Day 5 of the Hungry Harvest 30-Day Challenge was to go vegan for a day. I’ve been vegan for about 20 years now, so for me it was just a normal Friday!
In recent years scientists, including the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, have been saying that changing dietary habits is a critical component of reducing the carbon emissions that are driving climate change. About 15 percent of the world’s emissions come from livestock, particularly the beef and dairy industries.
That doesn’t mean that everyone needs to eat vegan all the time. The experts say simply reducing meat consumption to the levels already recommended by health guidelines (many people in developed countries eat much more than that) would make a significant difference.
I’m glad to see more of my omnivore friends trying to incorporate more meatless meals into their diets in recent years. My message is, it doesn’t have to mean eating boring foods or feeling deprived! I love food and I eat all kinds of different things, even junk food.
If you’re just getting started, my main advice is don’t go straight for the vegan cheese and meat substitutes. You probably already have things you like to eat that are already vegan or can easily be made vegan with a simple substitution, like using veggie broth instead of chicken broth or leaving cheese off a dish where it’s not the central feature. Things like pasta dishes, rice and bean dishes, soups and stews, stir fries and curries. Start by eating more of those dishes and build from there. Then later maybe you want to try and find a non-dairy milk you enjoy, or explore meat substitutes and non-dairy cheeses.
Here are a few of my favorite vegan recipe sites and cookbook authors that have reliably delicious and easy recipes that everyone can enjoy:
Minimalist Baker – Specializes in recipes with 10 ingredients or less that take 30 minutes or less to prepare. Lots of people use her recipes without even realizing that it’s a vegan site!
Robin Robertson – Robin wrote the vegan cookbooks that I use the most. I especially like her Italian dishes but she incorporates ingredients from all over the globe. Great for weeknight meals.
Vegan Richa – Richa does amazing things with flavor. I especially recommend her Indian recipes but I’ve never had a bad experience making meals from her blog.