And so is ice cream, eggs, butter…the list goes on. And of course animal products are found in all of those foods and in just about everything else as well. One of the most difficult aspects of transitioning to a plant-based diet is cravings. Maybe even more than challenging though, it is just annoying.
Baking is one of the ways that I deal with cravings and frustrations towards my empty fridge. (It really would not have to be an empty fridge if I was not a broke college graduate saving every penny I earn for graduate school. Lots of great vegan choices—I am just limited to a strict budget and a small fridge.) I have been experimenting with some vegan baking and am pleasantly impressed with the results. I made an oatmeal pumpkin protein cookie the other evening. It is so low in fat and sugar—I hesitate to call it cookie! I added ingredients with copious amounts of vitamins too. It has a great taste, but could be a little sweeter. The protein content was also a bit lower than I anticipated—about 3.6 grams per serving. I like to have an abundant amount of protein in my breakfast. It gives me more energy during the day. I am going to play with the recipe and make the cookie higher in protein and more delicious before I post the recipe.
I went to the reputable vegan and gluten-free bakery The Flying Apron Cafe this morning to try and satisfy my desire for a yummy baked good. Although the customer service was great, the music was cute 50’s tunes, and the pastries looked delicious, the scone I chose was not spectacular. On the one hand, it sucks that this little cafe may not be the perfect outlet for my cravings, but on the other hand I am confident that I can become a master at baking. My oatmeal pumpkin cookies beat that scone by far!
On a related, but different note. I conjured up a list of advice for dealing with diet transitions (not limited to veganism.)
- Get Creative. Experimenting with baking and cooking is fun and rewarding when you find that stellar mix of top notch ingredients. It is also a sneaky way to distract yourself when you get the munchies after not finding a meal that is satisfying. Tip: Certainly taste test, but don’t go over board. Allow yourself one serving and freeze or store the rest for later.
- Open Your Mind. There are so many healthy natural foods and recipes available at your disposal that you have not even tried yet! Remember the day you first tried Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, French food—different styles and tastes—some of which utilize the same foods but in such different ways that they yield extremely different and delicious tasting results! And much of Indian and Thai food is vegetarian (or can be easily made vegetarian.) There are so many options for your diet; you just have to be willing to look for them.
- Flaunt it. With your new and improved palette, cooking and baking skills, you can model your new found recipes and creations during the holidays, dates, potlucks, etc. And at a compassionate level, filling the bellies of people you love can feel deeply gratifying.
What have you done to adjust to a new diet or lifestyle? Always happy to learn from you too!