Going vegan......old style?!

twinkle_star_2 Posts: 343
I've been Money Tipped!
edited 5 June 2009 at 8:38PM in Old style MoneySaving
To make this thread easier to navigate and to make sure people can always find something lovely and vegan to eat I've decided to make nice links to all the recipes on this thread. It's a work in progress but you should be able to get to them by clicking the link below:

Click me for all the vegan recipes!

Back to the first post...

Hello people. Well I've recently made the rather unexpected decision to become vegan. :eek: I say unexpected because I was not, nor have I ever been, a vegetarian beforehand so I'm jumping in at the deep end. I realize that veganism is rather an extreme diet to most people but once I settled on the idea it felt right for me so I’m happy with it.

Now, up until this point I’ve been trying to be as OS as possible, cooking meals for myself and OH from scratch, meal planning, budgeting and making a few meals for the freezer. I’m hoping to continue doing this as much as possible as make the transition into my new diet and I thought I’d try to keep a little chronicle here in case anyone is interested and also because I’d really like some recipe suggestions and free help! :o

I think it should be fairly in-keeping with old-style because although veganism may seem a little odd it is in fact fairly frugal (no expensive meat, milk products or eggs) and low fat (same reasons) and requires plenty of pre-planning and home cooking (there aren’t too many vegan meals provided at my work or most places).
I hope people won’t be too weirded out by this diet. I’m hoping that I’ll generally be making recipes that can easily be adapted for meat/dairy eaters (my OH is a confirmed milk and meat lover) and they should be pretty tasty.

Also, when I mentioned this plan to my district nurse she was a little horrified so I've been doing a fair amount of nutritional research to ensure I don't make myself ill from lack of vitamins and minerals and I should be able to post some nice geeky info along the way.:D
Before I disappear from my first post I shall quickly post this link to the first vegan recipe that I tried and that persuaded me that veganism might be tasty. The lovely Weezl74’s lentil pate. Proof, I hope, that even meat eaters can enjoy a vegan delight. (Yes, weezl is my MSE hero and I have stolen and adapted many of her recipes! Thanks Weezl :T:T:T). Right, epic first post over.



  • rosered1963
    rosered1963 Posts: 1,160 Forumite
    edited 9 February 2016 at 6:17PM
    Hi there - you could have a look at these links: Simple Vegan recipes: http://www.simpleveganrecipes.co.uk/and of-course, The Vegan Society: www.vegansociety.com and www.VegCooking.com and Viva's L Plate Vegan guide: http://www.viva.org.uk/guides/l-plate/vegan/index.htm

    My OH is a meat eater and I do all the cooking for him, and for myself. I tend to do batch cooking for myself and freeze portions in "lock and lock" containers which I label with what it is and the date, so I don't forget.

    Regarding nutrition, I would say that the key is to vary your diet and eat vegetables that are in season. Make sure you get plenty of protein. Make yourself a good vegan store cupboard containing things like chick peas, tinned tomatoes, lentils, herbs, curry pastes , oats, etc so that all you need are fresh veg and you are ready to go. Frozen veg are also good - even the frozen parsnips are great for roasting and making lovely soups, like parsnip and lemon. If you dont have a blender, i would suggest you buy one for making things like salsa, houmous, soups, etc which are so quick and easy to make. Have nice oils in your store cupboard like olive oil and sesame seed oil which is nice.

    If you can, you could grow some herbs. If you have a garden or patio, Rosemary is easy to grow and lovely with vegetables. Sage is also easy. Plant and forget it! If you don't have outside space, try growing some herbs and leaves indoors - you will find plenty of info on the web about what you can grow on your windowsill, including bean shoots which are very good for you. You can get kits from garden centres but these are expensive - you can make your own once you get the idea.

    You don't say why you are a vegan - for me its because of animal welfare to be honest. I would pick up an injured bird off the road and do everything I could to save its life, so I'm hardly go to eat one! I did miss meat, to be honest, but after a while, you don't bother. I stopped eating meat 25 years ago, when I was very young. It was a stigma to veggie or vegan then. I don't think that's the case now - no-one will think you are weird, and you are helping the planet because veg is more energy efficient than meat production.
    Good luck to you.:T
    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply!
  • Hi Twinkle. ;)

    Lots of useful advice there from Rosered. I spent two years eating a vegan diet and lost a great deal of weight as a useful extra! I have to say, I don't think I've ever felt healthier than when I was meat and dairy free; I seemed to have endless energy.

    I made the change from a long-term veggie diet, so, for me, it just meant moving away from the eggs and cheese and being more inventive, eg. discovering lentils. :D One piece of advice I was given was to remember, "Marmite is your friend"!!! If you're not careful, it's easy to miss out on some of the B Vitamins so marmite is a good source of those.

    I'm sorry to say, when OH and I moved in together, I found it very difficult to maintain the vegan diet and eventually decided to go back to being a bog-standard veggie, although, as you've discovered, we all probably eat vegan food sometimes, probably without realising it.

    Good luck.
    Avoiding plastic, palm oil and Nestlé
  • star2007
    star2007 Posts: 159 Forumite
    Congratulations on going for it! :T

    I'd recommend some good cookbooks:

    Another Dinner is Possible


    and the Isa Chandra Moskowitz ones:



    I've found them really inspirational & really helped in giving me a push towards veganism.... like I'm adding so much more to my diet, rather than cutting stuff out! Highly delectable recipes without being decadent :D

    I think you can bulk cook up a load of beans/ chick peas etc and freeze them in portions, which works out a bit more economical than the tins.

    Nutrition wise, as long as you're eating a varied wholefood diet - all sorts of vegetables, fruits, grains, pulses, salads, nuts etc you can't go too far wrong. Try and eat wholemeal bread & brown rice etc as they haven't been stripped of nutrients & have a more complete nutritional profile. I second the profligate use of Marmite!

    Chick pea flour can make a great egg replacer... make up a mixture about as thick as yorkshire pudding batter with soya milk/ water. Whisk well trying to get out the lumps (doesn't matter about a few tiny ones).

    Dip in slices of bread, press one side onto a plate of chopped nuts, then fry in a large frying pan on both sides. Drizzle with maple syrup.

    Or - cook up some onions & new potatoes as for spanish omelette. Instead of beaten egg, use the chick pea batter. Season generously to taste. Cook on a lowish head till the batter is set and it's golden underneath. Then, either flip it over with a plate & slide it back in the pan to cook the other side - or - finish cooking the top under a preheated grill for a few mins.

    Haven't tried it in cakes - not sure how it would turn out, but there are other egg replacers you can use like mashed banana, applesauce, soya flour, ground flax seed etc.

    Considering a huge bag of chick pea flour is £5 at Tesco's, you can see how OS vegan food can be! Add a large bag of spuds from the farm shop & you're laughing in the face of the credit crunch! :rotfl:
    Competition wins: 09/12 bottle of cognac; 01/13 combi microwave
  • Hello again,

    Thank you for all the lovely responses. :D

    Rosered1963 - I was planning on gettingsome herbs growing in my porch (i like to think of it as a teeny-tiny conservatory) so am just waiting for a bit of sunshine! As to why, I'm not entirely sure - I've always been a bit of a guilty meat eater so I guess I just cracked.

    thenanny2die4 - Thanks for the tip re: marmite. Good job I already love it!

    Star2007 - i've been looking for some good cookbooks (as most of mine are now very pointless) so thanks for the pointers. I've just received Liz Cook's So What Do You Eat?cookbook which is a beautifully illustrated book of easy recipes for vegan beginners like me. I also got her nutrition chart which really useful. It has little sections for all the nutrients with illustrated lists of what to eat for each one.

    Anyhow, today I performed the great dairyfree milk test. I was trying to find a 'milk' that was decent to drink, both in tea and 'as is', works in a cup of tea, and can be used in baking/cooking. No small order! I got a carton each of oat, rice and unsweetened soya milks from a local health food shop and began my tests.

    1. Glass of milk test
    Oat milk - I could taste a hint of oats in this (a little bit like the floury taste if you ate a spoonful of raw porridge oats) but it wasn't overpowering and had a pleasant creamy and very milk-like aftertaste.
    Rice milk - You could smell this before it even got near to your mouth. Very cloying fake vanilla smell and taste. Extremely sickly. :confused:
    Soya milk - Slightly floury hint when in the mouth (like the oat milk but less oaty:rolleyes:). Nice creamy milk-like aftertaste.

    2. Cup of tea test
    None of the milks made the tea go quite as opaque as normal milk does but all did an acceptable job of it.
    Oat milk - really quite decent. Not spot on but good.
    Rice milk - tea smells and tastes of the horrible sickly vanilla and has weird little floating dots:confused:. Blarg
    Soya milk - not bad at all.

    3. Baking
    All three purport to be fine for cooking. So I made individual vegan microwave chocolate puddings. These are totally easy and yummy!

    Drop the following into a small mug/ramekin - 1tsp oil, 2tsp cocoa, 3tsp self raising flour, 3tsps sugar, 6tsp 'milk'. Mix well to create a sort of 'batter' then sprinkle 2 tsp sugar and 2tbsp of water over the batter and put in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes on full power.

    Rice milk - vile:eek:
    Oat milk - yummy
    Soya milk - yummy

    So, in conclusion rice milk is a hideous thing never to darken my kitchen door again but either soya milk or oat milk is fine. Soya milk seems to be cheaper and much more widely available (my local cornershop stocks it and Mr.A & Mr. T even do value versions for 60p/litre) but for those allergic or avoiding soya the oat milk is your friend! :D
  • hi twinkle ...congrats on taking the plunge....i was vegan for ten years and only went back to an omnivorous diet twelve months ago....vegan is without a shadow of a doubt the most economical and healthy way of living if you are prepared to eat a very varied diet, be inventive and give everything a go at least once!!!

    i will pop in from time to time to see how you are getting on...:D
  • Sam37
    Sam37 Posts: 117 Forumite
    Another cooking book to add.

    It's a middle eastern vegetarian book, but with lots of stricktly vegan recipies too (lots with pulses and grains, lots of fantastic dips, and a lot of recipies that are quick and easy). A couple of recipies contain yogurt, so I suppose you could replace that with soy yogurt.

  • star2007
    star2007 Posts: 159 Forumite
    Hi Twinkle!

    I can empathise with you over the rice milk. Last May, I went camping with the b.f. I'd brought along those mini cartons of rice milk for convenience to use in tea. After what seemed a good 20 mins of heating the water on the miniature camping gaz stove, I managed to get it boiling for tea. Poured in the rice milk --- and --- :eek: CURDLE:eek: Needless to say Mr Star was not impressed.:mad:

    I've found oat milk to be ok, but as one of my friends put it, it's like putting porridge in your tea. I've gone back to having soya milk now, I used to have soya intolerance issues with stomach & throat pains, when I drank a lot of the chocolate stuff by the glass. I've found recently that I'm fine with the alpro fresh stuff in moderation, mainly having it in tea, making the odd white sauce, and a pot of their yoghurt every couple of days.

    I've no idea if this brand is genuinely better, or whether I'm just developing more digestive enzymes to cope with it better as time goes on. Will have to buy a cheaper brand to compare I think.

    Will have to test out your quick & easy chocco puds soon.... sound ultra yummy! :j
    Competition wins: 09/12 bottle of cognac; 01/13 combi microwave
  • weezl74
    weezl74 Posts: 8,701 Forumite
    The lovely Weezl74’s lentil pate. Proof, I hope, that even meat eaters can enjoy a vegan delight. (Yes, weezl is my MSE hero and I have stolen and adapted many of her recipes! Thanks Weezl :T:T:T). Right, epic first post over.

    Awww shucks :o:o:o:D:D:D:D!

    Remember I'm a pregnant lady, you'll have me welling up!!

    Seriously though twinkle_star, I wish you huge success with this, and shall observe with interest! ;)

    :hello:Jonathan 'Fergie' Fergus William, born 05/03/09, 7lb 4.4oz:hello:
    :)Benjamin 'Kezzie' Kester Jacob, born 18/03/10, 7lb 5oz:)
    cash neutral gifts 2011, value of purchased gifts/actual paid/amount earnt to cover it £67/£3.60/£0
    january grocery challenge, feed 4 of us for £40
  • ceridwen
    ceridwen Posts: 11,547
    Combo Breaker First Post
    ...and I'm sitting here thinking well "Rice Milk - depends on what brand one uses. Rice Dream...fine...no problem..Other brands....yuk!" - so worth a bit of experimenting as to which brand one uses...
  • Ooooo *watches thread*
    I have briefly tried and failed, mostly through lack of inspiration.
    Hopefully my veg box (saves a trip to and around supermarket) will spur me on to try again.
    I got "Vegan cooking for one" from amazon - it has shopping lists for each week so ok to give things a go, and I'm ticking and crossing the nice and not-so-nice results :D
    "She who asks is a fool once. She who never asks is a fool forever"
    I'm a fool quite often :D
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