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2010 - present

2010 - present

The Beginning

Deciding to stop eating meat, dairy and processed foods can be a life changing decision. In most cases it means abandoning everything that you thought you knew about food. Things that you once consumed on a regular basis suddenly become foods that you have to give up. This can leave you feeling extremely discouraged and literally lost and confused in your grocery store wondering "what the hell can I eat"?  You start thinking of all the things that you can't eat anymore and have little to no idea what you can eat. The good news is that it's only hard in the beginning and once you learn the basics and begin exploring the abundant plant based options, things get much easier.  Fortunately for new vegans out there veganism is seriously taking over and it is easier than ever to find alternatives for things like cheese, yogurt and even meat. So start checking out your local health food stores and farmers markets.


Eat More Plants

 When transitioning your diet, it is super important that you fuel your body with the right foods. Making sure your diet contains a healthy balance of fiber, protein, and healthy fats is key.  So make sure you are eating lots of fruits,veggies, nuts, seeds, grains and good fats (coconut oil, olive oil and avocado are great sources of health fats) 


Fruits - Consume the right amount of fruit will help provide your body with the energy it needs to thrive each day along with high amounts of fiber that will help your digestive system function properly.

Veggies - Veggies help provide your body with fiber and minerals, helping to keep your body healthy and strong.

Nuts - Nuts are great because they contain a healthy balance of fat and protein. So incorporating various nut based milks, oils and butters are always a great idea.

Seeds - Seeds are high in fiber, vitamin E and monounsaturated fats that can help keep our heart healthy and our body disease free. Healthy seeds are also great sources of protein, minerals, zinc and other life-enhancing nutrients.Hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds are a great source of protein and essential fatty acids so try adding them to soups, smoothies, salads and everything else you desire. 

Grains - Whole grains are packed with nutrients, including protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium). A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer. So make sure you are eating things like quinoa, wild rice, oats and barley often.


Make Sure You Eat Enough

One of the biggest mistakes people often make when transitioning to a plant based diet is not eating enough. It sounds crazy because when you eat a traditional carnivorous diet, you are always trying to cut calories and eat less. However, once you opt for a plant based vegan diet you need to be sure to get  adaquate calories which means you will need to eat more fruit and veggies in volume than you may be used to.  Many new and transitioning vegans learn this the hard way. You can usually judge if you are getting adaquate calories based on your energy level. If you find yourself feeling sluggish and tired it's usually because you are not getting enough calories. So be sure to eat enough and always remember that all calories are not created equal. Fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds tend to be lower in calories than meat and dairy. 

Eating Out At Non Vegan Restaurants

Sometimes eating out with friends can be frustrating because it's so hard to find things on the menu. However there are lots of fun and creative things that can help you in this situation.  One of the first things to do is ask the waiter to bring you an allergen menu. An allergen menu will list each item on the menu and let you know if a particular dish contains dairy, meat, fish or nuts. If you still can’t find a dish don’t be afraid to get creative. You can ask the waiter to bring you a plate of veggies and rice or pasta cooked in olive oil instead of butter. Or you can get creative with different menu side items and create your own custom meal. 

Where To Shop

Knowing how and where to shop for food makes all the difference when transitioning to a vegan plant based diet, Most traditional grocery stores are full of aisles and aisles of processed food, and if your lucky one tiny section of “natural foods” and a corner of fresh produce. It’s much easier to find options at stores and markets that cater to a healthier demographic. So shopping at health food stores and local farmers markets are a great alternative. Farmers markets have so many real, fresh, local and organic foods.


If you are unsure of where your local farmers markets are located go to your states Department of Agriculture website. They will have a list of all registered farmers markets in your state. Another great option is joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Basically when you join a CSA you are buying shares of local farms. So for a small weekly or monthly fee, farmers will give you boxes of fresh local produce that can either be picked up at a designated location or in some cases delivered to your home.  So not only will you get fresh local produce, you will also be supporting local farmers. There are thousands of CSA's here in the US. If you want to know more about CSA’s in your area visit www.localharvest.org. Just enter your zip code and they will provide details on all the CSA’s and Coop’s in your area.

Useful Kitchen Tools

There are definitely a few kitchen tools that make life easier, especially when transitioning to a plant based diet. Here is a list of some tools that will help you along the way.


Blender - Having a decent quality blender is absolutely essential in a plant based diet. Having one will allow you to make delicious and healthy smoothies and sauces, which are great ways to incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds into your diet. There are definitely some very expensive high quality blenders out there but you can definitely get by with an inexpensive brand to start.


Food Processor - A food processor is a great tool because it will allow you to finely chop and break down foods in just seconds. It will also make preparing things like peanut and almond butter a breeze. There are plenty of decent inexpensive food processors out there so don’t feel like you have to get the most expensive brand.


Decent Knives - If you have ever tried to cut a watermelon or pineapple with a dull knife you will completely understand why decent knives are essential.


Grater – A grater is great for everything from finely grating garlic and onions to grating zucchini, potatoes, carrots and more. These can be purchased for as little as 10.00 dollars


Salad Spinner – A salad spinner makes washing and cleaning your leafy green vegetables fast and easy.All of these items can be purchased very inexpensive at your local Walmart, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and most home goods stores.

Finding Support

Lot’s of times deciding to be vegan means that you become somewhat of a social outcast among your close family and friends. They may or may not understand or support your decision. Many cities have lots of vegan and plant based “meet up” groups. Meet up groups are great. They often hold meet ups at local restaurants that cater to vegans. They are a great way to meet and interact with people in your area that are transitioning their diet or even expert vegans. They will also help uncover lots of local restaurants and resources in your community. You can visit www.vegan.meetup.com and enter your zip code and find meet ups in your area.

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