a omnivore.

That's just my 2 cents worth. I'm sure our resourceful members will have lots of other useful suggestions.


*
Thanks a lot for your advice!
 
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Emma JC

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hi Tanya and welcome to the forum

Supermarkets are mostly vegan by default:
  • all produce aisles - fresh fruits and vegetables and herbs
  • frozen aisles - frozen fruits, vegetables, vegan alternative meats
  • bean aisles - canned beans, dried beans, breakfast beans, lentils
  • canned fruits and vegetables
  • pasta aisle - most pastas and sauces, noodles, rice
  • condiments aisle - vinegars, olives, pickles, ketchup, soy sauce, hot sauces, mustard, tahini
  • snack and bulk aisle - nuts, dried fruits, nutritional yeast, various grains, some potato chips
  • cereal aisle - oatmeal, Spoon Size Shredded Wheat, Shredded Wheat etc
  • beverage aisle - sparkling water, herbal teas, coffee
  • bakery aisle - sprouted breads, pitas, tortillas
  • dairy aisle - tofu, plant-based milks/yogurts/cheezes
I hope this helps a bit.

Emma JC
Find your vegan soulmate or just a friend. www.spiritualmatchmaking.com
 

Lou

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Yeah, I too had a lot of trouble in the beginning.
I still have a very clear memory of standing in the bread aisle looking thru the ingredients of hamburger buns (for my Boca Burgers). Going thru all the buns and finding that most of them had milk, or butter, or eggs in them. Or perhaps they were fortified with vitamin D3.
But I did find some vegan buns and I memorized the name and I didn't have to do that again.

I also remember that after relying on those buns for at least a year, one day I checked the ingredients and they had changed the recipe. so I had to do that all over again.

Last year I started making pizza again. but I don't make my own dough and again I had problems finding vegan pizza dough.

Bakery items are about the only issue I have now. BTW, French bread is almost always Vegan. I think its a rule that French bread only contains flour, water, and salt.

Here in America, we have PETA, and their website lists a lot of vegan foods. They also have articles about what processed foods you can find at the market that are vegan. I bet there are similar lists in Belgium. Do a google search, I'm sure you will find some lists.

If you have a smart phone check the App Store. Here in America, on my iOS phone I have an app called, IsItVegan. Its not perfect but it does work most of the time.

There is a steep learning curve in both the purchasing and preparing areas. However, although its steep in the beginning it levels off pretty soon. Usually once you find your vegan product you are set. Most of the stuff we get at the market we buy over and over.
 

Lou

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Supermarkets are mostly vegan by default:

  • pasta aisle - most pastas and sauces, noodles, rice
Pasta needs a double check. A lot of noodles contain eggs. A lot of egg containing noodles say so right in the title: Egg Noodles. But it still is worth double checking.

OH! not sure if this is the case in the EU. but here in the USA packages need to list the allergens. Milk and eggs are allergens so they are listed just below the ingredients. Easy to find.

I ignore the "Might Contains" warnings. Since I'm not allergic to anything, I don't care if something is accidentally contaminated.
 

Tanya

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hi Tanya and welcome to the forum

Supermarkets are mostly vegan by default:
  • all produce aisles - fresh fruits and vegetables and herbs
  • frozen aisles - frozen fruits, vegetables, vegan alternative meats
  • bean aisles - canned beans, dried beans, breakfast beans, lentils
  • canned fruits and vegetables
  • pasta aisle - most pastas and sauces, noodles, rice
  • condiments aisle - vinegars, olives, pickles, ketchup, soy sauce, hot sauces, mustard, tahini
  • snack and bulk aisle - nuts, dried fruits, nutritional yeast, various grains, some potato chips
  • cereal aisle - oatmeal, Spoon Size Shredded Wheat, Shredded Wheat etc
  • beverage aisle - sparkling water, herbal teas, coffee
  • bakery aisle - sprouted breads, pitas, tortillas
  • dairy aisle - tofu, plant-based milks/yogurts/cheezes
I hope this helps a bit.

Emma JC
Find your vegan soulmate or just a friend. www.spiritualmatchmaking.com
Hey Emma! Thanks a lot for your informative replay! But I also like to try new biscuits, chocolates, bars and anything sweets:) I try to reduce it with fruits, but still it's part of my shopping list. What do you do in case if you want to try new (mostly packaged) products, which sometimes contain additional ingredients?
 

Tanya

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Pasta needs a double check. A lot of noodles contain eggs. A lot of egg containing noodles say so right in the title: Egg Noodles. But it still is worth double checking.

OH! not sure if this is the case in the EU. but here in the USA packages need to list the allergens. Milk and eggs are allergens so they are listed just below the ingredients. Easy to find.

I ignore the "Might Contains" warnings. Since I'm not allergic to anything, I don't care if something is accidentally contaminated.

I'm originally from Russia, and now living in Belgium, so sometimes it's difficult for me to read the ingredients list, as I don't speak local languages, and English is normally not on the product ingredient list. In that case I usually use Google translator to understand what is inside the package. Ahve you faced this before?
 

silva

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You're changing what your normal is, that's probably the hardest part. When you go shopping you know what you want. where to find it, and what you're going to do with it, giving up animal products is leaving you uncertain.
Do you mostly cook yourself? How much do you rely on premade foods?
Know what you need before going shopping. Research the products you now use, like pasta sauces, spreads, boullions.

I often make the comparison of learning a new language. It's so hard to find the right words, the pronunciation, how to find words so people understand.It's helpful to a list of standard phrases to fall back on. People who are fluent in both languages to guide you.

Have a list of recipes you know are vegan.Have ingredients on hand, or ready made foods, so you don't get caught in indecision while in the store.

Soups, stir fries, and salads are the easiest.
Keep in mind that in time you will have as broad a variety of foods to choose from as you do now, maybe more if you like foods from other cultures.

Any vegan or plant based groups in your area?
 

silva

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I want to become vegan, but currently it seems quite difficult for me to do my groceries in normal supermarkets, as I spend a lot of time on reading product ingredients or googling vegan food. How do you normally do your groceries? Do you go to specialized stores, or maybe use some apps to check if the product is vegan? Did you also have struggles in the begging? Would be grateful for any recommendations:)
And yes, I'd say it took months for me to feel really 'normal' as a vegan. I couldn't eat Mexican or most pasta things because I couldn't get away from wanting cheese on them, and that was the hardest for me to give up!
Your tastes will change if you stick with it.
Keep coming back here for support, we have members from all over.
Don't be too hard on yourself, remember it's the long run that counts. It does get easier and tastes better the longer you stick with it
 

Lou

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I'm originally from Russia, and now living in Belgium, so sometimes it's difficult for me to read the ingredients list, as I don't speak local languages, and English is normally not on the product ingredient list. In that case I usually use Google translator to understand what is inside the package. Ahve you faced this before?
Oh. my. Sometimes we refer to leaning how to be vegan like learning a new language. Learning how to be vegan in a new language has got to be twice (at least) as hard.

One of the things a lot of transitioning vegans do to make it easier is to take it in steps. I think that is how we learn languages, too. so my suggestion is to take it in steps.
Like step one could be to learn the words for milk, eggs, and butter. And for now avoid products that have those words. Each week you can add a few more words.

Another idea I have is to go ahead and buy things you want and when you get home spend the time with google translator and figure it out. Keep a list of the vegan and non vegan foods. You may end up eating some non vegan items from time to time but I know I would rather do the work at home then in the aisle of the store.

And you should check out if there is a version of IsItVegan in your App Store. My version actually scans bar codes. So its real easy to use.
 
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Tanya

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You're changing what your normal is, that's probably the hardest part. When you go shopping you know what you want. where to find it, and what you're going to do with it, giving up animal products is leaving you uncertain.
Do you mostly cook yourself? How much do you rely on premade foods?
Know what you need before going shopping. Research the products you now use, like pasta sauces, spreads, boullions.

I often make the comparison of learning a new language. It's so hard to find the right words, the pronunciation, how to find words so people understand.It's helpful to a list of standard phrases to fall back on. People who are fluent in both languages to guide you.

Have a list of recipes you know are vegan.Have ingredients on hand, or ready made foods, so you don't get caught in indecision while in the store.

Soups, stir fries, and salads are the easiest.
Keep in mind that in time you will have as broad a variety of foods to choose from as you do now, maybe more if you like foods from other cultures.

Any vegan or plant based groups in your area?
I mostly cook myself, but like to buy veggie burgers and meat, because it is easy to cook, rather than do veggie burgers myself. Although I heard they are not very good for health. I use HappyCow to see restaurants with vegan options and recipes to cook
 
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Emma JC

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Hey Emma! Thanks a lot for your informative replay! But I also like to try new biscuits, chocolates, bars and anything sweets:) I try to reduce it with fruits, but still it's part of my shopping list. What do you do in case if you want to try new (mostly packaged) products, which sometimes contain additional ingredients?

as @Lou said he has ones that he buys regularly and I do the same - I have a couple of types of cookies and a dark chocolate bar that I keep in stock at home and if I buy special treats for Christmas then I usually buy them in the organic/vegan areas of the stores and check the ingredients

Emma JC
Find your vegan soulmate or just a friend. www.spiritualmatchmaking.com
 

Lou

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as @Lou said he has ones that he buys regularly and I do the same - I have a couple of types of cookies and a dark chocolate bar that I keep in stock at home and if I buy special treats for Christmas then I usually buy them in the organic/vegan areas of the stores and check the ingredients

Emma JC
Find your vegan soulmate or just a friend. www.spiritualmatchmaking.com

Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have a bunch of cookies that have the word vegan in the name.
And there are always Oreos.
But what other kind of vegan cookies are there?

I just got a dark chocolate bar at Trader Joe's. I don't like it - it's too bitter.
 

silva

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Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have a bunch of cookies that have the word vegan in the name.
And there are always Oreos.
But what other kind of vegan cookies are there?

I just got a dark chocolate bar at Trader Joe's. I don't like it - it's too bitter.
Aldi. The Benton sandwich cookies, I've yet to find one that wasn't vegan, and they get many varieties-now peppermint. Chocolate chip cookies. The Girl Scout type peanut butter. The pecan sandies.
Not sure if Aldi is in Belgium, but if so, check them out.
Aldi Moser Roth dark chocolates are also vegan
Looks like there are some there,
Of course the product vary by location.
 
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kevinlyfellow

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One way to save time is to look at the allergy information. That will give you a quick "no" for many non vegan ingredients (dairy, eggs, shellfish). If the allergy information looks ok, then scan the ingredients.
 
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Susan W

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I'm originally from Russia, and now living in Belgium, so sometimes it's difficult for me to read the ingredients list, as I don't speak local languages, and English is normally not on the product ingredient list. In that case I usually use Google translator to understand what is inside the package. Ahve you faced this before?
I’m an English person living in Japan. I had the same problem learning theJapanese words for the ingredients.
But I got used to it fairly soon. Here most bread is out as butter and milk are frequently added. As above, the safe bread is almost always French.
Good luck!
 
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