What do you guys do to replace normal


Aug 13, 2021
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  1. Vegan newbie
I noticed that the meals I grew up with became normal in my own routine.

What does a week of meals for you family people look like? A while back, for me, it was Mac n cheese, fried pork chops, mashed potatoes (change the meat and a lot of these), spaghetti, lasagna, etc.

I am curious what normal looks like in the house for you guys. Are there "easy meals" that you make when you're tired? For us, Mac n cheese, frozen chicken nuggets, frozen burritos was the easy meal. Also frozen pizzas (Torino's) where we would add olives, lots of extra cheese.

I want to try to switch the habits I have so that I can have a normal fridge/pantry stocked and can go make something.

It's a radical change on food and it's hard, but I want to try it.
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When I first started on this vegan journey I was lucky to have stumbled upon the Food For Thought podcast. Back then I was driving 3 hours a week and would listen to at least one or two episodes a week. The author of the podcast, Coleen Patrick Goudreau, saved me a lot of false steps.

One of the things she described is that vegan meals require a bit of a paradign shift. You have to go from your "pie chart plates", meat, starch, veggie, and go with a more layered approach. Pasta and sauce, beans over rice, veggies over rice are all examples of food that are served in layers. Stews, soups and salads are maybe not exactly layered - but they don't resemble pie charts either.

I think its mostly us Westerners who grew up with the Pie Chart plates. Asian meals are almost always more layered. Italian food is also more layered: pizza, pasta, lasagna.

I'm a single guy and for most of my life (pre and post vegan), I've relied on bulk cooking. Probably because recipes are rarely for one guy. and also its just as easy to cook four servings as it is to cook one. So when I'm tired there is almost always leftovers.

I do have what I call "emergency meals". these are things I cook ahead of time that are meant to eat on the run. Now that I'm retired I rarely have an emergency. but back when I would make 10 burritos at a time (cause there are ten tortillas in a bag), and I would freeze them and then nuke them when I had to grab something to eat. I also would make 10 PB&J sandwiches at a time (cause there are 20 slices in a loaf), and then freeze them. They could defrost as I drove. And if you cut them in quarters you can eat and drive at the same time.

Breakfasts are usually cold cereal or oatmeal. I even bulk prepare oatmeal a bit. I'll make 2 - 4 servings of overnight oats at a time.

Lunches are often leftovers. Then salads in the summer, or soup in the winter. ( I don't make salads or soups one at a time either. ) Sometimes when I'm in hurry it will be a burrito or a PB&J. :) Oh, I kind of still like hot dogs. My favorite vegan counterpart is Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage. On a tortilla with mustard and sauerkraut, baked beans and a veggie on the side.

I try to vary my dinners a bit more but I will make a stir fry at least once a week. Pizza a few times a month. My two favorite batch meals right now are Cuban Black Beans over Rice and Lentil Stew over Mashed potatoes.

By the way there are some excellent videos, blogs, podcasts, and books on this subject. In your spare time you should explore some of those. If you look around here you will see many many suggestions.
It takes time. It's a transition.
Few people decide to learn a new language and expect to be able to have lengthy conversations any time soon. You stammer, need to think before responding, wonder if you got it right, have to think carefully about saying things in the new language that you'd easily express in the words you grew up using. If you persist. if you intentionally go out to engage with others who speak that language, you're bound to find yourself realizing one day that it's becoming like second nature. You find you've learned more ways to say the same things, and it's feeling like a new normal
I'd say it took me a good 6 months before I stopped having to over thing everything, and could just choose foods.

Anyway, soups are super easy.
I really love Butler soy curls--they are a direct sub for cooked chicken. You just rehydrate, press out water, then add seasoning and treat as cooked chicken shreds
I pretty much eat like an omnivore but vegan. Plenty of meat, dairy and egg alternatives. Not all are good, but they are improving. There's some real good stuff out there like Gardein, Beyond Meat, Field Roast. For cheese the best alternative I think is Miyoko's. I like Daiya's mac n cheese but I liked Earth Balance's version better before they discontinued it. Just Egg is great for scrambled eggs, but I do miss deviled eggs and sunny side up.
In the beginning (please remember, I said In the beginning) you could simply purchase vegan versions of your ingredients. Now days there are vegan version of just about everything. Tons of meat analogs (fake meat). I live in a cowboy town with no other vegans that I have been able to find and I have been looking for 20 years. When I entertain I often grab some vegan hamburger and vegan cheese and put together a lasagna, enchiladas or perhaps burgers on the grill served with potato salad make with vegan mayo.

Remember to be kind to yourself. You should be proud that you have made the decision to be part of the solution rather than the continued destruction of our planet. Little by little you will pick up recipes one at a time and you will find yourself not reaching for the fake meat as often, or not. Some people choose to not eat processed food and fake meat is a processed food but it is delicious and I use it as part of my monthly menu.

Slow and steady wins the race. You are embarking on a major sociological/psychological paradigm shift There is nothing complicated about plant based eating. Take a deep breath, YOU GOT THIS!

Congratulations, on your decisions to choose Plant Based living, TamaraB
Some great responses here. You guys rock. I hope the author of the thread comes back.
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Just Egg is great for scrambled eggs, but I do miss deviled eggs and sunny side up.
Wish I could get Just Egg, if only just for trying! I got a recipe for scrambled tofu I really like so I guess I would stick with it, but I'd really like to try the Just Egg thing when it comes to making an omelet one can put onto a breakfast sandwich.

I miss hard boiled eggs (especially with Maggi on top) and the sunny side up as well. Glad, I found a tuna substitute that tastes awesome in sandwiches (Garden Gourmet brand). With fake meats it's gotten really good. As for the cheeses... well, let's not talk about that, lol.
I would suggest checking out the two threads Whatcha Eatin? and Supper/Dinner Time! What's on the menu ?

if you go back through you will see that many of our meals that we have and you can pick and choose what works best for you

I always have rice or pasta or potatoes for my dinners and then add as many veggies as possible and then a protein of some kind like beans, chick peas, soy curls, lentils, or a substitute like Gardein chicken/fish or Fieldroast sausage or Eves meatballs.

For breakfast/lunch it is usually oatmeal with lots of fruit and I add a ton of other healthy things to get it all in at once.

If I do brunch instead then it is a soupy noodle concoction with frozen veggies, wakame, usually a base of miso/red chili paste, mushrooms, green onions and either canned lentils or soy curls etc.

Some people find it simpler to eat the same thing for a while just to have time to get oriented. Keep it simple and that way you won't get fed up trying to figure out something new every meal.

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