Tips-Cooking for a Vegan

Jack4Annie

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My girlfriend is Vegan. I am not. I realize this will likely be a point of contention for most of you. Still, I want to support her in her Veganism. I love cooking and want to learn how to cook for her. I just don't know where to start. I know VERY little on the topic and am asking for your help. All I know thus far is to check the allergy listings on products for dairy or animal products. I just want to cook for her and make sure I don't accidentally do something wrong. Where do I start? Where can I learn? What articles can read to understand her way of life? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
 

Jack4Annie

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And, to be honest...I have no idea what a Flexitarian is. There wasn't exactly an option for non-vegan in the dropdown.
 

Sproutskies

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My girlfriend is Vegan. I am not. I realize this will likely be a point of contention for most of you. Still, I want to support her in her Veganism. I love cooking and want to learn how to cook for her. I just don't know where to start. I know VERY little on the topic and am asking for your help. All I know thus far is to check the allergy listings on products for dairy or animal products. I just want to cook for her and make sure I don't accidentally do something wrong. Where do I start? Where can I learn? What articles can read to understand her way of life? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Hey! It's cool that you want to cook for someone you love and making sure you're not accidentally making her a beef stew. A rough definition of Vegan is abstaining from consuming any animal products or products created alongside the suffering of animals. As this diet can be pretty specific to the person, I would ask the gf what vegan means to her. Some people go as far as to say that certain organic veggies are not fully vegan due to people being picky about it not being "Veganic Agriculture".

Flexitarian or semi-flexitarian are people who consume a whole foods plant based diet but also occasionally eat meat.

Rich Roll is one worth following who advocates the whole foods plant based Vegan diet. He starting having health problems in his late thirties due to eating junk food, burgers, alcoholism... Once he made the switch he felt so amazing and decided to change his life to eventually become an ultra-marathon runner. In his forties he was able to join the elite of the best ultra distance runners in the world and also win 100+ mile races.
 

Danielle

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Ask about her favorite meals. I’m personally a fan of meat alternatives, like gardein and beyond meat. There are many ways to eat vegan. Check ingredients for everything, you will be surprised what has animal products. Like who would suspect milk of all things to be in salt & vinegar chips? You even have to be careful with product that claim to be “non dairy”, sometimes they still add milk. Coffee creamers are notorious for that, and I accidentally got “non dairy” cheese slices that had milk.
 
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preppingfoods

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You should know about which food she likes. Start with the easiest one. I know it is hard for the fist time but you will have to repeat it. She will surely loves your effort.
 
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Lou

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Hey, welcome aboard!

I love giving people advice and I think you can get some good advice here but you should be taking advantage of your built-in expert - you GF. If she is like most vegans she will like being asked about veganism, and she will love talking about it. And she should surely appreciate your efforts to please her.

The other thing that will soon become readily apparent, there are many different types of vegans. And what she likes and wants to eat will depend a lot on what kind of vegan she is.

BTW, checking the allergy listings on a box is a good idea but may not be necessary. And to some extent, this will depend on what "kind" of vegan she is. For instance, I pretty much ignore the "may contain" warnings. IMHO, these are CYA statements made by the company just in case someone dies from eating their product. The "may contain" warning doesn't mean the eggs or milk or whatever was put in on purpose but that there may have been some contamination or that there may be an accident.

These "may contain" warnings are usually because the facility also processes milk or eggs and there IS a possibility of cross-contamination. I choose to ignore those. However, if the label leaves off the word "may" and simply states that it "contains milk" or "contains eggs" then that IS a nonvegan product.

Anyway, as i said, I choose to ignore those, and I think most vegans do. but there are vegans who ARE concerned with cross-contamination.

Those allergy warnings are a good place to start but not where you can end. Reading ingredients is a skill almost all vegans had to work on developing. There are also some details that can trip you up. One of the details that trip up vegans is that carmine, cochineal extract and natural red 4 are food colorings made from bugs.

There is an app called IsItVegan? that is pretty good and if I'm in doubt and I have the time I'll check the product in question with that. but mostly I just go with the idea that if I'm in doubt I will just use something else.

The thing that most gave me trouble is bakery items. Most of them are made with butter, or eggs, or milk.

Another detail is white cane sugar. But only some white cane sugar is not vegan. Personally, i eat so little of the stuff that I decided not to worry about it.

Ha. Now that I have given you all this advice - well, you should check it out with your GF. She might be very concerned with the "details" or like me not that worried about them.

OK, last piece of advice. Check out a vegan cookbook or vegan website and share some recipe ideas with your GF. There are probably vegan foods she doesn't like. For instance, I can't tolerate spicy foods so I don't like chili. but many vegans have chili on the top of their lists.
 

silva

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You need to have a good conversation! Listen to her and just let it soak in, let it be one sided.
Think about being vegan is it doesn't say WHAT you eat, only what you don't. It's really no different than being omnivore--other than they have a cultural 'normal'!
She may eat whole food plant based, or really enjoy the processed foods that are being so very good! I know many omnivores who choose Beyond Burgers over beef burgers.
It's really more about her choices than that she's vegan
 

Emma JC

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welcome to the forum and congrats on being such a kind human - becareful though!! it is a slippery slope... when you are kind to humans, on a regular basis, you may just find yourself being kind to animals too.... and therefore may stop consuming them :broccoli:lol

as everyone has already said, ask her what she loves to eat and also... to get some ideas, you can check out some great vegan youtubers who show what they eat and what they cook.... Sweet Simple Vegan are a nice couple to watch, Cheap Lazy Vegan shows lots of her recipes, there are tons to choose from....

Emma JC
 
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thinman

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@Jack4Annie I'm a fan of Indian and Punjab meals, also Middle Eastern.


 

jou_s1998

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There are loads of vegan reciepes on the internet for all kind of meals. Just google it. A flexetarian is a portmanteau of flexible and vegetarian, and refers to a style of eating that is mostly vegetarian and plant-based, but with the occasional meat product thrown in.
 
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silva

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There are loads of vegan reciepes on the internet for all kind of meals. Just google it. A flexetarian is a portmanteau of flexible and vegetarian, and refers to a style of eating that is mostly vegetarian and plant-based, but with the occasional meat product thrown in.
I had to google "portmanteau"--
a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others, for example motel (from ‘motor’ and ‘hotel’) or brunch (from ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’).
"podcast is a portmanteau, a made-up word coined from a combination of the words iPod and broadcast"


People use defining words any way they want to serve their own purpose. I think many people want to eat more veggie but struggle so much, and still want to feel they're doing better--and of course they are--so they recognize their challenge with flexitarian.
If you're SO is vegan you'll most likely become, at least, a flexitarian!
 
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Lou

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Bonus points for the vocabulary word.

some vegans have an issue with the word flexitarian because it is so vague. But its just another word based on the intent of a person. In this case, the intent is to eat mostly plants. I love that the explanation of the word is a haiku.

Eat food,
not too much,
mostly plants.

Another way to describe it is:

"IT’S ABOUT EATING AN ALL-INCLUSIVE DIET BUT TRYING TO STAY AS HEALTHY AND PLANT-BASED AS YOU CAN, AND FOR EACH PERSON IT’S VERY DIFFERENT."
-https://serendipitysocial.com/rethink-your-eating-habits-with-tracy-pollan-family/
 
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Jack4Annie

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Hey! It's cool that you want to cook for someone you love and making sure you're not accidentally making her a beef stew. A rough definition of Vegan is abstaining from consuming any animal products or products created alongside the suffering of animals. As this diet can be pretty specific to the person, I would ask the gf what vegan means to her. Some people go as far as to say that certain organic veggies are not fully vegan due to people being picky about it not being "Veganic Agriculture".

Flexitarian or semi-flexitarian are people who consume a whole foods plant based diet but also occasionally eat meat.

Rich Roll is one worth following who advocates the whole foods plant based Vegan diet. He starting having health problems in his late thirties due to eating junk food, burgers, alcoholism... Once he made the switch he felt so amazing and decided to change his life to eventually become an ultra-marathon runner. In his forties he was able to join the elite of the best ultra distance runners in the world and also win 100+ mile races.

Thank you for your reply and for the information. I have talked to her about it and know her stance, but am still learning it all. I must admit, there is a LOT more to it than I thought. I just want to learn so I can support her. I will def look into Rich Roll. Thank you for the suggestion!
 
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Jack4Annie

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Ask about her favorite meals. I’m personally a fan of meat alternatives, like gardein and beyond meat. There are many ways to eat vegan. Check ingredients for everything, you will be surprised what has animal products. Like who would suspect milk of all things to be in salt & vinegar chips? You even have to be careful with product that claim to be “non dairy”, sometimes they still add milk. Coffee creamers are notorious for that, and I accidentally got “non dairy” cheese slices that had milk.

Thank you for your reply! I know she eats beyond meant, tofu, and there is another one that I can't remember off-hand. I like to grill a lot. I have to try to figure out how to grill a plant-based product, as I am certain it is much different than what I eat. Milk in S&V chips?!? I had no idea! I sure have a lot to learn! Thank you for your help!!
 
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Jack4Annie

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You should know about which food she likes. Start with the easiest one. I know it is hard for the fist time but you will have to repeat it. She will surely loves your effort.

Thank you for your reply! I do know some of the dishes she likes, but I am trying to surprise her by cooking her something she can eat without asking her too many questions. I am trying to learn what it all means and how to make a dish vegan that may not be vegan in its current form.
 
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Jack4Annie

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Hey, welcome aboard!

I love giving people advice and I think you can get some good advice here but you should be taking advantage of your built-in expert - you GF. If she is like most vegans she will like being asked about veganism, and she will love talking about it. And she should surely appreciate your efforts to please her.

The other thing that will soon become readily apparent, there are many different types of vegans. And what she likes and wants to eat will depend a lot on what kind of vegan she is.

BTW, checking the allergy listings on a box is a good idea but may not be necessary. And to some extent, this will depend on what "kind" of vegan she is. For instance, I pretty much ignore the "may contain" warnings. IMHO, these are CYA statements made by the company just in case someone dies from eating their product. The "may contain" warning doesn't mean the eggs or milk or whatever was put in on purpose but that there may have been some contamination or that there may be an accident.

These "may contain" warnings are usually because the facility also processes milk or eggs and there IS a possibility of cross-contamination. I choose to ignore those. However, if the label leaves off the word "may" and simply states that it "contains milk" or "contains eggs" then that IS a nonvegan product.

Anyway, as i said, I choose to ignore those, and I think most vegans do. but there are vegans who ARE concerned with cross-contamination.

Those allergy warnings are a good place to start but not where you can end. Reading ingredients is a skill almost all vegans had to work on developing. There are also some details that can trip you up. One of the details that trip up vegans is that carmine, cochineal extract and natural red 4 are food colorings made from bugs.

There is an app called IsItVegan? that is pretty good and if I'm in doubt and I have the time I'll check the product in question with that. but mostly I just go with the idea that if I'm in doubt I will just use something else.

The thing that most gave me trouble is bakery items. Most of them are made with butter, or eggs, or milk.

Another detail is white cane sugar. But only some white cane sugar is not vegan. Personally, i eat so little of the stuff that I decided not to worry about it.

Ha. Now that I have given you all this advice - well, you should check it out with your GF. She might be very concerned with the "details" or like me not that worried about them.

OK, last piece of advice. Check out a vegan cookbook or vegan website and share some recipe ideas with your GF. There are probably vegan foods she doesn't like. For instance, I can't tolerate spicy foods so I don't like chili. but many vegans have chili on the top of their lists.

Thank you so much for your reply and all the information!! That helps so very much!! I know I can ask her how to do things, but I love to cook and I want to surprise her by cooking something for her and want to make sure I am not accidentally serving her something that she can't eat. There are SO many rules. I talk to her about it a lot and have learned from her, but don't want to give away the surprise by getting too specific too quickly. I will definitely download that app. Thank you! I will talk to her about the labels and try to figure out her stance on everything so I am not buying the wrong things. Again, thank you ooo very much for the very detailed response and all the info you gave me!!
 
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David3

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Thank you so much for your reply and all the information!! That helps so very much!! I know I can ask her how to do things, but I love to cook and I want to surprise her by cooking something for her and want to make sure I am not accidentally serving her something that she can't eat. There are SO many rules. I talk to her about it a lot and have learned from her, but don't want to give away the surprise by getting too specific too quickly. I will definitely download that app. Thank you! I will talk to her about the labels and try to figure out her stance on everything so I am not buying the wrong things. Again, thank you ooo very much for the very detailed response and all the info you gave me!!

Hi Jack,

It might seem that vegan diets have lots of rules, but it just boils down to not eating anything that comes from an animal - meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and gelatin.

Vegan recipes are centered around whole grains (including bread and pasta), various types of beans (including peas and lentils), fruits, vegetables, nuts, nut butters, and seeds. The new vegan mock meats and vegan ice creams are also good - you can buy them at many supermarkets.

You can flavor things up by including the wide variety of vegan sauces and dips: guacamole (authentic - no dairy), salsa, marinara sauce, ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, Tabasco and other hot pepper sauces, hummus, tahini, and even certain steak sauces (A-1 Sauce is vegan). If you're really into cooking, you could learn to make Indian dishes, which include complex mixes of many spices. Happy cooking!
.
 
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shyvas

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Bonus points for the vocabulary word.

some vegans have an issue with the word flexitarian because it is so vague. But its just another word based on the intent of a person. In this case, the intent is to eat mostly plants.

A flexitarian diet is becoming very popular in the UK. Here is BBC's GF definition which isn't vague at all :

Following a flexitarian diet highlights an increased intake of plant-based meals without completely eliminating meat
 

shyvas

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Bonus points for the vocabulary word.

some vegans have an issue with the word flexitarian because it is so vague. But its just another word based on the intent of a person. In this case, the intent is to eat mostly plants.

A flexitarian diet is becoming very popular in the UK. Here is BBC's GF definition which isn't vague at all :

Following a flexitarian diet highlights an increased intake of plant-based meals without completely eliminating meat