Shh… Don’t Tell I Am Becoming A Vegan

VeganOk I am the title of this post may have been misleading I not becoming a full-time vegan, but I am committed to eating vegan at least two times a day and few nights a week. The impact on my health and the planet will be remarkable.

This decision is no small decision it will have an impact on how I eat all my lunches (my only meal where I am completely autonomous from my family. Breakfast will be tough because eggs have become a staple when I cut out bread and cereal. Dinner is the hardest because I eat with my family every night and it is already hard to meal plan with my crew.

I have started by looking on Pinterest and getting some vegan cookbooks that I have investigated. I have combed through some of my vegetarian cookbooks to see what I can adapt or was already vegan before. I love trying new things but I need a collection of “regulars” so that I can be sure to have food at all times.

Here are two facts to “chew on:”

2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), our diets and, specifically, the meat in them cause more greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, and the like to spew into the atmosphere than either transportation or industry.

A patty of meat the size of two decks of cards releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a 3,000-pound car nearly 10 miles.

Here are the few things I know I cannot give up completely

Pizza: Family tradition for me is to make homemade pizza every Friday, I will try to eat it more without cheese like my daughter but there is still eggs in the dough so I am definitely not getting vegan points for this but I am keeping it vegetarian.

Cheese: Conflicts with my statement above but this is a tough one to do. I like Mexican food and that is synomomous with cheese as some part of the meal.

Ice Cream: Before I started this blog I almost started one about ice cream, I think it is as much a part of me as being an environmentalist! I went a large part of the winter not eating ice cream but I do enjoy eating it especially in summer. I think I will set a limit for myself of once (or twice) a week that will lower my impact but not erase it.

Steak: Whoah wait what?! Yup I do like a steak every now and then, I do not eat it anywhere near as often as a regular American but you know what I do enjoy it from time to time. I always purchase local grass feed beef but that still does not absolve me from the damage I am doing to the planet and to the lives of the animals I am consuming.

Sushi: I could not have it when I was pregnant, my husband does not like it, and I only get to eat it when I go grocery shopping at lunch time but I do love a spicy salmon or spicy tuna roll. While it is rare that I eat sushi it will remain on the list of foods I would have a hard time giving up.

Lets face it that is actually a pretty short list. I am pretty proud of that.

What is holding me back?

My family, my husband is a bit a of a picky eater who likes his meat. My kids are typical picky eaters which I consider one of my biggest parenting fails… I tried so hard and I write about food and healthy eating and one of their favorite things is organic hot dogs which they only had the first time out of complete desperation on my part to make sure they ate SOMETHING. They have not developed a liking for most of the common vegan ingredients but I hope they will. I actually wish I had become a vegetarian when I was younger so that I would not struggle with a  transition now.

Mushrooms!!! I cannot eat them, they make me sick and EVERYTHING vegan and vegetarian is made with it so it forces me to make all of my food from scratch which is fine and happens often but not 100% of the time so figuring out what to eat when I am not prepared is very difficult. I am constantly reading labels, asking when I am eating out, and simply avoiding foods that could be made with mushrooms if I cannot confirm that there is not any in the food.

Society, sounds like a cop out but the reality is it is still VERY hard to be vegan and have food options. I work in New York City arguably one of the places in the US where you are more likely to find vegetarian and vegan food. Also if you do not living in NYC it may be hard to understand but if there is not certain restaurant in a three block radius of where you are it might as well be on Mars… well you know what there are none near me and I am miserable about it.

 Do you have any favorite vegan recipes or tips?





  1. Leigh, I am so excited for you! Welcome to the world of amazing vegan eats. I hear ya on your list of things that are holding you back from going fully vegan. Quitting cheese was hardest for me – it was tougher for me to give up cheese than smoking!

    FWIW, the world of vegan cheese has come a long way. There are amazing fermented nut cheeses out there now. They’re a little bit pricey, but they’re so, so good. You can also make your own. I recommend Miyoko’s book Artisan Vegan Cheese, if you want to get serious about making your own cheeses. She’s a superstar. You can also keep it simple though and make unfermented nut-based cheeses like this one:

    If you have questions or need support, I’m always happy to help new vegans, even if you’re not going 100 percent. Any meal without animal products means that fewer animals suffer, and I’d rather see small steps in that direction than none at all.

    • Thanks Becky!! I thought you might be one of my biggest supporters. I just ordered your cookbook Bowls I think it would be perfect for my lunch packing everyday. I may email you with some questions as well.

  2. There are so many awesome vegan dishes. One of my favourites is quinoa chili. So much better than beef chili!
    Jen @ Go Green recently posted…Cast Iron Care for Really Busy PeopleMy Profile

    • Jen when I really thought about what I eat on a regular basis there are several things that I eat that are vegan already or can be made vegan with only a small modification. I love beans so I was already on this road for a while.

  3. When I was a vegetarian, making meals for my low carb meating bunch was so hard. I simply made my meal and ate it a couple times a week or froze portions for me. Diaya is my go to vegan cheese and coconut bliss chocolate (no sugar added) is my favorite non-ice cream.

    Plus, you don’t need to eat mushrooms. I used nuts, oats, and other grains in lieu of mushrooms. (I do love mushrroms.)

  4. I know that real foodies hate it, but we actually enjoy Daiya cheese substitute. They even have a soy-free version now. I realize there are preservatives in it, and everyone hates that. But we eat it only occasionally, I don’t sit there and knaw on a block (it’s too expensive for that!). So I don’t have a problem with the ingredients in limited quantities.
    Jenny B recently posted…Gardening Outlook 2015My Profile

  5. This is awesome! I’m a lifelong vegetarian but when I was diagnosed with breast cancer last summer, I also made the decision to become mostly vegan. My goals are similar to yours!
    Green Bean recently posted…How to Grow Your Own PerennialsMy Profile

    • Eating vegan really cannot be bad for your health so as long as I figure out great recipes that I like I think it will be easier than most people think.