1. Start your day right.
Right when I get out of bed I drink a concoction of lemon water + maple syrup with a sprinkle of turmeric. Then as I ease into my morning route, I snack on granola and blend up a banana with greens+ and make myself an energy smoothie. Whatever happens next, at least I’ve managed to subdue those early morning hunger pangs that lead to bad 10am snacking decisions.
2. Faux food to the rescue.
There is a substitute for (almost) everything now! If you like burgers, make one with chick peas, beans, tempeh or another plant based protein. Craving pizza? Substitute the cheese with Daiya and Yves pepperoni. How about hot dogs? Field Roast makes delicious sausages in 4 flavours. It looks very close to the real thing and in many cases, tastes even better!
There are endless dairy-free dessert options too. My favourite are Tofutti ice cream sandwiches, Coconut Bliss chocolate peanut butter ice cream and Sweets From The Earth cheesecake. Bonus to all this slaving in the kitchen — you are in control of what goes into your food, and saving money!
3. Get FoK
Yes, Forks Over Knives. What else were you thinking?! Watch this impactful and award winning documentary on Netflix and educate yourself. Then grab their app loaded with plant-based whole food recipes and healthy eating tips. This film was what started our family on the journey of conscious and clean eating.
4. Graze throughout the day.
5. Dine at ethnic restaurants.
Take advantage of Toronto’s international food scene and try Thai, Korean, Japanese, Indian and Middle Eastern. They tend to offer larger veg-friendly menus or be more accommodating of your dietary restrictions. My favourite restaurants include Byblos, Luckee by Susur Lee, Coco Rice and Tabule.
6. Manage your cravings.
Some people (my husband!) became vegan overnight! For others like myself it could take months. Key is to not set unrealistic expectations but give time for your body (and mind) to adjust. It’s not a race to the veg aisle! Instead replace foods one by one or commit to Meatless Mondays then increase to 2 days a week, etc. Understand your cravings – which is your body telling you that you are lacking nutrients. So before you reach for that chocolate, realize what your body really needs is magnesium, so try a handful of nuts or a bean chilli to offset the craving.
7. Make new veg*n friends.
I’m lucky to be surrounded by veg*n’s which makes it easy peasy to decide where to meet for dinners. But if you feel awkward being the only one ordering off the “rabbit food” menu, then expand your social circle. Here are a few places to meet friends who will happily indulge in tofu with you: Meetup.com, Toronto Vegetarian Association, Facebook Toronto Veg Families, Monthly Veggie Drinks (alcoholic bevys, not juice haha).
8. Drool over veg*n food porn
Follow these peeps on Instagram and I can assure you that you will look (and think) of veg food differently. It’s not just about salads! Vegan Girlfriend, Oh She Glows, The Vegan Jetsetter and Lauren Toyota.